From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com
Ira Rakatansky (1919-2014) was a distinguished Modernist architect who studied under the famous Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard and set up shop in Rhode Island, where he designed many houses and commercial properties. One of the most beautiful was the one he had built for himself and wife, Lenore Gray, a gallery owner, in 1958 on the East Side of Providence. It’s an exhilarating, light-filled house, now in the last stages of being spiffed up by the new owners, who have also done spectacular new landscaping on the site; the Rakatanskys had a sort of Japanese-garden approach.
There something hopeful, confident and breezy about the best of these Mid-Century houses, especially when compared with so much of the hackneyed post-Modernist stuff going up. But many of the ‘50s ranch houses with garages that look bigger than the houses they’re next to are hideous.