Judith Chafee began her career rubbing elbows with some of the most significant architects of the twentieth century. Her education at Yale University under Paul Rudolphcame at a momentous time when the best of a generation gathered in New Haven to debate the future of architecture. While thriving in this competitive environment, Chafee established herself in the Northeast and practiced for a decade with Walter Gropius, Sarah Harkness and Ben Thompson at the Architects Collaborative, Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo at Eero Saarinen and Associates, Edward Larrabee Barnes and the Office of Paul Rudolph. Recognition immediately followed her early design projects including a Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome with Charles Eames and Diane Lewis in residence. Her inaugural independent project landed on the front of Architectural Record— the first Record House Award cover by a woman architect. In 1970, Chafee returned to Tucson, Arizona and began a private practice that combined an interest in the Sonoran Desert landscape of her childhood, endemic building techniques and the experimental outlook that she embraced during her internship on the East Coast. Within the first decade of practice, she became celebrated for finely tuned buildings, situated with care in iconic desert landscapes. These houses bring form to priorities that are now widely embodied by the sustainability community and mindful designers worldwide. A close study of Judith Chafee’s early training and built work provides a unique understanding of making architecture that is both regional and far-reaching— an architecture that leverages limitations to stimulate an identity. Christopher Domin is an architect and educator at the University of Arizona and lectures internationally on the topic of regional modernism and technological innovation. Professor Domin is a co-author of the book Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses, published by Princeton Architectural Press.
Posts tagged with "Ringling College of Art & Design":
“American Modern Architecture: Frame + Character in Hitchcock’s Cinematic Spaces.” A visually-rich presentation focusing on Hitchcock's penchant for filming suspenseful chase scenes, heart-stopping moments and romantic interludes against the backdrop of American modernist architecture. Synopsis: With few exceptions, buildings played a pivotal role in each of Alfred Hitchcock’s works. The popularization of Modernism after World War II, however, provided the director with a range of stunning design masterpieces and everyday environments needed to highlight the tension and balance unique to his cinematic storytelling. For Hitchcock, modern buildings visually and metaphorically presented the future in contrast with the past, in an era in which the public struggled to embrace the brave new world of the Space Age, Civil Rights, and the Cold War, and sought respite in a series of suspenseful thrillers at the cinema. The modern structures in Hitchcock’s films—including buildings featured in Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo--are not reduced to mere set pieces, but often functioned as fully-developed characters in the story. Indeed, in American Modernism Hitchcock discovered and established long-standing film archetypes such as the villain’s lair, utilizing architectural transparency and cliff-side cantilevering to represent the clear yet dangerous vision of protagonist Philip Vandamm and the precarious future of the hero. Vandamm’s purely fictional home, featured in North by Northwest, is reminiscent of the late-period organic modernism popularized by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright. With the precedent set, later movie villains took up residence in actual modernist structures designed by architects John Lautner and Richard Neutra, both successful apprentices of Wright. In many of his films, Hitchcock also utilized modernism’s essential elements—seen in buildings such as the utopian United Nations Headquarters and the steel-and-glass Harrison and Abramovitz-designed 1957 Commercial Investment Trust Building, both in New York City--as cultural shorthand to convey society’s views on anonymity and one’s place in increasingly complex urban environments. Whether set at the downtrodden Bates Motel—representing the end of an era—or within the gleaming valleys of Manhattan, Hitchcock skillfully crafted narrative spaces utilizing the form and symbolism of modern architecture. Christine Madrid French, an advocate for the study and preservation of American architecture,was born and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated from the University of Utah in Architectural Studies and worked for the National Park Service as an historian in Washington, D.C. Ms. French earned a master's degree in Architectural History from the University of Virginia and worked as the Director of the Modernism Program for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in San Francisco. She is an Expert Member on the 20th-Century Heritage Committee for the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and teaches at the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Florida.
Though best known for his Sarasota houses and monumental concrete institutional buildings, beginning in 1965 Paul Rudolph designed many innovative, NYC residences with fantastic qualities that have received little attention. Always experimenting and fascinated by lighting, Rudolph achieved otherworldly effects using elements scavenged from the city’s restaurant and manufacturing supply stores along Canal Street. These interiors also reveal Rudolph’s awareness of the New York avant-garde’s work, such as the infinity chambers of Yayoi Kusama. Inspired by New York, Rudolph successfully transformed himself at mid-career in the 1960s into an interior architect who could transport himself and his clients into other dimensions using just mirrors and plexiglass. Timothy M. Rohan is associate professor in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As a graduate of Yale and Harvard universities, his research focuses upon architecture and design from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Rohan has written articles for both scholarly and popular publications such as The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Art in America, and The Boston Globe, as well for edited volumes. He is the author of The Architecture of Paul Rudolph (Yale, 2014), the first monograph about the postwar architect. Rohan has also edited Reassessing Rudolph (Yale, 2017), a volume of scholarly articles about Rudolph and is currently working on a new book about late twentieth-century Manhattan residential interiors
Why is Paul Rudolph—like much of Brutalism—so unloved by officialdom? His Orange County Government in Goshen, New York has been under threat of demolition by local government for several years. Now an elegant canopy the architect designed and built in 196o for Sarasota High School in Florida may also end up in a local landfill. Rudolph designed the elongated covering to connect the School with a new addition he designed behind it’s main brick building. The addition is undergoing a thorough renovation and the main building is being taken over by the Ringling College of Art & Design to become a midtown exhibition space. The Ringling wants to renovate the old school and argued that the canopy sits in the way of construction workers and materials entering the building. Ringling College claimed: "We are removing...only the area necessary to continue renovation of the historic Sarasota High School building. We also believe, but do not have final corroboration, that the section we are taking down is also not part of the original Paul Rudolph design but was added on later." But now several groups from Sarasota Architectural Foundation and Docomomo are asking the Ringling to hold off on the demolition. They are also asking the public to contact Larry Thompson (941-359-7601 or 941-365-7603), president of The Ringling College of Art & Design, and ask him to save the Rudolph canopies and incorporate them into the permanent collection of the new museum.