Sometimes photographs are used to tell a story. Other times they mark the passage of time or celebrate a joyous moment or memory. And if we are lucky, we can catch a glimpse of what interested the photographer and how they experienced that moment. Today, we view much of our architecture through the literal and figurative lens of professional photography that circulates on design websites, firm pages, and social media. But how do architects see their own work? The work of their contemporaries? What happens when the architect takes control of the camera? The University of Southern California has digitized approximately 1,300 slides by architect Pierre Koenig and architect and color slide company owner, Fritz Block. Those images now reside in a public database documenting the pair's photographs of mostly 1950s and 1960s midcentury modern architecture on the West Coast. Koenig had already selected certain images for digitization in the late 1990s, though unfortunately that didn't come to pass. But now architects, designers, midcentury modern fanatics, and history buffs can get a unique glimpse into a wide range of modern architecture. The photo database's of projects include Koenig’s Case Study #22, John Lautner's Foster Residence, and Pietro Belluschi's Central Lutheran Church. “The Block and Koenig slides are two of the smaller unique collections in the possession of the USC Libraries,” explains USC on the collection's webpage. “They document examples of 20th century California architecture that developed stylistically from the foundations of the International Style as established by the 1932 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, titled Modern Architecture: International Exhibition, and of European pre-World War II Modernism.”
Posts tagged with "Pierre Koenig":
Art's power can be magnified by architecture. French artist Xavier Veilhan knew that well when he took over two of LA's most famous houses last week: Richard Neutra's VDL Research House and Pierre Koenig's Case Study House 21. The installation at the VDL, called Architectones, consisted of VDL-inspired sculptures in the garden, the front yard, in most of the home's rooms, on the rooftop, and even in the reflecting pool. Nods to Neutra himself and to the modernist movement included a large steel profile of the architect, as well as an evocative mobile and models of rather menacing-looking boats, flags, rockets, and cars. A couple of days later came the finale: a haunting performance installation at CSH 21 that transformed reflecting pools with black ink and made the transparent house opaque with dry ice-produced smoke.
Los Angeles is a great city for architecture. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to breeze past landmarks inside our cars with barely a moment’s notice. A group of young designers and cyclists in LA are looking to slow you down and up your appreciation level by setting up regular free bicycle tours to some of the city’s most iconic architectural sights. Architectural sightseeing is not a new concept, said Brian Janeczko. He organizes BikeHaus, a tour that mostly concentrates on mid-century-modern residential homes by the likes of Lautner, Ellwood, Eames, Schindler and Wright. A newcomer to LA in 2006, Janeczko discovered bicycling after suffering through long work commutes between Pasadena and Echo Park. In the process, he also found the now-dormant RIDE-Arc, a monthly social ride started by a group of SCI-Arc grads. He loved the concept so much that, when things started slowing down for RIDE-Arc, Janeczko continued the tradition in his own style. “I just wanted to engage architecture, see things that I wanted to see, and engage with a small group of people,” said Janeczko, who works as lead fabricator and project manager at experimental design studio Materials and Applications. Janeczko said that appreciating architecture on two wheels is a totally different state of mind than riding your car. “You work really hard to see something special [when biking]. When you get there, you’re a bit out of breath and in a state of euphoria.” Which is exactly how he wants it. Since starting in January 2009, BikeHaus has taken an average of twelve people a ride. While Janeczko has more modern tastes, James Black, Garrett Belmont, Kyle Pfister, and Branden Ushijima err on the more fun and futuristic side of modern with regular rides to Googie coffee shops. “There really aren’t that many [great Googie examples] left, there used to be thousands across the country and now they’re only a handful left in the city. Combining it with a bike ride seemed like a great way to take advantage of that while they’re still here,” said Black, a Googie enthusiast and also principal of design firm Architecture Burger. Every month this year, the Googie Coffee Shops Bicycle Ride series takes riders from The Village Green (where three of the four organizers live) to their Googie coffee shop of choice. Expect a ride, a good breakfast, and lively conversation. “Architecture, bicycles, and food, they’re all three great systems which we can enjoy our city,” said Black. It’s also a way to cross-pollinate cyclists with designers, said Pfister. “It exposes different groups to other groups. There are serious cyclists that you end up exposing to a new way of thinking and looking at the city. Then, you’ve got the architecture aficionados, who suddenly discover how fun it is to ride bikes and actually ride them for a reason, not just to bomb down to the beach on the weekends.” Needless to say, everyone is welcome at both of these rides. Contact BikeHaus (their next ride is Sept 17) at email@example.com. Sign up for updates on Googie rides (the next ride is August 27) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've heard plenty about the annual tradition that is the Esquire House. The mag transforms a chic address into the ultimate bachelor pad or "How a Man Lives"...along with hundreds of his heaviest-drinking C-list celeb friends. Last year the spot was Charles Gwathmey's Astor Place Tower, so this year they returned to the west coast, with a location to-be-revealed somewhere in the Hollywood Hills. But when we got the above invite to the Jaguar-sponsored event last Saturday, we took one look at the iconic Julius Shulman shot and gasped in horror. Was Esquire really going to turn the Pierre Koenig-designed Stahl House, aka Case Study House No. 22, into a den for men? A quick spin on the internet revealed, no, not at all. The Esquire House is actually a 17,000 square-foot Italian villa, located on Doheny Drive above the Sunset Strip and is the "perfect setting for the Esquire bachelor to entertain friends, attend to his business, and live his sophisticated vision of the good life." Designed and built by Dugally Oberfeld, and decorated by a dozen or more different designers, the house is for sale for $12.95 million, but we're guessing you can't move in until they steamclean the Champagne out of the rugs. So what's the deal with bastardizing the legacy of the hallowed Case Study program to advertise a place that's the diametric opposite to the Stahl House, both in spirit and execution? True, Shulman's shot is way sexier than, say, the twin Formula One racing consoles in the "Gaming Room." But we're guessing Esquire didn't want to expose this bachelor pad for what it really is: A McMANsion. Update: Damn, we hate it when our well-placed barbs are not so well-placed. The commenter below is right, we accidentally linked to the 2006 website for information. This year's house is actually less than half the size of the previous MANstrosity, and was designed by Xorin Balbes, Paul Ashley, Norm Wogan and Temple/Home. But it is for sale for $12.95 million. We would never lie to you about that. However! Our original point remains: If the house is so great, why show the Stahl House instead right there on the website? Why not show an awesome shot of the actual house? Heck, they could have even hired Julius to shoot it!