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Monument: Walt Disney Concert Hall
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Architect: Frank Gehry
Year: 1987-2003

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, building on the formal language pioneered in the canonical Guggenheim Bilbao, is a hallmark of Gehry’s oeuvre and a significant contribution to the field of architecture in its own right.

Gehry’s signature sculptural design process resulted in a building drapped by fluid stainless steel sheets and many difficult connection details cause by prevalence of complex curvature and acute angles. At the time no architectural software had existed to generate Gehry’s fluid shapes and undulating form. As a result a French software developed for use in the automotive and aerospace industries, CATIA was utilized for its ability to serialize elements of the design for fabrication and construction.

The construction and completion of the Opera House was a well publicized, long, and drawn out narrative which seemed to have no end in sight. Lack of funding led to countless number of delays, even stopping construction for several years. Costs far exceeded the original budget, which lead to many important changes- most interestingly switching from a stone material to a stainless steel exterior.

The hall, like many of Gehry’s large, public projects generates a sense of space. Its sculptural form creates many different facades and impression. Inside, the main auditorium creates an exciting atmosphere that balances intimacy and vibrancy. The 360-degree range of seating surrounding the stage enhances the feeling that the artists and audience as a group are participating in a singular creative experience. Just as impressive is the use of public outdoor space that wraps around the building transitioning from the ground level and upward. Gardens, an amphitheater, and a series of narrow canyons formed by the flowing metallic panels create a one of a kind urban park unlike any other in Los Angeles.

Monument: abandoned church on H Street SW
Location: District of Columbia, USA
Artist: Hense
Year: 2012

shotgunningcraftbeersincans:

El Hefe Speaks

Brewery: DC Brau

Style: Hefeweizen

ABV: 5.3%

Volume: 12 oz

Rating: 8.6

Monument: Aqua TowerLocation: Chicago, IL, USAArchitect: Studio Gang ArchitectsYear: 2006-2010
The Aqua Tower a contemporary tower with a tactility reminiscent of another Chicago icon, Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, is the work of 2011 MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang. 
The distinct look of the Aqua Tower was inspired by naturally carved shore-line rock formations prominent in the northern Great Lakes region. Undulating curves define balconies that compose the façade and give way to views of Chicago landmarks far and near. These balconies also allow residents to simultaneously inhabit the collective façade while experiencing an outdoor urban environment specific to each dwelling. A fully glazed rectangular perimeter is inscribed within the sinuous slab providing flexible interior spaces. In total, six glazing types are used throughout the tower to minimize solar loads.The firm’s continuing research into birds’ flight paths manifests itself in the use of fritted glass to minimize avian fatalities. 
Aqua is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman as lead architect. It is also Chicago’s first truly hybrid structure, containing within it residential typologies such as apartments, condos, and townhouses, as well as a hotel.

Monument: Aqua Tower
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Architect: Studio Gang Architects
Year: 2006-2010

The Aqua Tower a contemporary tower with a tactility reminiscent of another Chicago icon, Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, is the work of 2011 MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang.

The distinct look of the Aqua Tower was inspired by naturally carved shore-line rock formations prominent in the northern Great Lakes region. Undulating curves define balconies that compose the façade and give way to views of Chicago landmarks far and near. These balconies also allow residents to simultaneously inhabit the collective façade while experiencing an outdoor urban environment specific to each dwelling. A fully glazed rectangular perimeter is inscribed within the sinuous slab providing flexible interior spaces. In total, six glazing types are used throughout the tower to minimize solar loads.The firm’s continuing research into birds’ flight paths manifests itself in the use of fritted glass to minimize avian fatalities.

Aqua is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman as lead architect. It is also Chicago’s first truly hybrid structure, containing within it residential typologies such as apartments, condos, and townhouses, as well as a hotel.

Monument: American Folk Art MuseumLocation: New York, New York, USAArchitect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien ArchitectsYear: 2001-2014

Built on a disproportionally small 40’x100’ Midtown plot, the American Folk Art Museum designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien is itself an idiosyncratic nugget among its glassy rectilinear surroundings.  Clad in coarse panes of cast white bronze, its two dimensional façade expresses a directness and tactility evocative of the imperfections and innocence inherent to folk art.
In order to cope with the restrictive site, the museum expanded vertically. Heading upward from the lobby and café on the ground floor, one encounters four floors of galleries on open, catwalk-like floor slabs. Adorned by pieces from the collection, the main staircase ascends along an open atrium that doubles as a light well. Auxiliary spaces such as an auditorium, classrooms, and offices are located in the basement levels. The interior finishes of concrete, wood, and translucent green glass carry forth the sense of craft introduced by the façade.
Since having been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 2011, the legacy of this building has proven more complex as the museum’s intimate character is at odds with the institution’s future aspirations of uninterrupted gallery space. After only 13 years since completion, the museum is officially slated for demolition as part of MOMA’s further expansion led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Monument: American Folk Art Museum
Location: New York, New York, USA
Architect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Year: 2001-2014

Built on a disproportionally small 40’x100’ Midtown plot, the American Folk Art Museum designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien is itself an idiosyncratic nugget among its glassy rectilinear surroundings.  Clad in coarse panes of cast white bronze, its two dimensional façade expresses a directness and tactility evocative of the imperfections and innocence inherent to folk art.

In order to cope with the restrictive site, the museum expanded vertically. Heading upward from the lobby and café on the ground floor, one encounters four floors of galleries on open, catwalk-like floor slabs. Adorned by pieces from the collection, the main staircase ascends along an open atrium that doubles as a light well. Auxiliary spaces such as an auditorium, classrooms, and offices are located in the basement levels. The interior finishes of concrete, wood, and translucent green glass carry forth the sense of craft introduced by the façade.

Since having been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 2011, the legacy of this building has proven more complex as the museum’s intimate character is at odds with the institution’s future aspirations of uninterrupted gallery space. After only 13 years since completion, the museum is officially slated for demolition as part of MOMA’s further expansion led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Monument: The High LineLocation: New York, New York, USAArchitect: James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + RenfroYear: 2004- 2009 (Section 1), 2011 (Section 2), Ongoing (Section 3)


Originally constructed in 1934 the elevated freight line was as an alternative to the more dangerous ground level railway line that pitted trains against pedestrians and traffic in the fast paced industrial area. While it functioned for nearly 50 years until the expansion of the nation’s interstates made trucking a more cost effective option for transporting livestock this piece of infrastructure was seen by many to be an eye sore by the 1990s when it was totally abandoned.
Now seen as the preeminent example of urban rejuvenation, the High Line project started out as a grassroots movement in 1999 led by The Friends of the High Line to reinvent the 1.5 miles of disused railroad tracks running alongside Manhattan’s west side. In time it gained widespread community and city support. Early financial backers that saw the value this project would generate in the city included Philip Falcone, founder of hedge fund firm Harbinger Capital, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. After an open ideas competition in 2003 that drew in over 700 entries, an invited completion was announced in 2004 that included architectural heavy weights Zaha Hadid and Steven Holl.
In collaboration with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and horticulturalist Piet Oudolf, James Corner’s proposal highlights the “melancholic, found beauty” that pervaded the High Line in the 1990s as rugged and resilient indigenous flora flourished between the hardscape of gravel and steel.  The design creates a discrete expansive ribbon of lush garden that creates unforeseen relationships among the city blocks, buildings, and transportation routes it both stitches together and dissects along its route from the Meatpacking district to the Hudson Yards. Unique architectural features such as observation decks hovering above busy streets, translucent walkways elevated above wild flower fields, and tapered slat pavers that produce an ambiguous boundary between path and landscape, amplify the all too surreal presence of meandering nature within New York’s rigid urban grid.

Monument: The High Line
Location: New York, New York, USA
Architect: James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Year: 2004- 2009 (Section 1), 2011 (Section 2), Ongoing (Section 3)

Originally constructed in 1934 the elevated freight line was as an alternative to the more dangerous ground level railway line that pitted trains against pedestrians and traffic in the fast paced industrial area. While it functioned for nearly 50 years until the expansion of the nation’s interstates made trucking a more cost effective option for transporting livestock this piece of infrastructure was seen by many to be an eye sore by the 1990s when it was totally abandoned.

Now seen as the preeminent example of urban rejuvenation, the High Line project started out as a grassroots movement in 1999 led by The Friends of the High Line to reinvent the 1.5 miles of disused railroad tracks running alongside Manhattan’s west side. In time it gained widespread community and city support. Early financial backers that saw the value this project would generate in the city included Philip Falcone, founder of hedge fund firm Harbinger Capital, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. After an open ideas competition in 2003 that drew in over 700 entries, an invited completion was announced in 2004 that included architectural heavy weights Zaha Hadid and Steven Holl.

In collaboration with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and horticulturalist Piet Oudolf, James Corner’s proposal highlights the “melancholic, found beauty” that pervaded the High Line in the 1990s as rugged and resilient indigenous flora flourished between the hardscape of gravel and steel.  The design creates a discrete expansive ribbon of lush garden that creates unforeseen relationships among the city blocks, buildings, and transportation routes it both stitches together and dissects along its route from the Meatpacking district to the Hudson Yards. Unique architectural features such as observation decks hovering above busy streets, translucent walkways elevated above wild flower fields, and tapered slat pavers that produce an ambiguous boundary between path and landscape, amplify the all too surreal presence of meandering nature within New York’s rigid urban grid.

Monument: East Building of the St. Louis Art Museum
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Year: 2005-2013

Sited in historic Forest Park (that includes within its borders among other things a zoo, science center, and golf course), David Chipperfield’s unapologetically modern addition to the St. Louis Art Museum delivers an equally timeless architectural response as Cass Gilbert’s neoclassical building did at the time of its construction. Built in 1903 as the Palace of the Fine Arts for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World’s fair), Gilbert’s museum drew inspiration from the classical forms and proportions of the Roman Baths of Caracalla. Chipperfield’s early modernist influences for the East Building reveal a structure that rejects the hierarchical and ordered compositions of classicism in favor of a less prescribed setting for the exhibition of the museum’s collection.

Monolithic panels of polished concrete, enriched by substrate from the Missouri and Wisconsin Rivers, and flush expanses of glazing create a cohesive whole that contrasts the main museum yet maintains a sense of weight complimentary to it. The interior exhibition spaces dedicated to temporary exhibitions increase the museums display space by 30 percent and allow the Gilbert’s building to showcase the museum’s immense permanent collection, which in some cases has been stored out of view for decades. A four foot deep cast in place concrete waffle slab contains rectilinear skylights that diffuse light inside the galleries.

Plans for the expansion were put on hold during the 2008 economic collapse however construction began in 2010. The addition achieved LEED Gold certification and houses a 300 car parking lot underneath it.

Monument: The Great Wall of ChinaLocation: ChinaArchitect: N/AYear: 700 BC- 16th C


The Great Wall of China – perhaps one of the most universal symbols of Chinese culture- acquired its position as a cornerstone of public identity through its long physical evolution triggered by significant socio-historical events that shaped the nation.
The earliest known origins of structure date back to between 700-500 BC when simple walls of rammed earth and stone were constructed by feuding princes as a way of safeguarding the cities and farmlands of their kingdoms during the turbulent Warring States period.
Qin Shi Huang emerged as the victor of these battles, united China, and became the nation’s first Emperor. One of his many strategies of nation building was mending and uniting the many disparate walls left behind by the warring factions. The newly fortified border protected against invaders from the north and marked the first major span of the wall totaling over 3,000 miles.
The walls endured periods of growth and neglect for many centuries as dynasties tended to the fortifications through times of war and peace. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the Ming Dynasty began the campaign to build the unprecedented fortifications to secure the northern border near Beijing from the ever-growing Mongol Empire.  The iconic image of a massive stone wall dotted by lookout towers meandering off into the horizon is the result of this nearly 300 year period of prosperity.
Yet, despite popular belief, this mega-structure is not visible from space as many of us have been lead to believe as kids.
*Image courtesy of Jack Gray

Monument: The Great Wall of China
Location: China
Architect: N/A
Year: 700 BC- 16th C

The Great Wall of China – perhaps one of the most universal symbols of Chinese culture- acquired its position as a cornerstone of public identity through its long physical evolution triggered by significant socio-historical events that shaped the nation.

The earliest known origins of structure date back to between 700-500 BC when simple walls of rammed earth and stone were constructed by feuding princes as a way of safeguarding the cities and farmlands of their kingdoms during the turbulent Warring States period.

Qin Shi Huang emerged as the victor of these battles, united China, and became the nation’s first Emperor. One of his many strategies of nation building was mending and uniting the many disparate walls left behind by the warring factions. The newly fortified border protected against invaders from the north and marked the first major span of the wall totaling over 3,000 miles.

The walls endured periods of growth and neglect for many centuries as dynasties tended to the fortifications through times of war and peace. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the Ming Dynasty began the campaign to build the unprecedented fortifications to secure the northern border near Beijing from the ever-growing Mongol Empire.  The iconic image of a massive stone wall dotted by lookout towers meandering off into the horizon is the result of this nearly 300 year period of prosperity.

Yet, despite popular belief, this mega-structure is not visible from space as many of us have been lead to believe as kids.

*Image courtesy of Jack Gray

Monument: Cleveland Museum of Art East GalleryLocation: Cleveland, OhioArchitect: Rafael Vignoly ArchitectsYear: 2001-2009
Despite the spatial clarity of the existing 1916 Beaux-Arts building by local architects Hubbell & Benes, the Cleveland Art Museum’s organization has become muddled by numerous expansion efforts throughout the years. A brutalist education wing constructed in 1971 by Marcel Breuer further attributed to a stylistic disaccord within the institution. Rafael Vignoly’s masterplan called for the clearing or all additions, except Breuer’s, and rebuilding them symmetrically around a central courtyard in order to reinstate the orginal building as the focal point of the complex. The East Gallery addition, which houses the museum’s Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary collections, is the first phase in Vignoly’s comprehensive plan to expand, and more importantly reorganize, the museum. The exterior facade treatment of alternating bands of granite and white marble harmonizes with the repetitious facade of the newly renovated Breuer addition in order to more fully integrate it into the complex. A nearly completed canopied courtyard with additional gallery space, musuem shop, and offices will serve as a common foyer and reception space for the musuem. Scheduled for completion in 2013, this will be the largest cultural project completed in Ohio to date.

Monument: Cleveland Museum of Art East Gallery
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Architect: Rafael Vignoly Architects
Year: 2001-2009

Despite the spatial clarity of the existing 1916 Beaux-Arts building by local architects Hubbell & Benes, the Cleveland Art Museum’s organization has become muddled by numerous expansion efforts throughout the years. A brutalist education wing constructed in 1971 by Marcel Breuer further attributed to a stylistic disaccord within the institution. Rafael Vignoly’s masterplan called for the clearing or all additions, except Breuer’s, and rebuilding them symmetrically around a central courtyard in order to reinstate the orginal building as the focal point of the complex.

The East Gallery addition, which houses the museum’s Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary collections, is the first phase in Vignoly’s comprehensive plan to expand, and more importantly reorganize, the museum. The exterior facade treatment of alternating bands of granite and white marble harmonizes with the repetitious facade of the newly renovated Breuer addition in order to more fully integrate it into the complex.

A nearly completed canopied courtyard with additional gallery space, musuem shop, and offices will serve as a common foyer and reception space for the musuem. Scheduled for completion in 2013, this will be the largest cultural project completed in Ohio to date.

Monument: abandoned church on H Street SWLocation: District of Columbia, USAArtist: HenseYear: 2012
Atlanta based artist Hense, know for his abstract murals that combine the refinement of highbrow gallery art with street art sensibilities, transformed an abandoned 10,000ft2 church in the nation’s capitol into a neighborhood art piece. Rooted in an exploration of shape and line, the art work balances bold, defined forms and loose, smeared paint strokes that mimic the softness of watercolors- as exemplified by the westwork (pictured). 

Monument: abandoned church on H Street SW
Location: District of Columbia, USA
Artist: Hense
Year: 2012

Atlanta based artist Hense, know for his abstract murals that combine the refinement of highbrow gallery art with street art sensibilities, transformed an abandoned 10,000ft2 church in the nation’s capitol into a neighborhood art piece. Rooted in an exploration of shape and line, the art work balances bold, defined forms and loose, smeared paint strokes that mimic the softness of watercolors- as exemplified by the westwork (pictured). 

Monument: The University of Toledo Center for the Visual ArtsLocation: Toldeo, OhioArchitect: Gehry PartnersYear: 1989-1992
The Center for Visual Arts, a distinct contrast to the Toldeo Art Museum’s 1912 neoclassical building and home to the University of Toledo’s art department, is the first of two buildings designed by Pritzker laureates commissioned by the institution (the Glass Pavilion being the second). Gehry’s sculptural design, clad in lead-coated copper, was chosen just months after the architect received architecture’s greatest honor with the intention of reinforcing the museum’s world-class reputation.
As with many of the projects in Gehry’s oeuvre, the CVA has attracted some controversy despite coming in under budget and adequately providing for the department’s studios, classrooms, and offices (unlike the ill-fated American Center).  Expecting the investment to be too costly, the committee responsible for selecting the architect downsized the facility’s program from 80,000 ft2 to the current 51,000 ft2 which the department has outgrown some five years ago. Although Gehry’s design did account for a future expansion, critics say a less iconic architect could have been chosen to fulfill the department’s needs initially- once again stirring the ever present debate concerning the architect’s role in society.

Monument: The University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts
Location: Toldeo, Ohio
Architect: Gehry Partners
Year: 1989-1992

The Center for Visual Arts, a distinct contrast to the Toldeo Art Museum’s 1912 neoclassical building and home to the University of Toledo’s art department, is the first of two buildings designed by Pritzker laureates commissioned by the institution (the Glass Pavilion being the second). Gehry’s sculptural design, clad in lead-coated copper, was chosen just months after the architect received architecture’s greatest honor with the intention of reinforcing the museum’s world-class reputation.

As with many of the projects in Gehry’s oeuvre, the CVA has attracted some controversy despite coming in under budget and adequately providing for the department’s studios, classrooms, and offices (unlike the ill-fated American Center).  Expecting the investment to be too costly, the committee responsible for selecting the architect downsized the facility’s program from 80,000 ft2 to the current 51,000 ft2 which the department has outgrown some five years ago. Although Gehry’s design did account for a future expansion, critics say a less iconic architect could have been chosen to fulfill the department’s needs initially- once again stirring the ever present debate concerning the architect’s role in society.

Monument: Marina CityLocation: Chicago, IllinoisArchitect: Bertrand GoldbergYear: 1959-1964
Marina City, Bertrand Goldberg’s model for affordable housing, is a striking example of the ambitious social agenda that served as the foundation of modernist thought. Having studied at the Bauhaus and under Mies van der Rohe, Goldberg believed that society can be uplifted through a nurturing built environment. Co-financed by the Building Service Employees International Union, the development strove to become a symbol of postwar blue-collar prosperity that would provide over 100 new janitorial jobs and counteract the problem of the rapidly shrinking urban middle-class prevalent at the time.  Amenities such as shops, a theater, offices, the namesake marina, and an ice-skating rink created vivacity around the two 60-story concrete towers, each containing 450 apartments and parking spaces, that has helped maintained demand to this day.
Goldberg further sought to humanize the formal language of modernism by refuting the insistence on the rigid cartesian grid stating, “We have become aware of the almost alive quality which our structures achieve, and we seek the forms which give the most life to our structures.” Instead he sought to enliven his architecture by exploiting geometric properties of shapes that were more reactive to structural forces within the building- especially the circle. Marina City’s petal-shaped floor plans respond to the human dimension by providing each unit with a balcony, direct access to the buildings core, as well as a more open-ended unparallel unit layout. Pragmatic advantages of these concentric floor plans include uniform structural distances that result in modular interior spaces, no expensive difficult to detail corner conditions, and reduced wind loads.

Monument: Marina City
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Architect: Bertrand Goldberg
Year: 1959-1964

Marina City, Bertrand Goldberg’s model for affordable housing, is a striking example of the ambitious social agenda that served as the foundation of modernist thought. Having studied at the Bauhaus and under Mies van der Rohe, Goldberg believed that society can be uplifted through a nurturing built environment. Co-financed by the Building Service Employees International Union, the development strove to become a symbol of postwar blue-collar prosperity that would provide over 100 new janitorial jobs and counteract the problem of the rapidly shrinking urban middle-class prevalent at the time.  Amenities such as shops, a theater, offices, the namesake marina, and an ice-skating rink created vivacity around the two 60-story concrete towers, each containing 450 apartments and parking spaces, that has helped maintained demand to this day.

Goldberg further sought to humanize the formal language of modernism by refuting the insistence on the rigid cartesian grid stating, “We have become aware of the almost alive quality which our structures achieve, and we seek the forms which give the most life to our structures.” Instead he sought to enliven his architecture by exploiting geometric properties of shapes that were more reactive to structural forces within the building- especially the circle. Marina City’s petal-shaped floor plans respond to the human dimension by providing each unit with a balcony, direct access to the buildings core, as well as a more open-ended unparallel unit layout. Pragmatic advantages of these concentric floor plans include uniform structural distances that result in modular interior spaces, no expensive difficult to detail corner conditions, and reduced wind loads.

Monument: Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Architect: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/ SANAA
Year: 2001-2006

SANAA’s first built work in the United States is as much a unique solution for a home to an immense collection of over 5,000 pieces of glass art as it is a manifest to the 2010 Pritzker Prize Laureates’ vision which strives to create an ethereal, and somewhat paradoxically, natural architecture. Situated in a small picturesque park across the street from, and on axis to, the museum’s original Neoclassical building, the Glass Pavilion is a complimentary counterpoint to its surroundings.

The simple glass and steel box marks definite physical edges for the building and contains the display spaces as well as workshops within. Because of the rigidly compartmentalized floor plan, in which each programmatic function is contained by a glass “bubble,” The resulting layered transparencies, unexpected opacities of reflections and glare cast by the curved planes distorting these boundaries. Views of the park and adjacent galleries are omnipresent in all parts of the building allowing for closeness to nature in a highly organized, synthetic environment.

Mechanical systems and structure are carefully composed into the design. The cavity between the exterior glass and interior glass galleries is a buffer zone where cool and warm air is redistributed between the galleries and hotshops depending on the season. Subtle, white columns unobtrusively hold up the roof while the opaque galleries and auxiliary spaces, made of sheet steel, provide lateral bracing for the entire structure. The 32,000 ftof glass used in the project was made in Austria, curved and laminated in China, then delivered to the site.

Monument: Darwin Martin House ComplexLocation: Buffalo, New YorkArchitect: Frank Lloyd WrightYear: 1903-1907

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first commission in the Eastern United States is actually a series of five programmatically different structures strung together along a residential site in the affluent Parkside neighborhood. Darwin D. Martin, one of Buffalo’s richest businessman and a prominent figure at Larkin Soap Company, sought out Wright’s services after the architect built the William E. Martin House for his brother in Oak Park, Illinois. Martin was also instrumental in selecting Wright as the architect for the now demolished Larkin Administration Building.
The complex’s floor plan is based on drawings Wright created to show a new model for American residential architecture titled “A Home in a Prairie Town,” published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1901. The Martin House was the family’s main living space. It consists of 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and an open plan library, living room, and dining room. The carriage house (that initially stored carriages and later automobiles), conservatory (a green house that supplied the estate’s plants), as well as the Barton House (a house for Martin’s sister and her family) are united by a low linear pergola. The pergola frames a view onto a statue of Nike of Samothrace in the conservatory from the main entrance of the Martin House.
The entirety is executed in the Prairie Style. Through its use of horizontality, overhanging eaves, organic material expression, craftsmanship, and integration with landscape, the movement strove to establish a uniquely American architecture that stood out against the Neoclassicism prevalent at the time. Wright himself considered the Martin House Complex, a precursor to the more famous Robie House, as one of the most significant in his career, keeping it pinned on his drafting table for nearly 50 years.

Monument: Darwin Martin House Complex
Location: Buffalo, New York
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Year: 1903-1907

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first commission in the Eastern United States is actually a series of five programmatically different structures strung together along a residential site in the affluent Parkside neighborhood. Darwin D. Martin, one of Buffalo’s richest businessman and a prominent figure at Larkin Soap Company, sought out Wright’s services after the architect built the William E. Martin House for his brother in Oak Park, Illinois. Martin was also instrumental in selecting Wright as the architect for the now demolished Larkin Administration Building.

The complex’s floor plan is based on drawings Wright created to show a new model for American residential architecture titled “A Home in a Prairie Town,” published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1901. The Martin House was the family’s main living space. It consists of 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and an open plan library, living room, and dining room. The carriage house (that initially stored carriages and later automobiles), conservatory (a green house that supplied the estate’s plants), as well as the Barton House (a house for Martin’s sister and her family) are united by a low linear pergola. The pergola frames a view onto a statue of Nike of Samothrace in the conservatory from the main entrance of the Martin House.

The entirety is executed in the Prairie Style. Through its use of horizontality, overhanging eaves, organic material expression, craftsmanship, and integration with landscape, the movement strove to establish a uniquely American architecture that stood out against the Neoclassicism prevalent at the time. Wright himself considered the Martin House Complex, a precursor to the more famous Robie House, as one of the most significant in his career, keeping it pinned on his drafting table for nearly 50 years.

Monument: Walt Disney Concert Hall
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Architect: Frank Gehry
Year: 1987-2003

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, building on the formal language pioneered in the canonical Guggenheim Bilbao, is a hallmark of Gehry’s oeuvre and a significant contribution to the field of architecture in its own right.

Gehry’s signature sculptural design process resulted in a building drapped by fluid stainless steel sheets and many difficult connection details cause by prevalence of complex curvature and acute angles. At the time no architectural software had existed to generate Gehry’s fluid shapes and undulating form. As a result a French software developed for use in the automotive and aerospace industries, CATIA was utilized for its ability to serialize elements of the design for fabrication and construction.

The construction and completion of the Opera House was a well publicized, long, and drawn out narrative which seemed to have no end in sight. Lack of funding led to countless number of delays, even stopping construction for several years. Costs far exceeded the original budget, which lead to many important changes- most interestingly switching from a stone material to a stainless steel exterior.

The hall, like many of Gehry’s large, public projects generates a sense of space. Its sculptural form creates many different facades and impression. Inside, the main auditorium creates an exciting atmosphere that balances intimacy and vibrancy. The 360-degree range of seating surrounding the stage enhances the feeling that the artists and audience as a group are participating in a singular creative experience. Just as impressive is the use of public outdoor space that wraps around the building transitioning from the ground level and upward. Gardens, an amphitheater, and a series of narrow canyons formed by the flowing metallic panels create a one of a kind urban park unlike any other in Los Angeles.

Monument: abandoned church on H Street SW
Location: District of Columbia, USA
Artist: Hense
Year: 2012

shotgunningcraftbeersincans:

El Hefe Speaks

Brewery: DC Brau

Style: Hefeweizen

ABV: 5.3%

Volume: 12 oz

Rating: 8.6

Monument: Aqua TowerLocation: Chicago, IL, USAArchitect: Studio Gang ArchitectsYear: 2006-2010
The Aqua Tower a contemporary tower with a tactility reminiscent of another Chicago icon, Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, is the work of 2011 MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang. 
The distinct look of the Aqua Tower was inspired by naturally carved shore-line rock formations prominent in the northern Great Lakes region. Undulating curves define balconies that compose the façade and give way to views of Chicago landmarks far and near. These balconies also allow residents to simultaneously inhabit the collective façade while experiencing an outdoor urban environment specific to each dwelling. A fully glazed rectangular perimeter is inscribed within the sinuous slab providing flexible interior spaces. In total, six glazing types are used throughout the tower to minimize solar loads.The firm’s continuing research into birds’ flight paths manifests itself in the use of fritted glass to minimize avian fatalities. 
Aqua is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman as lead architect. It is also Chicago’s first truly hybrid structure, containing within it residential typologies such as apartments, condos, and townhouses, as well as a hotel.

Monument: Aqua Tower
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Architect: Studio Gang Architects
Year: 2006-2010

The Aqua Tower a contemporary tower with a tactility reminiscent of another Chicago icon, Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, is the work of 2011 MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang.

The distinct look of the Aqua Tower was inspired by naturally carved shore-line rock formations prominent in the northern Great Lakes region. Undulating curves define balconies that compose the façade and give way to views of Chicago landmarks far and near. These balconies also allow residents to simultaneously inhabit the collective façade while experiencing an outdoor urban environment specific to each dwelling. A fully glazed rectangular perimeter is inscribed within the sinuous slab providing flexible interior spaces. In total, six glazing types are used throughout the tower to minimize solar loads.The firm’s continuing research into birds’ flight paths manifests itself in the use of fritted glass to minimize avian fatalities.

Aqua is the tallest building in the world designed by a woman as lead architect. It is also Chicago’s first truly hybrid structure, containing within it residential typologies such as apartments, condos, and townhouses, as well as a hotel.

Monument: American Folk Art MuseumLocation: New York, New York, USAArchitect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien ArchitectsYear: 2001-2014

Built on a disproportionally small 40’x100’ Midtown plot, the American Folk Art Museum designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien is itself an idiosyncratic nugget among its glassy rectilinear surroundings.  Clad in coarse panes of cast white bronze, its two dimensional façade expresses a directness and tactility evocative of the imperfections and innocence inherent to folk art.
In order to cope with the restrictive site, the museum expanded vertically. Heading upward from the lobby and café on the ground floor, one encounters four floors of galleries on open, catwalk-like floor slabs. Adorned by pieces from the collection, the main staircase ascends along an open atrium that doubles as a light well. Auxiliary spaces such as an auditorium, classrooms, and offices are located in the basement levels. The interior finishes of concrete, wood, and translucent green glass carry forth the sense of craft introduced by the façade.
Since having been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 2011, the legacy of this building has proven more complex as the museum’s intimate character is at odds with the institution’s future aspirations of uninterrupted gallery space. After only 13 years since completion, the museum is officially slated for demolition as part of MOMA’s further expansion led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Monument: American Folk Art Museum
Location: New York, New York, USA
Architect: Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Year: 2001-2014

Built on a disproportionally small 40’x100’ Midtown plot, the American Folk Art Museum designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien is itself an idiosyncratic nugget among its glassy rectilinear surroundings.  Clad in coarse panes of cast white bronze, its two dimensional façade expresses a directness and tactility evocative of the imperfections and innocence inherent to folk art.

In order to cope with the restrictive site, the museum expanded vertically. Heading upward from the lobby and café on the ground floor, one encounters four floors of galleries on open, catwalk-like floor slabs. Adorned by pieces from the collection, the main staircase ascends along an open atrium that doubles as a light well. Auxiliary spaces such as an auditorium, classrooms, and offices are located in the basement levels. The interior finishes of concrete, wood, and translucent green glass carry forth the sense of craft introduced by the façade.

Since having been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 2011, the legacy of this building has proven more complex as the museum’s intimate character is at odds with the institution’s future aspirations of uninterrupted gallery space. After only 13 years since completion, the museum is officially slated for demolition as part of MOMA’s further expansion led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Monument: The High LineLocation: New York, New York, USAArchitect: James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + RenfroYear: 2004- 2009 (Section 1), 2011 (Section 2), Ongoing (Section 3)


Originally constructed in 1934 the elevated freight line was as an alternative to the more dangerous ground level railway line that pitted trains against pedestrians and traffic in the fast paced industrial area. While it functioned for nearly 50 years until the expansion of the nation’s interstates made trucking a more cost effective option for transporting livestock this piece of infrastructure was seen by many to be an eye sore by the 1990s when it was totally abandoned.
Now seen as the preeminent example of urban rejuvenation, the High Line project started out as a grassroots movement in 1999 led by The Friends of the High Line to reinvent the 1.5 miles of disused railroad tracks running alongside Manhattan’s west side. In time it gained widespread community and city support. Early financial backers that saw the value this project would generate in the city included Philip Falcone, founder of hedge fund firm Harbinger Capital, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. After an open ideas competition in 2003 that drew in over 700 entries, an invited completion was announced in 2004 that included architectural heavy weights Zaha Hadid and Steven Holl.
In collaboration with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and horticulturalist Piet Oudolf, James Corner’s proposal highlights the “melancholic, found beauty” that pervaded the High Line in the 1990s as rugged and resilient indigenous flora flourished between the hardscape of gravel and steel.  The design creates a discrete expansive ribbon of lush garden that creates unforeseen relationships among the city blocks, buildings, and transportation routes it both stitches together and dissects along its route from the Meatpacking district to the Hudson Yards. Unique architectural features such as observation decks hovering above busy streets, translucent walkways elevated above wild flower fields, and tapered slat pavers that produce an ambiguous boundary between path and landscape, amplify the all too surreal presence of meandering nature within New York’s rigid urban grid.

Monument: The High Line
Location: New York, New York, USA
Architect: James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Year: 2004- 2009 (Section 1), 2011 (Section 2), Ongoing (Section 3)

Originally constructed in 1934 the elevated freight line was as an alternative to the more dangerous ground level railway line that pitted trains against pedestrians and traffic in the fast paced industrial area. While it functioned for nearly 50 years until the expansion of the nation’s interstates made trucking a more cost effective option for transporting livestock this piece of infrastructure was seen by many to be an eye sore by the 1990s when it was totally abandoned.

Now seen as the preeminent example of urban rejuvenation, the High Line project started out as a grassroots movement in 1999 led by The Friends of the High Line to reinvent the 1.5 miles of disused railroad tracks running alongside Manhattan’s west side. In time it gained widespread community and city support. Early financial backers that saw the value this project would generate in the city included Philip Falcone, founder of hedge fund firm Harbinger Capital, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. After an open ideas competition in 2003 that drew in over 700 entries, an invited completion was announced in 2004 that included architectural heavy weights Zaha Hadid and Steven Holl.

In collaboration with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and horticulturalist Piet Oudolf, James Corner’s proposal highlights the “melancholic, found beauty” that pervaded the High Line in the 1990s as rugged and resilient indigenous flora flourished between the hardscape of gravel and steel.  The design creates a discrete expansive ribbon of lush garden that creates unforeseen relationships among the city blocks, buildings, and transportation routes it both stitches together and dissects along its route from the Meatpacking district to the Hudson Yards. Unique architectural features such as observation decks hovering above busy streets, translucent walkways elevated above wild flower fields, and tapered slat pavers that produce an ambiguous boundary between path and landscape, amplify the all too surreal presence of meandering nature within New York’s rigid urban grid.

Monument: East Building of the St. Louis Art Museum
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Year: 2005-2013

Sited in historic Forest Park (that includes within its borders among other things a zoo, science center, and golf course), David Chipperfield’s unapologetically modern addition to the St. Louis Art Museum delivers an equally timeless architectural response as Cass Gilbert’s neoclassical building did at the time of its construction. Built in 1903 as the Palace of the Fine Arts for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World’s fair), Gilbert’s museum drew inspiration from the classical forms and proportions of the Roman Baths of Caracalla. Chipperfield’s early modernist influences for the East Building reveal a structure that rejects the hierarchical and ordered compositions of classicism in favor of a less prescribed setting for the exhibition of the museum’s collection.

Monolithic panels of polished concrete, enriched by substrate from the Missouri and Wisconsin Rivers, and flush expanses of glazing create a cohesive whole that contrasts the main museum yet maintains a sense of weight complimentary to it. The interior exhibition spaces dedicated to temporary exhibitions increase the museums display space by 30 percent and allow the Gilbert’s building to showcase the museum’s immense permanent collection, which in some cases has been stored out of view for decades. A four foot deep cast in place concrete waffle slab contains rectilinear skylights that diffuse light inside the galleries.

Plans for the expansion were put on hold during the 2008 economic collapse however construction began in 2010. The addition achieved LEED Gold certification and houses a 300 car parking lot underneath it.

Monument: The Great Wall of ChinaLocation: ChinaArchitect: N/AYear: 700 BC- 16th C


The Great Wall of China – perhaps one of the most universal symbols of Chinese culture- acquired its position as a cornerstone of public identity through its long physical evolution triggered by significant socio-historical events that shaped the nation.
The earliest known origins of structure date back to between 700-500 BC when simple walls of rammed earth and stone were constructed by feuding princes as a way of safeguarding the cities and farmlands of their kingdoms during the turbulent Warring States period.
Qin Shi Huang emerged as the victor of these battles, united China, and became the nation’s first Emperor. One of his many strategies of nation building was mending and uniting the many disparate walls left behind by the warring factions. The newly fortified border protected against invaders from the north and marked the first major span of the wall totaling over 3,000 miles.
The walls endured periods of growth and neglect for many centuries as dynasties tended to the fortifications through times of war and peace. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the Ming Dynasty began the campaign to build the unprecedented fortifications to secure the northern border near Beijing from the ever-growing Mongol Empire.  The iconic image of a massive stone wall dotted by lookout towers meandering off into the horizon is the result of this nearly 300 year period of prosperity.
Yet, despite popular belief, this mega-structure is not visible from space as many of us have been lead to believe as kids.
*Image courtesy of Jack Gray

Monument: The Great Wall of China
Location: China
Architect: N/A
Year: 700 BC- 16th C

The Great Wall of China – perhaps one of the most universal symbols of Chinese culture- acquired its position as a cornerstone of public identity through its long physical evolution triggered by significant socio-historical events that shaped the nation.

The earliest known origins of structure date back to between 700-500 BC when simple walls of rammed earth and stone were constructed by feuding princes as a way of safeguarding the cities and farmlands of their kingdoms during the turbulent Warring States period.

Qin Shi Huang emerged as the victor of these battles, united China, and became the nation’s first Emperor. One of his many strategies of nation building was mending and uniting the many disparate walls left behind by the warring factions. The newly fortified border protected against invaders from the north and marked the first major span of the wall totaling over 3,000 miles.

The walls endured periods of growth and neglect for many centuries as dynasties tended to the fortifications through times of war and peace. It wasn’t until the 14th century that the Ming Dynasty began the campaign to build the unprecedented fortifications to secure the northern border near Beijing from the ever-growing Mongol Empire.  The iconic image of a massive stone wall dotted by lookout towers meandering off into the horizon is the result of this nearly 300 year period of prosperity.

Yet, despite popular belief, this mega-structure is not visible from space as many of us have been lead to believe as kids.

*Image courtesy of Jack Gray

Monument: Cleveland Museum of Art East GalleryLocation: Cleveland, OhioArchitect: Rafael Vignoly ArchitectsYear: 2001-2009
Despite the spatial clarity of the existing 1916 Beaux-Arts building by local architects Hubbell & Benes, the Cleveland Art Museum’s organization has become muddled by numerous expansion efforts throughout the years. A brutalist education wing constructed in 1971 by Marcel Breuer further attributed to a stylistic disaccord within the institution. Rafael Vignoly’s masterplan called for the clearing or all additions, except Breuer’s, and rebuilding them symmetrically around a central courtyard in order to reinstate the orginal building as the focal point of the complex. The East Gallery addition, which houses the museum’s Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary collections, is the first phase in Vignoly’s comprehensive plan to expand, and more importantly reorganize, the museum. The exterior facade treatment of alternating bands of granite and white marble harmonizes with the repetitious facade of the newly renovated Breuer addition in order to more fully integrate it into the complex. A nearly completed canopied courtyard with additional gallery space, musuem shop, and offices will serve as a common foyer and reception space for the musuem. Scheduled for completion in 2013, this will be the largest cultural project completed in Ohio to date.

Monument: Cleveland Museum of Art East Gallery
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Architect: Rafael Vignoly Architects
Year: 2001-2009

Despite the spatial clarity of the existing 1916 Beaux-Arts building by local architects Hubbell & Benes, the Cleveland Art Museum’s organization has become muddled by numerous expansion efforts throughout the years. A brutalist education wing constructed in 1971 by Marcel Breuer further attributed to a stylistic disaccord within the institution. Rafael Vignoly’s masterplan called for the clearing or all additions, except Breuer’s, and rebuilding them symmetrically around a central courtyard in order to reinstate the orginal building as the focal point of the complex.

The East Gallery addition, which houses the museum’s Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary collections, is the first phase in Vignoly’s comprehensive plan to expand, and more importantly reorganize, the museum. The exterior facade treatment of alternating bands of granite and white marble harmonizes with the repetitious facade of the newly renovated Breuer addition in order to more fully integrate it into the complex.

A nearly completed canopied courtyard with additional gallery space, musuem shop, and offices will serve as a common foyer and reception space for the musuem. Scheduled for completion in 2013, this will be the largest cultural project completed in Ohio to date.

Monument: abandoned church on H Street SWLocation: District of Columbia, USAArtist: HenseYear: 2012
Atlanta based artist Hense, know for his abstract murals that combine the refinement of highbrow gallery art with street art sensibilities, transformed an abandoned 10,000ft2 church in the nation’s capitol into a neighborhood art piece. Rooted in an exploration of shape and line, the art work balances bold, defined forms and loose, smeared paint strokes that mimic the softness of watercolors- as exemplified by the westwork (pictured). 

Monument: abandoned church on H Street SW
Location: District of Columbia, USA
Artist: Hense
Year: 2012

Atlanta based artist Hense, know for his abstract murals that combine the refinement of highbrow gallery art with street art sensibilities, transformed an abandoned 10,000ft2 church in the nation’s capitol into a neighborhood art piece. Rooted in an exploration of shape and line, the art work balances bold, defined forms and loose, smeared paint strokes that mimic the softness of watercolors- as exemplified by the westwork (pictured). 

Monument: The University of Toledo Center for the Visual ArtsLocation: Toldeo, OhioArchitect: Gehry PartnersYear: 1989-1992
The Center for Visual Arts, a distinct contrast to the Toldeo Art Museum’s 1912 neoclassical building and home to the University of Toledo’s art department, is the first of two buildings designed by Pritzker laureates commissioned by the institution (the Glass Pavilion being the second). Gehry’s sculptural design, clad in lead-coated copper, was chosen just months after the architect received architecture’s greatest honor with the intention of reinforcing the museum’s world-class reputation.
As with many of the projects in Gehry’s oeuvre, the CVA has attracted some controversy despite coming in under budget and adequately providing for the department’s studios, classrooms, and offices (unlike the ill-fated American Center).  Expecting the investment to be too costly, the committee responsible for selecting the architect downsized the facility’s program from 80,000 ft2 to the current 51,000 ft2 which the department has outgrown some five years ago. Although Gehry’s design did account for a future expansion, critics say a less iconic architect could have been chosen to fulfill the department’s needs initially- once again stirring the ever present debate concerning the architect’s role in society.

Monument: The University of Toledo Center for the Visual Arts
Location: Toldeo, Ohio
Architect: Gehry Partners
Year: 1989-1992

The Center for Visual Arts, a distinct contrast to the Toldeo Art Museum’s 1912 neoclassical building and home to the University of Toledo’s art department, is the first of two buildings designed by Pritzker laureates commissioned by the institution (the Glass Pavilion being the second). Gehry’s sculptural design, clad in lead-coated copper, was chosen just months after the architect received architecture’s greatest honor with the intention of reinforcing the museum’s world-class reputation.

As with many of the projects in Gehry’s oeuvre, the CVA has attracted some controversy despite coming in under budget and adequately providing for the department’s studios, classrooms, and offices (unlike the ill-fated American Center).  Expecting the investment to be too costly, the committee responsible for selecting the architect downsized the facility’s program from 80,000 ft2 to the current 51,000 ft2 which the department has outgrown some five years ago. Although Gehry’s design did account for a future expansion, critics say a less iconic architect could have been chosen to fulfill the department’s needs initially- once again stirring the ever present debate concerning the architect’s role in society.

Monument: Marina CityLocation: Chicago, IllinoisArchitect: Bertrand GoldbergYear: 1959-1964
Marina City, Bertrand Goldberg’s model for affordable housing, is a striking example of the ambitious social agenda that served as the foundation of modernist thought. Having studied at the Bauhaus and under Mies van der Rohe, Goldberg believed that society can be uplifted through a nurturing built environment. Co-financed by the Building Service Employees International Union, the development strove to become a symbol of postwar blue-collar prosperity that would provide over 100 new janitorial jobs and counteract the problem of the rapidly shrinking urban middle-class prevalent at the time.  Amenities such as shops, a theater, offices, the namesake marina, and an ice-skating rink created vivacity around the two 60-story concrete towers, each containing 450 apartments and parking spaces, that has helped maintained demand to this day.
Goldberg further sought to humanize the formal language of modernism by refuting the insistence on the rigid cartesian grid stating, “We have become aware of the almost alive quality which our structures achieve, and we seek the forms which give the most life to our structures.” Instead he sought to enliven his architecture by exploiting geometric properties of shapes that were more reactive to structural forces within the building- especially the circle. Marina City’s petal-shaped floor plans respond to the human dimension by providing each unit with a balcony, direct access to the buildings core, as well as a more open-ended unparallel unit layout. Pragmatic advantages of these concentric floor plans include uniform structural distances that result in modular interior spaces, no expensive difficult to detail corner conditions, and reduced wind loads.

Monument: Marina City
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Architect: Bertrand Goldberg
Year: 1959-1964

Marina City, Bertrand Goldberg’s model for affordable housing, is a striking example of the ambitious social agenda that served as the foundation of modernist thought. Having studied at the Bauhaus and under Mies van der Rohe, Goldberg believed that society can be uplifted through a nurturing built environment. Co-financed by the Building Service Employees International Union, the development strove to become a symbol of postwar blue-collar prosperity that would provide over 100 new janitorial jobs and counteract the problem of the rapidly shrinking urban middle-class prevalent at the time.  Amenities such as shops, a theater, offices, the namesake marina, and an ice-skating rink created vivacity around the two 60-story concrete towers, each containing 450 apartments and parking spaces, that has helped maintained demand to this day.

Goldberg further sought to humanize the formal language of modernism by refuting the insistence on the rigid cartesian grid stating, “We have become aware of the almost alive quality which our structures achieve, and we seek the forms which give the most life to our structures.” Instead he sought to enliven his architecture by exploiting geometric properties of shapes that were more reactive to structural forces within the building- especially the circle. Marina City’s petal-shaped floor plans respond to the human dimension by providing each unit with a balcony, direct access to the buildings core, as well as a more open-ended unparallel unit layout. Pragmatic advantages of these concentric floor plans include uniform structural distances that result in modular interior spaces, no expensive difficult to detail corner conditions, and reduced wind loads.

Monument: Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Architect: Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa/ SANAA
Year: 2001-2006

SANAA’s first built work in the United States is as much a unique solution for a home to an immense collection of over 5,000 pieces of glass art as it is a manifest to the 2010 Pritzker Prize Laureates’ vision which strives to create an ethereal, and somewhat paradoxically, natural architecture. Situated in a small picturesque park across the street from, and on axis to, the museum’s original Neoclassical building, the Glass Pavilion is a complimentary counterpoint to its surroundings.

The simple glass and steel box marks definite physical edges for the building and contains the display spaces as well as workshops within. Because of the rigidly compartmentalized floor plan, in which each programmatic function is contained by a glass “bubble,” The resulting layered transparencies, unexpected opacities of reflections and glare cast by the curved planes distorting these boundaries. Views of the park and adjacent galleries are omnipresent in all parts of the building allowing for closeness to nature in a highly organized, synthetic environment.

Mechanical systems and structure are carefully composed into the design. The cavity between the exterior glass and interior glass galleries is a buffer zone where cool and warm air is redistributed between the galleries and hotshops depending on the season. Subtle, white columns unobtrusively hold up the roof while the opaque galleries and auxiliary spaces, made of sheet steel, provide lateral bracing for the entire structure. The 32,000 ftof glass used in the project was made in Austria, curved and laminated in China, then delivered to the site.

Monument: Darwin Martin House ComplexLocation: Buffalo, New YorkArchitect: Frank Lloyd WrightYear: 1903-1907

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first commission in the Eastern United States is actually a series of five programmatically different structures strung together along a residential site in the affluent Parkside neighborhood. Darwin D. Martin, one of Buffalo’s richest businessman and a prominent figure at Larkin Soap Company, sought out Wright’s services after the architect built the William E. Martin House for his brother in Oak Park, Illinois. Martin was also instrumental in selecting Wright as the architect for the now demolished Larkin Administration Building.
The complex’s floor plan is based on drawings Wright created to show a new model for American residential architecture titled “A Home in a Prairie Town,” published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1901. The Martin House was the family’s main living space. It consists of 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and an open plan library, living room, and dining room. The carriage house (that initially stored carriages and later automobiles), conservatory (a green house that supplied the estate’s plants), as well as the Barton House (a house for Martin’s sister and her family) are united by a low linear pergola. The pergola frames a view onto a statue of Nike of Samothrace in the conservatory from the main entrance of the Martin House.
The entirety is executed in the Prairie Style. Through its use of horizontality, overhanging eaves, organic material expression, craftsmanship, and integration with landscape, the movement strove to establish a uniquely American architecture that stood out against the Neoclassicism prevalent at the time. Wright himself considered the Martin House Complex, a precursor to the more famous Robie House, as one of the most significant in his career, keeping it pinned on his drafting table for nearly 50 years.

Monument: Darwin Martin House Complex
Location: Buffalo, New York
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
Year: 1903-1907

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first commission in the Eastern United States is actually a series of five programmatically different structures strung together along a residential site in the affluent Parkside neighborhood. Darwin D. Martin, one of Buffalo’s richest businessman and a prominent figure at Larkin Soap Company, sought out Wright’s services after the architect built the William E. Martin House for his brother in Oak Park, Illinois. Martin was also instrumental in selecting Wright as the architect for the now demolished Larkin Administration Building.

The complex’s floor plan is based on drawings Wright created to show a new model for American residential architecture titled “A Home in a Prairie Town,” published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1901. The Martin House was the family’s main living space. It consists of 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and an open plan library, living room, and dining room. The carriage house (that initially stored carriages and later automobiles), conservatory (a green house that supplied the estate’s plants), as well as the Barton House (a house for Martin’s sister and her family) are united by a low linear pergola. The pergola frames a view onto a statue of Nike of Samothrace in the conservatory from the main entrance of the Martin House.

The entirety is executed in the Prairie Style. Through its use of horizontality, overhanging eaves, organic material expression, craftsmanship, and integration with landscape, the movement strove to establish a uniquely American architecture that stood out against the Neoclassicism prevalent at the time. Wright himself considered the Martin House Complex, a precursor to the more famous Robie House, as one of the most significant in his career, keeping it pinned on his drafting table for nearly 50 years.

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This blog, first and foremost, is about capturing the beauty and drama of architecture.

It presents the environment in a way that's detached from the serious perspective that is placed on architecture in academia.

Enjoy the juxtaposition of these two elements, but don't linger on the subtle tastelessness of our approach.

(let's rage)

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