Paul Rudolph’s Iconic Walker Guest House To Be Re-Constructed

Walker Guest House / Sanibel Island. Image © Ezra Stoller / Esto

The Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) has announced that a replica of Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House will be constructed at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, It is hoped the iconic, 24′ x 24′ vacation cottage will be opened to the public by 2015, after which it will be disassembled and transported to select museums around the country.

More information about the Walker Guest House, after the break…

Happy Birthday Hans Hollein!

Mobiles Büro, aufblasbares Bürogebäude, 1969 . Image © Gino Molin-Pradl

Austrian artist, architect, designer, theoretician and Pritzker Prize laureate Hans Hollein turns 80 today. Described by Richard Meier as an architect whose “groundbreaking ideas” have “had a major impact on the thinking of designers and architects,” Hollein has worked in all aspects of design, from architecture to furniture, jewelry, glasses, lamps — even door handles. Known in particular for his museum designs, from the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach to the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt to ’s Haas House, Hollein’s work manifests a unique, fascinating take on 1950s Modernism.

VIDEO: Fernando Romero, In Residence

In Residence: Fernando Romero on Nowness.com

NOWNESS has released the latest in their “In Residence” series, a collection of short videos that interview designers in their homes. This time, internationally renowned Mexican Architect Fernando Romero presents his Mexico City villa, designed by Francisco Artias in 1955, which he describes as “the ultimate modernity dream come true.”

The Question of Preserving Melbourne’s Modernism

Total House, one of the buildings at the center of the debacle. Image © Flickr CC User Rory Hyde

Melbourne newspapers are reporting on an argument breaking out over the preservation of the city’s postwar modernist buildings, centering (as ever) on the dispute between their value as cultural heritage vs their ‘ugliness’ (you can see all the contested buildings in a neat graphic at The Age). While many are in favor of preservation, Alan Davies, in anarticle for Crikey, warns that the cultural benefit in protecting these buildings should always be weighed against the cost of preventing the developments that would have taken their place. Read the full article here.

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

This article by Carlos Harrison appeared in Magazine as Reinvention Reinvented: Hope for Modernism, and discusses the issues surrounding the (increasingly popular) drive to preserve post-war , 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

An All-Nighter at the Bauhaus

The Residential block at the is now open for visitors. Image © Thomas Lewandovski

Recently, the Bauhaus Foundation has opened the residential block of the famous building, offering tourists the chance to spend a night. Seizing the opportunity, Olly Wainwright reports on what it feels like to stay – finding it to be a “primordial soup of originals and copies, and copied originals”, from Albers to Ikea, and coming to the conclusion that it may now be missing the party atmosphere it was once famous for. But at only €35 a night, he hopes the chance to stay will “attract crowds of architecture and design students, to reinfect the pristine white shell with the spirited energy it needs.” You can read the full article here.

The Ongoing Battle to Preserve Midcentury Modernism

The building’s owner, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, waited until demolition was underway before releasing renderings of three towers that might replace it—none as compelling as Goldberg’s cloverleaf.. Image © Bonnie McDonald

This article by Fred A Bernstein originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine as “Worth Preserving“. Bernstein tracks the preservation battles fought, won and lost in 2013, unearths their root cause (money), and questions: was preservation better off in recession?

“It’s the old adage: location, location, location,” says Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy. Dishman isn’t talking real estate, but historic preservation. In California, a midcentury house on a modest lot may find a buyer willing to maintain it. But the same modernist house on a large lot in Brentwood or Pacific Palisades, is practically wearing a “tear me down” sign. (How does a 1,200-square-foot house stand a chance in a neighborhood where 12,000 is the new normal?) “Small houses on large lots are the greatest concern,” says Dishman.

The Conservancy won a victory this year when ten of the surviving Case Study Houses—including the celebrated Stahl House by Pierre Koenig—were added to the National Register of Historic Places. But listing doesn’t stop the houses from being demolished—it simply triggers additional reviews before bad things can happen to good buildings, the kind of red tape that doesn’t always deter the super-rich. Money, especially big money, can be the enemy of preservation.

Read on about preservation’s fight with big money after the break.

A Year Without Oscar

Niemeyer observa maquete da escola projetada em Belo Horizonte (MG). Image Courtesy of ON

It’s been exactly one year since the world first mourned the passing of a great master of 20th century architecture: .

After 104 years of life, the renowned architect left a profound legacy. His works  - known for their impressive curves, embrace of  light, and profound relationship to their surroundings – made him an icon. Not just in , but the world.

Why It’s Time to Give Up on Prefab

Destruction of Pruit-Igoe. Image Courtesy of US Department of Housing and Urban Development

This article by Chris Knapp, the Director of Built-Environment Practiceoriginally appeared on Australian Design Review as “The End Of Prefabrication”. Knapp calls for the end of prefabrication as a driver for design, pointing out its century-long failure to live up to its promise, as well as newer technology’s ability to “mass produce difference”.

Prefabrication – there is not another word in the current lexicon of architecture that more erroneously asserts positive change. For more than a century now, this industrial strategy of production applied to building has yielded both an unending source of optimism for architecture, and equally, a countless series of disappointments. This is a call for the end of prefabrication.

Read on after the break

Why Do Bad Guys Always Get The Best Houses?

The Sheats Goldstein Residence by . Image © Jeff Green

In this interesting article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote dissects two Hollywood homes that are infamous as the homes of slick movie bad guys. The Lovell Health House designed by Richard Neutra appeared in LA Confidential as the home of pornographer and pimp Pierce Patchett; the Sheats Goldstein Residence appeared in The Big Lebowski – again as the home of a pornographer – and was designed by none other than “Hollywood’s favourite architectJohn Lautner. Heathcote probes the two architects’ design influences and ideas, and of course offers an explanation as to why “”bad guys always seem to get the best houses“. You can read the full article here.

Is The Demolition of Prentice Hospital Another “Penn Station Moment”?

Courtesy of Landmarks Illinois

This article, by Michael R. Allen, was originally published on Next City as “Prentice Hospital Could Become Modernism’s ‘Penn Station Moment’

When the concrete cloverleaf of Prentice Hospital sprouted from the ground in 1975, its award-winning design met the praise of critics and the admiration of many Chicagoans. Architect Bertrand Goldberg drew from , but with a symmetry and grace that distinguished Prentice from more angular works in that style.

This week, as Goldberg’s famous work is pulled apart by wreckers, nothing about its loss seems symmetrical or graceful. Within 40 years, the building transitioned from a proud symbol of civic renewal and design innovation to the victim of old-fashioned Chicago politics. The controversy surrounding the demolition of Prentice, however, injected the preservation movement into an urban design discussion with a presence not seen in a long time.

Happy Birthday Le Corbusier!

© Willy Rizzo

Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887-1965), better known as Le Corbusier, would have turned 126 today.

The Swiss-born architect, urban planner, designer, painter and writer is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of the modernist movement in architecture.  Over the course of his five-decade career, he saw work built across Europe, India, and the .

The Controversy Regarding The Restoration of Eileen Gray’s E-1027

Image via Flickr. Image © xiyitang

The Wall Street Journal recently detailed the complex history of E-1027, the house which Eileen Gray designed with her lover Jean Badovici in Southern France: from the murals which Le Corbusier painted on the walls (without Gray’s permission) to the murder that happened there in 1996 to the restoration that has been going on for over a decade (a supposed “massacre” of the original). You can read the full article here.

Richard J Williams Talks Modernism & Sex

© Iñigo Bujedo-Aguirre

In this interview with BD, Richard J Williams discusses his recent book “Sex and Buildings,” which analyses how some places, such as his home town of Edinburgh, ”wear their morality on their sleeve,” while other places. such as Brazil, have an idea that “modernism can be sexy.” He also talks about the US attitudes to sex and modernism, bringing up the ‘Playboy townhouse’ of the 1960s and the TV show Mad Men, as well as architects Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and John Portman. You can read the full interview here.

The Threat Hanging Over LA’s Modernist Homes

Richard Neutra’s 1929 Lovell House. Image Courtesy of Wikiarquitectura

A shadow hangs over the hills of Los Angeles, threatening its modernist architecture. In this article on the Daily Beast, Andrew Romano investigates the trend for the ‘McMansions’ which are now popular among LA’s super-rich, and the risk that they pose to the style that “many believe was perfected in Southern California” – the hillside modernist home. But it’s not all bad news: he finds that the Schairer House, designed by Gregory Ain in 1949 is now being restored, and Beverly Hills last year past its first preservation laws. Read the full article here.

AD Classics: Modern Architecture International Exhibition / Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock

Model of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye from Modern Architecture: International [MoMA Exh. #15, February 9-March 23, 1932
“Modern Architecture: International Exhibition” is the title of an exhibition that took place in 1932 at the Museum of Modern Art in . Curated by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock, the exhibition introduced an emerging architectural style characterized by simplified geometry and a lack of ornamentation; known as  the “International Style,” it was described by Johnson as “probably the first fundamentally original and widely distributed style since the Gothic.” The exhibition, along with an accompanying catalogue, laid the principles for the canon of Modern architecture.

From Industrial to Artisan: Modernism’s Sleight-of-Hand

Figure 1. On the left, mass-produced Art Nouveau silver jewelry box by P. A. Coon, 1908. On the right, hand-made Machine Aesthetic silver teapot by C. Dresser, 1879. Drawing by .

This figure was published on April 2013 in the article “How Modernism Got Square” co-authored with Michael Mehaffy. It has been reproduced several times when reprinting the original article, and in essays by other authors who discuss our ideas.

And yet, the above figure subsequently re-appears with a new accompanying caption that completely reverses the facts and switches our original message. Well-meaning editors and authors chose the new caption “From Artisan to Industrial” (first here, and then again on ArchDaily), which conforms to the modernist orthodoxy on the evolution of historical design styles. They are in no way pushing (being interested instead in my criticism of modernist design): it’s simply that the dogma is so pervasive in our civilization that the mislabeling becomes automatic, a conditioned response.

Read more after the break…

The Quest to “Liberate” Architecture from Modernism’s Evils: An Interview with Nikos Salingaros

Courtesy of

Nikos Salingaros is unafraid of a controversial statement. A professor of Mathematics and Urban theory, he has been using his scientific approach to study architecture and urban environments for years, and has come to a conclusion: Modernism is just about the worst thing that happened to architecture.

As Salingaros explains, not only is it impossible to have any “Green” architecture within a modernist framework, but, moreover, Modernism encourages us to deny our biologically-evolved senses and embrace an unnatural, inhuman built world – and why? Because there’s a whole lot of money and power behind those “modernist boxes.” As Salingaros puts it:

“Architectural Education ever since the Bauhaus, and continuing to the present day without interruption, teaches students to interpret built forms according to very peculiar abstract criteria, and not through their own biologically-evolved senses and cognitive intelligence. This is radical training in sensory denial: desensitizing people so that their interpretation of the world can be defined by others with an agenda.”

I interviewed Salingaros to get to the bottom of his theories and understand his anti-Modern crusade. Read it all, including Salingaros’ incendiary takes on Architecture education, , and urban planning, after the break…