SAH Newsletter



Michael Burch: Getty Funds Research for Exhibit on Spanish Colonial Architecture

by SAH News | May 08, 2014

Michael Burch Architects is excited to announce that they will co-curate a show on the Spanish Colonial Revival with the Riverside Art Museum.  Research for the show will be funded by the Getty as part of their Pacific Standard Time: L.A./L.A. (Los Angeles/Latin America) initiative.

The exhibit will focus on the Spanish Colonial Revival in the Inland Empire.  The Getty’s description of the grant reads:  “Spanish by way of colonial Mexico, the Spanish Colonial Revival style in architecture and design has been part of the aesthetic fabric of Southern California's Inland Empire for 100 years. While claiming ties between Southern California and Colonial Spain and Mexico via their cultural and design traditions, the style was based largely on myth and invention. Influenced by such diverse sources as the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and the popular Ramona novel and pageants, the New California elite adapted Spanish Colonial, Mission, ecclesiastical, and native elements to create romanticized perceptions of California for a burgeoning tourism industry. Landmarks such as Myron Hunt's First Congregational Church of Riverside (1912–1914) and the historic Mission Inn Hotel are amalgamations of the historic and the imagined. Even today the region's suburban housing and public infrastructure continue to use an eclectic mix of elements rooted in Spanish Colonial Revival design motifs. The exhibition will use architectural and archival materials, decorative arts, paintings, and photographs to explore the style's origins and continuing popularity.”  After its appearance at the Riverside Art Museum, the exhibit has been invited to travel to Yale University.

Michael Burch Architects is widely recognized for its expertise in historically accurate work in the Spanish Colonial/Mediterranean Revival style. Its guiding principle is “Returning to Authenticity,” because the more modern versions of the Spanish style have “devolved into kitsch,” said Michael Burch. The firm is creating exciting 21st century estates and houses in the traditional vernacular.  The romance and drama of the firm’s work, whether in new construction or renovations/additions, captures the imagination and was recently described by Aaron Betsky in ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE as “breathtaking in its sophistication and beauty.” The firm is the first and only Southern California firm to have been awarded the prestigious Palladio Award for excellence in traditional architecture and has exhibited at both the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and, most recently, at this year’s 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Michael Burch has been a member of SAH since 2005. 

For more information on the Pacific Standard Time:  LA/LA  initiative, click here