Lisa Wronski

Happy Birthday Alvar Aalto

© Nico Saieh

Alvar Aalto, born February 3,1898, would have turned 116 years old today. Known for his humanistic approach to modernism, Aalto was concerned about creating a total work of art. He did not simply design buildings but also paid close attention to their interior features, including furniture, lamps, and glassware design.

His architectural style began with Nordic Classicism and moved to International Style Modernism, and eventually evolved into a more synthetic and personal Modernism. He was one of the first and most influential architects of the Scandinavian modern movement. Aalto remains one of the greatest names in modern architecture.

To celebrate Aalto’s birth, we invite you to look back at his impressive collection of works:

AD Classics: Heilig Geist Kirche / Alvar Aalto

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Aalvar Aalto is arguably one of the most important architects of the 20th century. Known for his all-around care for the design of buildings, Aalto often not only designed the exterior but individual interior features as well. He designed a total of six buildings in , one of them being Heilig Geist Kirche, an Evangelistic Luthern church in Wolfsburg, .  He was asked to design this church on November 5, 1958; it was completed four years later in 1962.

AD Classics: Stephanuskirche / Alvar Aalto

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Stephanuskirche, translated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Stephen, was designed by and completed in 1968.  It is located in Wolfsburg, , the same town that Aalto’s Wolfsburg Cultural Center was built. Stephanuskirche is among the prominent architectural testimonies of International Modernism in Germany.

AD Classics: Maison Louis Carré / Alvar Aalto

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

In the commune of , about 40 kilometers southwest of Paris, sits one of the most important private houses designed by : Maison Louis Carré. The client, Louis Carré, was a prominent French art dealer who was also very interested in architecture. He desired a house that would be able to accommodate many guests for art viewings, but also incorporated a private component. He commissioned Aalto to design his house in 1956, and Louis Carré and his wife, Olga, were able to move into their new home three years later.

Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750

Model of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye from Modern Architecture: International Exhibition [MoMA Exh. #15, February 9-March 23, 1932] Photo: Modern Architecture, International Exhibition. 1932. The Museum of Modern Art, . Photographic Archive.

, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and professor of modern architectural history at Columbia University, will present the 62nd A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts Series. The Mellons are among the most prestigious art history lecture series in the world and have been delivered annually since 1952 at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. For this year’s series, Bergdoll will present “Out of Site in Plain View: A History of Exhibiting Architecture since 1750.”

More about the lecture series after the break…

Seen From Above: Jeffrey Milstein Captures the Art of Airport Design

Newark Liberty International © Jeffrey Milstein

Inspired by a childhood spent filming planes at LAX with an 8-millimeter videocamera,  photographer and former Berkeley architecture student Jeffrey Milstein has turned his fascination for aviation into a career. Typically known for photographing the underbellies of aircrafts, Milstein’s latest series captures the artistic composition and elaborate array of patterns formed by airports and only seen from above. He describes this series as revealing “the patterns, layering and complexity of cities, and the circulation patterns for travel, such as waterways, roads, and airports that grow organically over time much like a living organism.”

More of Milstein’s photography after the break…

Melbourne Set to Build Tallest Skyscraper in Southern Hemisphere

© Fender Katsalidis Architects, John Gollings

Melbourne, is about to reach new heights with , a hotel and apartment tower designed by Fender Katsalidis. Last week the government of Victoria gave Australia 108 the green light to be built in the Southbank area. Upon completion, the tower will rise up 108 levels and 388 meters tall, which would make it the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.

More about Australia 108’s design after the break…

2013 Sally Walsh Lecture: Moving House / Jeanne Gang

Brick-Weave House / Studio Gang Architects

On March 26th, architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects will discuss how housing can evolve in multiple ways to address contemporary challenges in “Moving House,” delivered as the Rice Design Alliance’s 2013 Sally Walsh Lecture at the The Museum of Fine Arts in . Dedicated to “honoring Walsh’s groundbreaking foray into modern design by bringing cutting edge designers to ,” the lecture is sponsored in collaboration with the , the AIA Houston Chapter, and the Architecture Center Houston Foundation.

Wyckoff House Museum / nARCHITECTS

Courtesy of nARCHITECTS

nARCHITECTS is designing a cultural education complex for the in on the site of New Yorks oldest house. The Wyckoff House has an immense history as it was the first landmark designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1968. nARCHITECTS’s educational complex will act as a portal between its present day environment and historical site. Due to its exceptional spatial and temporal intervention, the design was recently awarded an AIA New York Design Merit Award.

Neues Museum Weimar Honors Henry van de Velde’s Contribution to European Modernism

Courtesy of Louis Held © Klassik Stiftung Weimar

The Klassik Stiftung Weimar will present the exhibition “Passion, Function and Beauty. and his Contribution to European Modernism” on March 24, 2013 at 11:00am. The press conference will be held at the in commemoration of  the 150th anniversary of the Belgian architect and designer Henry van de Velde.

The event will highlight over 700 loaned pieces of Van de Velde’s greatest achievements coming from all over Europe as well as a few pieces from private collections that have not previously been released to public eyes. The exhibition depicts Van de Velde as one of the ground-breaking designers of modernism from 1890 to the late 1930s. Visitors can see his take on a “total work of art” through his interiors, book designs, furniture, metal, textile and ceramic works.

Click here to read more information on the press conference.

AD Classics: Silver Hut / Toyo Ito

© Tomio Ohashi. Courtesy of Toyo Ito & Associates

Known for his conceptual designs, Japanese architect Toyo Ito is arguably one of the world’s most innovative architects. He began his architectural career with a project for his sister in 1976 called “The U House,” located in the center of Tokyo. The U House contained windows on the inside facing a courtyard instead of the typical outward-facing windows. This was Ito’s first experimentation with the ways that light enters buildings, and he expanded this idea to an even greater extent in his next project: the in , Tokyo.

Read about the Silver Hut after the break.

Kickstarter: BrickItUp!

BrickItUp is a kickstarter project, created by Jose Luis, that allows for simple and intuitive 3D modeling. Block by block, users can easily create 3D spaces and environments without any limitations. BrickItUp caters well to collaboration and allows users to work on a project live with each other. When working in groups, users are able to see what each person is working on in real-time, making distance a negligible factor in collaboration.

More on BrickItUp after the break.

Iceberg / ATOMIC3

Courtesy of Martine Doyon, Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

Architects: ATOMIC3
Architectural Design: Appareil Architecture
Lighting Design:
Sound Design: Jean-Sébastien Côté
Interactive Systems Design: Philippe Jean/Les Ateliers Numériques
Technical Coordinator Set: Guillaume Simard
Technical Coordinator Sound/Light/Interactive System: Alexis Rivest
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Martine Doyon, Montreal Quartier des Spectacles Partnership

Lecture: Designing an Institute for Performance Art

YouTube Preview Image

Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently held a lecture featuring performance artist Marina Abromović alongside OMA principle Shohei Shigematsu in the anticipation of the Marina Abromović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art (MAI) 2014 opening. In the lecture, Shigematsu speaks about the process in which they transformed a former theater in Hudson, , into a structure that’s capable of assisting the institute’s mission to develop new kinds of performance, while functioning as a space for preserving and hosting historic performance pieces. Shigematsu references OMA’s history of designing spaces that combine architecture and art, such as the Quebec National Museum and a recent collaboration with Kanye West.

More on this discussion after the break…

Event: “Putting Public Space in its Place” / Harvard GSD

Courtesy of Aétrangère

Who should design public spaces? Can public space make a meaningful contribution to solving the world’s environmental problems? How should the success of a public space be measured?

These questions, as well as many more, will be discussed by public space scholars, practitioners, and activists at Harvard University’s upcoming conference on public space, Putting Public Space in its Place. The conference will focus on physical public space, ranging from parks, streets, sidewalks, and other temporary spaces.

Buckminster Fuller Challenge: 2013 Search for Solutions Launched

Courtesy of Buckminster Fuller Institute

Calling all students, architects, designers, artists, engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs!

The Buckminster Fuller Institute is looking for those who are committed to playing a transformative role in addressing the biggest issues in the world today and has announced a Call for Proposals for the 2013 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. This challenge is an annual global design competition known as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award.” The winner will be awarded a $100,000 cash prize to support the development and implementation of a solution that has significant potential to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems.

The West Coast’s Tallest: Wilshire Grand / AC Martin Partners

Courtesy of AC Martin Partners

Developer Korean Air has recently unveiled the designs for the new 73-story tower in the financial district of Los Angeles, AC Martin Partners designed the plans for the $1 billion mixed-use office and hotel tower that will reach 1,100 feet, making it the tallest tower west of Chicago once completed.

Read more after the break…

The Downfalls of Prefab Design

Sky City is planned to be the world’s tallest skyscraper, constructed entirely through pre-fab.

Prefabricated design has come to be known as a fast, green, and cost-efficient way to create buildings. Although this technique has most prominently been used with small residential structures, it’s now taken a turn towards greater, larger projects. With towers and now in the works (and, in some cases, going up in as little as six days), pre-fab begs the question: is it really safe? Does quick production time lead to instability, making prefabricated buildings more likely to collapse?

Read more after the break.