December 12, 2009 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Brilliant short series of documentaries each dealing with an architect and their signature creations. (each approx. 30 minutes) Frank Lloyd Wright Johnson Wax Building :: Walter Gropius The Dessau Bauhaus :: Alvaro Siza The Siza School :: Renzo Piano Centre Georges Pompidou :: Santiago Calatrava Satolas TGV :: Felix Duban School of the Beaux Arts :: Peter Zumthor The Thermae of Stone :: Emanuele Rocco La Galleria Umberto :: Otto Wagner The Vienna Savings Bank
posted by vronsky (12 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
More here but in french and german.
posted by vronsky at 2:16 PM on December 12, 2009

The Johnson Wax building is just wow, drool. Those birdcage elevators, those lillypad support columns... just genius, genius, genius.
posted by vronsky at 2:29 PM on December 12, 2009

they had demanded a full tale scest

It's not often you hear a spoonerism that pure in the wild.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:38 PM on December 12, 2009 [3 favorites]

Was introduced to the series earlier this year by an architect friend. Found it quite informative and accessible.
posted by stilist at 2:45 PM on December 12, 2009

I believe that this series was produced in part by the Arte Group, a European public-service cultural television channel. More information on the mini-series.

More in the same vein: Architects Talk, a blog of architecture videos.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:02 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

This may well have been mentioned in the Johnson Wax links (I have to watch them later, no time right now), but as friggen great as it was to look at, the building leaked like hell. . Wright was undeniably a great designer, but not so hot on the practicality of certain things.
posted by edgeways at 3:16 PM on December 12, 2009

Good info in filthy light thief's link -- "Each 26-minute film in the series focuses on a single building chosen because of the pioneering role it has played in the evolution of contemporary architecture. Meticulously filmed, each building is explored in great detail and this in-depth examination highlights all the concerns that confronted the architect from the genesis of the project through to its completion.

Close engagement of this kind, along with detailed scale-models of every building made specially for the films, permits each documentary to critically evaluate the principles behind its construction, the economics of the project, constraints of the commission and site, technical choices and materials used."
posted by vronsky at 3:33 PM on December 12, 2009

Just read an article about how Piano's totally out and Zumthor is slated to be the new hotness at LACMA. I wasn't familiar with either's work, so thanks for the links. Good stuff!
posted by carsonb at 3:36 PM on December 12, 2009

yes carsonb, I hate the Pompidou Centre. It is horribly inhuman and horrid to look at. I didn't even want to link it.
posted by vronsky at 3:58 PM on December 12, 2009

Oh my god, I can't wait to dig in. Thanks!
posted by functionequalsform at 5:39 PM on December 12, 2009

Oh my god, I can't wait to dig in. Thanks!
Same here, but I expect dismay, and got it. I clicked on the Dessau link first. Less than 30 seconds in: "The rooms extend onto tiny balconies that provide the feeling of additional space". Look at those balconies. You will never see anyone on them unless they are having a furtive cigarette or putting out their medicine ball which they never used which will gather mould in the chill damp of the shadow cast by the conifer planted to create some sense of ordered nature.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of modern architecture, but they (the modernists, like Bahaus) stuffed it up so many times in their execution vis a vis appropriateness and social consequences, that it's not funny. Ideals do not triumph utility.
That said, I'm going to watch all of them. Thanks vronsky.
posted by tellurian at 5:32 AM on December 13, 2009

Nice find, thanks vronsky!
posted by carter at 10:38 AM on December 13, 2009

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