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Archive for August, 2008

Credit Flickr.com/photos/flyian
Credit Flickr.com/photos/flyian

The blog Contemporist has a post up with tantalizing pictures of the (formerly TWA but now) Jet Blue Flight center.

Credit: OTG Management

Terminal 5, as it is known at JFK airport ,is one of my favorite buildings of all time.  Its dramatic swooping exterior suggests it is in permanent motion, which is quite a feat for steel wrapped in concrete.  In 2001 the building fell into disuse as those who appreciated it pondered how to keep it in circulation.  Luckily it was bought up a few years later by the aesthetically conscious bargain airline JetBlue to expand their presence at the busy hub.  They’ll be re-opening in just a couple months on October 1st, right in the middle of an well-timed retrospective of its architect, Eero Saarinen’s work at Minneapolis’ Walker Art center.

The photo posted by Contemporist shows an interior that at least suggests the oh-so-midcentury curves and undulations of the former lounges that graced the cavernous monument.  Other photos found in New York Magazine are not quite as considerate of the buildings past.  That is appropriate as the the rehabilitation of the building has been hit-and-miss from a preservation perspective.  Modern comfort and security needs dictated many changes.  The most starling of these was the amputation of one of the terminals eating places the, Trumpet lounge in one architectural historian called a “stupid, stupid move

JetBlue
Credit: JetBlue

Despite the controversy is is good to know the landmark will re-open with at least some of its integrity intact.  I wish I could be their on opening day.

Other TWA / JetBlue Terminal 5 links:

Article from Galinksy.com

More vintage photos of the TWA FlightCenter lounges

A ton of great contemporary photos of the JetBlue Flight Center

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I have been smited by the techno-gods yet again.

I am away from home and away from my computer at the moment which means Architecture School season pass is useless.  It really is quite frustrating but it could be worse.

Some people can’t watch the show at all.  It has been reported in the comments the show is not available for download in Australia.  Why would the producers, or Apple or whomever made this decision not want the show to be for sale to every iTunes user?

Lucky for me Sundance channel will be re-airing the episode Saturday and I will post a recap and response soon after.  In the mean time has anyone seen it?  What were your thoughts? Do you know how to share it with our friends in Australia?  COMMENT and let us know!

For those of you who, like me, have not gotten a chance to see it yet the re-air schedule is:

  • Saturday, Aug 30, 2:30pm e/p
  • Sunday, Aug 31, 6:30pm e/p
  • Wednesday, Sep 3, 8:30pm e/p
  • Wednesday, Oct 8, 9:00pm e/p
  • Thursday, Oct 9, 1:00am e/p

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I was browsing Barack Obama’s beautifully designed website reading the mythologizing account of Joe Biden’s life story when I noticed an oddly titled video over in the corner.  It said Barns for Obama.

This is the first architectural endorsement I have seen in the campaign.

Anyway, just a little something to tide the blog over until I am fnished with the research project I am currently working on.  In the spirit of equal time perhaps I should do a rundown of the McCain’s six houses… or is it nine?

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Microsoft’s immersive 3D photo-stitching software is now live and ready to use.  The project (the subject of my very first post) is bound to be a boon to Architectural historians who must maintain, organize and interpret large archives of photographs.

Utility aside, it is just damn cool.  If you still don’t get it I have re-posted the developer’s YouTube explanation below:


Now that you understand it!  GO CREATE YOUR OWN!

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flickr/photos/nedward.org

Credit: flickr/photos/nedward.org

Bored with razing 19th century buildings Swedish retailer Ikea has taken to ruining modern masterpieces.

Who would have thought that a touchy-feely Swedish company would do so much cultural damage?  Come on guys you destroyed half of Marcel Breuer’s Pirelli Building isn’t that enough?  Do you have to tart up its lonely carcass with giant advertisements?

The the sleek USS Arizona Memorial and the sunken battle-grave it commemorates will soon have a shiny new visitors center.

I have visited the memorial and can attest to the cramped conditions at the visitors center and that it is visibly sinking into the ground.  The memorial and the sailors it honors deserve better.  I have only seen one drawing of the planned building.  It looks vaguely Polynesian and contemporary but kind of themey.  Lets hope it’s more Ossipoff than Disneyland

flickr/photos/Z-everson

Credit: flickr/photos/Z-everson

It’s a good time to be an old house.  According to the National Trust’s blog, the terrible economy means fewer tear downs and as a bonus the Congress’ latest housing bill bolsters preservation incentives.

It’s nothing to get too excited about.  The crappy economy also means fewer people have the money to dump into maintaining old buildings.  The NTHP blogger emphasizes that the cold housing market could provide the space and time communities need to form preservation plans though.

Looking for the latest exhibition on American architecture?  Well, pack your Urdu dictionary because you’re headed to Islamabad!

The photographic exhibition was put on by the US Embassy in Pakistan and ranges from ‘traditional’ architecture to the works of Gehry and Meier.  While you’re there you might as well soak up some of the new city’s architectural gems.  I suggest starting with Faisal Mosque.  I have always thought it looked like a Muslim version of the USAF Academy Chapel.

flickr/photos/*__*

Credit: flickr/photos/*__*

flickr/photos/aur2899

Credit: flickr/photos/aur2899

Do you see it? Think I am crazy?  Post a comment!

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Flickr/photos/anselm

Credit: Flickr/photos/anselm

Matt Davis of the Portland Mercury is on the hunt for an architectural white whale.

He’s written twice now hoping for information on and access to the old Portland Gas Company Building on Highway 30. I have to admit I have been pretty fascinated buy the old hell-hole too. In fact, I have talked to dozens of people who are desperate to see the inside.

Most of what I know about the building is from a 2001 Portland Tribune article. It is from the turn of the century (obviously) it was an office building for Portland Gas and Coke company (what a strange combination) and its current owners have no plans to sell it or tear it down. I can also recall hearing that the clockworks that once rested in its tower are somewhere on the Oregon State University campus.

What I don’t know is what it looks like inside and that is what I and Matt Davis and countless others desperately want to know. He teamed up with Portland Architecture’s Brian Libby and was resoundingly shut down in his attempts to view the inside.  There has got to be a way!

So do you, my scant readers, have any helpful information. If you do please! let me know! Also head over BlogTown Pdx and let Mr. Davis know as well.

UPDATE:

I have learned that the location of the original clockworks is in Benton hall on the Oregon State University campus and that the work was facilitated through an alumnus of the school named David Parsons!  It appears that the move came in 1988.  Does anyone remember this? Does anyone know who David Parsons is and if he can be reached?

There is apparently a file in the OSU archives containing Mr. Parson’s notes on the move.  Perhaps it could be helpful!

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Last night I  finished watching the first episode of Architecture School, the (perhaps mislabeled) Architecture “reality TV show” from the Sundance channel. I went to my computer, eager to post my reactions and of course my internet connection stopped working. It still isn’t up but thankfully, I have an internet capable phone so I can at tap out at least a cursory post now.

The first half of the episode was a quick paced, get-to-know-you of the students, their mentor and the discouraging brutality of the review process. I found myself uncomfortably shifting in my chair as I watched students try and articulate their ideas. So far the process of designing seems to be the heart of the show rather than any quibbling that may crop up around its margins. This sentiment is backed up by Architecture School senior producer Rob Tate in his comment on my previous post clarifying that the show is more about “collaboration” and than other competition based reality TV shows.

This focus on process, in design and eventually the building of the house, is brilliant on the part of the series producers because those processes are inherently dramatic and don’t need the extra dressing of absurd mini-competitions and cash prizes. The competition within each of the students the benign antagonism of their mentor will make for plenty engaging television. It is unfortunate that “reality TV” is the description that has been bandied about to describe the show. It is, as far as I can see, a documentary and deserves that more noble title.

The latter portion of the episode dealt briefly with the issue of context. We were introduced to the neighborhood and given quick sample of the previous two design-build projects. The first is inspired by the ubiquitous shotgun houses of New Orleans and despite being unmistakably contemporary, plays well with the surrounding turn of the century homes. The second home, which remains unsold, does not and is described both as the “house from space” and just plain “ugly” by neighbors.

I instantly recognized the house from previous reading about the project and I can remember being a little disappointed in the way it addressed its surroundings. I am hopeful that the house produced by the batch of students on the show will keep this in mind but even if they don’t, as one of the locals expressed this episode, a “house from space” would be better then the empty lot that preceded it.

I love the show so far and encourage everyone reading these words to check it out. If you missed the first episode on TV you can easily download it on iTunes (I did) which also offers a season pass for the show at $9.99. After one episode I can say with confidence it is worth the price of admission.

(thank you for forgiving typos and grammar mistakes in this post.  It was was after all, written on a phone)

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