Monday, January 26, 2009
Paul Rudolph's Milam Residence caused a sensation when it was built in 1962. Famous for its iconic Mondrian-inspired sunscreen, it was published no less than four times in the Architectural Record during the 1960's. Cartoonist Alan Dunn even published a cartoon in the magazine which shows a party in the house’s famous sunken living room/conversation pit, but adds a second, smaller pit and a host explaining, “That one is for small talk.”
Rudolph originally specified poured concrete for the Milam family, but smooth-cast sand-colored concrete blocks for walls turned out to cost only half as much: $88,000. He would go on to complete Yale's all-concrete Art & Architecture building the following year. The original client, Arthur Milam, still lives in the house.
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Monday, January 19, 2009
The destruction of Pennsylvania Station in New York in 1963 is credited as the rallying point that began the American Historic Preservation movement.
Paul Rudolph and Philip Johnson were among 500 architects with the Action Group for Better Architecture in New York (AGBANY) that marched on Penn Station to protest the planned demolition carrying signs that read "Don't Demolish It! Polish It!" Also among the protestors was Jane Jacobs, who was fighting against Robert Moses and his plan for the Lower Manhattan Expressway - a mega-structure project Paul himself would be asked to submit a design for in 1967-1972.
Now you know.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Yale has just announced on their website the list of speakers for the upcoming Paul Rudolph symposium this weekend. As we mentioned earlier, the Paul Rudolph Foundation plans to attend so we can continue to stoke the interest in all things Rudolph:
Architecture and Reputation
January 23, 2009
Kathleen James-Chakraborty, University College Dublin
“The Place of Regionalism in Mid-Century American Modernism: From San Francisco to Sarasota”
Kazi K. Ashraf, University of Hawaii at Manoa
“Tropical Trysts: Rudolph, Neutra, and Kahn in the Bengal Delta”
Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois, Chicago
“Rudolph’s Southeast Asian Architecture of the 1980’s and 1990’s”
Sandy Isenstadt, Yale University
NEW MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY
Pat Kirkham, Bard Graduate Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture
“Paul Rudolph: Plastics and Plywood”
Ken Tadashi Oshima, University of Washington, Seattle
“Rudolph and the Prefabrication of the 20th Century Brick”
Réjean Legault, University of Quebec at Montreal
“Rudolph and the Semantics of Exposed Concrete”
Hilary Sample, Yale University
Paul Rudolph Lecture
Adrian Forty, University College London
“Matter Immaterial: the paradox of concrete architecture”
Architecture Gallery, 2nd floor A&A Building
January 24, 2006
Sylvia Lavin, University of California, Los Angeles
“Rudolph and Private Interiors”
George Wagner, University of British Columbia
“Velocity and Breath: Some Aspects of Rudolph's Public Interiors”
Timothy M. Rohan, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
“Rudolph and the Perspective Section”
Joel Sanders, Yale University
URBANISM AND MONUMENTALITY
Eric Mumford, Washington University in St. Louis
“Rudolph and the Heart of the City”
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
“Paul Rudolph and the Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal”
Hilary Ballon, New York University
“City Corridor and Topographic Architecture: Rudolph’s Megastructures for Lower Manhattan”
Alan Plattus, Yale University
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Yale University
“Context Versus Appearance: Rudolph’s Reception in the 1950’s”
Louis Martin, University of Quebec at Montreal
“Rudolph and the Anglo-American Axis”
Emmanuel Petit, Yale University
“Heroes and Jesters”
Carter Wiseman, Yale University
WHAT RESONANCE DOES RUDOLPH’S WORK HAVE TODAY?
Sam Jacob, FAT, London
Lawrence Scarpa, Pugh/Scarpa, Santa Monica
Marion Weiss, Weiss/Manfredi, New York City
Dietrich Neumann, Brown and Yale University
Architecture Gallery, 2nd floor A&A Building
All lectures are to be held in Hastings Hall of the newly renamed Rudolph Hall, located at 180 York Street in New Haven, Connecticut.
Please call Yale at 203.432.8621 if you plan to attend the symposium.
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As many Paul Rudolph fans know, he began his career in the Florida community of Sarasota. Partnered with Ralph Twitchell, they created buildings that married a clean sense of architectural construction with the sun-drenched local climate and Floridian lifestyle. Along with other local architects, this style became known as the "Sarasota School of Architecture". For more information about the style and its history, you can go here.
Many architects were a part of this movement of regional modernism, and homes designed by them are rare and valuable finds. One of these architects is Gene Leedy. Gene Leedy worked for Rudolph in 1951, and the two of them designed the Lake Region Yacht and County Club in Winter Haven in 1959.
Martie Lieberman, a local expert on the modern architecture of the Sarasota area, sent us an email to let us know of a Leedy-designed home for sale. It is located on Drexel Avenue in the heart of "Leedy-Land" in Winter Haven, Florida. The house has been featured in Sarasota Modern by Andrew Weaving (see pages 98-109), and is well-known as the Weaving/Thomasson House.
Are you interested? The owner wants $255,000. Get in touch with her directly (right now!) via email at Nikolebeth@mac.com Pictures of the house with a floor plan can be found here.
And please contact Martie if you want to learn more about the architecture of Gene Leedy FAIA. There's a tour of his work available! You can reach her via email at email@example.com
Monday, January 12, 2009
As reported today in the Athens, Alabama News Courier:
Athens State University will host a lecture on local architectural icon Paul Rudolph at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 in McCandless Hall.
Sean Khorsandi will provide the lecture. He is an architect with Samuel Anderson Architects in New York, holds a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University, and is a representative of the Paul Rudolph Foundation of New York.
Khorsandi, who has been involved with the Paul Rudolph Foundation since 2006, has been active in producing a book of Rudolph’s authored essays, “Paul Rudolph: Writings on Architecture.” He is organizing a symposium and an exhibition covering a range of Rudolph’s work scheduled for late 2010 in New York City
The Foundation has been receiving a lot of attention recently as Rudolph's reputation has gotten a second look as the result of the celebrated renovation of Yale's Art & Architecture building designed in 1958. Sean was recently made Co-Director of the Foundation, and is currently putting together an exhibition to focus on Rudolph's work around the world that is threatened with demolition.
The lecture will focus on Rudolph's background at Harvard while studying under Gropius and his background as a native of Athens, Alabama. The event is sponsored by the Livingston Concert Lecture Series and is free to the public. For more information call (256) 233-8126.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Continuing the media frenzy surrounding the rehabilitation and rededication of Rudolph Hall, the Yale School of Architecture has announced additional lectures to focus on Paul Rudolph's contributions to modern architecture.
As mentioned previously in other posts, the Paul Rudolph Foundation plans to make the trip to New Haven to rub elbows with other Rudolph friends and fans. If you are going to be at the event, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org - it would be great to meet everyone!
The events, from YSOA's website:
Friday, 23 January 2009
"Reassessing Rudolph: Architecture and Reputation"
Adrian Forty, Keynote
'Matter Immaterial: the paradox of concrete architecture'
Afternoon session begins at 1:30pm in Hastings Hall. Keynote begins at 6:30pm.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
"Reassessing Rudolph: Architecture and Reputation"
Morning session begins at 9:00am in Hastings Hall. Afternoon session begins at 2:30pm.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
G.H. Smith Lecture
Restoring Rudolph Hall: A Colloquium
Participants: Elizabeth Skowronek, Paul Stoller (or Patrick Bellew), Robert Leiter, Arthur Heyde, Charles Gwathmey
Note: all lectures begin at 6:30 PM in Hastings Hall unless otherwise noted. Doors open to the general public at 6:15 PM
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Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Preservation Magazine Roll Call names the A+A renovation at Yale one of the great saves in PRESERVATION MAGAZINE's "RETRO IS BACK" while maintaining a sobering view on his legacy.
"Many Americans are embracing midcentury modern gems as worthy of preservation. Paul Rudolph's Art and Architecture Building was restored on the Yale University campus in New Haven, Conn. (Unfortunately, this was also the year that Rudolph's Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., was slated for demolition.)"
The magazine, which is the mouthpiece of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently did a Modernism Issue which featured coverage of his threatened BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD building in Boston and an online extra on RIVERVIEW HIGH SCHOOL in Sarasota, Florida, which is on the World Monuments Fund's Watch List.
The National Trust's recent attention to modernism reflects the precarious state many of our recent landmarks are falling into. We applaud their efforts!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
George, a PR Foundation member from Texas, recently returned from a trip to Dallas and brought us pictures of the Brookhollow project, designed by Paul in the late 1960's. In doing a little research about the building's history we came across a forum post on the Urban Exploration Resource by member Pandesic on 9/7/2005 about the building's (many) past lives:
The story of ONE BROOKHOLLOW PLACE is definitely an odd one!
The building was originally built by Texas Industries - a large concrete and building materials manufacturer - as a corporate headquarters.
In 1967, Texas Industries (or as we know it TXI Cement) contracted world renowned modernist architect Paul Rudolph to construct their new 191,369 square foot building. Paul was known for his design of modernist architecture and an odd modular design concept called the "Plug In City" where large modular structures would be built almost like big racks and apartment or office boxes would be built and lifted by crane to fit into these slots or "plugged in" connecting plumbing and electrical systems as well. Where as (One Brookhollow Place) does not exactly follow this concept, a lot of aspects of the building are the same.
Paul started the design of the building for TXI in march of 1968 and 10 months later on Jan of 1969 ground was broken in Dallas on one of probably the oddest buildings ever constructed!
Paul used a technique called precast modular construction or PMC as its known to architects. this process is done by pre fabricating walls, span sets, and all other structural aspects of the building out of reinforced concrete in large wood or steel molds at a remote location and then assembling them on site with cranes and other lifting implements. This process is partly still used in the construction of commercial buildings in a format called "tilt wall construction." Sorta like all the old 70's kroger food store buildings with all the colorful rocks embedded in the cement on the sides which was a technique also developed by Paul Rudolph.
The construction of the building lasted almost a year and a half ending in July of 1970. TXI moved in two months later and frequented the building until their decision to move to another building in 1977?
After that the building stood empty for almost 2 years when its second tenant Mobile Oil And Power Corp. moved in 1980 using it as their corporate headquarters as well.
Mobile decided to leave after a 6 year stay in 1986.
In 1988 the building had a dark cloud casted over it when it was condemned by Dallas code compliance due to the fact that it contained tons of asbestos insulation.
So just go in an abate the asbestos right? Well, that's anyone's best guess but the fact was that if the abatement took place then a construction permit would have to be issued to the abatement company doing the tear out.
But there was only one problem with that. It also had fallen out of code due to its 10 foot interior ceiling height which was changed to 11 feet for all commercial structures in the national building codes, and its inadequate electrical systems which were on a non bus system required by the new NEC national electrical codes which had changed in 1987.
Meaning that if a construction permit was issued for the asbestos removal all the out of code aspects of the building would have to be changed as well!! Making the project cost almost three quarters of the the original value of the structure!
So the place sat for another 4 years until two Asian investors came and impulsively bought the property in 1990 without looking in-depth into the fact why it was sooooo dirt cheap! oops!!!
So again the place sat and sat and sat. Being that the building owners where located a whole half a globe away the property fell into great disarray!
Vandals took over. The windows were smashed on different floors, water mains were busted flooding whole floors, and millions of dollars worth of damage took place!
It was even home to a large rave in 1994 which took place on the 6th and 7th floors.
From what I have been told the rave throwers duck taped large black hefty bags over the windows so that the inside action could not be spotted by the freeway outside!
In 2001 the city of Dallas listed the structure as a historical piece of architecture even in its disheveled state.
Then finally in 2001 almost eleven years later an investment firm Glen Lynch Construction decided to make a move! G.L.C proposed a plan to the Dallas City Council for a residential mixed use development. The only catch was the city would have to throw in a little dough too!
A small price to pay for getting rid of a big city eyesore right?
The estimated cleanup a code upgrade cost totaled out to around a cool $500,000.
The city said OK!??
So two months later the site was purchased by Glen lynch construction under the name PEGASUS VILLAS LTD which would be the name of the new development: a large scale retirement living center.
Then the S@*% hit the fan one more time!
9/11 took place and our economy went down the tubes - this put a hurt on the Pegasus Villas project! and things were put on the back burner for a while leading most people to believe that again nothing would take place.
In 2003 ground was broken on the project, yet it took in until 2004 for things to actually get into motion.
The interior of the building was completely gutted only leaving the structural supports and other elements such as salvageable plumbing and electrical systems. Then new windows were put on so rain could not enter the building and destroy any new work efforts.
So here we are in 2005 and just recently large amounts of sheetrock and other supplies have been delivered to the site which can be seen from the freeway resting in one of the alcoves in the base of the building.
Its been a long journey but we just might be able to see One Brookhollow Place Ride Again!
As you can see in the pictures we attached to this post, the building's adaption as housing for the elderly has been finished. No word yet if all of the units have been completed or rented, but stay tuned. We'll post more information as we get it.
For more pictures of the building you can go to our flickr site here.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Stephen Vincent Kobasa takes his own look at the Yale show Model City and dwells on the true spirit of Rudolph's work, relishing in its comfort with 'ruin' in Building Codes: Lessons in clarity from Paul Rudolph.
He summarizes the show and its film as a "record of a tragedy: The architect who triumphs then falls into disfavor, with posthumous honors come too late to save much of his work from the wrecking company"
Paul's often quoted inner modern struggle was between the CAVE and the FISH BOWL. One is natural, the other fabricated. Somehow, the former just fits its prophesy of ashes to ashes all too well.
Please read on in the NEW HAVEN ADVOCATE
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete by Jean-Louis Cohen, G. Martin, and Gerard Martin Moeller explores the multiple uses and characteristics of concrete. The book - published by Princeton Architectural Press - is described by the authors:
Produced at a rate of ﬁve billion cubic yards per year, concrete is the second most widely consumed substance on earth, after water. It is ubiquitous and easily taken for granted as the stuff of sidewalks and roads, power plants and parking garages. Concrete is also, however, a favored material of cutting-edge architects and engineers, who value not only its versatility and strength but its unlimited potential for imaginative expression. A hybrid substance made from cement, water, sand, and mineral aggregates, concrete--or liquid stone--has no intrinsic form. In the hands of talented designers, its ultimate appearance is dictated by the framework into which it is poured and the color, texture, or pattern applied to its surface.
In a series of essays by top architects, engineers, and scholars, Liquid Stone explores the nature of concrete, its past and future, from technical, artistic, and historical perspectives. Over thirty buildings by leading international architects including Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Norman Foster, and Santiago Calatrava are presented through detailed descriptions, photographs, and technical drawings.
A chapter of the book also discusses Paul Rudolph's fascination with the material's "oozing, slipping and dripping": in developing the concrete finish for the Yale Art & Architecture Building (now Rudolph Hall) he went through five months of experimentation and nearly three dozen casting samples.
As one reviewer noted, "Is it a harsh industrial material unsuitable for aspirant forms or a medium of unparalleled flexibility and expressive possibility? This book offers an intelligent answer to that question as well as a tribute to concrete itself."
The last chapter of the book is titled "The Future of Concrete," and deals with future trends regarding the much-maligned material. Translucent concrete - our personal favorite - is just one example of how new and novel types of concrete will continue to inspire future generations of architects and designers.
Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete
By Jean-Louis Cohen, G. Martin, Gerard Martin Moeller
Published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2006
ISBN 1568985703, 9781568985701