RSS   RSS 2.0   ATOM XML Sign up for our monthly newsletter:

74 posts categorized "Newsletter"



July 25, 2014

Brutal love.

GoshenGwendolynHorton_3
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. 

Goshen_GwendolynHorton_4
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." »

Mies must-read.

Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 10.31.19 AM
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Photo courtesy of Phaidon

Did you know that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies? Find out what else you don’t know about this master of modern design in Detlef Mertins’ extraordinary monograph, Mies (Phaidon).


MiesCover

Few authors could have written this book, and it reveals as much about Mies as it does about Dr. Detlef Mertins, who was uniquely qualified for the task. Mertins spent a decade researching and writing this monograph but sadly died before it was published, at 56. He spent the last 10 years of his life living Mies, and I cannot imagine a more touching and selfless tribute to one of the 20th century’s most influential architects.

MiesLakeshore
860–880 Lake Shore Drive, 1948–51, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Photo courtesy of Phaidon

Growing up with a father who was an architect and a mother who worked for Knoll, Mertins’ appreciation of the built world began in childhood. Born in Stuttgart and raised in Canada, he had an understanding of German and North American culture, which served him well in his roles as architect, historian and writer and as professor of architectural history and theory at the University of Pennsylvania. An avid reader, his Toronto home had to be structurally reinforced to support the weight of his library of more than 4,000 titles that were recently donated to Penn.

Continue reading "Mies must-read." »

July 02, 2014

Making the Glass House disappear.

GlassHouseFog_GHorton2
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?

GlassHouseFog_GHorton3
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.

GlassHouseLibraryGHorton2
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.”

GlassHouseLibrary_GHorton2
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." »

April 29, 2014

Cape Cod Modern must-read.

Cape-cod-modern-23

“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.

Hatch8
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.”

1918a
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.

Pavilion_Ghorton
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.

Screen shot 2014-04-24 at 4.22.41 PM
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." »

February 24, 2014

Beadle-built and beloved in Arizona.

Albeadle-lo
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.”

IMG_1573
Beadle House No. 6 (1954), aka White Gates. Photo by Gwendolyn Horton.

IMG_1597
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. " »

December 27, 2013

On location: Where is gwendoland?

Photo 1-8

Photo 2-6

Photo 3-7

Continue reading "On location: Where is gwendoland?" »

Life takes a U-turn into Usonia.

Usonia1
Reisley House, 1952, by Frank Lloyd Wright. Photo: Roland Reisley

Imagine driving through a neighborhood of midcentury modern homes, admiring the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Aaron Resnick, David Henken and others. You playfully say to your mate, “That’s my favorite. That’s the one I would want,” before finding out that it’s for sale. A few months later, you’re living in it. That’s how one modern-day couple – an architect and a designer – came to live in Usonia, a very special community of 47 homes in Westchester County, New York.

Usonia3
Benjamin Henken House, 1949, by David Henken. Photo: Roland Reisley

“It was like discovering a midcentury Brigadoon,” says one, referring to Alan Jay Lerner’s story about a mysterious village that appears for only one day every hundred years. Fortunately, Usonia has stood on the same spot for 65 years, and the people who love it are going to make sure that it never disappears. “You can feel the sense of community,” she continues. “It’s woven into the landscape.”

IMG_2077a
Kahn House, 1962, by Aaron Resnick. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

David Henken, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, initiated the idea for this cooperative housing community in 1943. A year later, he and his wife Priscilla had 13 families interested in being part of “the Usonian dream,” which they described as: creating a more fulfilling community life than they’d known previously, being part of a community of caring neighbors and living in harmony with one’s surroundings.

Continue reading "Life takes a U-turn into Usonia." »

November 26, 2013

Giving thanks for Paolo Soleri.

IMG_0478
Barrel vaults used as an office and workshop at Cosanti. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

If there were an official sound to Arizona, it would be the chime of Paolo Soleri’s wind-bells. Although this fascinating man left our world in April 2013, his voice has not been silenced. His bells – like doorbells that announce your arrival to another way of living – serve as reminders of what is possible when we approach our world with kindness and a sense of community.

IMG_0469
Wind-bells in front of earth-cast Cosanti structure. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1919, Paolo Soleri was an architect, writer, thinker, philosopher, artist and visionary. When he was in his twenties, he spent a year as an apprentice for Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West, returned to Italy for several years, then made his way back to the U.S. and settled in Arizona. In 1955, Soleri purchased a five-acre property in Paradise Valley, which he named Cosanti, a combination of the Italian words cose and anti. Together the words mean “before things,” expressing one of his hopes for humankind’s role in this world.

IMG_0488
Ceramics Studio (1958) at Cosanti. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Cosanti and the experimental town Arcosanti, which he founded in 1970, are human habitats that Soleri created to explore alternative methods of architecture and ways of group living. While Arcosanti is the stronger expression of his concept of arcology, which asserts that architecture and ecology are one integral process, many believe that Cosanti is his greatest work.

Continue reading "Giving thanks for Paolo Soleri." »

October 28, 2013

The Gift of Know-How.

FB-GiftKnowHow-Collage

Our gift to you: the timeless gift of know-how. Learn about style, drinks, books and food from some of our favorite aficionados. Watch their engaging videos and enter for a chance to win an Eames® Hang-It-All from DWR and a $500 gift certificate from emerging retailer Of a Kind.

Continue reading "The Gift of Know-How." »

October 16, 2013

Help save the Weidlinger House.

 

Due to a lack of resources from the Park Service, this irreplaceable piece of our cultural heritage ended up abandoned and slated for demolition in the pristine landscape of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) has initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise at least $50,000 toward the structure’s restoration and conversion into an artist/scholar residence by July 2014.

WeidlingerHouse
The living room in it’s original state. Photo: Madeliene Weidlinger-Friedli

In 1952, Paul Weidlinger bought this secluded parcel of land in Wellfleet. Inspired by his friend, the famed architect Marcel Breuer, who had settled just across the pond, he set out to combine his vision of experimental modernism with the particular requirements of a Cape Cod summerhouse.

Continue reading "Help save the Weidlinger House." »

October 03, 2013

Exploring Maison La Roche in Paris.

IMG_4160
Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

His sense of humor masked by a French facade, the museum curator handed me a pair of blue booties for my tour of the stair- and ramp-laden architecture of Maison La Roche in Paris. Designed in 1923 by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, this house with art gallery was commissioned by Swiss banker Raoul La Roche.

IMG_4176
LC3 Chair by Corbu Group in the art gallery. Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Continue reading "Exploring Maison La Roche in Paris." »

August 30, 2013

This Kahn can be yours.

As featured in our September catalog, this stunning house by Louis Kahn is currently for sale.

Kahn.198
Photo: William Whitaker

Architect Louis Kahn believed there should always be a beam of light in the house, and in the home he designed for Margaret Esherick this mantra is indeed true. The light is what current owner Lynn Gallagher likes best. “You can’t be depressed in this house,” she says. “It’s truly uplifting.”

Kahn_BillWhitaker
Photo: William Whitaker

In 1959, bookstore owner Margaret Esherick commissioned Kahn to design a house for her in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill. It was completed two years later and sadly Esherick lived in it for only a few months before dying of pneumonia at the age of 43.

IMG_1360
Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Continue reading "This Kahn can be yours." »

May 21, 2013

UN Trusteeship Council Chamber reopens.

UN_TrusteeshipChamber6
Photo: Salto & Sigsgaard

“When I walked into the room yesterday – seeing it for the first time – it was like walking into Alice in Wonderland,” says designer Kasper Salto. “It was like walking into the drawings we’ve been working on for two years.”

UN_TrusteeshipChamber3
Photo: Hans Ole Madsen

The room he’s describing is the fully restored Trusteeship Council Chamber that Finn Juhl designed more than 60 years ago for the UN headquarters in New York. After decades of use and off-target alterations, the chamber has been renovated with the furniture, lighting fixtures, draperies and other objects originally specified by Finn Juhl. The updated space also includes a new chair and table designed by Kasper Salto and Thomas Sigsgaard, who won a competition sponsored by the Danish Arts Foundation.

Council chairs
The Council Chair by Salto & Sigsgaard. Photo: Hans Ole Madsen

Continue reading "UN Trusteeship Council Chamber reopens. " »

March 04, 2013

Finn Juhl, the UN Chamber and his Ordrup home.

70467
Trusteeship Council Chamber, 1952. UN Photo

You’ll be hearing Finn Juhl’s name in the news this month because the Trusteeship Council Chamber he designed for the United Nations headquarters in New York is being reopened. This chamber was a gift from Denmark to the United Nations and its construction cost roughly $20,000 in 1952. 

UN2012Reno
Renovation in progress, 2012. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Continue reading "Finn Juhl, the UN Chamber and his Ordrup home." »

Step inside the desert architecture of Will Bruder.

JarsonHouse
Architect: Will Bruder. The Jarson residence, Paradise Valley, AZ.
Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

When Debbie and Scott Jarson decided to build a house on the land they’d owned for 13 years, they were surprised that many architects didn’t understand the building site, and some told them it would be impossible to put a home there. Then they met Will Bruder – whose work Scott had been a fan of since the 1970s – and they found their match. “We invited Will to the site and he sat on a rock and drew the house,” says Scott. “That’s the house we built.”

IMG_2763a
Photo: DWR

Continue reading "Step inside the desert architecture of Will Bruder." »

March 01, 2013

It takes a village ... and a VW bus.

2013-03-12_21358_24134_21795_29269_29268_29754-220
Photo: Jim Bastardo

The 14-hour days and challenging conditions don't scare our photo crew. Here are a few of the lighter moments from our recent Arizona photoshoot for the March catalog.

2013-03-13_30538_12945_12964-099
Photo: Jim Bastardo

We like to say that "Umbrellas are for cocktails, Tuuci systems are made for shade." In this case, it appears the team is enjoying both.

Continue reading "It takes a village ... and a VW bus." »

Scottsdale: A very special DWR Studio.

IMG_0223a
Photo: Gwendolyn Horton

Our Scottsdale Studio is in a building designed by Frank Henry, who was inspired to become an architect after a chance meeting with Frank Lloyd Wright. A native of Southern California, Henry moved to Arizona in the 1940s, and in 1960 he became the first person to receive a Bachelor of Architecture degree in the state of Arizona.

Scottsdale_Archival1
Archival photo of the Frank Henry building where the DWR Scottsdale Studio is today.

With more than 50 years in the industry, Henry has designed airports, banks, churches, hospitals, university buildings and one DWR Studio, although it was originally a Valley National Bank headquarters. Today he is Studio Master emeritus, teaching Hand Rendering and Perspective Drawing at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Continue reading " Scottsdale: A very special DWR Studio. " »

February 28, 2013

On location with architect Michael P. Johnson.

ECDT5605
Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Bradley residence, Scottsdale, AZ.
Photo: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

“One percent of buildings are architecture,” says Michael P. Johnson. “The rest are just stuff.” Standing six foot four with a mop of white hair and a lot to say, Johnson has a rugged elegance that’s a lot like the juxtaposition between his sleek streamlined buildings and the rough terrain of the Arizona landscape. He drives a red pickup, drinks his coffee black and likes his scotch on the rocks. He’s married to the documentary filmmaker Suzanne Johnson, and the two of them live in a house that Michael designed in Cave Creek, Arizona. Inspired by Suzanne’s dream of living in a loft in New York City, Johnson gave his wife “a loft in the desert.”

6a00d8345173e769e2017c373378e0970b-800wi
Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Johnson residence, Cave Creek, AZ.
Photo: Richard Mack

The Johnson house is set in a remote area north of Cave Creek, keenly attuned to the changing light throughout the day and subtle shifts of the seasons. It has luscious views of mountains, cacti and sky, and one of the few houses that can be seen is the Ellsworth house, which Johnson also designed (talk about taking control of your view).

_L7C6871
Architect: Michael P. Johnson. The Ellsworth residence, Cave Creek, AZ.
Photo: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography, Inc.

The Ellsworth was one of the houses where we photographed the DWR March catalog, and we chose the space for its bold simplicity, balanced proportions and sleek industrial surfaces. In other words, we knew our furniture would look fantastic in a house designed by Johnson.

Continue reading "On location with architect Michael P. Johnson. " »