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Symposium: "Modernism" / Dallas Architecture Forum

Leo Marmol is one of the world’s leading authorities in the restoration of iconic Mid-Century Modern and International style residences, including the Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs, considered one of the most important residences of the 20th Century. His firm also incorporates those timeless concepts into new architecture, including product design exemplifying these design elements. Marmol will overview his firm’s landmark restoration projects, and discuss how the firm integrates Mid-Century design elements into their new construction and pre-fab projects, producing award-winning residences.

Lamenting the Loss of Hotel Okura, One of Tokyo's Modernist Gems

The news last year that the Hotel Okura, often described as one of Tokyo´s "Modernist gems," was to be demolished was met with widespread disappointment across the board. Built in 1962 under the design direction of Yoshiro Taniguchi, Hideo Kosaka, Shiko Munakata, and Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has long been considered a significant architectural landmark in the Japanese capital. With only a week to go until the hotel checks out its last guest, Monocle—having been granted exclusive access—have shared with us a film to capture "the gracious ways of this much-loved building."

What Will the Future Hold for SOM's Modernist Arena in Portland?

Built in 1960 and designed by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland—a modernist gem on the National Register of Historic Places—could soon face destruction, as the city council prepares to take a vote deciding between restoration or demolition.

Since the Moda Center, better known as the Rose Garden, was built next door and became the new host of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, the Memorial Coliseum has been in a state of decline. Currently, the building generally only hosts infrequent concerts, as well as minor league hockey. However, Friends of Memorial Coliseum see it as much more than just an outdated venue, which is why since the building was first threatened with demolition in 2009 they've been campaigning for its preservation.

© Flickr CC User The West End © Flickr CC User Tony Webster © Flickr CC User The West End © Flickr CC User A.F. Litt

NYT Style Magazine Explores the Cultural Reasons Behind the Demolition of Japan's Hotel Okura

About a year ago, it was announced that Hotel Okura, one of Tokyo’s best-known modernist landmarks, was headed for demolition. With the impending demolition date of the hotel, deemed a “beautiful orphan child,” set for this September, an article from T: The New York Times Style Magazine’s upcoming Women’s Fashion issue looks at Japan's "ambivalent — and unsentimental — relationship with its Modernist architecture."

Open Call: Chandigarh Unbuilt Competition to Complete Le Corbusier's Capitol

Online international competition organizer archasm has launched its “Chandigarh Unbuilt: Completing the Capitol” ideas competition, which seeks designs to finalize and complement Le Corbusier’s Capitol Complex in Chandigarh, India.

Calvin Seibert Sculpts Impressive Modernist Sandcastles

“I always had an affinity for architecture which I attribute to growing up in a neighborhood and town that was constantly under construction. Our house was the first on the block. I think that in a way I was more interested in the abstractness of the foundations and the initial framing then in the completed structures themselves. Things I made back then had that incompleteness about them. As I became more aware of architecture in the wider world Brutalism was one of the styles of the moment. Looking at architecture magazines as a child and seeing hotels in French ski resorts (Marcel Breuer at Flaine) made of concrete suited my sensibility, I was hooked.”

For New York-based Calvin Seibert, sandcastles are more than just a fun summer hobby. Using a paint bucket, homemade plastic trowels, and up to about 150 gallons of water he creates spectacular modernist sandcastles. Read on after the break for an interview with Seibert and to see more photos of his work. 

© Calvin Seibert © Calvin Seibert © Calvin Seibert © Calvin Seibert

Monocle 24 Visit Richard Neutra's Residences in Los Angeles

In the latest episode of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team visit Richard Neutra's iconic modernist Neutra VDL Studio residential complex and Residences in Los Angeles. Though Modernism has often been criticised for imposing universal rules on people and areas, it was Neutra's intense client focus that won him acclaim.

25 Architects You Should Know

As an unavoidable art form, “architecture is one of humanity’s most visible and long-lasting forms of expression,” writes Complex Media. Within the past 150 years—the period of modern architecture—a distinct form of artistry has developed, significantly changing the way we look at the urban environments around us. To highlight some of the key figures in architecture over the past 150 years, Complex Media has created a list of “25 Architects You Should Know,” covering a range of icons including Zaha Hadid, Ieoh Ming Pei, Philip Johnson, Oscar Neimeyer, SOM, Daniel Libeskind, and more. Read the full list to learn more about each iconic architect, here.

AD Essentials: Modernism

This article is part of ArchDaily Essentials, a series of articles which give you an overview of architecture's most important topics by connecting together some of our best articles from the past. To find out more about ArchDaily Essentials, click here; or discover all of our articles in the series here.

The world that Modernism was born from is no longer a world that we recognize, yet Modernism - as a style and a philosophy - still dominates so much of architectural discourse today. At its brightest the movement's original utopian ideals still shine through, and the appreciation for simplicity and material still forms a hold on the popular consciousness of much of the world. But after nearly a century since the founding of the Bauhaus, the Chicago Tribune Competition, and the publication of Le Corbusier's Vers Un Architecture, many of the most basic principles of Modernism have come into question, and its most controversial contributions are being re-evaluated. How can we understand Modernism now, and how should we use it?

“City of Light”: The Story of Willem Dudok’s De Bijenkorf Rotterdam

Produced by Dutch journalist Peter Veenendaal, City of Light is a documentary that covers the design, construction, and social effects of Willem Marinus Dudok’s De Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. De Bijenkorf opened in Rotterdam in 1930, and after barely surviving the Second World War, it was destroyed in 1960 to make way for a Metro Station and a new store designed by Marcel Breuer and largely forgotten. City of Light presents Dudok’s shopping center as an important model for retail architecture that came about during the formative years of the shopping mall, and includes interviews with historians, former employees, and local enthusiasts to bring the building back to life.

Despite being relatively unknown today, Dudok’s De Bijenkorf was important not only for the architectural community, but also for the city of Rotterdam. In Veenendaal’s documentary, architectural historian Herman van Bergeijk remarks that at the time of its construction, De Bijenkorf was the “largest and most modern department store in Europe." The store was immensely popular with locals; according to the video over 70,000 people visited on opening day to explore the building, and over time, it became an icon of Rotterdam's growing commercial success.

Spotlight: Emilio Ambasz

As early as the 1970s, Emilio Ambasz (born 13 June 1943) initiated a discussion on sustainability through his work with green spaces and buildings which is arguably more important today than ever, and contributed to theoretical and design discourse outside of architecture through his wide variety of interest and career pursuits. Ambasz’s work has crossed several disciplines; he has been a curator, a professor, an industrial designer, and an architect, and is highly regarded in all of these varied pursuits.

Spotlight: Charles Rennie Mackintosh

As one of the leading minds of art-nouveau in the UK, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (7 June 1868 – 10 December 1928) left a lasting impression in art and architecture. With a surprisingly brief architectural career, Mackintosh managed to stand out at the international level in art and design with his personal style coined known as the "Mackintosh Rose" motif. Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1868, Mackintosh is known for his play between hard angles and soft curves, heavy material and sculpted light. Though he was most well-known for the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh left a legacy of architecture-as-art that transcends the Glasgow school and exemplifies trans-disciplinary architecture.

"The Fort" by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Image © Wikimedia CC user Cactus.man "The Wassail" by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Image © Flickr CC user Jean-Pierre Dalbéra Glasgow School of Art. Image © Flickr CC user Steve Cadman Windy Hill, perspective drawing in ink, 1900, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Image © Glasgow School of Art

Spotlight: Marcel Breuer

© Bauhaus Archive via Wikimedia
© Bauhaus Archive via Wikimedia

Known as Lajkó to his friends, Marcel Lajos Breuer (21 May 1902 - 1 July 1981) helped define first the interior contents, then the form, of the modernist house for millions; his influential approach to housing was one of the first to demonstrate modernism on a domestic, practical level. Beginning as a furniture designer at the height of Bauhaus, Breuer was hailed as one of the most innovative designers working in the 1930s, before moving to architecture and helping define the modernist vernacular.

Stillman House I, 1950. Image © Wikimedia user Kmsena "Wassily" club armchair, 1926. Image © Flickr CC user Nurit Gazit Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington DC, 1976. Image © Wikimedia user Kjetil Ree St John's Abbey, Minnesota,1961. Image © Flickr CC user janmikeuy

Vitra Design Museum's Manuel Herz On The "Heroic" Modern Architecture Of Africa

On display until May 31st, the Vitra Design Museum's "Architecture of Independence – African Modernism" exhibition displays a cross-section of Africa's experimental architecture from the post-colonial years of the 1960s. Covering more than 80 projects in Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal, the exhibition aims to shed light on this little-known period of architecture history, and challenge Western notions of African countries. In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Curator Manuel Herz on Africa's 'Grandiose' Modern Architecture," Curator Manuel Herz reveals the origins of the exhibition and shares his thoughts light on some of the buildings which the exhibition highlights.

Clare Dowdy: What triggered your interest in the post-colonial architecture of Central and Sub-Saharan Africa?

Manuel Herz: I was in Nairobi a couple of times around 2007 and noticed the architecture of that period was of outstanding quality but virtually unknown outside Kenya. This triggered an interest to research the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. I found that the political urgency that existed at the time of the independence process is embodied in the architecture.

Hotel Independence, Dakar (Senegal), by Henri Chomette and Roland Depret, 1973-1978. Image © Iwan Baan Independence Arch, Accra (Ghana) by the Public Works Departments, 1961. Image Courtesy of Manuel Herz FIDAK - Foire Internationale de Dakar, Dakar (Senegal), by Jean Francois Lamoureux & Jean-Louis Marin, 1974. Image © Iwan Baan Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi (Kenya), by Karl Henrik Nostvik, 1967-1973. Image © Iwan Baan

11 Projects Win Modernism in America Award

Eleven buildings have been announced as winners of Docomomo US' 2015 Modernism in America Awards (#ModernismAwards), of which includes the Frederick Dunn-designed Lewis and Clark Branch Library that is currently scheduled to be demolished. Each awarded project is "emblematic of the work going on all over the country and represent buildings and building typologies of postwar society in the United States." It is hoped that these awards will shed light on the importance of preserving modern architecture. Take a look at the winners, after the break. 

How Subvert Studio Proposes To Revive a Renowned Lisbon Landmark

With Lisbon now bouncing back from the 2008 recession, its estimated 12,000 buildings in decay offer plenty of opportunities to bring the city's buildings more in line with its new economic structure. In this article, originally published by Curbed as "What Could Be Next for a Noted Lisbon Modernist Relic?" Lisbon's Subvert Studio presents a speculative proposal for one of the city's most notable - and visible - modernist ruins.

Views from the balcony of what was once the Panoramic Restaurant of Monsanto show a band of green treetops, a stretch of white cityscape that spans Lisbon's old and new quarters, and a glimmering slice of the Tagus river beyond, mouthing toward the Atlantic. Bracketing the view is blue: a blue sky above, and below, a blue smash of broken glass, reflecting and refracting the sky's color. Wherever there is a vista at the Panoramic Restaurant of Monsanto, wherever there are windows—and the view is the focal point of the space—there is broken glass.

Last used as a club at the top of a 2,400-acre city park, the modernist structure has slipped ever further into riotous abandon since the mid-1990s. Windows have collapsed, graffiti long ago joined the reliefs by Portuguese ceramic muralist Querubim Lapa on the walls and the stained glass sculpture at the entry, chunks of ceiling have tumbled to the ground. And in recent months, a discussion has emerged: what to do with this city-owned modernist relic, which some estimate will require 20 million Euros to fix?

Spotlight: Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens portrait taken by Waldemar Titzenthaler c.1913. (Public domain)
Peter Behrens portrait taken by Waldemar Titzenthaler c.1913. (Public domain)

If asked to name buildings by German architect and designer Peter Behrens (14 April 1868 - 27 February 1940), few people would be able to answer with anything other than his AEG Turbine Factory in Berlin. His style was not one that lends itself easily to canonization; indeed, even the Turbine Factory itself is difficult to appreciate without an understanding of its historical context. Despite this, Behrens' achievements are not to be underestimated, and his importance to the development of architecture might best be understood by looking at three young architects who worked in his studio around 1910: Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.

Spotlight: Richard Neutra

© Klaus Meier-Ude via architonic.com
© Klaus Meier-Ude via architonic.com

Though Modernism is sometimes criticized for imposing universal rules on different people and areas, but it was Richard J. Neutra's (April 8, 1892 – April 16, 1970) intense client focus that won him acclaim. His personalized and flexible version of modernism created a series of private homes that were and are highly sought after, and make him one of the United States' most significant mid century modernists. His architecture of simple geometry and airy steel and glass became the subject of the iconic photographs of Julius Schulman, and came to stand for an entire era of American design.

Singleton House, 1960. Image © Julius Schulman An old post card of the Cyclorama. Image Courtesy of flickr user fauxto_digit Kaufmann House, 1947. Image Courtesy of Wikiarquitectura Kaufmann House, 1947. Image © Julius Schulman