Craig Ellwood was a construction company created by Jon Nelson Burke and three partners in the 1940’s in Los Angeles. The name was chosen after a liquor store located in front of the firm offices and it lately became widely associated with many modernists buildings spread all over California. This success lead the firm’s “front-man” Burke to actually change his own name into “Craig Ellwood”, somehow literally embodying this fictious character.
The last architectural work attributed to Burke/Ellwood, before he retired in Italy starting a career in painting, is a 263,52 m x 43,92 m neutral plan spanning over a scenic landscape, a metallic structure reminding a stretched Miesian building.
The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena is an inhabited infrastructure, a two level continuous floor filling the request for large and uninterrupted work spaces. The exposed steel structure becomes an actual bridge when it crosses a creek and a roadway, and you can actually “drive” under it in google maps (thanks Seier+Seier) .
Art Center College of Design in Pasadena
Architects: Craig Ellwood Associates, Craig Ellwood (1921-1992) with James Tyler (design), Stephen Woolley (project architect), and Alfred Caldwell (landscape design). (1970-1977)
The image of this narrow and bold building was echoed many years later by the awarded project for the Taichung Gateway Park in Taiwan by Dogma and Andrea Branzi. A much longer inhabited steel structure acts there as an organizing medium against the dishomogeneous skyline of the city and the collage-like landscape of the park.