Architectural education has always been fundamentally influenced by whichever styles are popular at a given time, but that relationship flows in the opposite direction as well. All styles must originate somewhere, after all, and revolutionary schools throughout centuries past have functioned as the influencers and generators of their own architectural movements. These schools, progressive in their times, are often founded by discontented experimental minds, looking for something not previously nor currently offered in architectural output or education. Instead, they forge their own way and bring their students along with them. As those students graduate and continue on to practice or become teachers themselves, the school’s influence spreads and a new movement is born.
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The latest Apple Store designed by Foster + Partners has opened on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, occupying the grounds and courtyard of a historic Parisian apartment. The ornate Beaux-Art building has been appropriated by “carefully interweaving several layers of history with contemporary, light-filled and inviting spaces.”
The design is the result of a close collaboration by Foster + Partners and Apple’s chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive, which has produced Apple Stores around the world including Piazza Liberty in Milan, Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Regent Street in London.
The United States had made an admirable showing for itself at the very first World’s Fair, the Crystal Palace Exhibition, held in the United Kingdom in 1851. British newspapers were unreserved in their praise, declaring America’s displayed inventions to be more ingenious and useful than any others at the Fair; the Liverpool Times asserted “no longer to be ridiculed, much less despised.” Unlike various European governments, which spent lavishly on their national displays in the exhibitions that followed, the US Congress was hesitant to contribute funds, forcing exhibitors to rely on individuals for support. Interest in international exhibitions fell during the nation’s bloody Civil War; things recovered quickly enough in the wake of the conflict, however, that the country could host the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. Celebrating both American patriotism and technological progress, the Centennial Exhibition was a resounding success which set the stage for another great American fair: the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.
History has often been taught in a linear way. This way of teaching has often left out grand historical narratives, and focused primarily on the occidental world.
In 1906, American architect Stanford White was murdered on the roof of a building he had designed sixteen years earlier. The now well-known story goes like this:
White, a founding partner at the celebrated firm of McKim, Mead & White, met the beloved model and actress Evelyn Nesbit when he was forty-seven and she sixteen. The first time Nesbit visited White’s now-demolished apartment building on Twenty-fourth street in Manhattan, he fed her lunch from Delmonico’s before guiding her up to a room housing what Nesbit described as a “gorgeous swing with red velvet ropes around which trailed green similax, set high in the ceiling.” From there, he took Nesbit to his bedroom, the walls of which were covered in mirrors, where he drugged her. Nesbit recalled, "When I woke up, all my clothes were pulled off me." Years later, Nesbit’s husband, Harry Kendall Thaw, shot White at a rooftop performance at Madison Square Garden. As the New York Times reported the next morning, witnesses overheard Thaw saying of White, “he ruined my wife.”
Situated throughout Brussels, Victor Horta's architecture ranges from innocuous to avant-garde. While many of his buildings were completed in the traditional Beaux Arts style, it is Horta’s Art Nouveau works—most of them built as townhouses for the Belgian elite—that are most beloved. Emerging from the decorative arts tradition and, in some ways, anticipating the coming onslaught of modernism, Horta’s Art Nouveau buildings were erected during a fleeting decade: roughly 1893 to 1903.