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Tag: towards an architectural history fit for purpose


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Architecture Myths #20: The Villa Savoye

Architecture Myths #20: The Villa Savoye
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This is Sneferu Shining in the South Pyramid also known as The Bent Pyramid built circa 2600 BC for Pharoah Snefuru, Priest of Bastet, Guardian of Nekhen, eternal dude. 2,600 BC is a while back. Frankly, no-one has any idea why this pyramid was built the way it was but, people being people, they speculate. […]

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Old Ideas for New Architectures

Old Ideas for New Architectures
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This part of a two-part post will quickly revisit some ideas used to lend credence to some of last century’s new architectures – in preparation for part two to follow. Radical Functionalism. The idea of a building being configured according to certain useful criteria relating to buildings and their occupants’ needs didn’t last very long. Functionalism had an essential humanism at its core but this […]

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Post-Jencksian Architecture

Post-Jencksian Architecture
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One consequence of this wondrous digital age (how is it for you?) is that opinions about nearly anything, not just buildings, become binarised to “like” or “dislike”. It can’t get much simpler. There’s no compulsion or even the expectation of explanation. I don’t like this. Fine. But we should at least try to understand how this […]

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Gone, Mostly Forgotten

Gone, Mostly Forgotten
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Here’s one last look at those buildings the memories of which, long unrefreshed, are now almost totally gone. Each of these buildings once had a place in history books. First up is Hofatelier Elvira by August Endell, 1898. My undergraduate history book said it was an example of German Art Nouveau and I’m sure it was. It’s just […]

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History Scrapheap

History Scrapheap
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The only thing these photographs have in common is that you’ve probably not seen them before. They’re not part of the narratives constructed around the respective buildings. They’re photographs that got lost along the way. They remind us that our knowledge of certain buildings sometimes has little to do with where they are built, what […]

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Time & Architecture: Part 2

Time & Architecture: Part 2
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Part I of Time and Architecture introduced the topic and outlined some of the basic concepts that will be built upon here. Shockingly, Part I was written in July of last year and this alone illustrates a fact that is very important for both buildings and architecture (and probably life too) – what seems like the […]

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Glass and Other Houses

Glass and Other Houses
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Following on from my previous post about The Kiss Principle and miscellaneous tidbits about the Farnsworth House, I was poking around the internet looking for information about the mechanical services at Philip Johnson’s Glass House. After all, it has no mechanical room. The fireplace looks a bit more the business though. While we’re over here, […]

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The Things Historians Do

The Things Historians Do
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Philip Cortelyou Johnson (July 8, 1906 – January 25, 2005) … was descended from the Jansen (a.k.a. Johnson) family of New Amsterdam, and included among his ancestors the Huguenot Jacques Cortelyou, who laid out the first town plan of New Amsterdam for Peter Stuyvesant.* Impressive. Johnson was the son of a wealthy Cleveland attorney Homer M. Johnson, and an equally wealthy […]

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What Happens When Architects Die?

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A couple of recent posts have raised the subject of Death And The Architect. First was Futurist Endings with its list of the (much delayed) deaths of members of the Futurist movement. And yesterday’s post, “Fill’erup with Specialness!” suggested that Mies van der Rohe’s ESSO gas station in Montreal may have been the last building of […]

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The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be

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A quick visit to Dubai’s Cityscape Global Exhibition yesterday made me think that, as ever, it’s only rich rulers and property developers who are ceaselessly optimistic about the future and the building of cities. Rich rulers can’t change countries at will but, as evidenced from the previous evenings’ Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets, property developers […]