If you want to learn first hand about Samuel Ogren Sr. [1899-1988], known as the “father of Delray Beach architecture,” you have a chance over the next two
months to come look at his work and hear about him from people, who study him,
knew him or live in his houses.
A three-month program that runs through May is being presented by the Delray Beach Historical Society and funded by a Florida Humanities Council and
National Endowment of the Humanities grant. The program includes three
one-month-long exhibits as well as three evening discussions.
March 11 discussion was an open discourse, moderated by the historical
society’s archivist, Dottie Patterson, with panelists Roy Simon and Roger Cope,
both local architects. Members of the audience, which included Ogren’s
son-in-law, family friends and owners of Ogren’s homes, were also invited to
share stories and insights.
and a Jacaranda limb near it and I remember thinking about how Sam’s designs
made me feel — and it was perfect satisfaction.’’ She said.
Ogren worked in Delray Beach from 1925 to 1950. Some of his existing designs include the Sandoway House, the Arcade Building designed in 1925, the Gymnasium and the
High School at Old School Square, designed in 1926.
JoAnn Peart, who lives in an Ogren-designed house, shared that Ogren Jr., had worked on her house when he was a teenager. “He told me that his father believed in
learning about building by working in the construction trades,” she said. “I am
honored to live in a home designed by Ogren Sr. His houses have a special
quality and elegance.”
at the site plan — the openness and vistas. The little villas have a nice
old. His father was killed and he and his mother went into hiding, according to
to be an architect in Florida. He was awarded License No. 024, and his first office was in Delray
Beach,” he said.
in 2007.Patterson enjoyed the discussion as much as her audience. “I liked Roy Simon and his brother, Sandy, talking about how the philosophy of architecture has changed,”
she said.“The idea of a home, designed for the homeowners, where they planned to live for many years, has changed into the home as an investment that might be flipped,
so square footage and number of bedrooms and bathrooms have become more
important than scale. It’s interesting to think about what we have lost.”
The second exhibit, currently underway, is at Delray Beach City Hall in the Planning and Zoning Lobby, 100 NW First St., and runs through April.
“Ogren Designs of the Past — Planning for the Future,” will be held at Delray Beach City Hall on April 29 at 6:30 p.m.
The May 4 through 29 exhibition is at the Ethel Sterling Williams Learning Center, 111 N. Swinton Ave.
The discussion, “Ogren — Green Themes — What We Can Learn,”
is also at the learning center and is scheduled for May 20 at 6:30 p.m.