One of the many great design websites out there, Flavorpill offers a daily news on the arts and culture. A recent feed from their Flavorwire was Mixtape which ranks the ten best architecture songs.
Atop the list is an ode to the Boston Behemouth, Rudolph's Government Services Center. They claim Government Center by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers is
The only anthem to bureaucracy — and the architectural altar at which all lesser bureaucratic buildings worship, Boston’s Government Center— we’re aware of. Richman and Co. confirm that, even with “a lot of great desks and chairs,” the best way to animate a space is with a dance party
We were thinking more along the lines of an all-night charrette in the studio.
You can find it HERE via YouTube.
Plug in, Turn on and Tune out...
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
(photo: Sean Hemmerle)
Paul Rudolph's Modulightor building, featuring the last residential space designed by the architect that is open to the public, was the subject of a fundraiser for Open House New York last month.
(photo: Hae-In Kim)
The event, part of the organization's "Private Spaces/Private Access" series to raise money for the upcoming Open House event later in October, featured a discussion about the building by Paul Goldberger, the Architecture Critic for The New York Yorker and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism.
(photo: Sean Hemmerle)
(photo: Sean Hemmerle)
More Photos of the event can be found here.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Since its construction in 1982, Paul Rudolph's Dharmala headquarters located in Jakarta, Indonesia has been considered one of the best examples of "green" architecture in the city. In fact, the government cites this building as an example of how other buildings should be designed in order to conserve the local environment according to an article in the Jakarta Globe.
The building, previously known as the Wisma Dharmala Sakti, is now called the Intiland Tower, after the Dharmala Corporation changed its name to PT Dharmala Intiland.
As reported in IndonesiaDesign, the building bears the slogan "Health of the Future," a catchphrase that was conceived by Paul Rudolph to represent a building that cares for the physical as well as the mental health of its occupants.
During the design of the building Rudolph was quoted as saying,
"Traditional Indonesian architecture offers a wide variety of solutions to the problems of a hot and humid climate. The unifying element in this rich diversity is the roof."The building plan itself is roughly the shape of a square, rotated around itself to create alternating floors of projected balconies and terraces. Not allowed to use exposed concrete by local building codes, the tower is instead completely covered in bright white ceramic tile. The resulting form was so striking that the Dharmala Corporation uses it as a symbol of its company.
While the occupants of the Dharmala building celebrate Rudolph's combination of traditional architecture within the design of a modern building, the owners of neighboring buildings do not see themselves as so fortunate. As reported in the Jakarta Post, owners of the Sampoerna Towers facing Wisma Dharmala on the busy Sudirman business strip believe the design of the building is bringing them bad Feng Shui.
As described on Wikipedia,
The goal of feng shui as practiced today is to situate the human built environment on spots with good qi. The "perfect spot" is a location and an axis in time.Feng shui makes calculations involving geography, compass points, design and birth to predict where to place certain elements in order to create harmony among the environment, the house, the owner and the living creatures surrounding them.
Qi (roughly pronounced as the sound 'chi' in English) is a movable positive or negative life force which plays an essential role in feng shui. A traditional explanation of qi as it relates to feng shui would include the orientation of a structure, its age, and its interaction with the surrounding environment including the local microclimates, the slope of the land, vegetation, and soil quality.
According to the Jarkata Post article,
In Feng shui, a sharp corner is considered "Shar", which means killer or disharmony. People surrounded by large amounts of Shar are likely to become embroiled in conflicts. Their mental and physical well-being can be affected.Feng Shui experts are installing 20 round mirrors on the facades and building a garden after having spent nights on the building's roofs to test the flow of energy believed to be emanating from the Rudolph-designed structure.
In the case of the Sampoerna Towers, known previously as Danamon towers, the sharp angles of the white high-rise designed by American architect Paul Rudolph, which stands in front of it, is said to be bad for business.
A rumor in the business world says the towers are losing tenants because of the negative energy.
Pei Cobb Freed, the architect of Sampoerna Towers, is not thought to have considered Feng Shui when designing them. Mr. Pei is considered to be a non-believer of Feng Shui, and his design for Hong Kong's Bank of China caused a neighbor to install a pair of metal rods to deflect negative energy.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The Paul Rudolph Foundation's website continue to grow in size!
Foundation volunteers have been busy requesting permission to reproduce and make available online newspaper articles and essays written about Paul Rudolph's work. As we receive them, we add new content to the Written Materials portion under the Archive section of the Foundation's website.
Today we added an article by Tammy Ayer for the News-Press.com about how the Walker Guest House on Sanibel Island was Paul Rudolph's favorite residential project.
In addition, we posted an essay by Cristina Mehrtens, a faculty member in the Department of History at University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. She wrote the essay as a result of her participation in a symposium held at the university to celebrate its campus’s 40th anniversary entitled "Brutal Identity: Paul Rudolph, the city and the renewal of the modern". It analyzes Paul Rudolph's design for the campus and includes multiple images of the campus's exterior and interiors.
Continue to check out the website as we will be adding more content soon - and are working on a section of the site that will feature individual project materials including images, documents and project histories.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
This past Saturday the Paul Rudolph Foundation was visted by Nora Leung, a Hong Kong architect who worked as the project manager for Paul Rudolph on the design on the Lippo Centre - known then as the Bond Centre. Mrs. Leung, who worked closely with Mr. Rudolph from 1983 until his death in 1997, was fascinating in her recollections of what it was like to work with him on various projects in and around Asia.
In addition, Mrs. Leung gave the Foundation permission to reproduce material from her book "Experiencing Bond Centre" which is about the building's design and what it was like for her to work with Paul Rudolph during its construction. We are excited to have her invaluable assistance in putting together the archival materials of not only the Bond Centre, but her knowledge about the other buildings Mr. Rudolph designed during the last two decades of his life.
One of the more interesting stories told by Mrs. Leung was of Paul Rudolph's lectures to architects in Taiwan and China. The fact that Mr. Rudolph was given the opportunity to deliver a speech in China was a rare honor during a time when not many Western architects were studied in the country. With her assistance, we are working to assemble records of his travels and lectures.
The Paul Rudolph Foundation is thankful to Mrs. Leung for her offer to add materials to the archives and help "fill-in" missing information regarding the later work. As soon as we are finished - a link to the material will go up on the archives page of the Paul Rudolph Foundation's website - www.paulrudolph.org
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Nicolai Ouroussoff's Future Vision Banished to the Past laments the pending loss of Kisho Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower. Recognized by its inhabitants as being 'squalid' and 'cramped' they voted to demoish it and start over. While this would be the erasure of a key example of one of the few realized and even fewer extant examples of the Japanese Metablolist stlyle, its preservation would go against the very tenants of the style's own making.
Introduced at the World Design Conference in Tokyo in 1960, by the Japanese Architects Kenzo Tange, Kisho Kurokawa, and Kiyonoru Kikutake, this style was intended to create structures that were
thought of as a tree- a permanent element, with the dwelling units as leaves- temporary elements which fall down and are renewd according to the needs of the moment. The buildings can grow within this structure and die and grow again- but the structure remains
The structure within Kurokawa's tree is not the problem- but the leaves themselves. Outmoded, these machines for living hang on. Contrary to the Metabloist mantra, they were never regenerated. They are all in their autumnal state with no new buds to take their place.
Ideally Toyota or another local company would come along with 'this years model' and allow the movement to realize its intent of guided rebirth. It could even be a yearly design competition in the way that their wildly popular Uniqlo commands hundreds of entries from around the country for its t-shirt designs every year. Had this ocurred periodically throughout its 37 years of existence, Japan would have a lovely ecclectic monument to their technological advances, architectural integrity and megastructure sensibility all in one. It would also provide legitimacy to the
original Metabolist claims.
This vertical "used car lot" could perhaps allow one original unit to remain intact as a testament to the movement- a control unit to measure this scientific, social and techological experiment against. With so many still intact this vision is still possible in ways America has missed out on (of the hundreds of homes built in Levittown, NY as the last published inventory, only TWO remained unaltered from their original states).
As Ouroussoff explains,
In theory, more capsules could be plugged-in or removed whenever needed. The idea was to create a completely flexible system, one that could be adapted to the needs of a fast-paced, constantly changing society. The building became a symbol of Japan's technological ambitions, as well as of the increasingly nomadic existence of the white-collar worker.
But resistence against change, and the impractical nature of replacement modules has left this building static, and unable to achieve the flexibility its creation strove to realize. The author's very acknowledgement that nobody has "stepped up with a viable plan for how to save it" is ironic in that its salvation is in own leprosy and regeneration. It by its very existence was meant to shed its parts to the technological trash heap and be rebuilt. What would ever be expected to remain is the "permanent"- the armature holding the units- a skeleton never recognized as the organizing factor and impractical out of the context of its functional living-pod "ornaments".
The Japanese claiming ownership for Metablosim is akin to the Modernists hijacking their term from future use in the discipline and even Rudolph taking credit for the Sarasota or Regional Style. Forever linking Regionalism to Florida, the style negates its potential for ubiquity based upon design responsive to the climate and context. Similarly the Japanese were not the only ones to pursue Metabolism.
While Rudolph was known to be a Regonalist, a Brutalist, a Late Modernist, or, if like other blogs you read and quote the mis-informed Wikipedia page, he's apparently also a "cubist".
Regardless, the Japanese Metabloist in him is also present. His figuration of the Buffalo Waterfront (image Left), although never fully realized, was a massive expansion of the city into the water, similar to Kenzo Tange's progressive, and aggressive proposal for Tokyo.
Perhaps his most famous Metabolist-like proposals are for the Lower Manhattan Expressway aka LoMEx (image Below) and the Graphic Arts Center (image Left). Both of these proposals were mega-structures which straddled the city beneath. By building structures where buildings weren't suppsed to go i.e. on the grid lines themselves and not within the grid, Rudolph created serpantine armatures to install his prefabricated "20th Century Brick"s of moudlar houses. Growing, aggregating and reorganizing, these proposals were largely D.O.A. but provide a fantastic insight to the further densification of the city, one perhaps future generations will come to realize.
In viewing these one cannot help but recall Kenzo Tange's design studio at Harvard when he brought Metabolism to Massachusetts (image Below).
The similarities are more than coincidence. If Tange's proposal were built, it would have transformed the Harbor and extended the valuable waterfront views to the masses.
If Rudolph's got built, they would perhaps be his most recognizable structures, and the most protected from deomolition as by their very construction, they would call for reorganization and constant change. A preservation via evolution.
Friday, July 17, 2009
In 1961, Paul Rudolph was hired by the State of Connecticut to design an addition to the juvenile detention center located in Bridgeport Connecticut. Like many other small projects designed by Mr. Rudolph, it was unmentioned in the press that was focused on his Art & Architecture building still under construction.
With Rudolph busy working in the office above his residence a few blocks from Yale's construction site, he continued to design and build structures located throughout the Northeast that were doomed to obscurity once the press discovered his brutalist masterpiece upon its completion in 1963.
Despite being overshadowed, the buildings are no less examples of Rudolph's explorations of space and structure. 1961 included a host of small projects lost over time, reduced to a title on a project list - often without location or construction status. A parking manager's office for the Temple Street garage in New Haven (a model of which was created for an exhibit at Yale); a Fraternity house which currently sits vacant at Auburn University.
These projects represent the part of Rudolph's career during which he was melding the materiality of Yale's A&A with the rigorous spatial and structural geometries left over from his time in Florida. The work treads between the lightness of the Sarasota School and the ruggedness of bush-hammered concrete. The buildings were caught between the two points of his career that would define Rudolph's reputation - and as a result they got lost in the process.
Like all architects, not every work is considered worthy of publication. Rudolph was no different - in his many project lists found in the archives of the Paul Rudolph Foundation, the addition to the Juvenile Detention Center appears on only some of them. If the result was not to his satisfaction (which happened often to Rudolph) he would remove his name from it and strike the project from his curriculum vitae.
The Paul Rudolph Foundation is in the process of surveying and filling in the blanks regarding these projects (in addition to the more celebrated ones). Occasionally we find that buildings were built and Mr. Rudolph decided not to publicize them for one reason or another. In other cases, we find photos or drawings of projects that were never built but discover the reason for their remaining "projects".
The project known only as the "Addition to a Juvenile Detention Home" was in fact built, but in the process of finding more information we learned that its days are numbered.
A new juvenile detention facility was was designed by Jeter Cook Jepson/Ricci Greene Associates and completed by Turner Construction in 2008. The new building is down the road from the original facility, which is located at 790 Fairfield Avenue. According to a story in the local Fairfield Weekly.com the Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center is,
a facility that has operated as temporary housing for troubled youths from throughout the area for over 50 years. The campus, located on Fairfield Avenue, consists of 10,000 square feet with 28 beds, an all-purpose room and an outdoor activity yard.
The conditions, says Superintendent Kathy Vernon, offer tight quarters for the youths calling this place a temporary home. Vernon says the all-purpose room is where kids eat, attend classes and hang out when not in their cells, which reveals just how outdated the current facility has become. "We need to be in a better facility for our children," she says.
According to reports, the state had approved funding for a new facility as early as 1990. Now that the new center has been completed, the future of the original building with Rudolph's addition is up in the air.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel of New York's Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects are the subjects of a new exhibition at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Museum director Deborah Velders put the show together about the architects - who also designed the museum it is being shown in. According to Velders in an article in the Star News,
"Before I actually even got to this job I went to see Charles Gwathmey," Velders said. "Part of the reason I interviewed here was because (the Cameron) was a Gwathmey Siegel building. It's not that I'm so knowledgeable about architecture, I just knew they were an important architectural firm and it impressed me that the leadership here was serious about having an important art museum, just (by) their choice of architect. So I thought a good show sometime would be an exhibition devoted to their work, because I understood that people here didn't like the building."The resulting exhibit, "Inspiration and Transformation" examines five projects along the architects' careers over the past 40 years. The most recent work featured in the exhibition is Gwathmey's design for Yale's Art & Architecture building (now known as Rudolph Hall):
After their meeting, Velders said, Gwathmey "walked me to the door and said, 'I'll help you.' And now here we are, four years later."
Featuring a stunning photograph of the building illuminated by a lightbox, the display also includes a series of paintings of squares by Joseph Alpers, an artist who also taught at Yale. (The paintings are owned by Gwathmey and are usually housed in his New York apartment.) A video loop will show the 3-D modeling that was used to design the complex project, which Sprunt (the curator of the exhibit) said might not have been possible without the aid of computers.If you want to go see the show:
For Velders, "Inspiration and Transformation" has "the potential of trying to inform people in this community, and visitors, about the importance of architecture," she said. "Having had the great privilege of working in buildings by significant architects, great buildings I would say, I've seen the difference (in) how you work and live and feel just being in it."
What: “Gwathmey Siegel: Inspiration and Transformation,” featuring the work of American architectural firm Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects
When: Public opening is 7-8 p.m. June 22, and the show will remain on display through January 10, 2010
Where: Cameron Art Museum, 3201 S. 17th St., Wilmington South Carolina
Details: 395-5999 or www.CameronArtMuseum.com. Museum hours are 11 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Martie Lieberman, Sarasota resident and Paul Rudolph Foundation member, is offering a tour of modern homes in Sarasota including the work of Paul Rudolph. According to her email,
You are invited to join a small (fun!) group of architecture enthusiasts from Tampa and Temple Terrace, Florida, for a special tour of "Sarasota School of Architecture" homes and buildings designed by architects Paul Rudolph, Ralph Twitchell, Seibert Architects and more. Our final tour location will include a cocktail party for homeowners, architects and tour-goers. Join us!If you are interested in going, these are the particulars:
WHAT: Sarasota School of Architecture Tour
DATE: SATURDAY, JULY 25, 2009 - 1:00PM to 5:30 PM
WHERE: HOTEL INDIGO, downtown Sarasota, Florida
TICKETS: $50 PER PERSON. Your check is your reservation.
Mail checks (sorry, no credit card reservations) to:
474 Magellan Drive
Sarasota, FL 34243
Please include your name and email address - Martie will confirm each reservation received until the tour is sold out.
If you have questions, contact Martie directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (941)724-1118.
Thanks to Martie for the head's up and everything she's doing to keep Sarasota's modern architecture in the spotlight!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
As we've mentioned before in the blog (here and here) - Paul Rudolph's name has been coming up frequently when buildings are reviewed in the press. Whether comparing an architecture school in the Southwest to Yale's A&A or an office building in Florida to the Milam residence, Paul Rudolph's iconic architecture has left a lasting impression on many architects to this day.
During his lifetime there were other architects whose work appeared very similar to Mr. Rudolph's. Brutalism was big in the 60's for example - and many architects were inspired by the images of Rudolph's work in architectural publications. The result was buildings around the country that looked like something he would have built, but upon closer inspection usually lack the density that Paul's work displayed.
Rudolph also taught many well known architects - Lord Norman Foster, Robert A.M. Stern, Lord Richard Rogers, Stanley Tigerman, and many more in and around Sarasota. His influence did not necessarily result in buildings that appear like something Mr. Rudolph would have done himself, but his method of design is what continues to this day. When he taught at Yale, Paul Rudolph expressed a desire that the students not turn into miniature versions of himself.
Now, a new generation of architects who never studied or were employed by Rudolph have discovered his designs and used them as inspiration for work of their own. The most recent example is the work of Woods Bagot, an Australian architecture firm with offices around the world. As mentioned in an article in the blog Dexigner, the firm's design for the Ivy in Sydney includes references to the work of Paul Rudolph:
Designed by Woods Bagot and interior designers Hecker Phelan Guthrie, Ivy includes 18 bars, nine restaurants and a rooftop pool but the scale of the complex is "deftly understated" according to the awards jury of the Architects Institute of Australia (AIA).
"A reprieve for the public within a predominantly commercial domain, Ivy has been conceived as a house for the people of Sydney which redefines Palm Spring glamour and nostalgia," said Nik Karalis, Principal at Woods Bagot and lead designer on Ivy.
"As green oasis in the city centre, it draws inspiration from the modern houses of California and Florida created by architects such as Paul Rudolph, Richard Neutra and John Lautner."
Paul Rudolph's work continues to affect a younger generation of architects and designers, over a decade after his death in 1997. Whether directly influenced by a project he designed or through his ideas regarding scale, the need for "caves" and the influence of the automobile in architecture, Paul Rudolph's work is just as timely as it was during his lifetime.
If you know of another project that reminds you of Paul Rudolph's work, please email us at email@example.com and we'll include it in a future post.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Princeton Architectural Press has reprinted the book "Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses" and plans to release it August 16th, 2009. According to their website,
Paul Rudolph, one of the 20th century's most iconoclastic architects, is best known—and most maligned—for his large "brutalist" buildings, like the Yale Art and Architecture Building. So it will surprise many to learn that early in his career he developed a series of houses that represent the unrivaled possibilities of a modest American modernism.The book, along with the recent renovation and rededication of Paul Rudolph Hall at Yale, is credited with launching a renewed interest in Paul Rudolph's life and work. According to Joe King, he and co-author Christopher Domin have added a new preface detailing the response their book has received and the reexamination of Rudolph's legacy.
With their distinctive natural landscapes, local architectural precedents, and exploitation of innovative construction materials, the Florida houses, some eighty projects built between 1946 and 1961, brought modern architectural form into a gracious subtropical world of natural abundance. Like the locally inspired desert houses of another modern master, Albert Frey, Rudolph's Florida houses represent a distillation and reinterpretation of traditional architectural ideas developed to a high pitch of stylistic refinement.
Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses reveals all of Rudolph's early residential work. Along with Rudolph's personal essays and renderings, duotone photographs by Ezra Stoller and Joseph Molitor, and insightful text by Joseph King and Christopher Domin, this compelling new book conveys the lightness, timelessness, strength, materiality, and transcendency of Rudolph's work.
To purchase a copy, you can go to these websites:
Princeton Architectural Press
Barnes & Noble
Thursday, July 2, 2009
David Hay writes in Protecting New Canaan’s Modernism in yesterday's New York Times about an online survey of modern homes in New Canaan, Connecticut. The New Canaan Mid-Century Modern Houses Survey was sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Northeast Office, the New Canaan Historical Society, the Philip Johnson Glass House, and the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. According to their website,
The New Canaan Mid-Century Modern Houses survey was designed to provide a more complete study of Modern residences in New Canaan and serve as a national model for surveys of other mid-century houses in the United States.According to Christy MacLear, Executive Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House,
"The Survey of New Canaan homes was prompted by the demolition of the Paul Rudolph home in Westport CT in 2007. A part of the Judge’s decision to allow demolition was the “lack of criteria for significance”. That same year we were opening the Philip Johnson Glass House to the public with great fanfare and interest. How could our Modern assets garner such interest but simultaneously be threatened because of a lack of terminology, criteria or documentation?The home designed by Paul Rudolph that Ms. MacLear refers to is the Dr. Louis Micheels residence in Westport, Connecticut that was demolished in early 2007.
As Modernism is our newest entrant into the continuum of architectural movements requiring historic preservation, this tear down was a call to action. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, through the Glass House, partnered with the New Canaan Historical Society to leverage an earlier study done by DoCoMoMo’s Northeast chapter to expand/ enhance, publish and put on-line the survey of the remaining 91 modern homes in New Canaan. Across this site you will see our goals, examples and content to create better tools, common vernacular and greater awareness. Our hope is that other communities embarking on a modern survey will connect to these tools and expand this site to showcase the homes and architects of this newest era of preservation."
The Paul Rudolph Foundation joined with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation in the suit to preserve the home from demolition, when a local developer purchased the property and announced plans to tear down the home and build a new one in its place. The Foundation sent representatives to the hearings and was disappointed when the judge ruled in favor of the new owner, who had convinced Dr. Micheels to take the stand and tell the court he did not believe the house had any historical significance. The loss of the residence, the first "modern" structure the Connecticut Trust had tried to save from demolition, was a wake up call regarding threats to other modern architecture both in the state and elsewhere.
In an effort to increase grassroots awareness about the need to preserve modern american architecture (defined as 1935-1975) the Paul Rudolph Foundation established this blog, as well as a flickr group dedicated to posting images of Paul Rudolph structures from around the world. In addition, the Foundation is surveying remaining Rudolph designed structures to ascertain their current conditions and forecast future preservation efforts. To date, the Foundation has a list of 11 threatened buildings, after the recent loss of Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida.
If you are interested in helping the Paul Rudolph Foundation promote Paul Rudolph's work, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always in need of volunteers and donations (which are tax-deductible) to increase our programs and support our preservation efforts.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Harold Bubil, columnist for the Sarasota's Herald-Tribune, has written another article in this past Saturday's edition about the continuing demolition of Riverview High School. According to Mr. Bubil,
"After stopping a few times in the past two weeks to view the demolition of Riverview High, I must admit that it leaves me oddly unmoved.Mr. Bubil's feelings reflect a lot of what we heard during the debate of the building's preservation: that the building had been let fall apart to the point people in the community couldn't see it for the historic structure it had once been - metal roofs covered the skylights designed to bring light into the building's interior, fabric awnings covered parts of the exterior. In its place, the school board prefers a parking lot.
A lot of great things happened there in the past 50 years. A lot of work went into making that building, and preventing it from being torn down. Now it is rubble. Whether it is waste remains a matter of debate --and I am over it."
The demolition is expected to be complete by the third week of July - no later the end of the month. The 1958 dedication plaque, once a symbol of the community's pride in the modern glass and steel building, has been put in storage to make way for asphalt delivery trucks.
Mr. Bubil notes none of the architects he has spoken to about the building have gone to see the demolition. According to emails we've received from friends in Sarasota, members of the community who went to show their kids the building before it is gone were turned away by security guards.