Throwback Thursday: The Eight "Greatest" Buildings

Pictured above are (according to Architecture: A Crash Course by Hilary French) the eight greatest buildings of all time.  She admits that the task of pinning down the eight greatest buildings is impossible to completely fulfill, but I found her choices very interesting.  Her choices are (from left to right):

  • Hadrian’s Pantheon
  • Joze Plecnik’s Church of the Sacred Heart
  • Denys Lasdun’s Royal College of Physicians
  • Adolf Loos’ Muller House
  • Marcel Breuer’s Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum
  • Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation Offices
  • Le Corbusier’s Notre-Dame-Du-Haut

I’m eager to get some feedback on this.  What are your choices?  And what did she miss?  I would add Walter Gropius’ Fagus Factory, but I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of some of these buildings.

Throwback Thursday: Fagus Factory

March 24, 2011 · Posted in Architects, Modern Design, Throwbacks · Comment 

I wish that I had more time to post about this building.  The Fagus Factory, by Walter Gropius in 1911, is recognized as one of the very first examples of “modern” architecture.  It was finished almost 15 years before Gerrit Rietveld’s Schroeder House and Gropius’ own Bauhaus- and 20 years before Corbusier’s Villa Savoye.  Contrast this factory with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House (and I love the Robie house), which was built about the same time, and it’s easy to see how progressive Gropius’ design is.  Most “modern” architectural designs today can find roots in the vocabulary of this building.

Throwback Thursday: Lloyd's Building

Lloyd’s Building by Richard Rogers.  It’s not too far back to 1978, but I love the building so much that I threw it in anyway.  Most of the mechanics of the building are placed on the exterior to keep the inside as open as possible.

Throwback Thursday: Richard Neutra's Singleton House

March 10, 2011 · Posted in Architects, Modern Design, Throwbacks · Comment 

Photos: Todd Eberle

I was pleased as punch this week to find a Richard Neutra house in the latest Architectural Digest.  The Singleton House had been found in poor repair on Mulholland Drive, and was purchased by none other than Vidal Sassoon and his wife Ronnie.  They did a beautiful job remodeling and restoring the home (using Neutra’s own “vocabulary and materials”), and when Ronnie was asked what she had to say about some “purists” that were criticizing them for moving walls, etc. she responded:

Unless the house is a museum, or you only spend a few weeks a year there, you just can’t live this way today.  And given how valuable the land is, the house would have been torn down.

Not a bad point Ronnie, not a bad point.  And how about that steely-marble sculpture??

Throwback Thursday: TAC's Wayland High School to be Razed

March 3, 2011 · Posted in Architects, Modern Design, Throwbacks · Comment 

Anderson also pressed for the town to pay more taxes for the school’s construction. In a letter from The Wayland-Weston Town Crier, he said, “Because of spiraling costs, all we’re doing now educationally is holding our own and hanging on to what we have. At this rate we’re not going to make any dramatic improvements. And yet, the taxes we pay for our schools are certainly high enough.”

The Town Crier added,

Fundamental to the problem is the relative values we place on education as contracted to material possessions. We each spend at least $1000 a year on our car, but only $340 annually for the education of each child in Town. We are quite content to allow billions to be sunk in TV and advertising, and our tax structure provides for this kind of spending. Yet if education is as important as we say, we better find some way to give it the real financial support it needs.”

Cambridge Consultants, Inc. of Boston, Educational Consultants, were hired to help the town determine what educational changes and structural changes were needed to make the new high school better than the last.

Wayland High School’s open campus was designed by Herbert Gallagher and John “Chip” Harkness of The Architects’ Collaborative; the two were assisted by the renowned architectWalter Gropius. The School Building Committee interviewed 10 architectural firms before finally making its decision.

Quoted above is an excerpt from an article about some of the ideas behind hiring Walter Gropius to design a High School.  I think the argument is still valid.  The school’s building committee made the decision is 2009 to tear the building down.

Ferris Beuller House Price Reduced

January 10, 2011 · Posted in Modern Design, Throwbacks · Comment 

Cameron’s house on Ferris Beuller’s Day Off could be yours for $1.65M.  “Designed by notable architects A. James Speyer and David Haid.”  Thanks for the tip Nate!

Throwback Thursday: The Vietnam Memorial

December 2, 2010 · Posted in Modern Design, Throwbacks · Comment 

Perusing a favorite text book while considering this week’s throwback, I was reminded of so much art that I love, but have basically forgotten about.  I came to an image of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  It’s not something I “love,” per say.  I really love Rothko and Alexander Calder but, those can be for another time. Anyhow, I saw the aforementioned picture and immediately thought of a poem that my dad does “love.” I won’t get into all of the famed wall’s details.  I will, however, mention something  regarding the memorial that I didn’t learn from a book or class.  “The wall bends in the middle to form two triangular wings that widen as they descend into the earth from a shallow height at the outer corners toward a depth of over 100 feet at their joint.” (Gardner’s Art Through the Ages. pp1137)  Ok, so, that descent into to the earth once didn’t mean much to me. But, when paired with the following poem by Carl Sandberg, Maya Ying Lin’s tribute has become quite poignant.


by: Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

    • ILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo,
      Shovel them under and let me work–
      I am the grass; I cover all.
      And pile them high at Gettysburg
      And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
      Shovel them under and let me work.
      Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
      What place is this?
      Where are we now?
      I am the grass.
      Let me work.

My Dad taught me that by creating a memorial that gashes into the earth, Lin is denying the grass to “go to work” and let us forget about those whose names The Vietnam Veterans Memorial bears.

Throwback Thursday: The Pantheon

November 18, 2010 · Posted in Architecture Around the World, Throwbacks · Comment 

We might have to do another throwback to the Pantheon someday, but, for today, this video is a nice intro to the facts and the look of this all-star edifice.

Throwback Thursday: Marcel Breuer's Hooper House II

November 11, 2010 · Posted in Architects, Modern Design, Throwbacks · Comment 

In 1958 Edith Hooper made one of the best decisions of her life.  I speak specifically about her decision to build a 7,800 sq. ft. house for $150,000 (just over $19/sq. ft.), and with Marcel Breuer at the helm it was bound to be good-looking too.  The house was featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1961, and was recently published in Dwell with its new owner.  Thank you Bauhaus and Marcel Breuer for a beautiful and unique house in Baltimore, Maryland.

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Consecrated

November 9, 2010 · Posted in Architects, Architecture Around the World, Throwbacks · Comment 

Typically, I would wait for a Throwback to post on an older building like this, but Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia is in the spotlight this week.  Though incomplete, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and proclaimed it a minor basilica on Sunday, November 7, 2010.  The church has history oozing from every little crack, it seems.  Construction was started in 1882, Gaudi became the architect in 1883, Gaudi passed away in 1926, the Spanish Civil War halted construction in 1936, when it resumed in the 40’s some of the models of the church and some of the church itself had been damaged, construction continues today and the completion goal is now 2026- 100 years after the death of Gaudi and 144 years after construction began.  Funding for the construction comes entirely from visitor’s fees and private donations.  Commenting on the lengthy process of building the church, Gaudi is said to have commented, “My client is not in a hurry.”

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