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Archive for the ‘Modern Architecture’ Category

flickr/users/carolee

Credit: flickr/users/carolee

We previously blogged about an opportunity to own your very own Usonian house.  If you weren’t sold on that how about your very own Eames Case Study House?

Curbed L.A. reports that Case Study House #9 is up for sale. For a scant $14 million you get not only the Eames but the massive estate constructed in front of it which one Curbed reader described as an ABORTION!

The photo I have listed here does not do the structure justice.  The Eames house that is, not the abortion.  You really must visit Curbed L.A.’s fancy set of photos.  They’re beautiful. While you’re clicking around be sure to stop by Materialicious.  The fine shelter blog that tipped us off to the Eames sale.

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I’ve been avoiding the Facebook 25 things meme myself but the National Trust For Historic Preservation has jumped on the bandwagon with their own list. There are no details of one-night stands or grating habits though the do reveal a thing for country music:

  • 10.The Dixie Chicks played at the National Preservation Conference in Fort Worth in the mid-90s, before Natalie Maines joined the band (and, therefore, before they were famous).
  • 13. Country music star Kenny Chesney featured the Farnsworth House, a National Trust Historic Site in Illinois, in his video, “Don’t Blink.”

You should definitely check out the rest of the list at their blog PreservationNation.  I learned a few things and it is nice to see institutions getting involved with interweb norms.

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marstonAward winning blog Northwest History posts an impassioned, through plea for stimulus money to be used to re-create Federal Writers Project to record and document our disappearing past. I have written previously about how the current financial crisis could have a silver-lining for we in the history,  cultural resource management and preservation communities.  It will take cogent,  passionate ideas like this to make it happen.

While you’re at Northwest History I suggest you check out their fantastic survey of 19th century facial hair in Washington State.


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Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Credit: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jobless? Don’t want to wait for the new Federal Writer’s Project? Then I suggest heading over to Preservation in Pink and checking out their November post about hunting for preservation jobs.  The guide provides links and enough advice to get all of you recent grads and recent layoff started.

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wtcmodel

The American Architectural Foundation is donating a giant architectural model of the World Trade Center to the museum that now resides at ground zero.

The massive 7-foot, gleaming towers were used to pitch architect Minoru Yamasaki’s design for the site. The foundation brought in a restoration team to spiff-up the model which was, of course, built to be temporary. For more details please check out the National Trust’s Preservation Nation blog. You should be reading it anyway.

I’m happy the model will be included in the September 11 Museum’s collection. The model is a work of art unto itself. I think it presents as good memorial to the tragedy as anything else I’ve seen. This model, built before the building, represents all the hope, community and team-work that go into a major architectural project. It is a symbol of the enterprising nature of humankind.

I can remember people discussing the design for the memorial immediately after the attacks. Given all that thought I have to say I am a little disappointed with the memorial competition entries and what the committee eventually decided to build. None of what was proposed has the simple clarity of the Staten Island September 11th Memorial.

The two, bent, wing-like forms of the Staten Island memorial easily suggest the towers and their absence from the view. The the fact that they are undelivered”postcards”, simply but profoundly expresses the sense of longing the loss of so many Staten Islanders brought to their community. It is one of my favorite memorials.

 

Memorials are built conscious of their place in history. This makes them interesting in the study of architectural history but can also stifle their artistic integrity. I feel like this may have happened at ground zero.

What are some of your favorite memorials? why? Do you prefer the simple, suggestive forms of modern memorials or the more triumphant early modes? Comment, I would love to hear from you.

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How would you like to live in an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed Usonian house

 

Well then I suggest you check out the Palmer House in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  I feel for the seller, the housing market is in a shambles which is why this beauty comes with a $250,000 discount.  Even with the price reduction the sucker still carries the asking price of $1,250,000.  I assume that is a shit-ton more than they bought it for, maybe two shit-tons.

Follow the link, and if you can stand the annoying new-agey music embedded in the site you can contact Bob Eckstien, the agent charged with getting rid of this baby masterpiece.

Check it out, and if you have an extra million or so around help Bob earn his commission!

 

PALMER HOUSE

 

For those of you who don’t have a million or more in the bank and/or not willing to relocate to beautiful Ann Arbor here is a list of other Usonian houses near you!

 

 

Lazy to even leave your house?  Here are some videos of Usonian houses all over the country, starting with my local Usonian:

 

Gordon House:

Silverton, Oregon

(more…)

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To me Frank Lloyd Wright exists almost exclusively as a solemn, still, grey image of a man in old pictures.  I am, of course, familiar with his work, everyone is but I would be hard-pressed to explain any details of the mans affect and demeanor.  If you asked me what would Frank Lloyd Wright seem like on a game show for instance, I likely would have shrugged at you and said “your guess is as good as mine”

Thanks to the fine people at the Game Show Network (with an assist from Edward Lifson) I can now answer that question by saying he would seem slightly bored and out of it.  I think just about any nearly-90-year-old-man would fare about the same.

I have to say I am amazed that one of the contestants (I am not sure who she was though I recognized Peter Lawford on the panel) figured out who he was with the tiniest amount of information.  That woman is either a super sleuth or peeked under blindfold.

There is an almost sweet moment at the end of the clip where he tells the blowhard host (who kept answering his damn questions for him) that he just finished a new project on the western prairies and laments not bringing pictures of the project.  As he earnestly describes his desire to share his work with the audience he seems less like the archetypal architect-megalomaniac and more like an eager new student eager to show off his skills.  I guess that is a product of doing what you love.

The project he is describing is Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Price Tower was the architects tallest project it is startlingly tall considering Wright, God of the low-slung, prairie-style, designed it.  Perhaps even more odd is that it towers above the flat prairie that inspired most of Wright’s work in a town of barely 35,000 people.

The high-rise which was perfhaps a bit gratuitous was once described as 19 floor to hold up an office buy th buildings patron, just the same it and the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wisconsin are beautiful, vertical rethinkings of the wide, wide prairie style.

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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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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.com/photos/jmchuff

Credit: Flickr.com/photos/jmchuff

Those of you in Portland are likely familiar with the now boarded up old Burger King restaurant on Burnside and Broadway. Well, according to Lost Portland the now decrepit building won a design award from the Portland Chapter of the AIA soon after it was built.

Oh yes, the building pictured above.

I think this illustrates beautifully our rapidly changing aesthetic tastes. I personally find the building quite awful but that may be in-part due to memories of the dodgy people that used to patronize it. I was once spat at while eating on a Whopper in its dining room.

None of that is the building or the architects fault though, and its award winning design indicates that it was important to Portlanders in 1978. Could it be again? If we tear it down will never find out.

Is this building worth preserving? Should we give it the mandated 50 years to find out? or should it make way for another condo project or some low-income housing?

Tell us what you think in a COMMENT.

For more information on the Burger King building head over to Lost Oregon. While you’re there, poke around a bit, It is a great source of the state’s forgotten (often Kitschy) history and one of my favorite local blogs.

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