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Charles and Henry Greene

Charles and Henry Greene

Charles and Henry Greene (L-R). Courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Formative Years

Noteworthy architects and designers in the American Arts and Crafts style, Charles and Henry Greene were born in Brighton, Ohio, but they split time growing up between St. Louis, Missouri and their mother’s family farm in West Virginia. During their adolescence, the Greene brothers studied metalworking and woodworking and were active outdoors at the urging of their father, a homeopathic doctor.

Heading West, Looking East

Charles and Henry attended MIT’s School of Architecture for two years and earned certificates. They apprenticed at various architecture firms in Boston during and after their time at MIT. In 1893, the brothers moved to Pasadena, California to be close to their parents. En route, they visited the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where they were exposed to Japanese architecture, which would become a powerful influence. The brothers launched their firm, Greene & Greene, in Pasadena in 1894 and went on to produce what they called “ultimate bungalows” in the coming years.

Innovative Arts and Crafts Design

The Greenes refined a personalized Arts and Crafts aesthetic and created custom interior decorations, furniture, and light fixtures for each residence they designed. Both architecturally and in terms of interior design, the Greene brothers drew on their early training to emphasize artful yet solid woodworking techniques. Likewise, they preferred to disguise structure within ornament, similar to traditional Japanese design. In 1922, Greene & Greene ended their partnership when Charles moved north with his family to Carmel, California. The brothers continued their work separately and stayed close until they both passed away in the 1950s.

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Charles and Henry Greene
Charles and Henry Greene
Charles and Henry Greene
Charles and Henry Greene