Mid Century Modern Garden and Arts Building in Sacramento

Terrific diagonal roof line with perpendicular posts and horizontal sign.

The first time I walked up to the mid century modern Iva Gard Shepard Garden & Arts Center in McKinley Park was to attend an antique clock and watch club meeting. Since we had purchased a mid century modern house few years earlier, I was struck with the similarities to my home and what a complete unknown gem the center was.

From the Garden & Arts website:

Built in 1958 by the City of Sacramento and designed by Raymond R. Franceschi the SGA&C, originally named the Sacramento Garden and Arts Center, is an outstanding example of mid-twentieth century architecture. The Center, nestled in the McKinley Park Annex, was later re-named in honor of Iva Gard Shepard, a leader in the garden community and a Sacramento Bee garden columnist who served as the Center’s Board president for many years.

Most notable of its exterior features is the dramatic roof line that combines an A-line form with that of a “butterfly” style appendage that extends over the patio.  This in dramatic contrast to its surrounding neighbors which are noted for the popular styles of architecture from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.  The Center as was common in the last 1950s, utilizes stone and wood with flair and exuberance. One of its more notable features on the interior is the massive two-sided fireplace made of flagstone and terrazzo, with a glass mosaic on one side and a huge copper vent on the other.  The broad hearth serves as seating, making this feature the heart of the building.

The main entrance of the building opens to the large McKinley Park Annex. The diagonal and horizontal lines that make up the roof line and sign are lost to most people who enter the center from the parking lot nearest the street. For the most part the building is original with the exception of the vertical mini-blinds on some of the windows, aluminum clad entry doors and drop-down fluorescent light fixtures.

The center is composed of the entry hall, common area and main meeting hall. There is also a kitchen, office and large patio. It must have been quite visually stunning when it was built incorporating lots of windows, dramatic roof line, fireplace and paneled walls. Even though the center is small, it works very well for creating different intimate spaces all under one roof. The Garden and Arts Center is a real treat for anyone who enjoys mid century modern architecture and should be seen if you are traveling through Sacramento.

These pictures were taken at the end of the clock meeting with some of the tables still in position. Click the thumbnail to enlarge the photo.

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