Look for Beauty: Philip Johnson and Art Museum Design Sheldon Museum of Art 12th and R streets, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE Through October 13, 2013 The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Nebraska, is currently celebrating the works of Philip Johnson, the influential American architect who promoted the International Style and, later, defined postmodernist architecture. One of his most iconic projects was the design of the Seagram building in Manhattan, a project undertaken in partnership with Mies Van Der Rohe. This particular project marked a decisive shift in Johnson’s career. Look for Beauty examines the design journey of Philip Johnson through the examination of three of his earlier museum buildings: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery (now the Sheldon Museum of Art). These three projects form a coherent study of Johnson’s developing personal style in the early years of his career. The exhibition includes models, plans, furniture, photographic murals, and archival materials such as correspondence, exhibition photographs, and catalogs.
Posts tagged with "Philip Johnson":
MoMA's renowned Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden will be open and free to the public from 9:00 to 10:15 am, beginning September 9. Designed by Philip Johnson—and preserved during the recent Yoshio Taniguchi expansion—the sculpture garden is one of the great modern landscapes in the U.S., and currently features sculpture by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Tony Smith, and others. With coffee and beverages available for purchase, the garden is sure to become a destination for quick business meetings and quiet moments of cultural immersion amid the hubbub of Midtown mornings.
Library officials and developers hope to give Boston Public Library’s Philip Johnson-designed branch a facelift, but as the Boston Herald reported, local residents question who these proposed changes will really benefit. Standing besides Charles Follen McKim’s 1895 Beaux Arts masterwork on Copley Square, and across the street from the site of the recent marathon bombings, the mid-century monolith, which was completed in 1971, has been likened by many to a bunker or mausoleum and derided for its “greyness” and “bleakness.” With nearly half of Boston’s library users regularly visiting this branch, some think it’s about time for an upgrade. Officials have set their sights on three areas of improvement for the library: enriching services, improving first impressions of the building, and creating “positive financial impact” on the library. Boston based firm William Rawn Associates have been brought in to find ways to better the building's relationship with its users, like opening it up to the surrounding streets and doing away with the heavy plinths of the building's facade. However, it is the third area of improvement that has the local community questioning the motives of library officials and associated developers, as some have suggested installing a bookstore and café where the children’s reading room now stands. “It means library space will be taken away from library users to support commercial enterprise,” said David Viera, president of Boston’s Friends of the Library to the Herald. Meanwhile, others worry that planned development will take away the best-lit nooks from readers and hand them over to commercial enterprises. Still others are thinking on a different scale. “Is it too late to tear it down?” one man asked. But with so much invested in the sheer material girth of the 10-storie building, and the preservationists surely ready to step in as soon as the project gets underway, that option is out—for now. Until then, and if the local Landmarks Commission gives them the go-ahead, the library is requesting $14 million from the city to get started with the first phases of design and construction.
Last month AN compiled a list of the most high profile projects taking place in Miami, and on a recent trip to the Magic City, we had the opportunity to visit two of these sites: the shuttered Marine Stadium and Herzog and de Meuron's new building for the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). While new developments flood Miami, preservationists are fighting to save and revive the abandoned Marine Stadium on Virginia Key by Cuban-born architect Hilario Candela. In 2009, the graffiti-covered venue that once held powerboat racing events and large-scale concerts, was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of “11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” Now that the advocacy group, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, has won the approval from Miami City Commission for its Virginia Key Master Plan, including the restoration of the 6,566-seat stadium, the next step is winning the approval for the site plan and raising $20 million. When the Miami Art Museum started to outgrow its cramped quarters in Philip Johnson's Miami-Dade Cultural Center, museum officials and board members selected Herzog and de Meuron to design a new building (now dubbed the Perez Art Museum Miami) right on Museum Park overlooking Biscayne Bay, what Jorge Perez, real estate developer and the benefactor of the museum, has said is the "last big piece of public land downtown." "The board wanted a building that was first functional, and not just a piece of sculpture," said Thom Collins, Director of PAMM. The concrete and glass structure is a nod to Stiltsville, a vernacular form of architecture originally built on the bay in the 1930s, and will house a variety of exhibition spaces to accommodate works of different scale. "Our project was principally driven by the recognition of the fact that Miami is becoming a home for contemporary art," said Collins. "Our building now has no room for storage or conservation, or education."
Director Henry Urbach just announced a program that will reintroduce fresh flowers into Philip Johnson's iconic Glass House in New Canaan, CT, where they've been missing seen since Johnson and his partner, David Whitney, passed away in 2005. The arrangements will be created by local designer Dana Worlock, using Whitney's original plant selection and archival photographs of the home's interior as inspiration. Meanwhile, AN is participating in this week's Glass House Conversations about themes in this year's Venice Biennale, especially the relationship between critical compliance as espoused by David Chipperfield and Spontaneous Intervention and as featured in the U.S. Pavilion. Share your thoughts through September 2nd. The Glass House 199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT 06840 Open Thursday-Monday, 9:30a.m-5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30.
On June 28th, the academicians of the National Academy welcomed 23 newly elected members, recognized for their contribution to American art and architecture. This year, the nominees included artists working in video, photography, and installation, further reinforcing the National Academy’s mission of promoting art across America. The roster of over 2,000 academicians includes famous pioneers of early American art such as Thomas Cole and seminal architects such as Philip Johnson. This year's inductees include visual artists such as Cindy Sherman and Bruce Nauman and architects Steven Holl and Michael Graves. Chosen annually by their peers, the elected members contributed representative work to the Academy’s permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks, architectural drawings, photographs, and models.
Blair Kamin seems to have joined the reconsider PoMo chorus, stating in his Sunday column that the movement “deserves a more sophisticated reappraisal.” The focus of the Tribune tribute was Michael Graves’s Humana building in Louisville, Kentucky. By drawing comparisons to Johnson’s AT&T building in its unabashed commercialism and to Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 333 Wacker Drive for its national significance, Kamin writes that “Graves crafted a tower that could only have been built in Louisville.” The reassessment comes on the heel of Graves receiving the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for classical and traditional architecture in Chicago last month, which in turn came after last fall's PoMo Conference at New York’s Institute for Classical Architecture and Art. Seems that the classicists are going gaga for PoMo.
The Center for Architecture seems to be on a lively arts kick of late. After presenting Architect, the chamber opera about Louis Kahn just a couple of weeks ago, last Friday the Center staged a reading of Glass House, a new play by Bob Morris and produced by the Center’s Cynthia Kracauer. The show employs a premise that sounds like the start of an ethnic joke: an Arab and his Jewish wife move next door to a WASP and his black wife in an exclusive Connecticut enclave… In the play, Anthony (Fajar Al-Kaisi), an Arab architect pretending to be of an undetermined ethnic origin, moves into his dream house from New York City with his uber-liberal Jewish wife, Abby (Rachel Feldman). Next door lives Tad (Joe Pallister), an establishment WASP, with his African American wife, Jane (Kim Howard), a Fox News aficionado whom Abby calls “the love child of Clarence Thomas and Condolezza Rice.” Anthony is obsessed with early to mid-twentieth century design and fulfills his dream by moving into a Philip Johnson-inspired glass house. Her husband's exacting anal-retentive design aesthetic slowly becomes the bane of Abby’s existence, as do conflicts presented by her new neighbors. What on first glance might threaten to be a production filled with insidery design jargon, turns out to be a rather commercial endeavor with an unmistakable Broadway-striving sheen. The play’s clipped pace and pithy one-liners are as polished and accessible as this season’s hit Other Desert Cities. In the manner that Desert Cities handles politics via a family drama, Glass House handles architecture via neighborhood conflict. As it turns out, Morris was inspired by the work of Desert Cities author Jon Robin Baitz, who once told him that “all theater has a lie at its core.” The play separates several scenes with direct quotations from architects that support the same notion in architecture, as in Frank Lloyd Wright's comment, "The American house is a lie." Here, the lie sits within a glass house. In a phone interview, the playwright described the work as a “boulevard comedy,” a term used to describe a brisk, topical piece. He pointed to Yasmina Reza’s 1995 play Art as one example. Here the topic in question is architecture and all the tics that its practitioners bring to their everyday lives. As Morris is married to a design-obsessive, the play speaks with a certain level of authority. “With mid-century modernism everything is so carefully considered that it becomes a conflict,” said Morris. He even wove a few personal anecdotes drawn directly from scenes at home, particularly an amusing segment where Anthony perfectly repacks Abby’s haphazardly arranged dishwasher. In real life, Morris’s partner told him, “It hurts my feelings when you don’t load the dishwasher properly.” But behind the couple’s “Modernist mailbox” and “Bauhaus bird-feeder,” rests a larger drama of secrets and lies between Abby and Anthony, which a nosy Jane strives to uncover. Anthony’s lie protects his business and social standing in a post-9/11 America. By exposing the lie the play dissects conservative mores of suburban New York while laying bare prejudices hidden within middle-class urban liberalism. While minorities Anthony and Jane guffaw at ethnic jokes, Tad and Abby react stone-faced. But later, Tad admits to enjoying the comfort of an unaltered tuna salad at the town’s clubhouse which excludes Abby and Anthony, and Abby admits to not wanting to pass by black teens on her way into a local shop. “Despite her good intentions her comfort zone doesn’t want to include a bunch of black kids hanging out in front of the deli,” said Morris. Morris, who owns a clean lined house in Bellport, Long Island, said that suburban “strongholds of historic charm” fight to maintain a way of life through appearances. “I think that’s where architecture fails,” he said. “It calms or titillates, but that’s not the form that these darkest emotional thoughts take.” For all the glory of Johnson’s glass house, the playwright reminds the audience that Johnson rarely spent the night there, preferring a windowless abode elsewhere on the compound. In a not so subtle manner, the author equates Johnson’s well documented Nazi sympathies of his early years to modernism itself: “When you have an extreme interest in how things should be to be beautiful, there’s an element of fascism to it, and that can transfer to a home when dishes need to be loaded properly.”
Prairie Hotel. After a 2-year, $18 million renovation, Frank Lloyd Wright's last standing hotel has reopened in Mason City, Iowa. The Historic Park Inn Hotel is a premier example of the Wright's Prairie style, and features deep hanging eaves and a terra-cotta façade. A massive art-glass skylight drenches the lobby in multi-colored light. More at ArtInfo. Library of Glass. Although Philip Johnson's Glass House library is transparent, Birch Books Conservation will soon offer the public a view the architect’s library without a trip to New Canaan. The non-profit publisher hopes “to preserve the professional libraries of artists, architects, authors, and important public figures through publishing photographic and written research,” with an inside look at Johnson’s personal collection, reported Unbeige. Mapping Poverty and Rebellion. The Guardian opened up the recent London riots for debate. Journalist Matt Stiles mapped the newspaper’s accumulated data of riot hot spots on a plan of London’s neighborhoods. Deep red stands for the British capital’s poorest regions, while blue represents the wealthiest communities. Metro In-The-Middle. The long-awaited Culver City Expo Line station was delayed by a disagreement between Culver City and construction authorities. Now, the two parties have agreed to the $7 million budget increase, which will fund a pedestrian plaza, bike lanes, parking facilities and pavement improvements. More at Curbed LA.
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Realizing the architect's final project using advanced fabrication techniques Johnson may have never known.Philip Johnson completed the design for the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas just before his death in 2005. Working with Johnson’s firm Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects and architect of record Cunningham Architects, the Cathedral of Hope, United Church of Christ and non-profit social advocacy group Hope for Peace & Justice moved forward with the building. Completed late last year, the chapel is a monument to the congregation’s pluralistic worldview and acceptance of all religions. Its smooth, curving walls are central to Johnson’s goal of creating a cave-like sanctuary that is far removed from the site’s banal location near the runways of Dallas Love Field Airport. The project team hired cold-formed steel framing fabricator Radius Track to help realize the design. As a contributor to projects including Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Grimshaw’s Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute outside Troy, New York, Radius Track are experts at framing large curved surfaces. Construction of the Peace Chapel began with structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti’s structural steel 3-D Tekla BIM model, which defined the asymmetrical geometry of the chapel’s approximately 3-foot-thick interior and exterior walls—the design is free of any parallel lines or right angles. Cunningham Architects converted that model into a Rhino 3-D model that contained all of the finished surfaces in addition to the structural steel details. Radius Track used that model to create its cold-formed steel framing details while identifying any conflicts between the structural and cold-formed steel systems. The team was also faced with the challenge of meeting the high wind load requirements of the tornado-prone Dallas area. Because the framing system needed to be strong but flexible enough to handle the chapel’s curves, Radius Track created twin structures to frame interior and exterior walls, using 3 5/8-inch 33-mil studs and track for the interior walls and 6-inch 54-mil studs and track for the exterior walls. The company’s CEO, architect Chuck Mears, added strength and saved time and material costs by designing a system that attaches both walls to the structural steel using a single horizontal clip. The construction also allowed consulting engineer THHinc to use only one support header in each window or door opening, saving the cost of creating additional curved header shapes. Radius Track fabricated all of the project’s steel studs in its Minneapolis shop. Clad in a skin of cement plaster supported by metal sheathing, the 8,000-square-foot, 175-seat chapel is 46 feet tall and 106 feet wide, creating the cornerstone of the Cathedral of Hope’s campus, which is home to one of the country’s largest gay and lesbian congregations. Johnson also designed a nearby bell tower, completed in 2000, but his plans for a grand cathedral adjacent to the chapel remain unbuilt.
Philip Johnson's Glass House in New Canaan, CT clocks in at under 2,000 square feet--tiny compared to the McMansions being built just a stone's throw away. The transparent house is widely known as one of the earliest and most influential modernist homes in the United States, but its size is also a lesson in sustainable living. Hilary Lewis, the Philip Johnson Scholar at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently hosted a conversation discussing how architects and designers can reshape public perception and build homes that are luxurious but small, like the Glass House. Lewis, who worked with Johnson for over twelve years and recorded his memoirs, noted that the house utilized interesting materials in unexpected places, from the brick floor and fireplace to the leather ceiling in the bathroom. The house also took full advantage of the surrounding 50 acres, said Lewis, who explained: "Johnson and David Whitney worked assiduously, removing trees and planting. It was a constant effort to carve a more interesting landscape. Johnson used to refer to this building as a permanent camping trip -- one with very expensive wallpaper." The talk was the first of a new weekly series called "Conversations in Context," in which special guests lead visitors on an intimate tour of the property. The program was inspired by the Glass House's legacy as a salon where Johnson and his partner David Whitney hosted conversations with the movers and shakers in art, architecture, and design. This week Lewis is also hosting an online conversation about how architects and designers can downsize the idea of luxurious living; go to the Glass House Conversations website to contribute your two cents!
La Vie Gigapixel. It's Paris like you've never seen it -- even if you have been there. A super-high-def 26-gigapixel photo of the city of lights (yep, that's 26 billion pixels) was stitched together by a team of photographers and a software company in France. Go ahead, pull up the full screen view and wander away the afternoon. We won't tell. (Via Notcot.) Metro Music. When Jason Mendelson moved from Tampa to Washington, D.C., the city's subway literally moved him to song. NRDC Switchboard says that he's creating a tune for every Metro stop across the system, each stylistically indicative of the station itself. Listen to his completed songs over here. Biosphere 2 at 20. Not often do we design entire mini-worlds, but then, Biosphere 2 was always unique. Now two decades old, the three-acre terrarium-in-a-desert is still helping scientists figure out life's little lessons. The AP/Yahoo News has the story. Scraps, Glass, and Stone. Curbed found a new book by Steven Guarnaccia transforming the classic Three Little Pigs story into three little starchitect pigs where Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright each build houses and the big bad wolf huffs and puffs (and critiques?) the walls down. (Guarnaccia also reimagined Goldilocks into a tale filled with chairs by Aalto, Eames, and Noguchi!)