25 June, 2011

The Pike Estate

The garden facade of the Pike Estate c. 1917.

If I had to choose a second to Villa Turicum, my response would be the Lake Forest residence that David Adler designed for Charles Burrall and Frances Alger Pike in 1917. (Hands down and without question - the great thing is that this house still exists. ) No sooner had Villa Turicum (commissioned in 1908) been finished then the Pike house had begun, and I have no doubt that Charles Platt's influence at the time (and his execution in plan and design for Villa Turicum) had an impact on David Adler.

Villa Turicum c. 1929.

The similarities are immediate when comparing the two; both houses were to be located on Lake Michigan and built in the Italian style that was popular at the time. However, whereas Villa Turicum was on an axis with it's entrance facing west (toward a spectacular 70 foot greensward) David Adler's structure for Mr. & Mrs. Pike would be reversed; it's flat-hip roof facing the lake and it's loggia and courtyard elements on the east (opposite) side which borders North Lake Road. (I have heard it mentioned that this was due in part to the Pikes wishing to arrive primarily via water.)

Villa Turicum from the air c. 1921.

I have ridden or driven past the Pike house for many years. Although it is on a much smaller scale and of course a completely different house designed by another notable architect, it still never fails to make me think of Villa Turicum. In fact, I often wonder if perhaps one reason that it survives and Villa Turicum does not is that it is so much more manageable in scale.

The entrance loggia and courtyard of the Pike Estate c. 1970.

I am always intrigued as well, because I know that behind the wall that fronts Lake Road is one of the most beautiful courtyards created by David Adler; edged by an entrance loggia on the north side and considered one of his most successful outdoor spaces. The interior is noted to be simple and concise, with a fifty foot Gallery that looks out on the courtyard and rooms that display the symmetry that Adler was renowned for and integrate the courtyard to the interior space.

The lawn of the Pike Estate, leading to Lake Michigan.

Whereas Villa Turicum had it's massive greensward at the front, the Pike house has an extensive sunken lawn that extends to the lake. Walled and well manicured, it is outlined with interlocking yews trimmed and tailored to form a square edged pattern along the length of the lawn. (There are steps which lead to an upper garden lawn and it's balustrades as well.) At the end of the lawn is Lake Michigan, and I've read that the path to the beach once led to a small flower garden that dotted the water's edge.

The Pike Estate today.

As of this writing, it is my understanding that the Pike estate is still for sale. It has been on the market for quite some time, but I am optimistic that when it does find an owner they will delight in the wonders surrounding them.

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