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Modern Architecture

Feature article: Four Landmarks Added to the National Register!
Click here to read and see photos!

Feature article: "Pierre Koenig: A Futurist for Today", by Sandy McLendon
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Feature article: Past Forgetting: Minoru Yamasaki's World Trade Center
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Feature article: Help Save the New York State Pavilion, a Phillip Johnson design from the New York World's Fair 1964-1965!
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Feature article: Saarinen's TWA Terminal is in Danger!
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Feature article: Shame On Bank One, Geodesic Dome May Be Destroyed
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Feature Article: The Geisel Library: Concrete Expressionism
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Feature article: "Catalano House: Destroyed Forever"
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Oscar Niemeyer's incredible design of the Cathedral of Brasilia is a true masterpiece of modern architecture. Designed in 1959, the cathedral is constructed of sixteen structural "boomerang" ribs, evoking the structural magic and spiritual power of a Gothic cathedral. The Bell tower and Baptistry are also incredible designs, set apart from the main structure. "The cathedral's equation of the structural skeleton with the building itself is the most daring example of Neimeyer's dictum 'when the structure is done the building is finished'". The entrance is via a dark underground corridor to create a sense of surprise by the contrast between the darkness and the sanctuary's colorful light. The exterior features statues of the apostles by Alfredo Ceschiatti, and the cathedral features stained glass by Marianne Peretti. (source: Oscar Niemeyer and Brazilian Free-form Modernism, by David Underwood, 1994, George Braziller, Inc. pages 84-88.)

"A Proud Symbol of Latin Modernism"
Click here for a feature article on Bacardi USA's headquarters in Miami!

Dorton Arena at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh, NC. Built in 1951 to serve agriculture, industry, commerce and the general welfare of NC as a year-round center for educational, inspirational, and recreational events. Designed by Matthew Nowicki while head of the Dept of Architecture at NC State University. Shortly after being commissioned for the work, Mr. Nowicki was killed in an airplane accident near Cairo, Egypt, and his friend William Henly Deitrick of Raleigh was named to the project. It is 300 feet in diameter, elliptic in shape, with a central concrete floor 221 feet long and 127 feet wide at the widest point of the ellipse. There are 4,750 permanent opera-type chairs, 360 box seats with a capacity of 5,110. Approximately 4,400 portable seats can be installed on the floor when a stage is used, making total capacity around 9,150. The metal-asbestos roof (replaced a few years ago), suspended on a network of cables which extend crosswise from the 90 foot parabolic arches, is saddle shaped.... ie, it goes down in the center part... very dramatic, very cool indeed! The 14' wide arches reach a maximum height of 90 feet. They cross each other at about 26 feet above the ground, then extend into a tunnel below the surface at the east and west ends. The weight of the roof is equalized by tension cables, with fourteen 2-inch strands connecting each end of the parabola across the stress tunnel. The roof, so suspended, eliminates any need for structural steel supports, and presents no obstructions of view from any seat. The exterior walls are of translucent heat- and glare-reducing glass above the lobby levels, and of heat-absorbing transparent glass on the lobby levels.

"Steelwood" house, 1969, designed by Talbott Wilson and Hal Weatherford of Wilson Morris Crain and Anderson Architects
Click here for a feature article and interior tour of "Steelwood"!

Modern house, 1955, designed by Keck & Keck
Click here for a feature article and interior tour of this modern house!

Farnsworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe, designed 1947-50, Plano, Illinois.
Click here for a feature article and more photos of the Farnsworth house!

This is the last remaining of the "Xanadu" houses, three of which were built in the 1980s. The other two have been destroyed, and this one remains in Kissimmee, Florida, but in very bad condition and is rumored that it might be torn down soon. I've heard that Ripley's Believe It or Not now owns the property and that they currently use it only for storage, but I have not been able to substatiate that info. The house was built by spraying polyurethane foam over inflated large bubbles and when it dried, the bubbles were removed. This construction type never took off and so no additional ones were constructed. That is so sad! (Photo courtesy of www.roadsideamerica.com)

Cermak Plaza in Berwyn, IL has some wild and fun 50s-style outdoor sculptures, some of which move in the wind. Click here to take a virtual tour!

These mass produced structures are from France, built by architect Jean Maneval. They were made of six pieces easy to transport, put together with bolts... used for small office structures. Shown here in a French book entitled "Les années 60 d'Anne Bony". Click here for a pic of one of these structures used as a boat rental office. (source: Jean-Hughes, myoprico@infonie.fr)

House of the Future, Disneyland, 1957.
"The floors on which you are walking, the gently sloping walls around you, and even the ceilings are made of plastics." This Monsanto house was a demo "house of the future" built by Mass. Institute of Technology (MIT) and Hamilton & Goody Architects. Unfortunately, this was destroyed around 1967.

The Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra, 1946.

Villa Spies (pronounced 'speece') a cliff-hanger home on an isolated coastline of an island called Toro in Sweden, designed by architect Staffan Berglund for Simon Spies, 1969. This spectacular home features a circular dining space which rises out of the ground, Gyro (Eero Aarnio) chairs on top of it. The home features sound-proofed walls, electric shutters, true shag pad floors, a heated outdoor swimming pool, and Joe Colombo chairs and Achille Castiglioni lamps. (source: Wallpaper Jan/Feb 98. Book about this house: "Villa Spies" by Mikael Askergren, published by Eriksson & Ronnefalk Förlag, Stockholm, Sweden, 1996)

Guggenheim Museum in NYC, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, 1956-59. This concrete museum features a unique spiral ramping gallery.

Four photos of the Eames Case Study House for 1949 by Charles Eames, in Santa Monica, CA. This home was a prototype of a modern building, built of standard industrial components. All of the building elements were mass-produced. The walls are mostly steel and glass, with contrast provided by solid panels of red, white, or blue. The bedrooms open onto a mezzanine overlooking the high-ceilinged living room. (first two photos: Masters of Modern Architecture by John Peters, 1958)

Cantilevered modern home by Frank Lloyd Wright for Edward Kaufmann Sr., called Fallingwater, in Bear Run, Pennsylvania... actually from 1936 but way ahead of its time, a very modern home... Sitting over a waterfall deep in the Pennsylvania highlands, it seems to be an integral part of the landscape. Reinforced-concrete cantilever slabs hold the home over the stream and waterfall below. Suspended stairs lead from the living room to the stream. On the third level, terraces open from sleeping quarters. This photo is actually of a scale model on display at the MOMA in NYC... an interesting display cause you can walk all around it and get a birds eye view of this great architectural work.

Cinerama in LA. The only theater of it's kind in the world. It is the first and ONLY geodesic dome in concrete anywhere in the world, and an endless network of electronic marvels with striking innovations in lighting and luxury seating. Currently under risk of being destroyed as part of a development site by Pacific Theatres. (source: Modcom, http://www.homecamp.com/modcom/menu.htm)

Thanksgiving Square in Dallas includes this Chapel of Thanksgiving, designed by Philip Johnson, opened in 1977... fabulous!
Click here to go to the Thanksgiving Square home page for more info.. but be sure to come back to my site!

Marina City Towers, in Chicago, IL. This multi-use development of reinforced concrete features two 61-story cylindrically shaped apartment towers rising from a platform that conceals amenities and a marina at the riverfront level. Each tower contains at its center a hollow, cylindrically shaped shear wall that rises the full height of the building and breaks out at its roof. Contained within this core are the elevators, fire stairs and support systems of the building (plumbing, electricity, trash chutes, utility rooms, etc.). Surrounding the core at each floor is a circular public corridor giving access to the apartments, which are wedged-shaped in plan. Baths and kitchens hug the narrow end of the apartments' plans, while living and bedroom areas expand outward toward the balconies. As built, the complex contained 896 apartments in the two towers, but condominium owners have sometimes converted several apartments into one.

Chemosphere House by John Lautner, 1960. A creative solution to an unbuildable site!
(source: Michael, meyecul@aol.com)

This is the Crystal Chapel model by Bruce Goff.. this chapel served as the inspiration for the Air Force Academy's chapel.

LAX Airport, the symbol of Modern Jet Age LA.. houses a restaurant called Encounter! (pic source: Matt Hinrichs, cgm95@psn.net)

This promotional photo for the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette was taken in front of the incredible Encounter restaurant building at LAX airport in Los Angeles. This photo appears in the book Sixty Years of Chevrolet by George H. Dammann, 1972.

A visitor to my web page, Terry, wrote to me about this restaurant: "I grew up in LA and remember vividly when the airport and restaurant were built. In the mid to late sixties(?) I went there for lunch with my parents. My most vivid memory of that day was the waitresses (and they were waitresses back then). They had heavy makeup on with high beehive type hairdos, very tight, royal blue satiny short dresses, the highest spike heels you ever saw and each had a gold sash across their chest (think of Miss America). Funny I can't remember what the sash said on it but I think it was the name of the restaurant, which I also can't remember now. Anyway I thought you would appreciate my fun memory!" (source: Terry Lupton, TPLupton@aol.com)

This awesome Jetson's style building is located in Sylvester, Georiga, on Hwy 82. It was oringally built as a "Bank of Worth" bank (some will argue this isn't true, and I am not certain!). Later became the Trust Company Bank of South Georgia. It has also served as a temporary post office, and as a hair salon! It suffered a fire but still stands and I think it was repaired. There was a nice very tall sign in front of it, but it now stands outside a church about 19 miles away on the Albany-Cordele Hwy right outside of Albany, GA. The Ball (globe) that was on top of the building is now located on 300 North of Worth Co. Sylvester. There is apparently another structure like it in Augusta, Ga.
(sources: Joe Kunkel, dalchicago@aol.com, Betsy Lescosky Way, betsiel@earthlink.net, and many others.)

When in Chicago, shop my store at:
Broadway Antique Market
Open daily
(Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm) at
6130 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60660

Email me to purchase or just to say hello!

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