Andrew Geller, also known as the architect of Happiness, embodied postwar ingenuity and optimism in a series of inexpensive beach houses in whimsical shapes and helped bringing modernism to the masses with prefabricated cottages sold at Macy’s. Last year he died in Syracuse. He was 87 and lived in Spencer, N.Y.
Mr. Geller designed the “typical American house” shown at the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959. The model shown in Moscow led to a line of vacation houses, sold in the 1960s under the name Leisurama. One of the houses, complete with picture window and carport, was displayed on the ninth floor of Macy’s in Herald Square; people came in to buy house-wares and walked out owning houses. (A basic model required a down payment of $490, followed by monthly payments of $73.) Some 200 Leisurama houses were built.
Geller posed something of a threat to the status quo. He was incredibly prolific, experimental, friendly, never took himself too seriously, could be irreverent, and even had dared to live a normal family life in suburban Long Island. He was successful in his own right, well outside the inner sanctum of the design world. He wasn’t practiced in the priestly double-speak of the architectural establishment. He didn’t care. He had the nerve to be playful, make jokes, have fun, be funny, breezy, light, even joyful. He’d made up his own rules and didn’t care much what the mainstream thought of him.
Geller could be an irritant, a speck of sand in the establishment’s eye. They were hoping he would just fly away, disappear somehow, but he didn’t. His freshness and originality kept popping up again and again, being “rediscovered,” until he was able to claim his own level of notoriety and acclaim.
Source: Geller’s World Travel
Post by Coco Pastis