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Rennie Jones

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AD Classics: Pennsylvania Station / McKim, Mead & White

22:00 - 5 October, 2018
AD Classics: Pennsylvania Station / McKim, Mead & White, © wikimedia commons
© wikimedia commons

This article was originally published on February 11, 2014. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

New York City’s original Pennsylvania Station was a monument to movement and an expression of American economic power. In 1902, the noted firm McKim, Mead and White was selected by the President of the Pennsylvania Railroad to design its Manhattan terminal. Completed in 1910, the gigantic steel and stone building covered four city blocks until its demolition in 1963, when it ceded to economic strains hardly fifty years after opening.

© wikimedia commons Track level and concourses. Image © Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection Concourse from South, 1962. Image © Cervin Robinson - Historic American Buildings Survey Facade from Northeast. Image © Cervin Robinson - Historic American Buildings Survey + 40

AD Classics: Villa dall'Ava / OMA

22:00 - 3 October, 2018
AD Classics: Villa dall'Ava / OMA, © Peter Aaron (OTTO)
© Peter Aaron (OTTO)

This article was originally published on November 13, 2013. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Much of the spatial composition of the Villa dall'Ava was influenced by its site, in a garden on a hill. It was completed in 1991 in the residential area of Saint-Cloud, overlooking Paris. The clients selected OMA to design a house with two distinct apartments—one for themselves and another for their daughter—and requested a swimming pool on the roof with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

© Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA + 21

Alcohol and Urbanism, a Case Study: Breaking New York City’s Open Container Law

00:00 - 29 June, 2014
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Image © Rennie Jones
Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Image © Rennie Jones

If there is one thing to be learned from the unsuccessful prohibition period of the 1920s, it is that we, the people, will go to great lengths to exercise our right to drink alcohol in the company of others. Our determined forefathers could have simply enjoyed a small-batch bathtub brew in the comfort of their own homes, but instead they established a system of secret places to congregate and consume collectively, even under threat of federal prosecution. Though it is no longer a felony to consume alcohol, New Yorkers are still pushing the legal limits of drinking with others, challenging the open container laws that prohibit public drinking.

Drinking is a recreational activity. It is a means of stepping beyond the realm of normal perception and seeing things differently, in the metaphorical sense (though sometimes a literal one). It is an act of recreation and repose, the parallel of peering at passerby from a park bench. In New York City, as in most of the United States, it is illegal for any person to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage in any public place, “except at a block party, feast or similar function for which a permit has been obtained." Rarely do individuals have the resources for a block party or occasion for a full-scale public feast. More likely, they simply seek to crack open a can with neighbors on their front steps or with friends in Central Park, thereby enjoying a beverage in one of the country’s most vibrant and diverse public spheres for a mere penance. Unfortunately, that is not a legal option. Even the outdoor space we own is not completely open to our discretionary use: a resident cannot drink on his own stoop because it is “a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access."

Twenty Years Later, What Rural Studio Continues to Teach Us About Good Design

00:00 - 13 May, 2014
Twenty Years Later, What Rural Studio Continues to Teach Us About Good Design, Lions Park Scout Hut. Image © Rennie Jones
Lions Park Scout Hut. Image © Rennie Jones

Hale County, Alabama is a place full of architects, and often high profile ones. The likes of Todd Williams and Billie Tsien have ventured there, as have Peter Gluck and Xavier Vendrell, all to converge upon Auburn University’s Rural Studio. Despite the influx of designers, it is a place where an ensemble of all black will mark you as an outsider. I learned this during my year as an Outreach student there, and was reminded recently when I ventured south for the Studio’s 20th Anniversary celebration. While the most recent graduates took the stage, I watched the ceremony from the bed of a pick-up truck, indulging in corn-coated, deep-fried catfish, and reflected on what the organization represents to the architecture world.

Since its founding in 1993 by D.K. Ruth and Samuel Mockbee, the Studio has built more than 150 projects and educated over 600 students. Those first years evoke images of stacked tires coated with concrete and car windshields pinned up like shingles over a modest chapel. In the past two decades, leadership has passed from Mockbee and Ruth to the current director, Andrew Freear, and the palette has evolved to feature more conventional materials, but the Studio remains faithful to its founding principal: all people deserve good design. Now that it is officially a twenty-something, what can Rural Studio teach us about good design?

Ban vs. Schumacher: Should Architects Assume Social Responsibility?

01:00 - 28 March, 2014
Ban vs. Schumacher: Should Architects Assume Social Responsibility?, Guangzhou Opera House, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan
Guangzhou Opera House, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Iwan Baan


AD Classics: Mill Owners' Association Building / Le Corbusier

01:00 - 7 January, 2014
AD Classics: Mill Owners' Association Building / Le Corbusier, © motaleb architekten
© motaleb architekten

Le Corbusier was commissioned by the president of the Mill Owners’ Association to design the organization’s headquarters in Ahmedabad, a city historically active in India’s textile trade. The building is a physical manifesto representing Le Corbusier’s proposal for a modern Indian architecture. Constructed in 1954, the Mill Owners’ Association Building is considered the first of four completed commissions in Ahmedabad.

AD Classics: Lafayette Park / Mies van der Rohe

01:00 - 11 December, 2013
AD Classics: Lafayette Park / Mies van der Rohe, © Jamie Schafer
© Jamie Schafer

Situated at the eastern edge of Downtown Detroit, Lafayette Park constitutes the world's largest collection of buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe. The 78-acre complex was completed in 1959, just after Crown Hall and the Seagram Building. It is not as well known as several Mies projects of that decade, however, and many critics argue the project deserves greater recognition. One of the first examples of urban renewal, it is a testament to the development's design that it remains a vibrant neighborhood more than fifty years after its construction.

SHoP Architects Selected for Design of Iconic Site in Downtown Detroit

00:00 - 26 November, 2013
SHoP Architects Selected for Design of Iconic Site in Downtown Detroit, © Rock Ventures LLC
© Rock Ventures LLC

One of Detroit's most prominent vacant sites is slated to become one of its most iconic buildings. SHoP Architects will partner with Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates to transform the site formerly occupied by Hudson's Department Store. Located at Grand River and Gratiot in the city's Central Business District, the two-acre site has remained a scar in the urban landscape since the implosion of the Hudson's building in 1998.

AD Classics: The Crystal Cathedral / Philip Johnson

01:00 - 6 November, 2013
AD Classics: The Crystal Cathedral  / Philip Johnson, © Flickr user Amir Nejad
© Flickr user Amir Nejad

The Crystal Cathedral was designed as a religious theater of sorts, acting as both television studio and stage to a congregation of 3,000. It was commissioned by renowned televangelist Robert Schuller and completed in 1980 near Los Angeles, California. Philip Johnson and John Burgee devised the glass enclosure in response to Schuller’s request that the church be open to the "sky and the surrounding world."

© Flickr user Paul N. © Flickr user C. Strife © Flickr user siphorous © Wikimedia Commons user Russavia + 18

AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry

01:00 - 23 October, 2013
AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry, © Gehry Partners, LLP
© Gehry Partners, LLP

Completed October 23, 2003, The Walt Disney Concert Hall celebrates its tenth anniversary today. Home to the LA Philharmonic, it has received wide acclaim for its excellent acoustics and distinctive architecture. In the decade since its opening, the hall's sweeping, metallic surfaces have become associated with Frank Gehry’s signature style.

© 2012 Carlos Eduardo Seo - www.carlosseo.com. Used with permission. © Matt Blanchard © Gehry Partners, LLP © 2012 Carlos Eduardo Seo - www.carlosseo.com. Used with permission. + 26

AD Classics: La Sagrada Familia / Antoni Gaudí

00:00 - 16 October, 2013
AD Classics: La Sagrada Familia / Antoni Gaudí, The Passion Facade © Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família
The Passion Facade © Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Família

Construction of the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família began in 1882, more than a century ago. The temple is still under construction, with completion expected in 2026. It is perhaps the best known structure of Catalan Modernisme, drawing over three million visitors annually. Architect Antoni Gaudi worked on the project until his death in 1926, in full anticipation he would not live to see it finished.

© John Kennan © John Kennan © Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada  Família © Jose Gonzalvo + 38

AD Classics: College Life Insurance Company Headquarters / Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

01:00 - 13 October, 2013
AD Classics: College Life Insurance Company Headquarters / Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, © KRJDA
© KRJDA

In response to a growing company's request for office space, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates developed a master plan that would allow the incremental addition of floor space over time. The initial design included nine identical buildings arranged in a parallelogram, totaling 1.2 million square feet. Only three of the buildings were constructed in the initial phase, and the expansion plan was never fulfilled. The trio is known as "The Pyramids" for their simple geometry and slanting glass facades.

© KRJDA © KRJDA © KRJDA © KRJDA + 17

AD Classics: The Ford Foundation / Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

01:00 - 11 October, 2013
© Ezra Stoller/Esto
© Ezra Stoller/Esto

Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo established their own practice in 1966, after heading the firm of Eero Saarinen for several years. The Ford Foundation Headquarters is regarded as the pair's first major success, a combination of Roche's unique ideals and Dinkeloo's innovative structural solutions. They introduced an office typology in which employee interaction extended beyond departments and levels, reaching even to the public.

© KRJDA © KRJDA © KRJDA © Richard Anderson + 16

AD Classics: The Museum of Modern Art

00:00 - 24 September, 2013
AD Classics: The Museum of Modern Art, View of the gallery complex from the Sculpture Garden. Image © Timothy Hursley
View of the gallery complex from the Sculpture Garden. Image © Timothy Hursley

The entrance to the Museum of Modern Art is tucked beneath a demure facade of granite and glass in Midtown Manhattan. Its clean, regular planes mark Yoshio Taniguchi's 2004 addition to the MoMA's sequence of facades, which he preserved as a record of its form. Taniguchi's contribution sits beside the 1984 residential tower by Cesar Pelli and Associates, followed by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone’s original 1939 building, then Philip Johnson’s 1964 addition. Taniguchi was hired in 1997 to expand the Museum’s space and synthesize its disparate elements. His elegant, minimal solution presents a contemporary face for the MoMA while adhering to its Modernist roots.

53rd Street entrance. Image © Timothy Hursley The Atrium. Image © Timothy Hursley View of the gallery complex from 54th Street. Image © Timothy Hursley Sequence of facades on 53rd Street. Image © Timothy Hursley + 29

AD Classics: The Tate Modern / Herzog & de Meuron

00:00 - 17 September, 2013
AD Classics: The Tate Modern / Herzog & de Meuron, © wikimedia commons
© wikimedia commons

London’s Bankside Power Station stood disused from 1981 until 2000, when it opened to the public as The Tate Modern. Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron approached the conversion with a relatively light hand, creating a contemporary public space without diminishing the building's historical presence. The impressive cultural icon has since become the most visited museum of modern art in the world, revitalizing its formerly sequestered, industrial neighborhood.

© Javier Gutierrez Marcos © Simone Graziano Panetto © Simone Graziano Panetto © Darrell Godliman + 18