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207 posts categorized "Architecture"



August 28, 2014

What the doctor ordered?

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The Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

It’s surprising to find so much clutter inside the Farnsworth House. Not actual stuff, but drama from the past and energy that’s out of whack. The unsettling circumstances during which this house was created are palpable. What’s especially heartbreaking about this feeling of turmoil is the fact that the project began as a wonderful collaboration between architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and client Dr. Edith Farnsworth, who shared a vision for creating a house – Mies’ first residential project in the U.S. – that “would become the prototype of new and important elements of American architecture,” said Farnsworth.

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Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

We arrive on a spectacular August day with a sapphire blue sky and soft breeze. At the Visitor Center, we’re handed OFF! towelettes and told, “The mosquitos are extra brutal today.” I wipe on the toxic suit of armor and notice that it melts the polish on my fingernails. Does Mies’ spirit object to my application of ornamentation?

Continue reading "What the doctor ordered?" »

July 25, 2014

Brutal love.

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton

“A box is the easiest thing to build. This ain’t no box,” said Paul Rudolph in response to criticism of the Government Center he designed in the town of Goshen, New York. Completed in 1967, the Brutalist building is considered one of Rudolph’s greatest achievements. However, the structure landed on the World Monuments Fund watch list after poor maintenance led to deterioration and a series of damaging storms caused its closure in 2011. Preservationists want it saved, many in the Orange County legislature do not, and – in an interesting 11th-hour twist – architect Gene Kaufman recently offered to buy the building and transform it into art studios and exhibition spaces. 

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton

Located an hour northwest of New York City, the building is worth going to see, as I did recently. At first, it felt smaller than it appears in photographs, but then it literally grew on me. I’ve always been a fan of Rudolph’s work, and this building does not disappoint. Standing at the end of an empty parking lot riddled with cracks and weeds, the now vacant building is surrounded by a freshly mowed lawn and neatly trimmed trees. The facade is a cluster of windowed boxes that appear to be lurching forward, as if they’re each trying to get a better look at you. The side of the building that faces Main Street is long and windowless. Having a sense of exaggerated perspective, the stretched and staggered boxes look as if they were frozen in mid stride, like a single frame of a stop-motion film.

Continue reading "Brutal love." »

July 02, 2014

Making the Glass House disappear.

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The Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Conn. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

During the annual Glass House Summer Party, we were treated to Fujiko Nakaya’s art exhibition Veil. On view through November 30, this project “produces an opaque atmosphere to meet the building’s extreme transparency and temporal effects that complement its timelessness.” Huh?

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Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Here’s my unscholarly interpretation: Nakaya is using fog – something that normally hides things – to give shape to a transparent house. It’s as if Johnson drew his house in invisible ink and Nakaya’s fog is the “black light” needed to reveal the secret message.

Continue reading "Making the Glass House disappear." »

Stepping inside Philip Johnson's library.

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Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Architect Philip Johnson had his 384-square-foot Library-Study painted white with a red door when it was completed in 1980. However, Johnson later changed the color specifically to a nameless brown because, in his words, “It’s an emotion, not a color.”

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Note the Ghost House in the distance. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Rarely open to the public, this one-room workspace stands alone on the 49-acre, 14-structure Glass House property that Johnson designed for himself in New Canaan, Connecticut. In Johnson’s day, there was no path to the Library-Study, so guests had to find their own way through tall grass and wetlands. “It keeps the uninteresting people out,” he explained.

Continue reading "Stepping inside Philip Johnson's library." »

June 20, 2014

What we're reading: Mies

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We're kicking off our summer reading with Detlef Mertins' amazing monograph, Mies (Phaidon). A full review will follow in a few weeks (or however long it takes to meander through 560 pages of Mies). Until then, drop us a comment to let us know what you're reading or to suggest what we should read next.

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The Farnsworth House. Photos courtesy of Phaidon.

Looking for another book to dive into? Check out our review of Cape Cod Modern (Metropolis Books).

May 27, 2014

Zaha Hadid gives Nube Chair top honors.

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Finding furniture that can hold its own inside a Zaha Hadid building is not an easy task. Fortunately for Vienna University of Economics and Business, the solution was found in the Nube Chair. Designed by Jesús and Jon Gasca for Stua, the Nube Chair is similar to Hadid's architecture in its play of straight and fluid lines.

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Nube was selected for the University's new Library, Learning Center and Cafe. "The Hadid project needed furniture that could be serious in one setting, and playful in the next. Nube was able to meet both requirements," says Jon Gasca.

Continue reading "Zaha Hadid gives Nube Chair top honors." »

May 09, 2014

Portland’s modern master: Pietro Belluschi.

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Burkes-Belluschi House (1948) by Pietro Belluschi. Photo by Sally Painter.

“I was born with a natural sense of proportions, of materials, and a sense of how to go about designing,” said architect Pietro Belluschi (1899–1994), whose work is being celebrated this weekend with a six-house tour hosted by Restore Oregon.

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Ressler House (1949) by Pietro Belluschi. Photo by Drew Nasto.

Born in Italy, Belluschi came to the U.S. to study at Cornell, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1924. He took only one design class in college, but that was enough to infuse him with a love of architecture. After graduation he worked at an Idaho mine for a year, before being hired by a Portland design firm. “They gave me a job even after I told them that I’d had no experience in architecture; I had only and interest in it,” said Belluschi in an interview for the Archives of American Art's Northwest Oral History Project.

Continue reading "Portland’s modern master: Pietro Belluschi." »

April 29, 2014

Cape Cod Modern must-read.

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“Walter Gropius was tired.” That is the fabulous first sentence to this engaging book by Peter McMahon and Christine Cipriani. A sweeping celebration of modernism anchored by a strong sense of place, Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape from Metropolis Books is a must-read for anyone interested in architecture, maritime history, artistic communities, the Cape itself, Yankee do-it-yourself determination and Thoreauvian love of the land.

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Hatch House designed by Jack Hall in 1962. Photo by Jack Hall.

McMahon and Cipriani spent seven years archiving a verbal history that was fading fast, and without their efforts this mostly unknown chapter in the history of modern architecture would’ve been forever lost. “While outer Cape Cod’s contributions to twentieth-century art, theater and literature are well known, its profusion of midcentury architecture has gone mostly unnoticed,” they write. “Ironically, this was somewhat deliberate.”

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Hatch House by Jack Hall. Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

These small informal houses were often hidden in the woods, situated so as not to disturb the land and constructed with inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials. Many were even made with salvaged materials, a practice perfected by colonial Cape Codders who were dependent upon shipwrecks to supply them with lumber to build on these shores. “This ad hoc, improvisational quality is what sets Cape Cod modernism apart from other regional adaptations of the modern movement,” write the authors.

Continue reading "Cape Cod Modern must-read." »

April 25, 2014

Help save the Pavilion.

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The Tent of Tomorrow was the centerpiece of the World's Fair. Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

“There ought to be a university course in the pleasure of ruins,” wrote Philip Johnson in the foreword to Hilary Lewis’ fantastic book about his architecture. That pleasure, however, is mixed with pain when it comes to the current state of the New York State Pavilion that Johnson designed for the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. Erected as an emblem of imagination and optimism for the future, the site is now in desperate need of preservation and reuse to save it from demolition by neglect.

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Book by Hilary Lewis, photo by Richard Payne.

“This thing has always been a bit of a mystery,” says Matthew Silva, co-founder of the preservation group People for the Pavilion. “It’s big and clearly important but nothing was ever happening with it.” That lack of activity drove Silva and fellow activist Salmaan Khan to learn more about the site and take action. In addition to doing work as preservationists, they have full-time careers – Silva is a schoolteacher, Khan the manager of facilities planning for the High Line – and Silva is also working on a documentary film about the project.

Continue reading "Help save the Pavilion." »

April 15, 2014

On the market: A house fit for The King.

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Kudos to Dave Weinstein of the Eichler Network for letting us know about the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway hitting the market in Palm Springs, Calif. Designed in 1960 by Bill Krisel, the house was rented for a year by Elvis Presley, who celebrated his honeymoon there with Priscilla in 1967. Now used as an informal museum to The King, the circular rooms are outfitted with cardboard cutouts and mannequins (whether or not they are included in the sale is unclear). Listed for $9.5 million, the 5,000-square-foot home consists of four perfect circles on three levels, and features a pool, tennis court, orchard and, naturally, a stage. It is listed with Josh Altman, who stars on the Bravo show Million Dollar Listing.

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April 04, 2014

Remembering Lucia Eames.

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Image courtesy of Eames Office.

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Lucia Eames on April 1, 2014. The founder of the Eames Foundation, Lucia was the beloved daughter and stepdaughter of Charles and Ray Eames. She was an artist, graphic designer, owner of the Eames Office and mother of five.

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Eames House, also known as Case Study House #8. Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

It is because of Lucia's foresight and passion for the Eames legacy that the Eames House – one of the most important works of residential architecture from the 20th century – is a National Historic Landmark and will continue to be conserved, studied and enjoyed for years to come.

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Read Lucia Eames interview by Paul Makovsky for Metropolis.

Our thoughts are with the Eames family at this time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Eames Foundation for the preservation of the Eames House.

April 01, 2014

Last Biennial for Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum.

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A swan song of sorts is playing at the Whitney Museum of American Art: the last Biennial exhibition before the museum moves downtown and leaves behind the landmark building designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1960s.

The momentousness of that move is not lost on the museum staff, who asked the three guest curators of the Biennial how the Breuer building figured in their thoughts as the show was coming together. Each curator was assigned a floor, second through fourth, and 103 artists or art groups are represented in all, double the number of the 2012 Biennial.

Continue reading "Last Biennial for Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum." »

March 24, 2014

Shigeru Ban named 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate.

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Photo courtesy of Shigeru Ban Architects.

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has been awarded the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the industry's highest honor. "He is an outstanding architect who, for twenty years, has been responding with creativity and high quality design to extreme situations caused by devastating natural disasters," cites the Pritzker Jury. "His creative approach and innovation, especially related to building materials and structures, not merely good intentions, are present in all his works."

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Cardboard Cathedral, 2013, Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo by Stephen Goodenough.

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Naked House, 2000, Saitama, Japan. Photo by Hiroyuki Hirai.

Continue reading "Shigeru Ban named 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate. " »

March 10, 2014

Architizer A+ Awards Finalist.

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Oil Harbour Bridge in Raunheim, Germany by schneider+schumacher. Photo by Jörg Hempel.

"The curlicue design of the Oil Harbour Bridge does more than create a spiral over a river in Raunheim," writes James Bartolacci, "it also prevents pedestrian access to the nearby oil depot and tankers, which house and transport highly flammable substances."

One of six finalists in the Architizer A+ Awards, you can vote for the Oil Harbour Bridge or one of the other sinuous bridges and pathways celebrated at architizer.com.

February 27, 2014

Saarinen's TWA Terminal is back on standby.

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

In early 2011, the Port Authority of New York issued a request for proposals to transform the Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal at JFK Airport into the centerpiece of a hotel. A few big players – including Trump and Starwood – sent representatives to tour the vacant terminal, and until recently it looked like developer André Balazs was going to develop the site, using the historic landmark as the lobby for a 150-room hotel. In January, André Balazs Properties issued a statement that said, "After more than two years of negotiations, Standard International has been unable to reach a final agreement with the Port Authority and will no longer pursue the project."

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Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

Completed in 1962, the TWA Terminal has been vacant since American acquired TWA in 2001. It was added to America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2003.

Continue reading "Saarinen's TWA Terminal is back on standby." »

Architectural Digest celebrates DWR in NYC.

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The Apartment at our new Studio. Photo by Michael Biondo.

DWR "is shaking things up at its newest store," writes Asad Syrkett in his review of our new Studio at East 57th & 3rd. "The centerpiece — a glass-enclosed cantilevered duplex 'apartment' — which was crafted to give visitors an idea of how items from disparate DWR collections could cohabit, marks a departure from sales floors at the firm’s other locations."

Learn more about our new space at architecturaldigest.com, or stop by the Studio to see it for yourself. We look forward to seeing you.

February 24, 2014

Beadle-built and beloved in Arizona.

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Al Beadle. Photo by JJ Brinkman.

“If visual pollution were toxic, we’d all be dead,” said architect Alfred Newman Beadle (1927–1998). A curmudgeon and perfectionist, the always-dressed-in-black Beadle also had a romantic side, believing that “every house should have a surprise for its owners.”

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Beadle House No. 6 (1954), aka White Gates. Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

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Beadle House (1958), located around the corner from House No. 6. Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

Recognized today as one of Arizona’s best architects, Beadle began his career as a builder in 1950. He never attended architecture school and never intended on being anything more than a builder. Fortunately, for those who live in and love his houses, he started designing.

Continue reading "Beadle-built and beloved in Arizona. " »

February 20, 2014

Our architect's home.

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Koray Duman on custom sofa. Around Table from DWR. Photo by Anne Wermiel.

Koray Duman spends a lot of time in DWR Studios, being that he and fellow architect Laith Sayigh designed our new spaces in Stamford, Costa Mesa, Miami, SoHo, San Francisco, West Hollywood and the soon-to-be-open (in a few hours) 57th & 3rd Studio in New York.

When Duman is not at DWR, he relaxes in his Manhattan home, featured in today's New York Post.

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Photo by Anne Wermiel.

January 24, 2014

Built for peace and quiet.

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Photo by Irene Becker, it was the 8.2.12 Photo of the Day at National Geographic.

Kudos to Spencer Peterson at Curbed and Katie Hosmer at My Modern Met for sharing this river house with us. Built on the Drina River in Serbia, the house was originally built in 1968, and has been rebuilt six times since then after being lost to storms and floods.

December 27, 2013

On location: Where is gwendoland?

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