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Modernism: The Latest Architecture and News

How Two Getty Initiatives Are Saving Global Modernist Heritage

10:00 - 2 June, 2019
How Two Getty Initiatives Are Saving Global Modernist Heritage, Courtesy Joe Belcovson for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. ImageIn 2012, the Getty Conservation Institute founded its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), with the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern grant following two years later. Working synergistically, the two programs are dedicated to supporting new methods and technologies for the conservation of Modernist buildings. Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1965) in La Jolla, California, has been the beneficiary of both CMAI and Keeping It Modern.
Courtesy Joe Belcovson for the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. ImageIn 2012, the Getty Conservation Institute founded its Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI), with the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern grant following two years later. Working synergistically, the two programs are dedicated to supporting new methods and technologies for the conservation of Modernist buildings. Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1965) in La Jolla, California, has been the beneficiary of both CMAI and Keeping It Modern.

This Article was originally published on Metropolismag.com.

The Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) and Keeping It Modern grant are dedicated to supporting new methods and technologies for the conservation of Modernist buildings.

10 Buildings That Helped Define Modernism in New York City

08:00 - 18 May, 2019
211 East 48th Street, Midtown East, William Lescaze, 1934. Image © Mark Wickens
211 East 48th Street, Midtown East, William Lescaze, 1934. Image © Mark Wickens

Greater Refuge Temple, Harlem, Costas Machlouzarides, 1966. Image © Mark Wickens Monsignor Farrell High School, Staten Island, Charles Luckman Associates, 1962. Image © Mark Wickens The “Bubble House” (1969) on East 71st Street is one of the city’s most idiosyncratic Modern buildings. Its convex apertures are surprisingly operable, swiveling open from the side. Image © Mark Wickens Tribeca Synagogue, William N. Breger, 1967. Image © Mark Wickens + 12

This Article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine here.

The story of architectural Modernism in New York City goes beyond the familiar touchstones of Lever House and the Seagram Building.

Eighty-five years on, the little white town house on East 48th Street by William Lescaze still startles. With its bright stucco and Purist volumes, it pulls the eye away from the do-nothing brownstones on one side and the noirish sub-Miesian tower on the other. The machined rectitude of its upper floors, telegraphed by two clumsily large spans of glass block, is offset by the freer plastic arrangement of the bottom levels. Le Corbusier’s five points are in evidence (minus the roof garden), suggesting an architecture ready to do battle. Built in 1934 from the shell of a Civil War–era town house, this was the first Modernist house in New York City, and its pioneering feeling for futurity extended to its domestic conveniences. (A skeptical Lewis Mumford noted its central air-conditioning.)

Amey Kandalgaonkar Reimagines Traditional Chinese Pagodas for a Modernist Era

09:00 - 7 May, 2019
Amey Kandalgaonkar Reimagines Traditional Chinese Pagodas for a Modernist Era, © Amey Kandalgaonkar
© Amey Kandalgaonkar

Amey Kandalgaonkar has unveiled a project which reimagines the traditional Chinese pagoda in a modernist style. The Shanghai-based designer created the fictional reinterpretation as a homage to a building form largely untouched by Modernism, featuring raw brut concrete, minimal ornamentation, and bold geometric moves.

Spotlight: Peter Behrens

04:30 - 14 April, 2019
Spotlight: Peter Behrens, The AEG Turbine Factory. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Berlin_AEG_Turbinenfabrik.jpg'>Wikimedia user Doris Antony</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
The AEG Turbine Factory. Image © Wikimedia user Doris Antony licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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

11:00 - 8 April, 2019
Spotlight: Richard Neutra, Lovell House, 1929. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lovell_House,_Los_Angeles,_California.JPG'>Wikimedia user Los Angeles</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
Lovell House, 1929. Image © Wikimedia user Los Angeles licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Though Modernism is sometimes criticized for imposing universal rules on different people and areas, 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 still are—highly sought after, making 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.

Miller House, 1938. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/28238346@N00/338006894/'>Flickr user IK's World Trip</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> Cyclorama, Gettsyburg. Image © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gettysburg_Cyclorama_Neutra_PA3.jpg'>Wikimedia user Acroterion</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> Lovell House, 1929. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/aseles/6149131597'>Flickr user aseles</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a> Kaufmann House, 1947. Image © Barbara Alfors 2000 <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kaufman_House_Palm_Springs.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a? licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 7

The Absurdity of Beauty by Form4 Architecture

09:40 - 15 February, 2019
The Absurdity of Beauty by Form4 Architecture

John Marx, AIA, Co-Founding Principal and Chief Artistic Officer of Form4 Architecture, has debuted The Absurdity of Beauty: Rebalancing the Modernist Narrative, which challenges the philosophies of Modernism and posits how these discussions can inspire a new era of urbanism and abundance.

Oscar Niemeyer's Rachid Karami Exposition Site Crumbling after Years of Neglect

06:30 - 6 February, 2019
Oscar Niemeyer's Rachid Karami Exposition Site Crumbling after Years of Neglect, © Dima Stouhi
© Dima Stouhi

Lebanon is home to several outstanding structures, influenced by centuries of architectural styles. However, one of the most intriguing projects in the Middle Eastern country lies in the northern city of Tripoli, a culturally-rich historical city with structures once inhabited by Romans, Crusaders, Phoenicians, and Ottomans. The Rachid Karami International Exhibition Center, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, reflects the slow deterioration from Lebanon’s pre-war golden age to post-war depression. The country's iconic modernist site has suffered after years of neglect and reportedly will require upwards of 15 million dollars to restore.

© Dima Stouhi © Dima Stouhi © Dima Stouhi © Dima Stouhi + 15

Exhibition: Living with Buildings

03:30 - 23 January, 2019
Exhibition: Living with Buildings, Courtesy of Wellcome Collection
Courtesy of Wellcome Collection

How does our built environment affect us? This major exhibition spanning two galleries examines the positive and negative influence buildings have on our health and wellbeing. From Dickensian London to the bold experiments of postwar urban planners, and from healing spaces for cancer patients to the role architecture can play in global healthcare provision, we look anew at the buildings that surround and shape us.

Ornament, Crime & Prejudice: Where Loos' Manifesto Fails to Understand People

09:30 - 2 January, 2019
Ornament, Crime & Prejudice: Where Loos' Manifesto Fails to Understand People, © Aga Khan Award for Architecture
© Aga Khan Award for Architecture

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "African Architecture: Ornament, Crime & Prejudice."

MODERN EAST: Build Your Own Modernist DDR

14:38 - 11 December, 2018
MODERN EAST: Build Your Own Modernist DDR, Modern East by Zupagrafika
Modern East by Zupagrafika

Omnipresent plattenbau housing estates, monumental hochhäuser, cosmic milk bars; the post-war East Germany was rebuilt on concrete foundations to stand for the new modernity and shape the unique and no less controversial urban landscape of German Democratic Republic.

MODERN EAST: Build Your Own Modernist DDR is the new book by Zupagrafika celebrating socialist modernist and brutalist architecture of the former East Germany and allows you to playfully reconstruct some of the most intriguing edifices erected between early 1950s and late 1980s - from the massive plattenbauten of Rostock, through the icons of DDR-Moderne, like Kino International or Haus des Berliner

Brutal Britain: Build Your Own Brutalist Great Britain

11:37 - 11 December, 2018
Brutal Britain: Build Your Own Brutalist Great Britain, Brutal Britain by Zupagrafika
Brutal Britain by Zupagrafika

High-rise tower blocks, prefab panel housing estates, streets in the sky, new towns; some of the concrete constructions that once shaped the cityscapes of post-war Britain have stood the test of time, while others are long gone.

‘Brutal Britain’ by Zupagrafika (also author of ‘Brutal London’) celebrates the brutalist architecture of the British Isles, inviting readers to explore the Modern past of Great Britain and rebuild some of its most intriguing post-war edifices, from the iconic slabs of Sheffield`s Park Hill and experimental tower blocks at Cotton Gardens in London, to the demolished Birmingham Central Library.

Opening with a foreword by architectural

Why do Beautiful Things Make us Happy - And Why Does Modernism Make us Sad?

05:00 - 30 November, 2018

A recent exhibition at the MAK Vienna - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, is showcasing the works of Sagmeister & Walsh, a NYC-based design firm investigating what makes beauty so appealing.

Titled "Beauty," the exhibition explores the notion that beauty operates as an independent function, and that in itself, it can be the primary motive for architecture: form is a function. In collaboration with the YouTube channel and design studio Kurzgesagt (In A Nutshell), this video released along with the exhibition explains why beautiful things make us happy.

© Aslan Kudrnofsky © Aslan Kudrnofsky © John Madere © Aslan Kudrnofsky + 6

Rethinking Le Corbusier's Manifesto: 6 Explorations That Break Away From Modernist Ideals

04:00 - 30 November, 2018
The Society of the Spectacle / Guy Debord
The Society of the Spectacle / Guy Debord

“A model by Corbusier is the only image that brings to my mind the idea of immediate suicide.” - Ivan Chtcheglov

Despite their pranks and dirty politics, the Situationists may have been right after all. The death of architecture students will not be a result of excessive studio work, but will rather occur from the sermonizing repetition of modernist ideals that continue to be taught. In Le Corbusier's manifesto, Vers une Architecture (Toward An Architecture), he advocates for the adoption of modern architecture as the solution to 20th-century global crises, in a way that now seems rather limiting. 

If the discipline doesn't move past the black-and-white photographs of the Barcelona Pavilion or the reductionist designs of the Bauhaus, students will continue to produce what may now be incorrectly associated with the “right architecture.” In order to break away from these stereotypes of what architecture should be, here are six explorations of building, curating and writing that resist these notions:

via MVRDV Courtesy of Joanna E. Grant © Plamen Petkov Courtesy of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects + 19

Modernism: The International Style that Wasn't

09:30 - 20 November, 2018
Modernism: The International Style that Wasn't, Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe. Image
Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe. Image

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "Was Modernism Really International? A New History Says No."

I taught architectural history in two schools of architecture during the 1980s and 1990s. Back then it was common for students to get a full three-semester course that began with Antiquity and ended with Modernism, with a nod to later twentieth-century architecture. My text for the middle section was Spiro Kostof’s magisterial History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. With many centuries to cover, he spent very little effort in dealing with the twentieth century. In the last third of the course, students read texts such as Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier and Reyner Banham’s Theory and Design in the First Machine Age. My colleagues and I felt that we offered students a pluralistic and comprehensive review of key developments in the history of the built environment.

Villa Tugendhat / Mies van der Rohe. Image © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Thomas Lewandovski + 15

AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen

22:00 - 21 October, 2018
AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen, © Cameron Blaylock
© Cameron Blaylock

This article was originally published on June 16, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Built in the early days of airline travel, the TWA Terminal is a concrete symbol of the rapid technological transformations which were fueled by the outset of the Second World War. Eero Saarinen sought to capture the sensation of flight in all aspects of the building, from a fluid and open interior, to the wing-like concrete shell of the roof. At TWA’s behest, Saarinen designed more than a functional terminal; he designed a monument to the airline and to aviation itself.

This AD Classic features a series of exclusive images by Cameron Blaylock, photographed in May 2016. Blaylock used a Contax camera and Zeiss lenses with Rollei black and white film to reflect camera technology of the 1960s.

© Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock + 26

AD Classics: Venice Hospital / Le Corbusier

22:00 - 16 October, 2018
AD Classics: Venice Hospital / Le Corbusier, Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP)
Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP)

This article was originally published on August 15, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Le Corbusier made an indelible mark on Modernist architecture when he declared “une maison est une machine-à-habiter” (“a house is a machine for living”). His belief that architecture should be as efficient as machinery resulted in such proposals such as the Plan Voisin, a proposal to transform the Second Empire boulevards of Paris into a series of cruciform skyscrapers rising from a grid of freeways and open parks.[1] Not all of Le Corbusier’s concepts, however, were geared toward such radical urban transformation. His 1965 proposal for a hospital in Venice, Italy, was notable in its attempt at seeking aesthetic harmony with its unique surroundings: an attempt not to eradicate history, but to translate it.

Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP) Plan Plan Situation Plan + 7

AD Classics: Master Plan for Chandigarh / Le Corbusier

16:30 - 6 October, 2018
AD Classics: Master Plan for Chandigarh / Le Corbusier, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

On August 15, 1947, on the eve of India’s independence from the United Kingdom, came a directive which would transform the subcontinent for the next six decades. In order to safeguard the country’s Muslim population from the Hindu majority, the departing colonial leaders set aside the northwestern and eastern portions of the territory for their use. Many of the approximately 100 million Muslims living scattered throughout India were given little more than 73 days to relocate to these territories, the modern-day nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh. As the borders for the new countries were drawn by Sir Cyril Radcliffe (an Englishman whose ignorance of Indian history and culture was perceived, by the colonial government, as an assurance of his impartiality), the state of Punjab was bisected between India and Pakistan, the latter of which retained ownership of the state capital of Lahore.[1] It was in the wake of this loss that Punjab would found a new state capital: one which would not only serve the logistical requirements of the state, but make an unequivocal statement to the entire world that a new India—modernized, prosperous, and independent—had arrived.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 59

Spotlight: Le Corbusier

05:30 - 6 October, 2018
Spotlight: Le Corbusier, Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp. Image © <a href='www.flickr.com/photos/9160678@N06/2089042156'>Flickr user scarletgreen</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp. Image © Flickr user scarletgreen licensed under CC BY 2.0

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 © Samuel Ludwig + 25