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4 posts tagged with architecture by matteo.
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"If I allow the fact that I am a Negro to checkmate my will to do, now, I will inevitably form the habit of being defeated".

The Jackie Robinson of architecture. An orphaned African American boy from downtown Los Angeles, Paul Revere Williams wanted to be an architect, and when he mentioned his career goal the high school guidance counselor ”stared at me with as much astonishment as he would have had I proposed a rocket flight to Mars... Whoever heard of a Negro being an architect?”. Therefore, Williams learned to read and draw upside down -- he knew that white clients would not sit next to him -- graduated from USC and in 1924 became the first certified African American architect west of the Mississippi. In a 50-year long extraordinary career, he designed landmarks like the Theme restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport (with Welton Becket), the LA County Courthouse, the Hollywood YMCA, Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, restored the Beverly Hills Hotel. Some of his most interesting buildings, like the La Concha Motel in Las Vegas have either been razed to the ground or, like the "Batman house", aka 160 S San Rafael mansion in Pasadena, have been destroyed by fire. Now, Williams' historic Morris Landau House has been cut into 21 separate pieces and sits in a Santa Clarita storage yard, rotting away. More inside.
posted by matteo on Jul 2, 2006 - 25 comments

"Symmetry" exhibit explores a design concept that's the basis of Schindler House

"Symmetry": the basis of Schindler House. (BugMeNot)
posted by matteo on Feb 16, 2006 - 6 comments

John Lautner's Chemosphere: part Jetsons, part Bond and vintage L.A. Modern.

The most modern home built in the world. "From the outside it looks like a spaceship you cannot enter. But if you go inside, it feels very cozy… very Zen and calming. Maybe because you are floating above the city, in the sky". John Lautner's Chemosphere residence is the product of a fortuitous union of architect, client, time and place. Leonard Malin was a young aerospace engineer in late-1950s L.A. whose father-in-law had just given him a plot north of Mulholland Drive, near Laurel Canyon. The only catch: at roughly 45 degrees, the slope was all but unbuildable. Lautner sketched a bold vertical line, a cross, and a curve above it. "Draw it up," he told his assistant. Now publisher Benedikt Taschen owns Chemosphere (NSFW), and after 20 years of neglect the house has been beautifully restored (.pdf) by Frank Escher.
posted by matteo on Apr 7, 2005 - 24 comments

Architectural blight

The stomach of Paris. Finally, after months of deliberation, Paris city hall awarded the task of reworking the site of Les Halles to French architect David Mangin: the winner has a vision of a Barcelona Ramblas-style walkway integrating Les Halles with the surrounding cityscape. Among the losers, Rem Koolhaas. The Les Halles site was first built in 1135 when King Louis VI moved the market there from the nearby Place de la Greve. The site was endowed in the 1850s with the huge metal halls for which it became famous; but in the 1970's the old market moved to the outskirts of the city. Then-mayor Jacques Chirac ordered the redevelopment of Les Halles -- it was supposed to re-emerge as a bustling tourist attraction. Instead that project gave birth to an architectural WTF? of a gigantic disaster. Unpopular and difficult to maintain to boot. (warning: the words in italic link to a French-language page)
posted by matteo on Dec 15, 2004 - 31 comments

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