Green was a close associate of Wright’s and also a prolific and highly-regarded architect in his own right who spent six decades practicing architecture, mainly in the San Francisco area.
Educated at the Cooper Union in New York City, Green received his first commission by convincing a couple that had solicited him for the design of a single family home to hire Wright—whom the young designer had never met—instead. Green used the project to become one of Wright’s Taliesin fellows. After serving in World War II and opening his own Los Angeles practice, Green moved to San Francisco, where he opened a joint office with Wright. Green acted as Wright’s West Coast representative until Wright’s death in 1959. Green continued his firm as an individual practice until his own death in 2001.
Green’s work is exemplary for its focus on natural and organic forms and stands in contrast to the more staid and rigidly-delineated works of the late modern era, like those of William Pereira or Welton Beckett.
In an email to The Architect’s Newspaper, Hess remarked: “The International Style aesthetic of simple glass boxes triumphed in the public relations battle to define modernism. But organic architecture put up a good fight by offering the alternative: richly crafted buildings with complex geometries, married to the land, and rendered in the natural textures and colors of wood, stone, and brick.”
Green’s Andersen House from 1963 is one of the works on display in the exhibition, Aaron G. Green and California Organic Architecture. (Courtesy Maynard L. Parker / The Huntington Library)
Hess added, “Frank Lloyd Wright lead that fight, aided by Aaron Green, John Lautner, Lloyd Wright, and many others. Today we are finally rediscovering this side of modern architecture.”
Hess explained further that as many of the seminal works of the era have come under the wrecking ball in recent years, interest in their legacy has soared, writing, “Today we are finally rediscovering this side of modern architecture. This exhibit on Aaron Green… is just the tip of the iceberg in opening up a tremendous catalog of California’s wide-ranging midcentury and late modern architectural heritage. We’re losing that heritage rapidly, so we need to understand and defend it.”
Hess’s exhibition brings together rare photographs and original architectural renderings and plans from Green’s office. The exhibition also showcases a collection of contemporaneous magazines that promoted Green’s work throughout his career.
The exhibition opens January 21, 2017, and will remain on view at PVAC through May 28, 2017. For more information, see the exhibition website.