Digging through architectural treasures at the Avery Drawings and Archives
Uptown and underground is the home of a dense community of New York architects, their colleagues, clients, and friends, their skyscrapers and townhouses. They are the denizens of the boxes and the file folders of the Avery Drawings and Archives, one of the richest collections of American architectural drawings and records. For the last 36 years, Janet Parks, curator [...], has been mayor of this town, located in the lower level of Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.
"The trove of drawings, which took a good 18 months to sort through, contained the physical traces of a long-gone city — and not just how it looked. Parks remembers opening a tightly sealed tube of drawings: “This wafting smell of cologne and pipe tobacco came out. It had been trapped inside... View full entry
Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses star in “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” documentary, coming to U.S. theaters in April
The historic feud between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses is hitting the silver screen in “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”, a fairly new feature-length documentary directed by Matt Tyrnauer and produced by Robert Hammond (co-founder and executive director of NYC's Friends of the High... View full entry
The resounding success of Allied Works Architecture's "National Music Center"
Incorporating both physical and intangible elements of Canada's musical history, the National Music Center by Allied Works is a nine-towered, terra-cotta tile clad complex that not only ropes a 112-year old hotel/blues club into the mix, but creates the kind of spaces suited for gazing dreamily... View full entry
The "Stonehenge" in the Amazon reveals an unexpected ancient history
Roughly one thousand years ago, a civilization in what is now known as the Brailizan Amazon constructed what appears to be an astronomical observation structure that, thanks to its inadvertent discovery by a tree-razing cattle ranch foreman in the 1990s, has been dubbed the area's "Stonehenge."... View full entry
Unfold Berlin's modern architectural history in this nifty paper map
At nearly 350 square miles, [Berlin is] a difficult city to tour without some guidance. Its vastness is doubly inconvenient for architecture buffs...The [Modern Berlin Map] documents 50 buildings, selected by Berlin-based journalist Matthew Tempest. Unfolded, the front of the guide displays the landmarks on a map of Berlin, while the reverse catalogues the buildings in chronological order. This provides a unique lens through which to track the city’s political shifts.
Want more travel tips for Berlin? Check out Archinect's Berlin Travel Guide, which features recommendations from Jürgen Mayer H:Let Jürgen Mayer H. help plan your next trip to Berlin with his own travel tips View full entry
Step inside the first U.S. exhibition of Pierre Chareau, co-architect of the Maison de Verre
Pierre Chareau was a French architect and designer best known for the groundbreaking Maison de Verre in Paris that he designed with Dutch architect Bernard Bijvoet. However, Chareau's diverse body of work has received hardly any exposure in the U.S. Thanks to a collaboration between Diller... View full entry
A new beginning for Rosa Parks' Detroit home
[Rosa Parks' home] on South Deacon Street had become blighted and faced demolition in recent years, but its fortunes have since changed. The home’s facade has been removed and will be refashioned into a replica-style artwork that will be shown in museums across Europe...“She loved the city, but I don't think the city loved her very much back,” [Parks' niece Rhea] McCauley said. “This house should have been preserved here. But we live in a world where every other project takes precedence.”
— Detroit Free Press
You would think that the Detroit home of Rosa Parks would have more easily garnered local support for its preservation in the present day. But as Parks' niece Rhea McCauley described, her aunt was still treated with hostility when she moved into the city in 1957, two years after she refused to... View full entry
The “unfinished charm” of the Smithsonian's Arts and Industries Building
With its colorful facade, arched windows, spires and rotunda, the A&I (as it's often called) is a festive relief...But despite the perky building's popularity, its reopening was hardly grand. Why so little fanfare? Lack of funding seems to be one explanation
...the building's "unfinished character is one of its charms...It hasn't always been as gently used as we would like. But that's an important part of our history — Smithsonian history and American history."
More on Archinect:The Seagram Building after the Four Seasons: maintaining a costly landmarkRIP: Bruce Goff's Bavinger House demolishedPreserving Central Asia's ancient architecture through codeThe race to complete the Capitol dome restoration in time for the inauguration of the 45th U.S. President View full entry
Back when architecture was an Olympic competition
It may be a part of the Olympics the world forgot, but from 1912 to 1948, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) handed out medals across five creative arts categories including architecture...Following the 1948 games, the IOC abandoned the Olympic art competition due to the significantly high number of professionals entering, which went against the spirit of the games being an amateur competition.
More on Archinect:Climate change will make finding a host city for the 2088 Olympics incredibly difficultNow that the Olympics have ended, what's in store for Rio's stadiums?How are London's Olympic grounds being used 4 years later?On decentralizing the Olympics View full entry
Looking into the White House's “much longer history” of slave labor
I think it was a wonderful moment in American history. I thought what Michelle Obama was attempting to do was to draw that link to show that it isn't just what's going on in the White House now and isn't it great that there's a black family there, but there's a much longer history that needs to be appreciated...
[It was] just grueling, grueling kind of work. And nobody was really willing ... to do it. So slave labor played a massive role in getting this city built.
— Clarence Lusane
During her speech at the DNC on Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama alluded to the White House's history of slave labor during the 1790s. NPR interviews Clarence Lusane, chairperson of Howard University's political science department and author of “The Black History of the White House”, who... View full entry
Moscow's own version of Pokémon Go will let you "catch" famous figures from Russian history
Moscow City Hall has announced the launch of its own version of online game “Pokemon Go.” Russians will be asked to find and "catch" historical figures in the streets of the capital via an app called “Know Moscow.Photo.”
[...] people will be able to catch and take a selfie with [...] Yury Gagarin, Alexander Pushkin, Pyotr Chaikovsky, [founder of the first Russian university] Mikhail Lomonosov, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and the tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich,” [...]
— The Moscow Times
Related stories in the Archinect news:No, Pokémon Go is not an urban fantasy for the new flaneurMoscow's metro expansion moves ahead of scheduleMoscow's iconic Shukhov Tower added to World Monuments Fund Watch List View full entry
Watch seventy years of Downtown LA's architecture compared side-by-side
Bunker Hill, an area of roughly five square blocks in downtown Los Angeles, holds a place in city lore similar to that of the water wars or the construction of Dodger Stadium: beginning in 1959, it was the subject of a massive urban-renewal project, in which “improvement” was generally defined by the people who stood to profit from it [...] subject of this short film by Keven McAlester, which compares what the same streets in downtown Los Angeles looked like in the nineteen-forties and today.
Stills via YouTube.Related stories in the Archinect news:DTLA's Music Center Plaza will get a $30M remodel, its first since 1964Historic LA Times Building to be redevelopedLA's Donut Time, the LGBTQ landmark in “Tangerine”, is now permanently closed View full entry
Eric Owen Moss wins top Austrian honor
Very few people have a neutral reaction to Eric Owen Moss: in his conversation and his work, he can be abrasive, challenging, enlightening, and inspirational. For its part, Austria awarded him with its Decoration of Honor for Science and Art on June 21st, celebrating five decades of practice that... View full entry
Eero Saarinen's CIA weapon-designing past
Saarinen’s work for the spy agency mostly involved designing models of buildings and weapons that had yet to be built. He even worked on designs for the original war room in the White House. And the people at OSS claimed that he was so good at his job that he could not be replaced.
It's lucky for architecture that Eero Saarinen, who was known in the CIA as "Architectural Designer (Chief, Special Exhibits Division)" wasn't so successful at his work for the agency that he couldn't be replaced, although one wonders how much of that top secret work rubbed off on his later... View full entry
The new IKEA Museum will open its doors on June 30
Although the gargantuan stores of IKEA can already be public museums themselves, the Swedish retailer is preparing for the official opening of the IKEA Museum on June 30 in their Älmhult stomping grounds. Originally expected to open last fall, the 7,000 square-meter museum will showcase the... View full entry