Victor Lundy

1 day 20 hours ago
Victor Lundy: Artist Architect
Donna Kacmar (Editor)
Princeton Architectural Press, October 2018



Hardcover | 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches | 240 pages | 200 illustrations | Languages | ISBN: 978-1616896614 | $55.00

Publisher Description:
If you're looking for something new under the midcentury sun, Victor Lundy (born 1923) is a real find, an important yet underappreciated figure in the history of American architecture. Trained in both the Beaux Arts and Bauhaus traditions, he built an impressive practice ranging from small-scale residential and commercial buildings to expressive religious buildings and two preeminent institutional works: the US Tax Court Building in Washington, DC (now on the National Register of Historic Places), and the US Embassy in Sri Lanka.

This first book on Lundy's life and career documents his early work in the Sarasota School of Architecture, his churches, and his government buildings. In addition to essays on his use of light and material, many of the architect's original drawings, paintings, and sketches---including those from his travels throughout Europe, the Middle East, India, and Mexico, now held at the Library of Congress---are reproduced here for the first time.
dDAB Commentary:
I discovered architect Victor Lundy in July 2017, when I borrowed a friend's car, Googled "modern Connecticut architecture," and discovered Lundy's First Unitarian Church in Westport. Considering that he produced some amazing churches and other buildings starting in the 1950s, it seems my discovery was quite late, inexcusable for somebody who has been writing about architecture for the last twenty years. But as this new historical monograph -- as well as the now five-year-old documentary produced by the GSA -- reveals, Lundy's style of architecture fell out of favor and in turn led him to be forgotten. A 2006 exhibition at Harvard GSD, Beyond the Harvard Box, put Lundy alongside more familiar names (Edward L. Barnes, Ulrich Franzen, John Johansen, I.M. Pei, and Paul Rudolph) and renewed interest in his buildings. Three years after that the Library of Congress acquired Lundy's impressive archive. These three pieces -- the documentary, the exhibition, and the archive -- acted like a perfect storm for the creation of this long overdue monograph about Lundy's life and work.

Victor Lundy: Artist Architect consists of eight essays that trace the life and work of Lundy, who was born in 1923 and lives in Bellaire, Texas, the state he has called home since the 1970s. The three decades covered in the book (those before he became principal at HKS in Houston) roughly coincide with the different states he called home: Florida in the fifties, New York in the sixties, and Texas in the seventies and beyond. Donna Kacmar, the book's editor, penned a few of the essays: one presents his often-fascinating life, including an incident in WWII that led to a Purple Heart; one is focused on Lundy's U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka, one of his most important commissions; and one on Lundy's knack at "sculpting space" in projects like the I. Miller Showroom in New York City that graces the book's cover but sadly no longer exists. Essays by others focus on his drawings, his decade in Sarasota, the U.S. Tax Court Building in D.C., his Houston projects, and his "sacred spaces," which, like the Westport Church, were realized mainly in his New York decade. The Miller Showroom, a church in East Harlem, and other projects demolished or built as temporary commissions get at another reason Lundy went unnoticed to people my age: His extant buildings are impressive, but projects as or more impressive as those exist only in photos and Lundy's great drawings, making this that much more important.Spreads:


Author Bio:
Donna Kacmar, FAIA, is a professor at the University of Houston, where she teaches design studios and directs the Materials Research Collaborative. She is the author of Big Little House: Small Houses Designed by Architects.Purchase Links:
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Abandoned Grandeur: Documenting the Downfall of Luxurious Places

2 days 14 hours ago
[ By SA Rogers in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

There’s something about the contrast of opulent ornamentation and expensive materials with rot and deterioration that makes luxury resorts and mansions some of the most fascinating abandonments. Someone once cared about these places so much, they invested untold sums of money and hours of labor into them, perhaps having their walls hand-painted with frescoes or calling in master craftspeople to apply the finishing touches.

But nothing lasts forever, and neglect has the same effect on high end structures as it does on those more humble. Different viewers may look at them with sadness or schadenfreude, thinking about the larger context of human impermanence or just the potential wasted, but either way, we can’t help but look.

For many people, those feelings came into play this week as photos emerged of an eerie abandoned complex of castle-like mansions in Turkey. About halfway complete, the $200 million complex of fake chateaus modeled after historic European architecture is in limbo after economic uncertainty led large numbers of buyers and investors to pull out of the project. The developers don’t have enough funds to keep going, and though they say they’ll find a way to move the Burj al Babas development forward by the end of the year, it’s unclear whether that will actually happen.

Mocking commenters across the internet note not only the Disney-like quality of the $400,000 houses but how closely spaced they are. Row after row of identical Cinderella McMansions swirl through the valley, all sitting empty, many with gaping maws where their doors and windows should be. But while this is a particularly eye-catching example of stalled luxury development, it’s never been occupied, leaving it empty in another sense. The ghostly echoes of the lives that were lived in abandoned places, the hopes and dreams that their remains represent, are what lend them emotional weight.

Echoes of Past Promise

French photographer Thomas Jorion captures this particular quality of abandoned mansions and palaces throughout Italy in his series “Veduta,” which is on display at Esther Woerdehoff Galerie in Paris through April 6, 2019.

Each photograph depicts a real mansion – not a facsimile of one – still decked out in traditional Italian finery despite its considerably lowered circumstances. There are no background stories given for what happened to these beautiful villas, why they’ve fallen into disrepair; it could be that the cost of restoration is too high for most buyers, or the locations are inconvenient, or any number of other things. These places feel frozen in time, records of an era that has passed or perhaps an empire in the midst of falling.

Chateau Noisy

chateau-noisy-7

Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium (14 of 19)

Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium (11 of 19)

Belgium seems to be brimming with abandoned castles, perhaps due to the simple fact that the country is full of historic architecture that’s difficult and expensive to maintain. Château Miranda, also known as Château de Noisy, stood as a stunning example of ornate abandonments before its demolition in 2017.

The 19th-century neo-Gothic castle in Celles was occupied by German forces during World War II and later became an orphanage and a “holiday camp for sickly children” before it was abandoned in 1991. Mesen Castle in Lede has a similar story. Purchased by a Catholic institution after the noble family that commissioned it died out, it became a boarding school for girls before its abandonment in 1970. It was destroyed in 2011.

Carleton Villa via I Love Upstate New York
Carleton Villa via I Love Upstate New York
Carleton Villa via I Love Upstate New York

North America has some abandoned castle-like structures of its own, including a once-beautiful mansion that now looks like the perfect setting for Netflix’s next gothic horror series. The villa on Carleton Island in Cape Vincent, New York has been unoccupied for over 70 years, and it has deteriorated to the point of serious safety concerns.

Businessman William O. Wyckoff commissioned the mansion in 1890 and promptly died of a heart attack on his first night there; his wife had passed away a month prior. Though the house was passed on to his sons, the family seems to have lost its fortune during the Great Depression, and the property was abandoned. The current owners live in a nearby cottage, putting it on the market every few years with no luck. One potential buyer estimated that it would cost up to $12 million to rebuild.

Remains of Wasted Wealth

Hachijo Royal Hotel by Ralph Mirebs
Hachijo Royal Hotel by Ralph Mirebs
Hachijo Royal Hotel by Ralph Mirebs

Built in 1963, Japan’s Hachijo Royal Hotel quickly became a popular destination for wealthy Japanese natives looking for a quick and easy weekend getaway. At the time, passports were hard to acquire, keeping a lot of travel limited to domestic destinations. Set on a volcanic island just a short ferry ride from the mainland, the hotel offered luxe accommodations in a beautiful hillside setting the Japanese government promoted as “The Hawaii of Japan.”

But as soon as international travel became more accessible, Japanese tourists began leaving the country for new adventures, and the hotel languished. It was abruptly abandoned in 2006, and the ensuing years have been brutal. Nearly everything remains exactly as it was then: towels draped over the edges of the tubs, toys in the play rooms, offices full of outdated electronics. Many of the rooms have been invaded by ferns and moss.

Known for its constant frenzy of construction, innovation and over-the-top spending, Dubai has its fair share of arrested developments. But one of the weirder displays of seemingly casual extravagance is the country’s high number of abandoned luxury vehicles. Some of the world’s most expensive cars are little more than street litter here, collecting dust curbside or in parking garages.

But this particular millionaire habit isn’t quite as it appears. Though some might truly be cast aside by owners too rich to care, many are abandoned by owners who bought them during a boom but can no longer afford them. In Dubai, bouncing a check or failing to pay back debt is a criminal offense, so it’s likely that formerly wealthy expats dumped the cars and then high-tailed it back home.

Back in Belgium, urban explorers hit the motherlode when they entered the grounds of the Kasteel van Heers a 13th century castle near Brussels that fell into decay when the descendants of its original owners couldn’t afford to maintain it.

The castle and all its contents were seized by the Flemish government in 2007, but somehow they missed a collection of six 1060s Alfa Romeo sports cars held within a dusty basement – including a rare and extra-valuable prototype. They were all sold at auction in 2015. Kind of makes you wonder what else dusty castles around the world might be hiding, doesn’t it?

If all of this waste makes you wish you could save an abandoned mansion, the governments of several countries would like to assist you with that venture. Italy is giving away over 100 historic castles and villas for free as long as the new owners can produce concrete plans for renovating the sites to help boost tourism to their local villages, and rural Japanese towns are so desperate for residents they’re giving away abandoned houses. In France, you can “adopt a chateau” without becoming solely responsible for its upkeep through a collective effort to preserve neglected structures with historic value.

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Noise-Cancelling Doghouse: Quiet Design Soothes Storm-Scared Canines

3 days 15 hours ago
[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

Between fireworks and thunder, it can be hard to watch your best friend cower and howl when noises beyond your control dominate the soundscape. This noise-cancelling kennel aims to provide shelter from auditory storms, an more robust alternative to hiding in the closet.

Developed by Ford Europe, the structure employs a combination of sound insulation and, critically, the technology used for noise-cancellation in the company’s automobiles.

Adapted to frequencies that most impact canine companions, microphones pick up the sounds of explosions and other loud bursts, then counteracts them with mitigating frequencies.

A combination of soundproof ventilation, acoustic isolation panels and speakers alter the incoming soundscape to create a refuge, all packaged within an angular minimalist kennel frame.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

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ArchDaily's 2019 Building of the Year Awards are Now Open for Nominations

4 days 17 hours ago

2018 marked a banner year for ArchDaily. Our global audience has continued to grow in leaps and bounds, taking advantage of the nearly 40,000 new articles and 4300 projects added to our site. We are proud and excited to reach readers in every corner of the world, and we savor the opportunity to continue sharing the inspiration, knowledge, and tools needed to design a positive urbanizing world.

We recently shared with our readers the trends that will define the field of architecture in 2019. We are able to confidently identify these trends, not just because of our experience in reporting on them but also due to our data-driven approach. We are committed to listening to and sharing the interests of our readers - and no effort exemplifies this better than our annual Building of the Year awards.

The 2019 edition of BOTY, presented in partnership with Unreal Engine, is a particularly exciting one for ArchDaily, as it marks ten consecutive years of our flagship award program. With the Building of the Year award, we ask you, the reader, to share in the responsibility of recognizing and rewarding the projects making an impact in the profession. In sharing your opinion, you become part of an unbiased and representative network of jurors and peers that have been dedicated to elevating the most relevant projects in the profession of the past decade.

Over the next three weeks, your collective wisdom will whittle the more than 4,000 projects published in the last year to just 15 stand-outs––the best project in each category on ArchDaily.

This is your chance to reward the architecture you love by nominating your favorite for the 2019 Building of the Year Awards!

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Towards Openness

4 days 20 hours ago
Towards Openness
Li Hu, Huang Wenjing
ar+d (Applied Research + Design), February 2018



Paperback | 6-3/4 x 9 inches | 288 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1940743226 | $35.00

Publisher Description:
Drawn from keen observation of the rapidly changing social economic landscape of China, and using OPEN projects as case studies, Towards Openness is a symphony of seven built projects and six idea chapters which are intriguingly interwoven to offer an in-depth examination of OPEN’s unique practice and the critical thinking underlying their work, work that actively engages with the rapid transformation of the society, with unwavering hope for a better future.

Towards Openness offers a unique approach to understanding the transformational power of architecture, presenting a humanistic approach to architecture in relation to nature, touching upon our fundamental sensitivity as human beings to go far beyond the boundaries of nations. This book challenges the preconceived and often prejudicial notions of what Chinese architecture ought to be, by providing a fresh perspective on contemporary architectural practice in China through the innovative work of OPEN.dDAB Commentary:
OPEN Architecture was founded by Li Hu and Huang Wenjing in New York City in 2003, and five years later they established a Beijing Office. In the ensuing decade the studio has realized just over a half-dozen impressive projects in China: Gehua Youth and Cultural Center (2012), Beijing No.4 High School Fangshan Campus (2014), Stepped Courtyards (2014), HEX-SYS (2015), Tsinghua Ocean Center (2016), Pingshan Performing Arts Center (2018), and UCCA Dune Art Museum (2018). I use the word impressive to describe the seven projects that make up Towards Openness in regards to their size, their diversity, and the quality of their designs, especially the way the architects shape outdoor and interstitial projects. The scale and diversity of their projects arises largely from their settings, the country in the midst of the largest and quickest modernization and urban migration in history.

Inserted between the seven projects are six sections that illuminate OPEN's take on China's urbanization this century. Articulated as text and drawings on yellow pages, these inserts take on phrases constructed around the practice's name – OPEN city, OPEN community, OPEN system, OPEN nature, OPEN institution, OPEN future – making them a mix of manifesto and branding. These illustrations culminate in the OPEN CITY, an aerial perspective of OPEN's built and unbuilt projects in a compact seaside context (also visible on the cover). This imaginary city captures the creativity of OPEN's designs, but it also conveys just how much their compositions of solids and voices are shaped by the Chinese urban context of large parcels and larger populations.Spreads:


Author Bios:
LI Hu is founding partner of OPEN Architecture, visiting professor at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture, former partner of Steven Holl Architects, and director of Columbia University GSAPP’s Studio-X Beijing. HUANG Wenjing is founding partner of OPEN Architecture, visiting professor at Tsinghua University.Purchase Links:
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Sources of Modern Architecture

5 days 20 hours ago
Sources of Modern Architecture: A Critical Bibliography
Dennis Sharp
Granada Publishing, 1981 (Second Edition)



Hardcover | Page Size inches | # pages | # illustrations | Languages | ISBN: 0246112182 | $X.00

Publisher Description:
This unique guide to the literature of modern architecture has been completely revised, expanded and redesigned for its second edition.

The first section is devoted to books and articles on individual architects and to one or two influential critics and painters. This section is arranged alphabetically. After a brief biography each part is arranged in date order with the books and articles written
by the person appearing first; then follow the books and monographs on the individual and by other writers, and finally articles on the individual. The subject bibliography is concerned with general works on modern architecture and theory. The last section is devoted to books concerned with national trends and a selective list of magazines, related to the Modern Movement in architecture.dDAB Commentary:
If Sources of Modern Architecture -- first published in 1967 and then revised and enlarged in 1981 -- were released in the same form today it would carry the subtitle "A Bunch of Dead White Male Architects." The cover displays twelve of them, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier. Inside are dozens more (with quite a few I've never heard of ... Jaramir Krejcar, anyone?), with most accompanied by portraits just like the cover. With these portraits rather than photos of their buildings or even covers of their books (this is a bibliographic book, after all), the book draws attention to the who as much as the what. Fifty years ago, the fact they were in the majority white men (only two women are included: Alison Smithson and Denise Scott Brown, but only Smithson is pictured and both are included alongside their male partners) was no biggie, but the lack of diversity in the field is an issue today, when women make up the majority of architecture students but don't get registered or advance to the level of partner in the same numbers, and when the stats around architects of color are just as depressing.

Featuring this book was prompted by The Ordinary, a book about books I reviewed a few days ago. I have very few such books, but a few years ago I was prompted to buy a used copy of Sources of Modern Architecture as a means of finding books and other resources on modern architecture for a book I was writing. This "critical biography" by the late Dennis Sharp was helpful in terms of biographical information but it was so far out of date, and included many foreign-language books, that the bibliography did not do me much good. (Sharp's Twentieth Century Architecture: A Visual History was more helpful for my research.) Considering its publication dates, this is hardly a surprise. But would a book like this make sense today, when Wikipedia and other online resources are the go-to references on architects? No, unless it were critical in myriad ways to make it both relevant and helpful to scholars of architecture.Spreads:


Author Bio:
Dennis Sharp (1933-2010) was best known as an author, teacher and critic, with countless articles, books, exhibitions, events and magazines to his name. He helped set up Docomomo International and worked tirelessly to save modern buildings from demolition. He maintained an architectural practice throughout his working life.Purchase Links:
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Architecture as Cultural Identity: A Town in Bolivia Gets Bold & Bright

1 week ago
[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Whether you love it or hate it, the divisive architectural style taking over the Bolivian city of El Alto is certainly a departure from the norm, injecting bold shapes and colors into an otherwise average cityscape. Local architect Freddy Mamani, who has spent the last 18 years developing the signature style he calls “Nuevo Andino” (“New Andean”), felt that El Alto was too “monochrome.” Each of his buildings is like a unique sculptural work of art aiming to enliven the city and pay homage to ancient indigenous motifs of the area.

To understand and appreciate Mamani’s daring design decisions, it helps to know a little about the area’s history. El Alto is a the second-largest city in Bolivia outside the capital city of La Paz, and one of its fastest-growing urban centers. As millions of people have moved in from rural areas, El Alto has rapidly developed architecture and infrastructure to accommodate them. Most of the city’s residents are Amerindian, identifying as Aymara, an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano regions whose ancestors lived in the area long before becoming subjects of the Inca in the 15th century and later the Spanish in the 16th century.

Centuries of colonization can wreak havoc on indigenous cultures, suppressing them (often violently) in the name of assimilation. The colors and forms of the Aymara spring back to life in a way that simply can’t be ignored through Mamani’s work. Locally, the buildings he has erected – as well as those inspired by his work – are referred to as “cholets,” reclaiming a derisive word combining “chalet” and “cholo” often used to dismiss the indigenous population in Latin American countries.

Each of these “cholets” has commercial space on the ground floor for shops, restaurants and services, while the second floor hosts a gathering space, the third offers apartments and the fourth contains the residence of the building’s owner. They all feature exaggerated geometries, asymmetrical proportions and the lines and motifs found in the ruins of the ancient Aymara city of Tiwanaku, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 37 miles away. Mamani has completed about 70 of these buildings in El Alto and 100 more across Bolivia.

While observers from around the world have sometimes derided the buildings with words like “ugly,” “rotten” and “gruel,” Mamani’s cholets simply weren’t made for them and don’t require their approval. Brash design choices may not be for everyone, but as many cities continue to homogenize and lose their cultural identities, some fight back against bland one-size-fits-all trends. And in El Alto, that has meant drawing in travelers who come just to take in the uniqueness of the city.

Dezeen has more information on this fascinating architectural style, including an interview with Freddy Mamani.

Photography by Yuri Segalerba

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Concrete

1 week 3 days ago
Concrete: Case Studies in Conservation Practice
Catherine Croft, Susan Macdonald (Editors)
Getty Publications, January 2019



Paperback | 8-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches | 208 pages | 183 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1606065761 | $59.95

Publisher Description:
This timely volume brings together fourteen case studies that address the challenges of conserving the twentieth century’s most ubiquitous building material—concrete. Following a meeting of international heritage conservation professionals in 2013, the need for recent, thorough, and well-vetted case studies on conserving twentieth century heritage became clear. This book answers that need and kicks off a new series, Conserving Modern Heritage, aimed at sharing best practices.

The projects selected represent a range of building typologies, uses, and sizes, from the high-rise housing blocks of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation and public buildings such as London’s National Theatre to small monuments like the structures at Dudley Zoological Gardens and a sculpture by Donald Judd. The projects also represent a range of environmental and economic contexts. Some projects benefit from high levels of heritage protection and access to funding, while others have had to negotiate conservation with stringent cost limitations. All follow a rigorous conservation approach, beginning with a process of investigation and diagnosis to identify causes and target repairs, balanced with conservation requirements to preserve significance.
dDAB Commentary:
Last month a modern masterpiece in concrete entered the news, when Berthold Lubetkin's daughter said that "perhaps it's time to blow [the Penguin Pool at London Zoo] to smithereens." The 1934 structure by Lubetkin, with structural engineering by Ove Arup, has intertwining, paper-thin ramps that exploited the potential of reinforced concrete at the time. Sasha Lubetkin's call for its demolition arose from the pool having sat empty since the penguins were moved to a larger habitat in 2004. It was the innovative concrete that caused the penguin exodus: the concrete surfaces led to an infection, "bumblefoot," on the feet of the birds. So concrete drew attention to the small structure and its inhabitants, and concrete led to its irrelevance. While most innovative applications of reinforced concrete from the modern era eventually required technical attention (the Penguin Pool was restored in the 1980s), the circumstances of the bumblefoot seem unforeseeable. But reactions to Sasha Lubetkin's words (one architect said tearing it down would be "vandalism") point to the beloved nature of modern architecture in concrete and the myriad technical issues that accompanied such buildings.

Although the Penguin Pool is not one of the 14 "case studies in conservation practice" in Concrete, the book does include the Dudley Zoological Gardens, also designed by Lubetkin and his firm, Tecton, with Ove Arup. A few of the other impressive and varied case studies in Concrete are the Listening Mirrors in Denge, the rotating Villa Girasole in Verona, Oscar Niemeyer's Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Belo Horizonte, Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation in Marseille, and even an outdoor Donald Judd sculpture in England. There is a diversity of function, geography, and form, equating to an equal diversity of conservation issues arising from the use of reinforced concrete. A common format for each case study presents background on the buildings and then allows Croft and Macdonald to delve into some highly technical information on research, analysis, and conservation efforts. Aiding them are lots of photographs that illustrate both the deterioration and the fixes. The conservation of innovative modern structures in reinforced concrete is very niche, but for practitioners dealing with such buildings Concrete is a must.Spreads:


Author Bios:
Catherine Croft is director of the Twentieth-Century Society and editor of C20 Magazine. Susan Macdonald is head of Buildings and Sites at the Getty Conservation Institute and oversees the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative.Purchase Links:
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