Known for their innovation and economy in design, SOMs Chase Manhattan Plaza in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan displays SOMs architectural language on efficiency and its relationship with the public realm. Completed in 1961, the 60 story skyscraper by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM is a coming of age story for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill presence as an [inter]national leader of corporate architectural design that evokes efficiency and functionality.
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One of the first and only examples of the Prairie Style in Ohio, the Westcott House became a significant work in the prescribed methodology of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. Completed in 1908 for Burton J. Westcott and his family after moving the Westcott Motor Company from Richmond, Indiana, the Westcott House is an early staple in Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic detailing and integration of a building into its landscape.
Completed shortly after Wright’s trip to Japan, the Westcott House implements similar Japanese styling’s that enhance the low-lying, horizontality of the house and its connection to the landscape.
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In 1977, as part of a city wide planning initiative, the Prime Minister of Baden – Württemberg, Hans Filbinger, held a private international competition to design the Neue Staatsgalerie that would revitalize and reinvigorate the cultural influence in Stuttgart, Germany. The competition posed the issues of making a connection to the older Staatsgalerie that dated back to 1843, as well as traversing the sites dramatic slope. By 1979, the jury unanimously chose a design by James Stirling of Michael Wilford & Associates in London.
Completed in 1984, Stirling’s design incorporated the sloping site as part of an architectural promenade that moved the public walkway through the museum that embodied the transitions of the classical art of the Alte Staatsgalerie and the modern art of the Neue Staatsgalerie into one seamless architectural response.
More on the Neue Staatsgalerie by James Stirling after the break.
Completed in 1956, the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma is the first and only realized high-rise design project by the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed as the headquarters for Harold C. Price of the H.C. Price Company, a local oil pipeline and chemical firm, the Price Tower is a departure from the prescribed style of Wright.
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Situated in the Sonoran desert outside of Scottsdale, Arizona stands a living memorial and testament to the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed between 1937 – 1959, Taliesin West was the winter home to Wright and his wife’s summer home, Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin in addition to being Wright’s workshop and school for his apprentices.
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Known for their academic and institutional works that begin to integrate the academia with the outside world, SOM designed the Miami University Art Museum in Oxford, Ohio as an academic facility, as well as an art venue for the public to experience. Situated on Miami University’s campus, the art museum enhances the universities cultural influence on the surrounding area by making Miami University the artistic and cultural center of Oxford.
Completed in 1979, Walter Netsch and his team at SOM designed the museum as a responsive sculpture that appears to emerge from the elevated terrain and the surrounding wooded landscape.
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Known for his innovative and colorful structures Catalan architect, Ricardo Bofill and his multidisciplinary firm, Taller de Arquitectura collaborated on the design of a unique apartment complex outside of Barcelona in the Sant Pere de Ribes area.
Completed in 1968, the Kafka Castle –an homage to Franz Kafka – strays away from the traditional design techniques and aesthetics of typical Spanish apartment buildings. Rather than a development through site, plan, and context, Bofill implemented a series of mathematical equations that generated the position of all ninety dwellings, as well as the Kafka Castle’s siting.
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Two years after the largest international peacekeeping organization was founded, the United Nations began searching for the location of their world headquarters. After numerous offers from cities around North America, the United Nations settled on a 17 acre plot of land on the banks of the East River in New York City after John D. Rockefeller donated the land. With the effects of World War II still looming throughout the world, the United Nations decided to invited prominent architects from the founding nations to work in collaborative, peaceful manner rather than holding a competition.
In 1947, the UN commissioned Wallace K. Harrison to lead the international design team to create their new world headquarters to be a symbol of the bright, peaceful future ahead that did not dwell upon the past.
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Completed in 1997, the Educatorium in Utrecht, Netherlands was OMAs and Rem Koolhaas’ first university project. Part of a larger masterplan for the campus of De Uithof for Utrecht University to create a more westernized version of a college campus, the Educatorium was designed to be the new center of campus, not only geographically but socially as well.
Understood to be the encapsulation of the entire university experience in one building, Koolhaas and his team at OMA conceptualized the Educatorium as a factory for learning in both the traditional formalistic approach as well as the informal student to student exchange. The Educatorium was designed specifically so that the processes of socialization, learning, and examination would be entangled within one another blurring the boundaries between lounges, classrooms, and corridors such that there is a constant redefinition of what it means to learn in a social environment.
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The first and only building in the United States designed by the 20th Century master architect Le Corbusier sits among some of the oldest buildings that date back to before the United States was organized. Completed in 1963, the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts is located on Harvard University’s campus. Designed in conjunction with Chilean architect Guillermo Jullian de la Fuentes and Josep Lluis Sert – dean of Harvard’s GSD at the time, the Carpenter Center stands out among the traditional architectural styles of Harvard Yard as a combination of Le Corbusier’s earlier modernist works.
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Home to one of the most influential architects of the 20th Century, the Gropius House was the residence of Walter Gropius and his family during his tenure at Harvard University during the mid 1900s. Completed in 1938, the Gropius House was the first commissioned project in the United States for the famed architect. Located in Lincoln, Massachusetts the house is a hybrid of traditional New England aesthetic and the modernist teachings of the Bauhaus.
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As part of an international competition to design Boston’s City Hall in 1962, three Columbia University professors, Kallmann, McKinnell & Knowles, diverted from the typical sleek, glass and steel structures that were being requested by popular demand. Rather than basing their design on the material aesthetics, their goal was to accentuate the governmental buildings connection to the public realm.
Completed in 1968, the Brutalist style city hall bridges the public and private sectors of government through a gradient of reveal and exposure that allows the public to become integrated, either physically or visually, into the daily affairs of the governmental process.
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Located near Placa de les Glories in Barcelona, Spain is one of Rafael Moneo’s most significant projects, L’Auditori. L’Auditori sits in the heart of Barcelona’s urban redevelopment of the Glories neighborhood that is transitioning from an infrastructural network to a more commercial, cultural node within the city. Completed in 1999, L’Auditori has come to be the center of music in the city of Barcelona showcasing operas, classical symphonies, and contemporary compilations.
Moneo’s L’Auditori is a bridge between the infrastructural and the cultural. The cor-ten steel that clads the building evokes a gritty aesthetic that’s juxtaposed to a more elegant and rich maple lined interior. L’Auditori’s inherent differentiation between elegant and industrial can be understood as a localized contextualization of Barcelona’s urban fabric.
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Before the Robie House, Fallingwater, and the Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright’s career was just beginning to take off in Oak Park, Illinois. One of the most significant projects from his early career is Unity Temple near his home and studio in Oak Park. Completed in 1908, Unity Temple was a replacement church for Unitarian Universalist Church that had burned down in 1905. The church is poised as an important work for the Modernist movement in the early 20th Century, but it was also the foundation from which the Prairie School would originate into Wright’s architectural language.
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Located on the east bank of the Seine sits one of Paris’ largest urban renewal projects, Parc Andre Citroen. As part of a competition in 1985, the former site of the Citroen automobile manufacturing plant would become a new public park that would bridge the urban and rural areas of Paris. The Citroen plant dates back to 1915; however, it was abandoned in 1970s when the company moved further outside of Paris. As part of one of the largest urbanization reclamations in history, Paris began to buy back brownfield sites, in addition renovating others, as part of a city re-beautification process.
Completed in 1992, Parc Andre Citroen was not a singular design, but rather a collective of separate initiatives that converged together. During the competition, the jury was unable to decide on a clear winner, rather suggesting a collaboration of the submissions headed by Alain Provost, landscape architect. The remaining members of the team included: Gilles Clément, Patrick Berger, Jean-François Jodry, and Jean-Paul Viguier.
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After a devastating fire in 1981 that crippled the Vitra design campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany, Vitra began an extensive mission to rebuild the campus as well as redesign the masterplan, which was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw. Almost a decade after the devastating fire in 1981, the company sought an architect to build a fire station for the Vitra campus to thwart any future reoccurrences and commissioned Zaha Hadid. Completed in 1993, the Vitra fire station would be Hadid’s first realized project of her career, which would eventually launch her name and style to an international audience.
The Vitra fire station is Hadid’s showcased work that delves into the deconstructivist theoretical language that she developed through her paintings as a conceptual mediator of finding spatial relationships and form. The Vitra fire station is a synthesis of philosophy and architecture that bridges the Vitra design campus to its surrounding context.
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Eero Saarinen is one of the most respected architects of the 20th Century, often regarded as a master of his craft. Known for his dynamic and fluid forms, his design for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s chapel takes on a different typology than his previous works. Completed in 1955, the MIT Chapel is a simple cylindrical volume that has a complex and mystical quality within. Saarinen’s simple design is overshadowed by the interior form and light that were meant to awaken spirituality in the visitor.
The non-denominational chapel is intended to be more than just a religious building, rather it’s meant to be a place of solitude and escape that induces a process of reflections. Located at the heart of MITs campus, the chapel’s cylindrical form breaks the rigidity of the campus’s orthogonal grid.
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Built for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium has become an architectural icon for its distinctive design. Designed by one of Japan’s most famous modernist architects, Kenzo Tange, the gymnasium is a hybridization of western modernist aesthetics and traditional Japanese architecture.
Tange’s innovative structural design creates dramatic sweeping curves that appear to effortlessly drape from two large, central supporting cables. It’s dynamically suspended roof and rough materials form one of the most iconic building profiles in the world.
More on the Yoyogi National Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange after the break.