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14 Short Stories About Architects, Attitudes and Odd Architectural Anecdotes

07:00 - 27 December, 2016
14 Short Stories About Architects, Attitudes and Odd Architectural Anecdotes, Álvaro Siza photographed by Fernando Guerra. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG
Álvaro Siza photographed by Fernando Guerra. Image © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

A new collection of five minute-long On Design stories—developed by the team behind Section DMonocle 24's 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft—profile a person, survey a place, or unpack an idea that’s changing or shaping design and architecture today. We've selected fourteen of our favorites from the ongoing series, examining issues as wide as Postmodernism and the architectural competition, to five-minute profiles of Alvaro Siza, Josef Hoffman, Kengo Kuma and Superstudio.

AD Classics: Space Needle / John Graham & Company

04:00 - 7 December, 2016
Courtesy of Wikimedia user Rattlhed (Public Domain)
Courtesy of Wikimedia user Rattlhed (Public Domain)

The opening of the Century 21 Exposition on April 21, 1962 transformed the image of Seattle and the American Northwest in the eyes of the world. The region, which had been known until that point more for its natural resources than as a cultural capital, established a new reputation as a center of emergent technologies and aerospace design. This new identity was embodied by the centerpiece of the exposition: the Space Needle, a slender assemblage of steel and reinforced concrete which became—and remains—Seattle’s most iconic landmark.[1]

The Space Needle under construction before its opening in April 1962. ImageCourtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives (Public Domain) Courtesy of Wikimedia user Cacophony (Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) A 1962 cutaway drawing of the Space Needle's tophouse. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user James Vaughan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) This sketched rendering of the Space Needle dates to April 1961 – one year before its opening. ImageCourtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives (Public Domain) +7

AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen

03:00 - 13 June, 2016
AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen, © Cameron Blaylock
© Cameron Blaylock

Built in the early days of airline travel, the TWA Terminal is a concrete symbol of the rapid technological transformations which were fueled by the outset of the Second World War. Eero Saarinen sought to capture the sensation of flight in all aspects of the building, from a fluid and open interior, to the wing-like concrete shell of the roof. At TWA’s behest, Saarinen designed more than a functional terminal; he designed a monument to the airline and to aviation itself.

This AD Classic features a series of exclusive images by Cameron Blaylock, photographed in May 2016. Blaylock used a Contax camera and Zeiss lenses with Rollei black and white film to reflect camera technology of the 1960s.

© Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock +26

Spotlight: William Pereira

08:00 - 25 April, 2016
Spotlight: William Pereira, Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley
Geisel Library. Image © Darren Bradley

Winner of the 1942 Acadamy Award for Best Special Effects, William Pereira (April 25, 1909 – November 13, 1985) also designed some of America's most iconic examples of futurist architecture, with his heavy stripped down functionalism becoming the symbol of many US institutions and cities. Working with his more prolific film-maker brother Hal Pereira, William Pereira's talent as an art director translated into a long and prestigious career creating striking and idiosyncratic buildings across the West Coast of America.

AD Classics: Bolwoning / Dries Kreijkamp

01:00 - 7 February, 2015
AD Classics: Bolwoning  / Dries Kreijkamp , © Gili Merin
© Gili Merin

In the quaint Dutch town of Den Bosch, amongst typical brick-clad homes and winding canals, sits the odd community of Bolwoningen: a cluster of globe-shaped stilt houses punctuated with round windows in a sea of wild vegetation. Built in 1984, these oversized “golf balls” are, in fact, homes: an eccentric product of a relatively unknown architectural experiment conducted by a visionary architect, attempting to impose a new morphological dwelling solution, and hoping to generate a new residential typology. Instead, the bizarre neighbourhood remains a secluded, momentary anecdote in architectural history, and today, provides a glimpse into an age of praised radicalism and irrepressible imagination.

More on these “oddballs” after the break.

© Gili Merin © Gili Merin © Gili Merin Courtesy of Bolwoning.com +21

How to Preserve Post-War Modernism

01:00 - 26 January, 2014
How to Preserve Post-War Modernism, The first worship service in the sanctuary of the Eero Saarinen-designed North Christian Church in Columbus, Ind., was held on March 8, 1964. Image © Flickr CC User the.urbanophile
The first worship service in the sanctuary of the Eero Saarinen-designed North Christian Church in Columbus, Ind., was held on March 8, 1964. Image © Flickr CC User the.urbanophile

This article by Carlos Harrison appeared in Preservation Magazine as Reinvention Reinvented: Hope for Modernism, and discusses the issues surrounding the (increasingly popular) drive to preserve post-war modernism, including what we can learn from past successes and failures, and what it takes to preserve different types and styles of building. 

Columbus, Indiana, is something of a modern marvel. It boasts more than 70 buildings by some of the architecture world’s greats, including titans of Modernism such as Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, and Richard Meier. Schools, churches, a library, a post office, and even a fire station stand as examples of the distinctively diverse architectural styles spanning the decades from World War II through Vietnam.

Crisp lines, sharp angles, connected like Lego blocks. Nearby: a 192-foot spire aims toward the heavens like a laser.

Read on after the break for more about preserving modernism

Video: Sheats Goldstein Residence / John Lautner

00:00 - 23 March, 2013

Question: What does Snoop Dogg, John Cleese, Lucy Liu and Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski have in common? Simple, they have all, at some point in time, hung out in the living room of the space-age Sheats Goldstein Residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-disciple, John Lautner.

Video: Googie Architecture, Part 2

19:00 - 22 November, 2012

Sunny & Mild Media presents Part 2 of its Googie Architecture Series, presenting design work at the cusp of technological innovations of the 1950s.  Emerging out of an obsession with the fast new world of cars, planes and rockets, Googie Architecture became an ultramodern style that sought to encapsulate the spirit of the 21st century.  The new forms – sweeping, cantilevered roofs, starbursts, and flowing forms – became a form of advertisement that caught the attention of motorists, for its vibrance along the stretches of highways and for its distinctive style.

This installment features a closer look at the diners and restaurants that thrived in the ’50s and were designed with the Googie style. Even the one of the first McDonald’s restaurants adapted the style to work with its logo. Many of these buildings stand in ruin now, but the style was used in all kinds of building typologies – most of which emphasized the car: drive-thru’s, drive-in’s, car washes, diners, and gas stations.  Even Las Vegas, and our associations with the its architecture today, are a reflection of that style.

Video: Googie Architecture, Part 1

13:00 - 3 November, 2012

Googie Architecture, shared with us by Sunny & Mild Media, is part one of a series that encapsulates the futuristic design found prevalent in the post-war sprawl of Los Angeles during the 1950s. Popular among coffee shops, motels and gas stations, the ultramodern style originated from the Sunset Boulevard coffee shop, designed by John Lautner, named Googies.  A Googie building was a symbol that a business was with the times, which in turn brought traffic and attention to its doors. Form followed function, and it’s function was advertisement.

For more, read Googie Architecture: Futurism through Modernism.