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Modern Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News

The Strange House that Niemeyer Designed for Himself

Oscar Niemeyer was a revolutionary of modernism, with an architectural language characterized by audacious curves and elaborated structures. The Brazilian architect established an architectural vision of a future utopian Brazil, one that ultimately has not come to pass. While public attention is often drawn to his masterpieces in Brasília, somewhat hidden from the architectural discourse is a house that Niemeyer designed for himself; a colonial-style scheme offering a radical departure from the expressive forms of his more noted works. 

Spotlight: Le Corbusier

Born in the small Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris—better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965)—is widely regarded as the most important architect of the 20th century. As a gifted architect, provocative writer, divisive urban planner, talented painter, and unparalleled polemicist, Le Corbusier was able to influence some of the world’s most powerful figures, leaving an indelible mark on architecture that can be seen in almost any city worldwide.

Palace of the Assembly at Chandigarh. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/70608042@N00/1321525329'>Flickr user chiara_facchetti</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Villa Savoye. Image © Flavio Bragaia Church at Firminy. Image © Richard Weil Swiss Pavilion. Image Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig + 25

Terrazzo is Back: Production, Installation, and Samples in Architecture

Focal Length / RENESA Architecture Design Interiors Studio. Image © Suryan//Dang
Focal Length / RENESA Architecture Design Interiors Studio. Image © Suryan//Dang

Terrazzo is made by combining a cement base (sand, water, and cement) with a mixture of ground minerals - like marble, granite, and quartz - and can be applied to almost any surface, vertical or horizontal. The technique, produced using a completely hand-crafted method, was used worldwide in the construction of modern buildings and is noted for its durability, resistance (to water and abrasion), and easy maintenance. This made it a go-to material in the creation of flooring for houses and the common areas of residential and office buildings.  

Today, terrazzo is experiencing a revival as one of the key trends in contemporary architecture. Here, we will discuss the whats and hows of terrazzo and illustrate some of its uses in current projects. 

Focal Length / RENESA Architecture Design Interiors Studio. Image © Suryan//Dang Casa Salmen / Office S&M. Image © French + Tye Apartamento Copan / Sabiá Arquitetos. Image © Pedro Vannucchi Parisienne / Miriam Barrio Estudio. Image © Maria Pujol + 24

Spotlight: Walter Gropius

Bauhaus, 1925. Image ©  Thomas Lewandovski
Bauhaus, 1925. Image © Thomas Lewandovski

One of the most highly regarded architects of the 20th century, Walter Gropius (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969) was one of the founding fathers of Modernism, and the founder of the Bauhaus, the German "School of Building" that embraced elements of art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography in its design, development and production.

Discover Pritzker Prize Laureate Gottfried Böhm's Brutalist Church in Brazil

Gottfried Böhm is a German architect who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1986. His father, Dominikus Böhm and his grandfather Alois Böhm were both architects, as well as three of his sons, among them, Peter Böhm. Few people know that he has two projects erected in Brazil, in Brusque and Blumenau - two cities highly influenced by German culture. Photographer Ronaldo Azambuja shared with us his series of photographs of the mother church Igreja Matriz São Luiz Gonzaga in Brusque. The text was written by Angelina Wittmann, architect, and researcher.

© Ronaldo Azambuja © Ronaldo Azambuja © Ronaldo Azambuja © Ronaldo Azambuja + 38

Architectour Guide London: The Urban Explorer's Guide/2018

The new series of city guides for architects by Architectour brings to life the lost essence of travel and discovery. A compilation of exciting places – known and not so known – arranged in an innovative way: a continuous scenic itinerary, which is fun to follow and is full of quirks and surprises along the way. Hand-drawn sketches by architect and author Virginia Duran are the personal touch of the book, revealing the essential without spoiling what is a traveling delight: our first impression of a place.

An Architectural Guide to Guatemala City

© Andrés Asturias
© Andrés Asturias

This guide is not a catalog. It is an open invitation to walk around the city and learn more about the architecture in Guatemala City.

The Guide to Modern Architecture in Guatemala City was written by Raúl Monterroso, Gemma Gil, and photographed by Andrés Asturias. In partnership with The Cultural Center of Spain in Guatemala, the guide addresses a descriptive analysis of 35 buildings, structured in five different routes, with the aim of not only synthesizing a series of physical characteristics but to provoke a reflexive, analytical and critical observation of the environment.

As Raúl Monterroso points out, while he shares five sites that every architect must visit, the goal is to introduce people to Guatemala's modern movement. It is an invitation to walk through the city and identify it with a different built heritage, however one that also shapes the landscape and fits into the urban context. Learn more about modern architecture in Latin America, below.

Material and Immaterial Poetry: The Work of Lina Bo Bardi

Italian-born architect Lina Bo Bardi is one of the most important figures of Brazilian design. Her ability to blend architecture, politics and popular culture made her an icon throughout the country and world, while her relentlessness to break from traditionalisms made Brazil the ideal location for her work.

Bo Bardi's architecture incorporates both materiality and culture. In addition to the concrete and solidified elements, she designed pieces based on cultural factors and intense political discussions. She wished to break the barriers between intellectuals and everyday people.

Guide for the Ultimate Mid-Century Modern Architecture Road Trip

The following excerpt from Sam Lubell's Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: East Coast USA—with excellent photos by Darren Bradley—provides an introduction to the revelatory and inspiring charm of the East Coast's Mid-Century Modern masterpieces. The book includes over 250 unique projects and serves as record of one of the USA’s most important architectural movements.

Few experiences are as wedged into our psyches as the Great American Road Trip—a rite of passage chronicled by luminaries from Alexis de Tocqueville to Jack Kerouac. The Great American Mid-Century Modern Architecture Road Trip? Not famous. But that’s one of the many reasons it’s so appealing. Discovery, in this global, digital age, when few corners are mysterious, has become a rare commodity. And discovery on the East Coast of America—in the context of one of the finest collections of Modern design in the world—is that much sweeter.

The Work of Victor Horta, Art Nouveau's Esteemed Architect

© Henry Townsend
© Henry Townsend

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.

© <a href=‘https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fachada_Casa_Estudio_V%C3%ADctor_Horta.jpg#/media/File:Fachada_Casa_Estudio_V%C3%ADctor_Horta.jpg'>Creative Commons user estebanhistoria</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>  © <a href=‘https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinehrenhauser/8085701304'>Flickr user Martin Ehrenhauser </a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> © <a href=‘https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Belgique_-_Bruxelles_-_Maison_Horta_-_02.jpg'>Creative Commons user EmDee</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a>  © <a href=‘https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Belgique_-_Bruxelles_-_H%C3%B4tel_Van_Eetvelde_-_18.jpg'>Creative Commons user EmDee</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a> + 19

No One is Born Modern: The Early Works of 20th Century Architecture Icons

In the ambit of architecture, much of the twentieth century is marked by a production that reads, in general, as modern. The foundations of this work have been the subject of discussion for at least six decades, bringing together conflicting opinions about the true intention behind the modern gestalt.

Iconic Houses Conference: Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five

Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five

Our 2018 Iconic Houses Conference and House Tours will explore the East Coast of the USA, retracing the root taken by Modernism when it arrived from Europe. In particular, the New Canaan area has an impressive number of high-quality Modernist homes, because the architects who taught at Harvard built houses for themselves and their friends here. New Canaan is naturally mainly associated with the Glass House. And many of the other masterpieces are the work of Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five. In the 1940s, a group of five

Getty Assembles Experts for Conservation of Le Corbusier's Only Three Museums

The Getty Conservation Institute has announced a workshop to address the care and conservation of three museums designed by Le Corbusier. The three museums are the only museums designed by the prolific architect. The workshop will be held in India, where two of the three museums are, with municipal corporations from Ahmedabad and Chandigarh serving as hosts for the event. The Foundation Le Corbusier, located in Paris, will also be assisting with the workshop.

MAD’s Huangshan Mountain Village Through The Lens Of Fernando Guerra

© Fernando Guerra
© Fernando Guerra

From Portuguese architectural photographer Fernando Guerra comes imagery of MAD's Huangshan Mountain Village in China. This residential design, comprising ten housing blocks that mimic the mountain range they are embedded in, is just one piece of the Taiping Lake tourism master plan; architecture and nature blend together to create modern apartments with differing panoramic views.

© Fernando Guerra © Fernando Guerra © Fernando Guerra © Fernando Guerra + 50

Oscar Niemeyer's "Favorite Project in Europe" Captured in Spectacular Photo Set by Karina Castro

As a trailblazer of Brazilian Modernism, Oscar Niemeyer is celebrated for his bold, sinuous forms, and his use of the “the liberated, sensual curve.” Paul Goldberger described it best when he wrote that “Niemeyer didn’t compromise modernism’s utopian ideals, but when filtered through his sensibility, the stern, unforgiving rigor of so much European modernism became as smooth as Brazilian jazz.”

When Georgio Mondadori, chairman of the Italian publishing house Mondadori, commissioned Niemeyer to design the company’s new headquarters in 1968, he wanted the building to look like the Itamaraty Palace (also known as Palace of the Arches) in Brasília. Niemeyer agreed, but given his playful spirit, he deliberately deviated from the earlier design and proceeded to build what he would later identify as his favorite of the projects he completed in Europe. Read on to see a striking set of sixteen photographs of the Mondadori building by Milan-based photographer and visual artist Karina Castro, who was commissioned by Mondadori to capture their headquarters over 40 years after the building's completion.

© Karina Castro © Karina Castro © Karina Castro © Karina Castro + 15

Le Corbusier's Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau Named One of "20 Designs That Defined the Modern World"

Creator of London’s Design Museum and columnist for CNN, Stephen Bayley named Le Corbusier’s Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau as one of, “20 designs that defined the modern world.” Before Bayley lays out the list, he gives a brief history and several definitions of design; culminating to his conclusion that design gives life meaning. Bayley writes, “Le Corbusier declared that design is ‘intelligence made visible’. That’s certainly true, but intelligence can take many forms…” [1]