Category Archives: architectural history

The Question of the Alamo

Image Credit: Next City

The site of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, has been an item of contention lately. Complaints about the World Heritage site’s lack of a prominent visual presence have prompted a rethinking of the site’s layout. Preservation Design Partnership has proposed a large, enclosing glass wall that will mark the bounds of the original structure. Critiques against this proposal assert that the area that will be enclosed by the wall currently functions as a completely public plaza. Critics argue that this proposal could be the end of the “street preaching, panhandling, raspa vending, trinket shopping, [and] photo posing” that constitute the role of the square in the city.

Source: Next City

Photographer Documents the Same Buildings Year After Year

Image Credit: Camilo Jose Vergara

Image Credit: Camilo Jose Vergara

Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara has spent the past forty years photographing decaying buildings in low-income American neighborhoods in his project titled “Tracking Time.” Vergara’s image sets reveal the life span of several buildings as they decline, are demolished, or are restored. The photographs reveal both gradual and drastic changes in the built environment, showing how social and economic factors impact the world we live in. In some cases, Vergara documented entire streetscapes, illustrating the loss and change low income communities face.

Source: Messy Nessy

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Missing Works Become Photorealistic Renderings

Trinity Chapel rendering Image Credit: David Romero

Trinity Chapel rendering
Image Credit: David Romero

Spanish architect David Romero has created a series of renderings that portray the missing works of Frank Lloyd Wright. Two of the works were demolished, including the Larkin Administration Building and the Rose Pauson House, while one of the works—the Trinity Chapel—was never built. Using AutoCad, 3dsMax, Vray, and Photoshop, Romero recreated these works of architecture so that current generations could enjoy them. Although Romero was forced to take some liberties with the buildings, the renderings are meant to portray Wright’s ideas as accurately as possible.

Source: Archdaily

Hollywood Takes on Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House

Image credit: Archdaily

Image credit: Archdaily

The tale of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House will soon become a major feature film. The movie, starring Jeff Bridges as Mies and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Dr. Edith Farnsworth, chronicles the now-debunked tale of the passionate and ill-fated client-architect relationship. No further details have been released about the film, but the pairing of romance and architecture is sure to draw fans from all over.

Source: Archdaily

Back to the Brutal

Image Credit: Ezra Stoller, via New York Times

Image Credit: Ezra Stoller, via New York Times

The New York Times reports that Brutalist architecture is on the rebound and claimes that this newfound appreciation is not birthed from the original ideals of the aesthetic. While Brutalism was conceived in an effort to achieve material honesty and overall goodness, the article argues the growing popularity today is one of superficiality. At this point in history, the buildings lend themselves to carefully-framed and filtered Instagram posts and Tumblr pages, which leaves this original “honesty” in question.

Source: New York Times

Protesters Rally Behind Sydney’s Sirius Building

The 1970s Sirius building, designed by architect Tao Gofers, is in danger of being sold to developers. Currently, the brutalist building is home to 79 low-income social housing tenants. The building’s sale is being protested by the group Save Our Sirius, a nonprofit that aims to prevent the redevelopment of the site. Australia’s largest construction union, CFMEU, has called upon its members to not participate in the demolition of the building.

Read more about Save Our Sirius here.

Source: The Guardian


Did a Finnish Modernist Change Skateboarding Forever?

Aalto's first pool at Villa Mairea in Finland. Image credit: Jonathan Rieke via Dezeen

Aalto’s first pool at Villa Mairea in Finland. Image credit: Jonathan Rieke via Dezeen

Skateboarding magazine Transworld Skateboarding credits Finnish Modernist architect Alvar Aalto with changing the sport of skateboarding forever. Alto is credited with building the world’s first kidney shaped swimming pool in 1939, which also featured a rounded floor that formed a bowl rather than four sharp corners. Transworld claims that during the 1975 California drought, hundreds of these popular swimming pools remained empty—providing an opportunity for skateboarders to co-opt empty pools to practice new tricks on their sloped concrete floors. Without Aalto’s first kidney-shaped pool at Villa Mairea, the sport of skateboarding as we know it might not exist.

Source: Transworld via Dezeen

Architectural Face-Lift Gone Wrong

In an effort to repair part of the Great Wall of China, a portion of this monumental structure was filled to the brim with mortar. Formerly-missing bricks and crenelations were filled with new bricks as well. Although this effort occurred two years ago, it has recently sparked outrage across cyberspace as images began to circulate. The New York Times reports that park officer Liu Fusheng stated, “This was vandalism done in the name of preservation … Even the little kids here know that this repair of the Great Wall was botched.”

Source: New York Times

Merging Piranesi’s Past with the Present

Brazilian architect and photographer Olympio Augusto Ribeiro has brought eighteenth-century Rome to life by combining the etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi with modern-day photographs. By depicting scenes from multiple temporal viewpoints, Ribeiro’s collages inspire a connection with the past and an understanding of the importance of the built environment. The images illustrate the evolution of the city that led to the mix of architectural styles that exists in Rome today.

Source: Archdaily


Visit Exhibitions from the Past with MoMA’s New Archive

Image Credit: MoMA

Image Credit: MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art has released a digital image archive that contains images of exhibitions from the museum’s opening in 1929 to today. Featuring more than 33,000 photographs, press releases, catalogues, and more, the archive is free-of-charge to use and provides an in-depth look at the MoMA’s rich history. This archive provides context that will allow for a deeper understanding of the place of modern art in our society. Search the collection on MoMA’s website here.

Source: ArtForum


Columbia University Releases 10,000 Architectural Images

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library have released 10,000 architectural sections, plans, and related imagery through online image database Artstor. The collection is based on the GSAPP’s History of Modern Architecture class, with projects ranging from 1871 to 2013. The primary focus of the collection is 20th century architecture, including projects from Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Adolf Loos, Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas. Sketches, posters, and photographs are represented in the collection in addition to sections and plans. View the collection at Artstor here.

Source: Artstor Blog

A Photographic Essay of New Belgrade’s Communist Architecture

Image Credit: Piotr Bednarki

Image Credit: Piotr Bednarki

Architectural photographer Piotr Bednarski explains that New Belgrade is unique in comparison to his hometown of Warsaw, which does not have many untouched residential constructions from the Communist Era. One of the Serbian capital city’s municipalities, New Belgrade exemplifies the stark contrast between the densely-packed built areas and the flat open areas that were typical of communist design. See Bednarkski’s images here.

Source: ArchDaily