Posts tagged with "Princeton Architectural Press":

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Williams College: The Campus Guide unearths hidden New England gems

Williams College: The Campus Guide By Eugene J. Johnson and Michael J. Lewis, photographs by Ralph Lieberman Published by Princeton Architectural Press MSRP $37.50 Williams College: The Campus Guide is more than a tour of the distinguished liberal arts college in far northwestern Massachusetts. It is rather a scholarly history and informed analysis of the school’s buildings and their role in shaping the visual identity of a hitherto architecturally undocumented place. Williams is the 32nd volume in Princeton Architectural Press’s Campus Guide series, a twenty-year run that began with the University of Virginia in 1999. These handsome handbooks have enlarged our knowledge of collegiate design at some of the more notable American campuses. The quality, alas, varies from title to title. Some appear to be glorified brochures, while the Williams one is a major contribution to the literature. What makes this guide exceptional is that the authors and the photographer are respected architectural historians with decades of teaching experience at Williams. More important, Eugene J. Johnson and Michael J. Lewis insisted that the college give them complete freedom in their opinions and observations. (I declined to do the series guide for my alma mater, as it was apparent that my college wanted total editorial control, and that their goal for the book was more public relations than scholarship.) The Williams authors had additional hurdles. For much of its two-hundred-year history, the school was small, isolated, and not well endowed. Until women were admitted in the 1970s, raising both enrollment and intellectual rigor, the college was home to white prepsters, a place where the fraternity brothers "inhabited the kinds of architecture to which their parents had accustomed them.” Stacked up against architectural powerhouses such as Princeton, Yale, and MIT, Williams’ chroniclers Johnson and Lewis proffer a lot of fascinating history and background that enlivens the discussions of brick and mortar. The early physical presence of Williams was Yankee utilitarian. Starting in the mid-19th century, a notable grab bag of Victorian designers worked here, including Gervase Wheeler, Thomas Tefft, Richard Upjohn, Henry J, Hardenbergh, and J. C. Cady. Much of the design was haphazard, depending upon donor whims. The Olmsted Brothers drew up Williams' first campus plan in 1902. Tastes tended to the safely conservative through the 1950s. Perry, Shaw & Hepburn, architects of the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, designed a student center in the default campus style, Colonial Revival. Yet, college president Harry Garfield hired Ralph Adams Cram, the brilliant campus designer who shaped Princeton into an architectural masterpiece. The great Gothicist felt that his interpretation of English Georgian was more appropriate to the New England school. As always, Cram demonstrated a mastery of proportion, materials, and appearance. His Freshman Quadrangle is singled out as “the loveliest passage of the entire Williams campus.” Despite hosting an avant-garde art department–a famous incubator of architectural historians and museum directors—Williams did not get a Functional Modern building until the 1960s. The Architects Collaborative (TAC) was hired to craft a campus plan, while the college awarded an honorary doctorate to TAC founder Walter Gropius. Jumping somewhat timidly into the Modern era, Williams secured successful dormitory complexes by Benjamin Thompson and Mitchell-Giurgola and a dining hall by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, along with a dreadful library by Harry Weese. In the 1970s Charles Moore extended the art museum. This was “an adventurous move for a college that had traditionally gone with competent professionals rather than architects on the cutting edge.” Due to strained college finances, Moore paid for what he called “Ironic columns” on the museum's exterior, itself a riff on the architect's concurrent Piazza d'Italia in New Orleans. Despite commissioning such leading names, building at Williams remained ad hoc and episodic. A stunning library by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is offset by William Rawn's Center for Theatre and Dance, a gratuitous “expression of architectural ego,” the placement of which truncated a bold axial plan by Denise Scott Brown. Missed opportunities include an unrealized Steven Holl art building and a somewhat flaccid student center by James Stewart Polshek. The combination Chandigarh-and-New-England-styled resort hotel was “chosen from a long list of distinguished firms,” including Venturi Scott Brown and the Helsinki uber-Modernists Heikkinen + Komonen. Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen were interviewed, along with Alvaro Siza, Tadao Ando, and another architect (the names were never revealed to the public) about adding a wing to the Clark Art Institute. Ando’s building is called “a disappointment," primarily for its planning, and the wall of donor names, “sized according to the amplitude of their donations,” draws particular scorn. This biography of Williams College and its architecture is told as a family epic: A complicated life, full of intrigue, might-have-beens, and triumphs. Or as Adam Falk, president from 2010 to 2017, writes in a foreword, the guide is “historically insightful, compulsively readable, visually stunning, and infused with a healthy dose of irreverence.”
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Brush up on the designs of despotism with the new monograph on Napoleon's official architects

Napoleon, a man with ambitions to conquer the world, was not known for his small designs. The architecture that he favored, on view in a massive new monograph, shared his grand self-confidence and fascination with a mythologized imperial past. The French architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, the official architects of Napoleon, introduced a neoclassical style informed by an archaeological approach to the Greco-Roman urban past to the 19th-century French architectural landscape. Their tremendous output has been collected in the new monograph The Complete Works of Percier and Fontaine, now available through Princeton Architectural Press. The substantial and definitive tome pulls together four separate volumes, reproducing the pair’s entire written output along with numerous extravagant illustrations. While a full appreciation of the monograph text requires reading knowledge of French, their vibrant images offer universal appeal.    
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Presents with Presence: AN's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide sure to please all the designers on your list

For those in the A/E/C practices, there is little doubt about the greatest gift of all: time. While AN can't source that elusive asset for you, we have assembled a collection of material goods that are designed to make life a little more elegant, efficient, and even fun. Happy holidays to all! Elements Collection J. Hill's Standard A fresh take on Irish cut crystal, this barware is marked by cuts and textures of varying depth, creating a graphic language. Designed by Scholten & Baijings. Ossidiana Alessi Fabricated out of cast aluminum, this old-school, new-style espresso makers comes in three sizes. Designed by Mario Trimarchi. Bauhaus Chess Set Chess House No prancing steeds or earnest foot soldiers here: Wood cubes, spheres, and cylinders comprose this 1923 chess set. Designed by Josef Hartwig. Glass House Snow Globe The Glass House You'll never have to battle the traffic on I-95 or shovel the snow at this finely crafted miniature masterwork. Flo Bedside/Desk Light Lumina Italia Rotate the head of this minimalist light fixture to focus the LED beam where it's wanted. In varnish-coated aluminum and steel, the fixture is also available in clamp, wall, floor, and grommet styles. Designed by Foster +  Partners. FollowMe Lamp Marset Cordless and rechargable via USB, this oak-handled lamp shines a diffuse light through its polycarbonate shade. Designed by Inma Bermudez. Prismatic Scarves notNeutral From the product-design branch of Los Angeles-based architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios, these thirty-inch-square silk scarves are based on color studies for a competition project. Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography Yale University Press Featuring more than 250 plates, this book by Philadelphia Museum of Art curators Peter Barberie and Amanda N. Bock chronicles the career of the seminal photographer. Louise Fili, Perfetto Pencils Princeton Architectural Press Graphic designer Louise Fili celebrates Italian typography with these two-tone pencils; related items include notecards and a book. Qlocktwo W Watch Biegert & Funk In this reactionary design to a digital world, a grid of 110 letters illuminates the time in text form. And it's multi-lingual: The watch communicates in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Arabic. Brut Nature 2006 Louis Roederer Of his design for the packaging for this vintage, Philippe Starck says, "The contents are so potent I decided to design a bottle that was stripped of any superfluous embellishment." Shape of Sound Artifice Books Architect Victoria Meyers examines the dynamic relationship between architectural forms and materials and acoustics in this amply illustrated book. Snøhetta Limited Edition, XO Contemporary Cognac Braastad Adding Scandinavian cool to a classic French product, the graphic design team at Snøhetta uses subtle metallic colors and hand-lettering to reinvigorate the image of the stodgy spirit. Archaeologist Chopstick Rests Spin Ceramics Impeccably details and finished, these glazed clay pieces are both naturalistic and abstract in form. Eight pieces to a set; designed by Na An.