Mid-Century Modern Furniture Then and Now - Paradigm Gallery Blog

Architects and Their Chairs “L”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 15th

 

                                “L” Is For Loos

Adolf Loos, 1922 /Trude Fleischmann /sc                                                       Adolf Loos, 1922 /Trude Fleischmann /sc

 “What I call culture is that balance between our physical, mental and spiritual being which alone can guarantee sensible thought and action.”       Adolf Loos

 

Adolf Loos was born in Brünn in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Brno, Czech Republic) in 1870 and died on August 23, 1933. “He was one of the most influential European architects of the late 19th century and is often noted for his literary discourse that foreshadowed the foundations of the entire modernist movement.” archdaly

 

"Knieschwimmer" easy chair by Adolf Loos, 1905

              “Knieschwimmer” easy chair by Adolf Loos, 1905

                                      Adolf Loos and the Vienna Secession
A group of artists and designers in Austria become known as the Vienna Secession. In 1897 they withdrew from the Vienna Academy in protest because the Academy would not accept modernist works. Gustav Klimt the painter headed up the group.

In Austria the Vienna Secession group of artists and designers created a form of Art Nouveau. The Vienna Secession group of creative individuals had a great impact on what we call modern design.    CreativeBuzzingwordpress.com

 

Set of 6 Adolf Loos Thonet Vienna Café Museum Art Nouveau Bentwood Chairs

Set of 6 Adolf Loos Thonet Vienna Café Museum Art Nouveau Bentwood Chairs

 

Adolf Loos studied architecture in Bohemia and Dresden and was influenced by a three-year stay in the United States (1893-96) where he was impressed by the innovative efficiency of American industrial buildings. Speaking about the development of his Raumplan design in 1930, Adolf Loos said: “My architecture is not conceived in plans, but in spaces (cubes). I do not design floor plans, facades, sections. I design spaces. For me, there is no ground floor, first floor etc…. For me, there are only contiguous, continual spaces, rooms, anterooms, terraces etc. Storeys merge and spaces relate to each other. Every space requires a different height: the dining room is surely higher than the pantry, thus the ceilings are set at different levels. To join these spaces in such a way that the rise and fall are not only unobservable but also practical, in this I see what is for others the great secret, although it is for me a great matter of course.”                               http://www.e-architect.co.uk/architects/adolf-loos

socks-studio.com bit.ly/2hKZQxY

                                     socks-studio.com bit.ly/2hKZQxY

Villa Müller in Prague was designed by architect Adolf Loos, assisted by architect Karel Lhota, in 1930 for František Müller and his wife, Milada Müllerová. The client was the owner of a company that specialized in reinforced concrete, so the house was to be a showcase of this (at the time) pioneering technique as well as of the influence of the architect’s theories. The Villa, with its cubic shape and its white and austere façade, embodies in its exterior appearance the principles expoused by the architect in his seminal essay “Ornament and Crime”.     socks-studio.com

 

Adolf Loos, Villa Muller, 1928-1930.                                                             Adolf Loos, Villa Muller, 1928-1930.

mullerovavila.cz                                                             Adolf Loos, Villa Muller, 1928-1930.

 

“The best draftsman can be a poor architect, the best architect a poor draftsman.” Adolf Loos

‘Adolf Loos led the way towards the International Style with several built projects and essays, like his seminal 1908 work ‘Ornament and Crime’. In Le Corbusier’s own words: ‘Loos swept right beneath our feet, and it was a Homeric cleansing — precise, philosophical and logical. In this Loos has had a decisive influence on the destiny of architecture.’    Read more at: wallpaper.com

 

His work has influenced so many architect’s and continues to make it’s impact still today. “The Raumplan concept, developed by Loos in the 1920s as an alternative to traditional stacked floor levels. Instead, he proposed dividing a house’s interior into interconnected multi-level spaces arranged on the basis of their importance.

 

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Adolf Loos Armchair FO Schmidt Austria, 1900 mahogany, brass, leather, brass-plated steel

Adolf Loos Armchair FO Schmidt Austria, 1900 mahogany, leather, brass-plated steel

Elegant Pair of Club Chairs with Bolster Att to Adolf Loos image via 1stdibs

Elegant Pair of Club Chairs with Bolster Att to Adolf Loos image via 1stdibs

1930's Design, Furniture, Applied & Decorative Arts Adolf Loos

1930’s Design, Furniture, Applied & Decorative Arts Adolf Loos
Austria. Loos Drinking Set, c. 1930 // designer Adolf Loos: Lobmeyer

 

Adolf Loos was involved with the group but became concerned with what he thought was a superficial decorative slant in the movement. His work includes bentwood furniture for Thonet.

Adolf Loos was involved with the group but became concerned with what he thought was a superficial decorative slant in the movement. His work includes bentwood furniture for Thonet.

The purpose of of this page is to to provide information and images about mid century and modern architects, their architecture and their furniture designs. We are not providing these posts with the intent of profit, but purely for intersted parties.
We try to supply the correct information and credits to those who originated the intellectual properties. If we have incorrectly stated anything please contact us and we will correct it immediately.

Architects and Their Chairs “K”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On May 18th

                   “K” is for Kurokawa

 

Organic design … Kisho Kurokawa with a model. Photo: Rob Gilhooly

Organic design … Kisho Kurokawa with a model.  Photo: Rob Gilhooly

 

Kisho Kurokawa struggled to get commissions early in his career and was so poor he made his models from noodles, photographed them after they were dry, then cooked and ate them. SMH.comau

 

image via deviant art http://daaakota.deviantart.com/art/Kisho-Kurokawa-101663852

image via deviant art http://daaakota.deviantart.com/art/Kisho-Kurokawa-101663852

 

*Kurokawa, was a founding member of the influential Metabolism Movement, which advocates buildings that are flexible, organic and replaceable.

* Metabolism (新陳代謝 shinchintaisha?) was a post-war Japanese architectural movement that fused ideas about architectural megastructures with those of organic biological growth. Wikipedia

* Kurokawa, who was fluent in English, was an articulate advocate and a prolific writer of deeply philosophical books that discussed the “age of life” rather than the “age of the machine”. SMH.comau

Kisho Kurokawa was very innovative in his creation of the Nakagin Capsule Tower in 1972, which was the first capsule architecture design. The module was created with the intention of housing traveling businessmen that worked in central Tokyo during the week. It is a prototype for architecture of sustainability and recycleability, as each module can be plugged in to the central core and replaced or exchanged when necessary. ArchDaily

 

Nakagin Capsule 1972 Image via arch daily ©arcspace

Nakagin Capsule  Image via ArchDaily ©arcspace

 

Nakagin Capsule 1972 Image via arch daily ©arcspace

Nakagin Capsule 1972 Image via ArchDaily ©arcspace

 

Fractal Chair by Kisho Kurokawa

Fractal Chair by Kisho Kurokawa

 

Kisho Kurokawa - Edo chair

Kisho Kurokawa – Edo chair

 

Kisho Kurokawa, Edo Armchair, for Tendo Co.

Kisho Kurokawa, Edo Armchair, for Tendo Co.

 

 

The purpose of of this page is to to provide information and images about mid century and modern architects, their architecture and their furniture designs. We are not providing these posts with the intent of profit, but purely for intersted parties.

We try to supply the correct information and credits to those who originated the intellectual properties. If we have incorrectly stated anything please contact us and we will correct it immediately.

 

 

 

Video   https://youtu.be/XKGKe4x5XTw

Kisho Kurokawa – Key Buildings

Designs by Kisho Kurokawa, alphabetical:

Astana – Masterplan, Kazakhstan
1998-2004
Kisho Kurokawa: design competition win

Fukui City Museum of Art, Fukui, Japan
1993-96

Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima
1988-89

Kibi-cho City Hall / Kibi Dome, Wakayama, Japan
1993-95

Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1992-98

Louvain-La-Neuve Museum, Belgium
1990-92

Melbourne Central, Melbourne, Australia
1986-91

The Museum of Modern Art Wakayama, Wakayama, Japan
1990-94

Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan
1983-87

Nakagin Capsule Tower, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
1970-72

Nara City Museum of Photography, Nara, Japan
1989-91

National Gallery in Tokyo, Roppongi, Tokyo
2000-05
Design: Kishō Kurokawa Architects & Associates ; Nihon Sekkei Inc.
Worlds Spectacular Museum Buildings
photo : Kevin Hemphill
National Art Center Tokyo

National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
1973-77

Osaka International Convention Centre, Osaka
1994-2000

Saitama Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
1978-82

Singapore Flyer – observation wheel, Marina Bay, Singapore
2005-08
Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates with DP Architects

Sony Tower, Osaka, Japan
1972-76

The Sporting Club at Illinois Center, Chicago, USA
1987-90

Toyota City Stadium, Toyota City, Japan
1997-2001

Van Gogh Museum – New Wing, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1990-98

Zenit Stadium, St.Petersburg, Russia
2006-09

Architects and Their Chairs “I”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On May 14th

                         “I” is for Isozaki

Image via Architects Architecture Archtectuul

Image via Architects Architecture Archtectuul

Arata Isozaki was born in Oita City, Japan, in 1931. He studied with Kenzo Tange, one of Japan’s leading modern architects, at the University of Tokyo from 1950 to 1954.  He worked for Tange for a number of years and then went out on his own, but continued to collaborate with KT into the 70’s. This attitude is in keeping with native Japanese practices that stress collaboration and cooperation, rather than competition, among professionals. Encyclopedia.com

Architecture writer Martin Filler called Isozaki and his wife, sculptor Aiko Miyawaki, “true cultural citizens of the world.” Raised in a home where his businessman father wrote haiku poetry, he later was attracted toward the avant-garde and readily called his tastes “radical” in everything from music to literature. LA Times:Tastemakers

 

              Furniture & Architecture

 One can see how Japanese design is as much about emptiness as it is about structure – a perspective that comes naturally to the country that gave Zen Buddhism to the world. Japan-ness In Architecture  Arata Isozaki

“What is the essence of Japanese design? Perhaps it is best exemplified in the clean lines of the Marilyn Chair , designed by architect Arata Isozaki in 1972. Isozaki combined the curves of Marilyn with the narrow, vertical lines found in the Mackintosh high-back chair.”  Book: Japanese Design:A Survey Since 1950  Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), was in turn influenced by Japanese design. In its curved side view, the chair makes reference to the body shape of Marilyn Monroe. The chair is constructed of bent laminated wood and a solid beech frame. It retains its original leather-covered upholsteredseat.  Denver Museum of Art

 

Marilyn Monroe Chairs image via www.invaluable.com

Marilyn Monroe Chairs image via www.invaluable.com

 

 

image via: Arata Isozaki at 1stdibs Oval Dining Table and Marilyn Monroe Chairs

image via: Arata Isozaki at 1stdibs
Oval Dining Table and Marilyn Monroe Chairs

 

 

A Pair of Arata Isozaki Monroe Chairs made of ebonized beech image via: https://www.aspireauctions.com/

A Pair of Arata Isozaki Monroe Chairs made of ebonized beech
image via https://www.aspireauctions.com/

 

 

 In 1963 he established Arata Isozaki & Associates, the base from which he continued to work ever since. From his 1960s work such as Oita Prefectural Library, to his 1990s work in locations as far afield as Barcelona, Orlando, Kraków, Nagi in Okayama Prefecture, Kyoto, Nara, La Coruña, Akiyoshidai in Yamaguchi Prefecture and Berlin, to his 21st century work in the Middle East, China, Central Asia, and elsewhere, Isozaki has created an architecture so personal in its ideas and spaces that it defies characterization in any single school of thought. At the same time he resists the temptation to apply a signature style to his jobs, preferring instead to create architectural solutions specific to the political, social and cultural contexts of the client and site in question.  YCAM Re-Mark

 

via Arch Daily Architects: Arata Isozaki Location: Barcelona, Spain Project Year: 2011 Photographs::© Filippo Poli

via Arch Daily
Architects: Arata Isozaki
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Project Year: 2011
Photographs:© Filippo Poli

 

Inflatable concert hall by Anish Kapoor and Arata Isozaki in Matsushima, Japan 52-Weeks-52-CIties-by-Iwan-Baan_Ark-Nova-Isozaki_dezeen_22 Baan is known for eschewing the traditional approach of shooting buildings in isolation. He says his aim with every shoot is to capture the life both within and surrounding the built environment.

Inflatable concert hall by Anish Kapoor and Arata Isozaki in Matsushima, Japan 52-Weeks-52-CIties-by-Iwan-Baan_Ark-Nova-Isozaki_dezeen_22  Baan is known for eschewing the traditional approach of shooting buildings in isolation. He says his aim with every shoot is to capture the life both within and surrounding the built environment.

 

GreatBuildings.com Image - Team Disney Building by ARATA ISOZAKI

GreatBuildings.com Image – Team Disney Building by ARATA ISOZAKI

 

Isozaki draws from a wide-ranging store of references. MOCA’s pyramid-shaped skylights do indeed reflect Egyptian pyramids, for instance, but they are also simple geometric forms. Influenced first by his teacher, the prominent Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, by Le Corbusier and, later, by Otto Wagner, the architect builds on rather than discards his traditional training.

 

Image via The Vintage Poster

Image via The Vintage Poster

 

As the first museum ever to be entirely dedicated to the human species, Domus shines as a source of pride for Galicia. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki designed the Domus complex, which contains a museum, restaurant and IMAX theater, to look like a ship sail. davidsbeenhere

Domus shines as a source of pride for Galicia. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki designed the Domus complex.

Domus shines as a source of pride for Galicia. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki designed the Domus complex

 

Arata Isozaki was instantly recognizable by his distinctive style of dress. He often wore traditional Japanese clothing, and he favored the color black. He appeared on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in 1986, dressed in a “dazzingly” fashionable Issey Miyake creation. By presenting himself as being sartorially distinct from the crowd, Isozaki provided a contemporary parallel to the flamboyant Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous American architect (and admirer of Japanese culture) who continued to affect Victorian dress long after it passed out of style. Encyclopedia.com

 

Bar Italia News Arata Isozaki

Bar Italia News Arata Isozaki

 

Irata Isozaki, Japanese architect, teacher and theorist. He will be remembered as the designer of such prestigious international projects as Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tokyo University of Art and Design, the Team Disney Building in Orlando, FL…..and the list goes on.

I feel compelled to share this other aspect to his architectural aesthetic that came up often in my research and should be considered when you look at his body of work. Being Japanese brought both light and darkness to the architecture.

 There is thus always an undercurrent of morbid scepticism lying beneath the exuberance of his aesthetic form—a darkness of spirit that became overt from time to time. In his Electric Labyrinth (1968), designed for the Triennale in Milan, for example, the exhibition was haunted by an image of the devastated Hiroshima, combined with traditional Japanese ghosts and demons representing the revengeful spirits of the nuclear disaster. MOMA.org

 

Iraklis/Tumblr

Iraklis/Tumblr

 

 

We work hard to accurately credit all of our resources, both words and images. If we have made any errors or omissions please contact us and we will correct our information.

Architects and Their Chairs “G”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 21st

                        “G” is for Gehry

 

Frank-Owen-Gehry

 

 Frank Owen Gehry was born in Toronto, Canada on February 28, 1929. He studied at the University of Southern California and Harvard University. Frank was creative at a young age, building imaginary homes and cities from items found in his grandfather’s hardware store. This interest in unconventional building materials would come to characterize Gehry’s architectural work.  information via, Ruarte Contract

 

      image via, http://ruartecontract.com/frank-gehry-architecture-decoration-materials/

image via  Ruarte Contract

 

Gehry creates unexpected, twisted forms that break conventions of building design. His work has been called radical, playful, organic, and sensual.

His selection of materials such as corrugated metal lends some of Gehry’s designs an unfinished or even crude aesthetic. This consistent approach has made Gehry one of the most distinctive and easily recognizable designers of the recent past. Critics of Gehry’s work have charged, however, that his designs are not thoughtful of contextual concerns and frequently do not make the best use of valuable urban space.

 

My first experience of his work in 2007...love at first sight...University of Iowa

My first experience of his work in 2007…love at first sight…University of Iowa

 

His style has been called Deconstructivist —a post-structuralist aesthetic that challenges accepted design paradigms of architecture while breaking with the modernist ideal of form following function.Frank Gehry looks for an architecture more and more free, with virtuous lines and complex forms, in which the light and its reflection is a principal matter. Furthermore, he is unique in the election of materials, each one more and more unusual giving his works an artistic quality unequaled.   information via, http://www.biography.com/people/frank-gehry-

 

Preliminary sketches for the Panama Puente de Vida Museo | © Frank O. Gehry https://www.foga.com/

Preliminary sketches for the Panama Puente de Vida Museo | © Frank O. Gehry

https://www.foga.com/


“a sculptor that studied architecture”

EMP’s futuristic Frank O. Gehry designed building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. If its 400 tons of structural steel were stretched into the lightest banjo string it would extend one-fourth of the way to Venus. Photo courtesy of EMP staff. A world-renowned architect, Frank O. Gehry has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1989), the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award (1994), the National Medal of Arts (1998), a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1999), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2000). Photo courtesy of EMP staff.

EMP’s futuristic Frank O. Gehry designed building is constructed of over 21,000 aluminum and stainless steel shingles and 280 steel ribs. If its 400 tons of structural steel were stretched into the lightest banjo string it would extend one-fourth of the way to Venus.

A world-renowned architect, Frank O. Gehry has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize (1989), the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award (1994), the National Medal of Arts (1998), a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (1999), and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2000).

Photo courtesy of EMP staff.Situated at the base of the world-renowned Space Needle

 

In His Own Words:

“I approach each building as a sculptural object, a spatial container, a space with light and air, a response to context and appropriateness of feeling and spirit. To this container, this sculpture, the user brings his baggage, his program, and interacts with it to accommodate his needs. If he can’t do that, I’ve failed.”— from the 1980 edition of “Contemporary Architects”

“Building a building is like berthing the Queen Mary in a small slip at a marina. There are lots of wheels and turbines and thousands of people involved, and the architect is the guy at the helm who has to visualize everything going on and organize it all in his head. Architecture is anticipating, working with and understanding all of the craftsmen, what they can do and what they can’t do, and making it all come together. I think of the final product as a dream image, and it’s always elusive. You can have a sense of what the building should look like and you can try to capture it. But you never quite do.”— Conversations With Frank Gehry by Barbara Isenberg, p. 62

information via, http://architecture.about.com/od/greatarchitects/p/gehry.htm

 

EMP Museum – Seattle At the base of the Space Needle, Gehry framed the EMP Museum to look as if its steel-and-aluminum skin is flapping in the wake of Seattle’s famous monorail.
EMP Museum – Seattle
At the base of the Space Needle, Gehry framed the EMP Museum to look as if its steel-and-aluminum skin is flapping in the wake of Seattle’s famous monorail. The building’s remarkable architectural form and sophisticated use of colors and textures can be traced to a melted Stratocaster guitar that served as inspiration to the architect Frank O. Gehry. Architectural Digest

 

 

 Idiosyncratic as it is said to be, Gehry’s philosophy toward designing is simple. He stays original and attempts to balance out the current trends of plain modernism with his own spice. Gehry mirrors the crazy, chaotic, insane aspects of life in his buildings. Like Gehry said himself, “What is architecture? It’s a three-dimensional object, right? So why can’t it be anything?”   www.SilverCreek

 

                                                                                    Furniture

 

EMECO TUYOMYO BENCH DESIGN BY FRANK GEHRY 2009 Emeco with Gehry: A Collaboration in Support of Hereditary Disease Research “Tuyomyo” Yours and Mine: One-of-a-Kind

EMECO TUYOMYO BENCH DESIGN BY FRANK GEHRY 2009
Emeco with Gehry: A Collaboration in Support of Hereditary Disease Research
“Tuyomyo” Yours and Mine: One-of-a-Kind

 

furniture-by-frank-gehry-architect-decor/
furniture-by-frank-gehry-architect-decor/

Gehry had success in the 1970s with his line of Easy Edges chairs made from bent laminated cardboard. By 1991, Gehry was using bent laminated maple to produce the Power Play Armchair. These designs are part of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) collection in NYC.

 

Frank O. Gehry, Easy Edges lounge chair, 1972 www.sfmoma.org

Frank O. Gehry, Easy Edges lounge chair, 1972

www.sfmoma.org

One of the more spectacular 70s chairs is Frank O. Gehry's cardboard chair, Wiggle Side Chair, which is made out of 60 layers of closely compressed ... www.archithings.com

One of the more spectacular 70s chairs is Frank O. Gehry’s cardboard chair, Wiggle Side Chair, which is made out of 60 layers of closely compressed …

www.archithings.com

Frank Gehry Face Off café table and 4 Cross Check arm chairs ...
Frank Gehry Face Off café table and 4 Cross Check arm chairs …

  • The most prominent influence of Gehry’s childhood was the love of fish. The elements he loved in the fish can be constantly seen in all of his buildings. It got him into thinking freely.

“The fish is a perfect form.” –Frank O. Gehry, 1986

 

The shape of the fish is what got me thinking freely. Via silvercreek http://bit.ly/11HXlQU
The shape of the fish is what got me thinking freely. Via silvercreek

 

We always aim to give credit for all images and information, in the event we fail to do that please notify us and we will correct the error. LMV

 

Architects and Their Chairs “B”

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On May 12th

     B is For Breuer

Marcel Breuer image via The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research

Marcel Breuer image via The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research

 

 

Marcel Lajos Breuer was born May 21,1902 in Hungary. He attended university at the Bauhaus School and later was a teacher in the carpentry department. When he came to the United States he was a professor at Harvard University (1937-46) in the School of Architecture.

 First recognized for his invention of bicycle-handlebar-inspired tubular steel furniture, he designed his most famous creation, the Wassily Chair, so called after being admired by artist Wassily Kandinsky. It was the first chair to feature a bent steel frame. Breuer designed a whole range of tubular metal furniture including chairs, tables, stools and cupboards. Tubular steel has lots of qualities; it is affordable for the masses, hygienic and provides comfort without the need for springs to be introduced. Breuer considered all of his designs to be essential for modern living. Design_Technology.org

 

 Democratic Affordable Furniture for the Masses

                    B 34  1928

 

B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung

B 34 1928 via http://www.loeffler.de.com/de/sammlung

 

Breuer's flat aluminum band furniture (1932-1934) Image: design_technology.org

Breuer’s flat aluminum band furniture (1932-1934)
Between these years Breuer experimented with flat aluminium in his furniture. It was not as strong as tubular steel but was considerably cheaper. The seats were targeted at the mass- market and were sold in Wohnbedarf in Switzerland. The concave bands at the back are structurally necessary but at the same time are aesthetically pleasing.
The seat above is named the Armchair, Model No. 301. It is made from painted aluminium with a painted and moulded laminated seat and back. Image: design_technology.org

 

 

 

Plywood Chair

Plywood Chair

 

 

Lounge Chair

Lounge Chair

 

 

As an architect, Breuer worked primarily in concrete. Breuer’s buildings were always distinguished by an attention to detail and a clarity of expression. Considered one of the last true functionalist architects, Breuer helped shift the bias of the Bauhaus from “Arts & Crafts” to “Arts & Technology”.

 

 

jvworks: St. John's Abbey jvworks.blogspot.com in Collegeville, Minnesota

jvworks: St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota
jvworks.blogspot.com

 

 

[Marcel Breuer's 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA

[Marcel Breuer’s 1969 Armstrong (aka Pirelli) Building, pre-IKEA
Image and story http://archidose.blogspot.com/2008/08/ikea-1-breuer-12.html

 

1966 Whitney Museum of American Art. New York (with H. Smith)

1966
1966 Whitney Museum of American Art. New York (with H. Smith)

 

 

  •  The UNESCO building in Paris

  • Lecture Hall, New York University (1961, New York City )

  • Whitney Museum of American Art (1966, New York City ) ,

  • St. John’s Abbey Church (1953, Collegeville, MN ),

  • Ameritrust Tower (Cleveland, his only skyscraper)

Complete list: http://www.marcelbreuer.org/Works.html

 

 

We try to give credit for all information and images, but if there is an error please notify us and we will correct it.

An Architect Reflects From Across The Pond

Posted by Meto Mihaylov On March 17th

I am pleased to introduce my guest this month, Meto Mihaylov, Architect · Basel, Switzerland ·  Meto spent Christmas with our family in 2006 when he attended Westtown School in Pennsylvania, with my son Joshua.  Lo and behold, we recently connected again (thank you Facebook), and my charming Bulgarian friend is now an architect!  So naturally I queried….

 

Q:  What led you to become an architect, your favorite architect/s?  Did your time living in the U.S. influence you in any way?

 

A:  My name is Meto. I come from Bulgaria. I have lived and studied in high school for one year in the USA. After this I studied architecture at a University in Denmark and now work as an architect in Switzerland.

In my culture it is normal to pick a profession at a very early age. I was a little kid when I saw the ancient city of Plovdiv for the first time. I fell in love with its old buildings and with its atmosphere, and decided that I wanted to become an architect.

 

Untitled

 

NYC made the biggest impression on me when I was in the USA and solidified my intention to study and do buildings. Please visit this city at least once in your life if you can.

At University I learned more and more about the contemporary work of the 20th and 21st century. It is scary to see how Professors in Europe teach architectural theory no different than religion is taught in a religion class. “Le Corbusier is God, and if you question any of what I tell you- you are dumb”. I like it when people question things and point out defects in buildings. This is a constructive way to work and achieve better results. Architects must not be the ones who judge architecture because they are too immersed into it and lose the objectivity. We do not build for architects- we build for people, for children, for shopping, for doctors etc. I like to ask friends and family to give me their opinion on my buildings during the design process, because their view tends to be much more objective, human, and overall better than when I ask my colleagues.

My list of professional influences reflects my worldview. There are certain architects whom I like, but I always try to be fair and see the pros and cons in their work. I do not believe in unconditionally worshiping an architect like I see many architect friends do. The character of a person, in architecture, always shows up in the work, so I like to study architects also as individuals, in order to understand their thought process better.

I like the organic form of Oscar Niemeyer but even more I like his overall organic approach to life. The houses of John Lautner have a similar effect- a completely revised space which makes life better. He was also very good at sustainable budget houses, not only the houses for the rich, like the one in the movie “The big Lebowski”. When it comes to the ever-present-for-good-or-bad field of Modernism, I find Paul Rudolph to be the one who really cracked the code of the modern form and proportion, overcoming the haunting sterility of modernist structures.

 

nie

Lautner

 

I recently had the good fortune to hear SeARCH’s Bjarne Mastenbroek present his way of seeing things and I found a lot of common ground with him. He works in the real world, where he has a budget amidst a financial crisis, and has to build residential buildings and schools in Holland two times cheaper and three times better than twenty years ago. When you manage to do something like this, you are truly creative and innovative, and a real architect, unlike someone like Zaha Hadid, who gives someone sketches of an unknown spaceship, budget- unknown, energy requirements for building it and after- unknown, building time- unknown, “oh, and by the way- I designed it but you have to build it yourself, because I can’t”. So, back to Mastenbroek, and I will leave you with him. He will build the first passive hotel in the ski resort of St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps, where, until now, only the richest of the rich built the most unsustainable, most expensive villas possible (Norman Foster built his own house there). Mastenbroek made a research and he will heat the hotel with 60 cows, which in winter will produce more heat just in staying inside glass rooms, than a radiator or floor heating. No cars allowed, you will have to reach the place on a dog sled. The sloping roof will be a part of the ski slope. The Swiss government, based in the capital city of Bern, is going to discuss changing the law of the Canton (State) of Graubünden in 2014, so that the crazy Dutchman can do the cow hotel. Keep an eye out, you will see it happen soon.

 

SeArCH

 

Be careful with architects. I can tell you that this industry often makes people extremely selfish and gives them a mania for fame. They stop wanting to make the world a better place and start wanting only attention. Please do not trust that single persons create buildings just because the media find it much easier to give you a single name. Even Mastenbroek cannot complete a house alone. Buildings are done by dozens of people and it is real teamwork that brings about a great result in the form of a built structure. Thank you for reading this and look for the architecture that makes a true innovation.

 

Architect Meto Mihaylov Zentrum Paul Klee (by Renzo Piano) — in Bern, Switzerland. Paradigm Gallery's photo.

Architect Meto Mihaylov
Zentrum Paul Klee (by Renzo Piano) — in Bern, Switzerland.
Paradigm Gallery’s photo.

 

 

 

 

Architectural Lighting Nuances Nature

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On December 18th
ljusarkitektur-solvesborg-bridge-designboom01-1

The beautiful Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

The beautiful Solvesborg bridge in Sweden       

 Completed in 2013, the Solvesborg Bridge in Sweden is the longest pedestrian bridge in Europe. The bridge consists of a higher part made out of three characteristic vaults and a long wooden bridge for pedestrians. ljusarkitektur has developed a unique lighting scheme to enhance its landmark status. the use of color changing LED fixtures from lumenpulse graze the suspension cables of what is considered Europe’s longest bicycle and pedestrian viaduct.

The team of architectural lighting experts planned the lighting “with respect for the birdlife and is inspired by the migration of the birds during the whole year. In this way the character of the bridge changes over the year and the night. In addition to this there are a number of scenarios to be used for different events in the city.” http://www.ljusarkitektur.com/en/portfolio/solvesborg-bridge/

“The overall design was achieved without impacting on the local wildlife – to limit glare, the firm integrated deep, custom glare shields, which also hide the light sources. influenced by the surrounding fauna and flora, ljusarkitektur pushed the fixtures’ flexibility and controlability to program different color sequences throughout the year. managing to be both dynamic and understated, the glowing, reflective installation has turned the bridge into an attraction in its own right.” http://bit.ly/1hlrDLJ

 

I close with the words of Louis Kahn who was an architect known for his philosophy of incorporating natural light in his architecture. Indeed this project is LED lighting but the use of light takes it to another level and enhances the architectural grace of the structure and it’s setting.

“I sense a Threshold: Light to Silence, Silence to Light – an ambiance of inspiration, in which the desire to be, to express, crosses with the possible … Light to Silence, Silence to Light crosses in the sanctuary of art.”

Those who cross this bridge may not say these exact words but I am certain they experience “the sanctuary of art” this bridge gifts to the world.

 

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

 

 

Due to the length of the bridge, at intervals along the way parts of the nature have been accentuated with light, for example trees and reeds are lit.

Due to the length of the bridge, at intervals along the way parts of the nature have been accentuated with light, for example trees and reeds are lit.

 

 

 

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Solvesborg bridge in Sweden

Cuba’s Architecture Moderna….Mid-Century

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On January 23rd

 

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Workshops of the University of Villanueva 1959, Manuel GuitérrezWebsite for the photo is Arquitectural Habanera .org

Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Workshops of the University of Villanueva 1959, Manuel Guitérrez
Website for the photo is Arquitectural Habanera .org

Mention a place like Havana, Cuba and many images come to mind.  Displayed the world over, photographer Alberto Korda’s famous image of Che Guevara probably pops up, as well as outdated military apparel and classic cars;  cigars, Ernest Hemingway, communism– perhaps all of the above.  Mid-century modern architecture is most likely not found on that list.  Any quick searches of Cuban architecture would bring up salt spurned colonial structures of an eclectic and grandiose appeal.  A quick walk down a side street would be as if you had tripped and fallen into a colonial Easter egg basket.  Many would be surprised to know that Havana also boasts a fair share of Art Nouveau and Art Deco in its public buildings and residential homes as well as Mid Century Modern.  A blog we follow, mid-century-home.com  http://www.mid-century-home.com/mid-century-modern-homes/mid-century-modern-havana/ recently posted an article concerning this very subject, and with such personal ties to Cuba, PGMod couldn’t pass up the re-blogging opportunity, nor the subject.  My late, great, grandfather Lee Minor, spent several years in Cuba during the Fulgencio Batista years. Coincidentally which just so happens to be the same time period in which most of these examples of mid-century happened to pop up.  I mean, it can’t be that surprising that a place in which 50’s automobiles are so famously prevalent, that architecture from the same time period would be equally preserved.  PGMod wishes to give a nod to Cuban modernism and the influences Cuban architects share with the greater architectural community.
Author:  Joshua van den Berg  http://thechronicmasticator.com/

Lee Minor returning to La Habana 2004

Lee Minor returning to La Habana 2004
lumierefl, flicker

In 1939 Cuba’s first national congress of art gave a statement: We must strive to achieve a typically Cuban Architecture governed by the spirit prevailing in our country, always subject to the new modalities of architectonic expression….both form and spirit should abide by the atmosphere of the place and region where the new building is to be located….then continuing on this theme, Eugenio Batista emphasized the importance of the continued relevance of the Cuban tradition of patios, portico’s and louvers* on the materials level and gaiety and cleanliness on the spiritual plane.  (excerpt from, The Havana Guide:Modern Architecture1925-1965 by Eduardo Louis Rodriguez

* three P’s: patios, porticos and persianas (louvers)      =  The ABC’s of Tropical Architecture Eugenio Batista

“Many of  Havana’s most notable modern buildings have remained relatively unchanged since their initial construction. The economic forces of real estate development, which long ago would have demolished similar buildings in other cities, have been denied access to Havana, so it is virtually like a time capsule. However, this ironically fortuitous situation is likely to end when U.S. travel restrictions ease and the embargo is eventually lifted. ” [Leland Cott, ReVista,summer 2010]   Yes, things are changing according to newswire reports… the end of both real and symbolic obstacles to travel by islanders has begun, though it is not expected to result in a mass exit, it is quite a statement to the Cuban people.  With a passport and a national identity card, you can be off to America for a visit with loved ones.

Something else is changing here in the US as well. The Wall Street Journal reports that the other side to this story is  that Cubans would be allowed to travel in a “legal, orderly and safe manner” and that those who had defected from Cuba more than eight years ago, including scores of doctors and athletes, would be considered eligible to visit Cuba.

As a side note, I was born and raised in Miami, my dad and his three brothers traveled frequently to Cuba and had a business there during the 40’s. I was raised on stories of Cuba, and lived not far from the famous Calle Ocho.  My dad’s clear blue eyes glossed over with love when he spoke of his time spent in Cuba.  From Jai Alai, Hemingway, Cuba Libre’s, to La Floridita, and on and on, but especially the Cuban people.   As the story goes, my mother made the decision for us to live in Miami not Cuba. My father returned to Cuba in 2004 at 90 with the Hemingway Society, traveling via Mexico….it was a meaningful continuation and culmination of his long love affair with the island.

The political climate, leading to the revolution was a strong component of Cuba’s mid century modern story. ” Architecture has the power to do more than provide shelter for human activities and everyday life—it has the power to embody the highest values of our culture. It can  also express the ethos of a particular historical moment and provide inspiration for the generations that follow.

che-fidel-golfThe now-famous golf game of January 1961 (http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/che/che-fidel-golf.jpg), after which Fidel Castro and Che Guevara decided to build Cuba’s National Art Schools on the manicured grounds of Havana’s famed Country Club—once the exclusive preserve of the city’s elite—has by now entered into the mythology  of the Cuban Revolution.”  Excerpted from a paper about Castro by John Loomis:

Following is a link to a video documentary about the National Art School…..Cuba’s allure and mid century architecture and it’s unique expression of modernism made in 2011: Unfinished Spaces: Cuba’s Architecture of Revolution….Directed by Alysa Nahmias and Ben Murray

Modernismo 1940-1959

La Revolucion 1960-2000

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There were many architects that were associated with Modernism in Cuba. This list is in no measure complete: Eugenio Batista, Nicolás Quintana, Leonardo Morales, Max Borges, Ricardo Porro, Roberto Gottardi, Vittorio Garatti, Richard Neutra, Phillip Johnson, Pedro Pablo Mantilla, Maria Teresa Fernñdez, Antonio Quintana and Manuel Guitérrez.

The Modern Regionalist ideas developed in Cuba make that movement one of the most brilliant moments of Cuban architecture. With their works, Cuban architects substantiated Ernesto Rogers statement:

“Modernity does not contradict tradition, it is actually the most developed instance of tradition itself.”

La Casa de Noval,1949  Architect: Mario Romanach

La Casa de Noval,1949 Architect: Mario Romanach