Mad for Modern

Aug 31, 2015

Conway-House_DuquetteIt’s been called “satorially splendid” and “slow-burning,” and “a morality tale.” For the season finale, Mad Men pulled in 4.6 million viewers.

The series opens in 1960, the dawn of a new decade, yet with the remnants of the prior decade still front and center—beautiful suits wrapped around beautiful men, and women donned in hats and gloves—the 1950s, a time of classic style with that hint of emotional disconnect even as folks strive for happiness while confronting, even unconsciously, the question identity, the meaning of success, the consequences of success, society’s standards, sexism, sex as a consumer commodity, feminism, racism, aging, and, of course, death.


Barker House Kirtlan

“Barker House” designed by contractor and architect Edward Kirtlan; photo by Victoria Lasken


The “mad men” of the era, says Jaime Weinman ( created “artificial, manufactured experiences” that made life more pleasant, but less real.

Well, the Glendale Historical Society presents a day of very real experiences at 6 very real local homes on September 27, during its “Mad for Modern” home tour.

Architectural styles ranging from 1950 to 1965, featuring the Webber House, “a prize-winning ‘Sun Villa’ house designed by renowned architect A. Quincy Jones” who was on the faculty at USC for 25 years. Three of the other architects—David Alexman, Denver Markwith, and Karl Schwerdtfeger—graduated from the USC School of Architecture.

Other homes on the tour include:

  • “Barker House” – a sprawling 1958 hillside home with stunning city views designed by contractor and architect Edward Kirtlan;
  • “Conway House” – a 1959 showpiece designed by architect William Duquette that was recently featured in Los Angeles Magazine;
  • “Ruzicka House” – a 1961 post-and-beam designed by Karl Schwerdtfeger of the prominent architecture firm Welton Becket and Associates;
  • “Peterka House” – a striking two-story home built in 1963 designed by architect David Alexman;
  • “Markwith House” – a 1965 home designed as his personal residence by architect Denver Markwith (credited with the National Register-listed Huntington Beach Public Library at Triangle Park).

Estately describes the Markwith residence on a quiet street in the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains as…

…well-preserved Mid-Century Modern home celebrates the articulation of structure, elegance of materials and technical perfection that defined the USC School of Architecture of the era. Glu-lam beams rest gently on slender wood posts, extending beyond the building envelope and creating expansive glass walls to bring nature inside the home, impossible by today’s restrictive building standards.


Markwith personal residence;

Markwith personal residence;


Two masonry fireplaces anchor the Living Room and Den at opposite ends of the first floor, and an open plan facilitates circulation, convenient for everyday living and ideal for entertaining. Finishes are disciplined and rigorous: Douglas Fir tongue-and-groove decking with delicate translucent stain, masonry and tile in a running bond pattern, clear Redwood wall panels and numerous Oak and Mahogany built-in shelves and cabinets. Quality of life enhanced by architecture.

Mad for Modern is a self-guided tour; guests drive to the featured homes where they are invited to join docent-led tours.




Mad for Modern Home Tour
Sunday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Locations provided upon ticket purchase
Cost: $25, TGHS members; $35, non-members
Purchase online her
Or purchase at The Americana concierge desk
Or purchase day of event at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
For complete details, visit


All photos, unless otherwise noted, by Victoria Lasken

All photos, unless otherwise noted, by Victoria Lasken




Source information: – Linda Przbyszewski, University of Notre Dame history professor and author.



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