President’s day marks a moment of reflection in the United States, where citizens acknowledge the contributions of US presidents to the politics and culture of the nation. While some of these men are still with us, the majority are represented only by the monuments and buildings they left to posterity. Indeed, the legacy of a United States President has come to be embodied in a very specific type of building—a library. The last 13 presidents have commissioned national libraries to be built in their name, marking the end of their service. Libraries have also been posthumously dedicated to presidents who did not erect such monuments during their own lifetimes. In either case, recording the lives and legacies of these great men has made for some fantastic architecture. See some of our favorites, after the break!
If you were a Greek tourist in the 1st century BCE you would likely have had something in your hand that would be quite familiar here in the 21st century. A guide book. The most popular guide book of the Hellenic world listed seven wonders of the world that should be visited by any Greek traveler.
Of those seven wonders, six no longer exist. The Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus were lost to natural causes, the Temple of Artemis and Statue of Zues destroyed by human hands, and no one knows what happened to the Hanging Gardens. The remaining wonder is the Great Pyramid of Giza. This colossal Egyptian structure is so grand a work that even today, 4,500 years after its construction, it is still considered by some to be the most impressive civil engineering project in history, beating out feats like the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The pyramid isn’t just an ancient wonder. Just as the Great Pyramid has managed to survive into modern times, so has our love affair with the simple but powerful angled shape. Modern architects and engineers continue to build pyramids. These modern pyramids may not be stone tombs to ancient pharaohs, but are no less stunning for all that. Read on after the break for six examples.
Ieoh Ming Pei, the Chinese-American architect who is arguably the greatest living member of the modernist generation of architects, turns 97 today. When he received his Pritzker Prize in 1983, the jury citation stated that he “has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms.”
Though known as a modernist, Pei has rejected the implications of globalism inherent in the “International Style,” instead advocating contextual development and variation in style. He has commented that “the important distinction is between a stylistic approach to the design; and an analytical approach giving the process of due consideration to time, place, and purpose.” On a trip to China in 1974 he even urged Chinese architects to look more to their architectural tradition, rather than designing in a Western style.
Pei’s most well known work is likely his crystalline extension to the Louvre in Paris; other highly influential works include the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the JFK Presidential Library in Boston.
To celebrate I.M. Pei’s birthday, we invite you to take a look over the catalog of his works here on ArchDaily:
- AD Classics: Le Grand Louvre
- AD Classics: JFK Presidential Library
- AD Classics: Bank of China Tower
- AD Classics: East Building, National Gallery of Art
- AD Classics: Luce Memorial Chapel
- AD Classics: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University
- AD Classics: Everson Museum
UPDATE: In honor of the 81st anniversary of the day the Bauhaus closed in 1933, we’re re-publishing this popular infographic, which was originally published April 16th, 2012.
From the “starchitect” to “architecture for the 99%,” we are witnessing a shift of focus in the field of architecture. However, it’s in the education system where these ideas really take root and grow. This sea change inspired us to explore past movements, influenced by economic shifts, war and the introduction of new technologies, and take a closer look at the bauhaus movement.
Often associated with being anti-industrial, the Arts and Crafts Movement had dominated the field before the start of the Bauhaus in 1919. The Bauhaus’ focus was to merge design with industry, providing well designed products for the many.
The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture on an international level, but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach where form follows function.
This week we will propose the first documentary of the list within our section of Films & Architecture. There is not much to say about the figure of Kahn, since it has been worldwide recognized. Nevertheless this is a film that captures in a magnificent way the greatness of Kahn’s work through his son’s journey. I guess everyone related somehow with architecture will feel touched by this extraordinary recording. Let us know in the comments what is (or was) your experience watching the film.
Fourth Annual Leonore and Walter Annenberg Award for Diplomacy through the Arts Presented to I.M. Pei
The Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) recently announced that it will honor architect I.M. Pei with the fourth annual Leonore and Walter Annenberg Award for Diplomacy through the Arts. The award will be presented at a dinner at the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms today, May 15, 2012. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host FAPE’s members at the event, and FAPE Chairman Jo Carole Lauder, will present the award to Mr. Pei. The award was established to recognize American individuals who have demonstrated long-term excellence and creative innovation, and recent past honorees include: Agnes Gund, and Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. More information on the award after the break.
Deborah Berke & Partners Architects have released their plans for the expansion and renovation of I.M. Pei’s 1969 Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center (RAC). Located at Fredonia’s State University College in New York, the visual and performing arts complex has served as a major cultural center for western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Continue reading after the break for more.
Each year the Texas Society of Architects recognizes a building that was completed 25-50 years ago which they believe has “stood the test of time by retaining its central form, character, and overall architectural integrity”. This year, the prestigious honor is awarded to Fountain Place, designed by Henry Cobb of I. M. Pei & Partners and completed back in 1986 in Dallas, Texas.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Madrid. As the third largest city in the European Union, Madrid is the economic and political capital of Spain. The streets and neighborhoods for the most part remains historic, but the city is punctuated with moments of engaging and interesting contemporary architecture. For those who have followed our city guides, you will have noticed that this is our second stop in Spain. That said, Madrid is distinctly different from Barcelona. The differences between the two are manifested in their architecture, both old and new. Our lists only cover relatively recent projects, but a quick glance at the two will give you a sense of the differing cultures and lifestyles (Barcelona’s City Guide). Both lists are far from complete and we are looking to add to them in the near future. In the meantime add more of your favorites to the comment section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Madrid list and corresponding map after the break.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Berlin. The twentieth century changed nearly all cities, but perhaps none more so than Berlin. From its destruction in World War II that left few historic buildings intact to its division until 1989 that brought together the architecture of two competing ideologies into one city, Berlin’s modern and contemporary architecture speaks to a past that seldom accompanies such recent additions. The city is filled with new and wonderful architecture that might not have found space in other cities in Europe. With that in mind, we were unable feature all our readers’ suggestions on the first go around. We will be adding to the list in the near future, so please add more of your favorites in the comment section below. Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help.
The Architecture City Guide: Berlin list and corresponding map after the break.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Paris. For centuries Paris has been the laboratory where innovative architects and artists have come to test their ideas. This has created a city that has bit of everything. Where the architecture of some cities seems to undergo phases of punctuated equilibrium, Paris’s architectural fossil record gives an impression of gradualism; all the missing links are there. This makes it easy to trace the origins of the most contemporary ideas throughout history. Nothing seems to come out of nowhere. If you look around you kind find the design’s inspiration running through the city’s Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Rocco, Neo-Classical, Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern, Post-Modern, and Contemporary Architecture. Seen in another context, many of Paris’s buildings might seem out of place, but the bones of this city support the newest iterations on the oldest and most profound questions. The 24 contemporary designs that comprise our list probably should not be viewed outside of this context, even though that is the stated goal of some of the designs.
As the most visited city in the world and arguably the capital of culture, it is impossible to capture the essence of Paris in 24 modern/contemporary designs. Our readers supplied us with great suggestions, and we really appreciate the help and use of their photographs. The list is far from complete and we realize that many iconic buildings are not yet on the list. We will be adding to it in the near feature, so please add more in the comments section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Paris list and corresponding map after the break.
This week our Architecture City Guide is headed to Columbus; Indiana that is. We have already made the trip to Columbus, Ohio. This lesser known Columbus only has a population of 44,000 people, but for what it lacks in size it makes up in architecture. Columbus, perhaps, has more notable modern architecture buildings per capita than any city in the United States. In fact, it was much harder narrowing the list down to 12 projects than finding enough for the city guide. With the buildings not on the list, it will be impossible to please everyone. Notably our list doesn’t even include Romaldo Giurgola’s Columbus East High School, Cesar Pelli’s Commons Centre and Mall, and SOM’s Republic Newspaper Building. Take a look at the 12 on our list and add your favorites in the comment section below.
The Architecture City Guide: Columbus list and corresponding map after the break.
This years architectural events in New York are bound to have a meaningful effect on the years to come; the decision by NYU to add another tower complementing I.M Pei’s existing Silver Towers complex (rather than their initial plan to demolish them), the opening of the first section of Brooklyn Bridge Park coupled with the completion of the High Line has re-established New York City as a key model to reference when it comes to designing urban public space, and finally construction began on Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, by Louis Kahn, to name a few.
From transportation, urban planning, exhibitions, residential and office buildings follow the break to see the New Yorkers list of some of the most influential decisions surrounding architecture over the past year in New York.