Friday, October 1, 2010

Visual Acoustics :: The Modernism of Julius Schulman

I had the pleasure of seeing a film by Eric Bricker last year at the Tivoli Center in Denver.  The film was about the life and work of national treasure Julius Schulman, who’s photographs have educated us on the beauty of Mid-century architecture.  Recently I was reminded of the film when it popped up on my Netflix suggestions.  I’ve watched it several times since then.
Not only was the subject matter of the film beautiful and informative, but the graphics and typography employed in telling the story were also a joy.  Trollbaeck and Company did a fantastic job with the animation and design.  I love the simplicity of the first animation sequence (right after the opening titles), the way the photos open up to one another.  It’s such a simple idea, but such a fantastic effect, and it features Schulman’s photos with a wonderful dynamism.
The film is narrated by Dustin Hoffman.  Bricker told some great stories about Schulman and the film during the Q&A at the Tivoli, and it was fun to hear how they got Hoffman to agree to the project.
If you have the chance to see Visual Acoustics on a large screen, I would highly advise you to do so.  Schulman’s photographs at such a grand size are a wonderful thing to behold.  If you can’t make it to an actual screening (and even if you do), buy the DVD.  It’s worth having in your permanent collection.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mies van der Rohe: Coming to a Theatre Near You (if you live in NYC)

Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House The Clurman Theater is currently playing host to The Glass House by June Fifer.  The subject of the play is of course the Farnsworth House.  A house might seem an odd (and possibly boring) subject for a play, but the story behind the Farnsworth house is filled with drama and intrigue (the story is one of the most famous architect-patron relationships in American history).  Dr. Edith Farnsworth commissioned van der Rohe to build her “something ‘meaningful.’”  The rumor is that during the creation of the glass house, the two had an affair.  When the project was over, van der Rohe moved on to another project and another woman, thus the spurned doctor began slinging mud.  She took her grievances public in 1953 when she told House Beautiful “I wanted to do something ‘meaningful,’ and all I got was this glib, false sophistication.”  A public back and forth ensued, and eventually lawsuits followed.

The Glass House runs from May 9 to June 5 at the Clurman Theater, 410 2. 42nd St. (between 9th and 10th Avenues), Times Square, NYC

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Flaming Lips House

To be specific, the house belongs to Wayne Coyne, not the entire Flaming Lips clan.
And while the design is a little more 70’s Pantone than my beloved Midcentury Modern, not to mention a little more mish-mosh than what I’d typically go for, it’s still a pretty cool pad.
And kudos to Coyne and his wife for choosing to stay in Coyne’s childhood neighborhood rather than move to a more “uppity” locale.
There are some more photographs on the architect’s website (FitzSimmons Architects), but the video below gives you a more in-depth view of the project and the owner (though the bathroom area is not yet complete in the video).

From the architect’s website:
The owners have been actively engaged in the renovation of their house from design phase through construction, resulting in a one of a kind collaboration, that will continue in future phases.
For example, the Artist Wife, and General Contractor, who is also the Architect, together installed the celestial patterned family room and outside terrace floor of the recycled granite waste materials (ode to the original mason home builder). Other unique assets resulting from the collaboration, include hidden doors and passage ways leading from the Private areas of the House into the Bunker, a concrete masonry clad Box that is now used as the bands rehearsal and recording space. And the customized seats in the bathing pods tub portion, sculpted around the Husband and wife while they sat.