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Archive for the ‘Walter Gropius’ Category

Bauhaus color

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On March 23rd

The walls are painted to match the architectonic divisions of the room precisely. Just as the room is divided into two sections, the ceiling is divided into two rectangular fields of color.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: thecharnelhouse.org

great images and written as a diary….fabulous feeling of being there in that visit…touches on the philosophy of the Bauhaus Movement…fantastic!

Originally published as “Im Bauhaus,” Zwrotnica 12 (1927) . Translated from the Polish by Steven Lindberg. From Between Two Worlds: A Sourcebook of Central European Avant-Gardes, 1910-1930. (The MIT Press. Cambridge, MA: 2002).

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Paul Rudolph: Concrete Connoisseur

Posted by Noah On June 20th

In a small Kentucky town, Paul Rudolph was born to a nomadic Methodist preacher in 1918. His unique childhood was spent traveling the American south from church to church. The charm of these pious concrete structures and other regional landmarks inspired Rudolph to earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University. His serendipitous meeting with Walter Gropius, the founder of Bauhaus, while pursuing his master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Design would help shape his bright future as an architectural visionary.

Orange Country Government Center in Goshen, New York.

Orange Country Government Center in Goshen, New York.

After attaining his master’s, Paul Rudolph partnered with Ralph Twitchell in Florida and became a kingpin of the “Sarasota School”. This style of architecture focused on a clean contemporary floor plan and highlighted natural light, sweeping overhangs, and flat roofs. In 1958, Rudolph completed the Art and Architecture Building at Yale University. While there he felt a strong desire to share his passion and he became Dean at the Yale School of Architecture. After six years of inspiring a new generation of builders, Rudolph relocated to New York. He continued to focus all of his attention on the controversial Brutalist style. Brutalist architecture was inspired by the modernist movement. These buildings tend to be extremely linear, square, and feature predominantly concrete.

Yale Art and Architecture Building.

Yale Art and Architecture Building.

Despite being idolized by his peers, the public found many of his larger brutalist designs to be “brutal indeed” and criticized the abundance of concrete and steel. When Paul Rudolph passed away in 1997, his obituary in the New York Times said, “With the exception of Louis I. Kahn, no American architect of his generation enjoyed higher esteem in the 1960’s.  But after 1970, his reputation plummeted. Many of his buildings are being torn down, or are in danger of being torn down.  Mr. Rudolph leaves behind a perplexing legacy that will take many years to untangle.” However; a little over 15 years later, the unique appeal of Paul Rudolph’s brutalist designs is reaching  new audiences who are embracing the incredible buildings with open arms.

Paul Rudolph's 1961 Miami home.

Paul Rudolph’s 1961 Miami home.

Adventures in Decision Making – Part 1 or A Walter Gropius Anecdote

Posted by Lynne van den Berg On November 29th

There are many integral factors that should be considered when making key decisions about  Mid-Century Modern designs. Color, size, shape, “feel”, and price should all be appropriately weighed in the mind of the consumer, but this quick story from the education of a well-known Harvard trained architect illustrates that there will always be unanticipated variables. As a side-note, the teacher discussed below is the famous Walter Gropius, who is regarded as a pioneering master of modern architecture.

“My mentor was Gropius, whose ideas were comparable to those of Mies van der Rohe. It’s rather sad, but after all my time at the feet of the master, the first thing that comes to mind after all these years is that silly conversation about the entrance stair to one of my building designs.”

“I designed free ‘floating’ concrete entrance stairs with steel reinforcing bars and an open area underneath. I thought it was quite sculptural and added to the overall lightness of the approach. When Gropius came for his critique he pulled at his eyebrow and contemplated my efforts for what seemed like an eternity. He then stated these immortal words which have been seared into my memory in his Germanic accented voice: ‘Roy do not do ‘dis – dogs will get under there and fornicate!’”

“These were hardly the words expected from a guy who to me was a near deity, but I have cherished them ever since. As far as I know, no dogs have ever had illicit carnal affairs under one of my structures.”

This is the first part of several amusing anecdotes that we are gathering directly from the memories of key figures in the colorful history of modern design. Please check back soon for another quirky true story.