“Legos were the ultimate building tool, capable of making the most advanced space ships, powerful vehicles, impressive buildings, and incredible cities. As a child, everyone I knew loved Legos, and this never seemed to change. In high school, whenever a conversation with friends happened to shift upon Legos, everyone would gleefully reminisce about their days making fantastic structures out of those awesome little building blocks. [...] No doubt Legos played a supporting role in my growth in appreciation for architecture.” - Architect Albert Lam, in a Blog post for the LPA
The LEGO Group, which turns 80 today, can boast that there are approximately 62 LEGO bricks for ever person on earth. However, it wasn’t until 1958, when the newly-plastic LEGO bricks incorporated the classic knob-and-tube-connecting-system, that they overtook the Froebel block (Frank Lloyd Wright’s toy of choice) to become the massively popular architectural inspiration they are today.
But while the influence of LEGO on architects may be self-evident, not many know about Architecture’s contribution to LEGO. In fact, only through the lens of Architecture, can you truly understand why LEGO merits its bold moniker as “The Toy of the Century.”
Find out Architecture & LEGOs unlikely relationship, after the break…
No architectural gem is safe from Detroit’s foreclosure crisis – not even two of Mies Van der Rohe’s very own creations. The Lafayette Towers, two 22-story towers of 584 units, originally part of a major urban redevelopment project in the late 50s early 60s, are up for auction July 18th.
But be warned, there is a catch…
Find out the fine print, after the break.
PBS has released their selections of the top ten buildings that have changed the way Americans live, work and play. From Thomas Jefferson’s 224-year-0ld Virginia State Capitol to Robert Ventui’s postmodern masterpiece the Vanna Venturi House, each building on the list will be featured in a new TV and web production coming to PBS in 2013. Continue after the break to view the top ten influential buildings and let us know your thoughts!
A powerful and expressive design it itself, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin is still admired as a concrete, steel, and glass landmark today. Dedicated to culture and the fine arts, the building will be going through a major renovation, which will be overseen by British architect, David Chipperfield who has recently worked extensively in Berlin, finishing work on the war-ravaged Neues Museum on the Museum Island complex in 2009. The renovation will start in 2015 and last three years, during which time the museum will be closed. The building, completed in 1968, is Mies van der Rohe’s only work in Germany after World War II and is in need of thorough modernization after 40 years. Restoration of the glass facade, stone terrace and concrete and steel structure, along with new security and fire technology are included in the project.
After receiving a lot of compliments on our “From MadMen to Mies” graphic, we decided to let you take a little piece of Mies (the original Mad Man) with you wherever you go. Click through the gallery below to find the wallpaper for the technological device of your choosing – iPad, iPhone, Android phone, MacBook, or Samsung Tablet. Take one, or heck, take all. In this case, less isn’t more.
It’s June 1966. Mies’ iconic Seagram Building dominates New York City. Bob Dylan has just released Blonde on Blonde. The Vietnam War is escalating. John Lennon has yet to meet Yoko Ono. Martin Luther King, Jr. has yet to be assassinated. And Don Draper is readjusting to married life – with his 25 year-old secretary.
The excitement over Mad Men, while always eager, was positively explosive last Sunday. The season 5 premiere resulted in the show’s highest ratings to date (3.5 million viewers, up 21% from last year). While the show has always received critical acclaim, now, for whatever reason, it has reached a fever-pitch of popularity.
On a purely aesthetic level, it’s easy to explain. The show draws in audiences with a meticulous, sumptuous set design that allows a nostalgic journey back in time: when design was innovative & clean, architecture was confident (cocky even), and modernism still held its promise.
But on another level, the show is successful because of its inevitability. The very knowledge of the ephemerality of that confidence, a theme particularly relevant to audiences in the wake of the Recession, is what strikes a chord, what makes the show positively hypnotizing.
Watching Mad Men is like watching a Modernist car crash. A beautiful demise.
More on the Modernist Landscape of Mad Men and why the show has struck a chord with audiences today after the break.
Today we celebrate the 126th birthday anniversary of Mies van der Rohe! The German-born American architect and educator convinced us all with his glass-and-steel buildings that “less is more“. Mies helped defined modern architecture and is known as one of the 20th century’s greatest architects.
To celebrate we have changed our logo to a Mies doodle, inspired by the Google doodle which is also honoring Mies today.
In honor of Mies, revisit his work at ArchDaily:
- Villa Tugendhat / Mies van der Rohe
- The Museum of Fine Arts Houston / Mies Van der Rohe
- Landhaus Lemke / Mies van der Rohe
- IBM Building / Mies van der Rohe
- Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe
- IIT Master Plan and Buildings / Mies van der Rohe
- The Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe
- 860-880 Lake Shore Drive / Mies van der Rohe
- Restoration of Lake Shore Drive by Krueck + Sexton
- Seagram Building / Mies van der Rohe
- Neue National Gallery in Berlin / Mies van der Rohe
For more information you can also visit the Mies Society website.
You can also check this great infographic on his work.
Today, one of the leading exemplars of classic Modern architecture reopens after a two year hiatus. The freshly renovated Villa Tugendhat underwent a monumental restoration and rehabilitation, starting in January 2010, with the aim of preserving and conserving the original building substance and layout, including the construction details, materials and technical system. Renewal work also included the lavish interiors and lush garden. Continue after for the break to learn more about Mies van der Rohe’s renewed masterpiece.
Curbed lead us to Colorado-based webcomic Grant Snider and his clever blog Incidental Comics. Snider uses the classic “glass houses” proverb in his own unique depiction of midcentury “Iconic Houses”, highlighting The Glass House by Philip Johnson, Farnsworth House by Mies Van der Rohe, Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier and Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Curious about the red beavers gnawing at the Farnsworth House? Snider clears up the confusion stating, “In an earlier draft of this comic, it appeared the Farnsworth house was being gnawed by ordinary beavers. My architect brother informed me that Mies van der Rohe was known for his innovations in steel and glass, not wood. So just to clarify: those are MUTANT beavers.”
Built in Czechoslovakia in 1930 by German architect Mies van der Rohe, the Tugendhat House is an architectural masterpiece built for a Jewish family who was forced to flee in 1938 shortly before the Munich Agreement. The video shares interviews with the Tugendhat daughter and Mies’s grandson about the historical villa now owned by the government in Brno, Czech Republic. In 2001, the Tugendhat House was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and is referred to as one of the most important residential buildings of the 20th century.
View ArchDaily’s publication on the iconic Villa Tugendhat here.
The design of gas stations is mostly stripped down to that required for bare function. The inextricable relationship of the aesthetics of modernism to that of the automobile begs a different approach, one that fulfills the traditional function of a gas station but also reflects shifting movements within design. Just like the cars that have driven up to utilize them, these gas stations represent design principles contemporary to the time in which they were constructed.