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Randell Makinson, Champion of Greene & Greene

A long-time friend of American Bungalow, Randell L. Makinson, a fierce Greene & Greene preservation advocate who was instrumental in securing protection for the Greenes’ Gamble House in 1966 and became the house’s first director, died August 13 at his home in Pasadena at the age of 81. Randell was a member of the magazine’s advisory board during its formative years in the early 1990s.

As the L. A. Times reported in its Aug. 14 obituary, Randell was a USC architecture grad student in 1954 when a professor suggested he photograph the Gamble House and other surviving G&G houses to expand the school’s archives, which then contained only a single color slide of the Greenes’ work. When he set up a camera and tripod out in front of the house, Cecil Gamble, a son of the original owners, came out to ask who he was and what he thought he was doing. Randell’s explanation charmed Mr. Gamble, who gave the young man a tour of the home and pulled out the original drawings for them to pore over together that afternoon. By the end of the day, a friendship had formed that blossomed into a lasting association with the Gamble family.

Twelve years later, when the family wanted to sell the house to a buyer who wouldn’t ruin or demolish it, Randell helped put together an arrangement through which the city of Pasadena would assume ownership and open the house to the public, with the USC architecture school as caretaker. Randell became the house’s curator and later its first director. (In the late 1980s, he also led the five-year effort to restore the Greene’s Blacker House.) He retired in 1992.

A remembrance by Dr. Robert Winter, who served with Randell on the magazine’s advisory board and remains a contributor and consultant on architectural history, will appear in our Winter issue, No. 80.

L. A. Times OBITUARY

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One Response to “Randell Makinson, Champion of Greene & Greene”

  1. Brian Miller says:

    I had the very good fortune of working with Randell on the “Blacker House” restoration from 1995-1997. It’s hard to express just how much I learned from him over the years.

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