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Rank #29 in Design category

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Ted Wells living : simple

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #29 in Design category

Arts
Design
Visual Arts
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Architecture and design can make your life better ... or worse. Architectural historian and writer Ted Wells explores what we can learn from celebrated architects and designers, and the houses, buildings, gardens and objects they create.

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Architecture and design can make your life better ... or worse. Architectural historian and writer Ted Wells explores what we can learn from celebrated architects and designers, and the houses, buildings, gardens and objects they create.

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
15
1
0
2
0

meh

By benelek - Apr 14 2006
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I downloaded a couple of Ted Wells' podcasts, and was a little dissapointed. As architectural commentary, they were a bit simple and way too short. But I guess simple IS in the title...

Excellent!

By floint - Mar 01 2006
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Tastefully written and narrated!.

iTunes Ratings

18 Ratings
Average Ratings
15
1
0
2
0

meh

By benelek - Apr 14 2006
Read more
I downloaded a couple of Ted Wells' podcasts, and was a little dissapointed. As architectural commentary, they were a bit simple and way too short. But I guess simple IS in the title...

Excellent!

By floint - Mar 01 2006
Read more
Tastefully written and narrated!.

Listen to:

Cover image of Ted Wells living : simple

Ted Wells living : simple

Updated 4 days ago

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Architecture and design can make your life better ... or worse. Architectural historian and writer Ted Wells explores what we can learn from celebrated architects and designers, and the houses, buildings, gardens and objects they create.

Rank #1: The Architecture of Happiness

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Many architects are wary of openly discussing the word beauty – in Alain de Botton’s book, The Architecture of Happiness, he asks the large and naïve question: What is a beautiful building?

Is it too much to ask of our buildings to aspire to that which we long for in our hearts? Many architects would answer, "Yes." Rather than see architecture as an aspiration of the best of what life can be, many see architecture as reflective of the worst of what life is.

If architects do not think that buildings affect society and can contribute to the happiness and well-being of those who use the buildings, then architects devalue their profession and are saying that their work has no importance. Yet if architects admit that their work can affect society and make a difference in a users life, and yet architects insist on designing buildings that are confrontational and conflicted, then architects are knowingly contributing to the decay and dysfunction of society.

In a world where we are constantly told how bad things are, architecture can give us hope about how things could be better. That’s an ancient idea whose time has come again.

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton is published by Pantheon. www.randomhouse.com/pantheon/ And visit www.tedwells.com.

Oct 23 2006

14mins

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Rank #2: Hangover House: An Obscure Modern Masterpiece

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Few people know of one of the best modern houses in the United States, and even fewer have ever seen it. The designer of Richard Halliburton's house (1938) in Laguna Beach, William Alexander Levy, would never again produce such an exceptional building nor work for such an eccentric client. He met Paul Mooney in 1930 and the two men became lovers. By that time, Mooney had a prolific professional and personal relationship as editor and ghostwriter to Richard Halliburton, the world-traveling adventurer, who at the time was as famous as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Alexander was only 27 years old when he received the commission for the Halliburton's house. Alexander drew upon European contemporary architecture and created flat-roofed boxes of concrete and glass in a clear expression of the International Style of modernism. He hoped to create a house that soared like the modern spirit of Halliburton. Mies van der Rohe's work and his experimental concrete buildings of the 1920s, along with Le Corbusier's L'Esprit Nouveau Pavilion (1924-25) and his famous Villa Savoye (1928-29) would influence Alexander. In 1936, the first major and well-publicized concrete dams, Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam were built, securing concrete as a practical and modern material in the United States. Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander's teacher, had used concrete at the Larkin Building (1904) and Unity Temple (1905-07), but Wright most exploited its structural characteristics in the cantilevered concrete decks at Fallingwater (1936-37). At the Halliburton House, simple rectangular boxes of reinforced, poured-in-place concrete define the house. The boxes' two open sides facing the ocean and the canyon are filled with thin steel frames of industrial windows. Cantilevered concrete stairs wrap the exterior's southwest corner to the entry door. The interior contains a gallery, the living and dining rooms, a small kitchen, two bathrooms and three bedrooms one each for Halliburton, Mooney, and Alexander. The roof is a deck with unobstructed views in all directions. Mooney named it Hangover House because of the dramatic setting overlooking the canyon. The words are impressed into the concrete retaining wall near the entry. The three men were aware of the obvious pun. Later, Alexander assisted Arnold Schoenberg, the composer, with the redesign of Schoenberg's Brentwood studio. Alexander befriended Ayn Rand, and provided quotes for her book, The Fountainhead (1943). Some of Rand's descriptions in the book of the Heller House are thinly disguised references to the Halliburton House. Alexander continued to practice architecture and interior design and by 1950 had moved permanently to West Hollywood. He died in 1997. For more information see the book, Horizon Chasers: The Lives and Adventures of Richard Halliburton and Paul Mooney, by Gerry Max. It's the story of Halliburton, the quintessential world traveler of the 20th century and his gifted editor and ghost writer, Paul Mooney, with first hand accounts by William Alexander and others.The book is published by McFarland & Company, April 2007. Download the podcast below.

Mar 08 2007

13mins

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Rank #3: Eating Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright and Gingerbread Architecture & Design

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There hasn't been a house built in the past 70 years that even comes close to the iconic status of Fallingwater. Sure it took a good architect and a great client, but it also took the right cultural climate and publicity machine that understood what America was looking for - and gave it to us, all sugary excess on a cantilevered platter. And we've eaten it up ever since. Podcast notes: For more information, read the book Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E.J. Kaufmann, and America's Most Extraordinary House, by Franklin Toker. Visit the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York for their Sweet Creations Gingerbread Houses through December 15, www.eastmanhouse.org. And visit www.tedwells.com

Nov 22 2005

9mins

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Rank #4: Richard Neutra and the Clark House: Part 1 of 4: Architecture & Design

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John P. Clark was a music teacher and his house, by Richard Neutra, centers around the creation, performance and enjoyment of music. When Mr. Clark and his wife DeeVee commissioned the house, they helped create a modern masterpiece. Ted Wells presents the first in a series about four architects and four clients who were committed to the ideals of modern living. These clients are true patrons: generous with their praise, evangelical in their fervor to spread the spirit of Modernism, and satisfied that the rest of the world has finally caught up with their foresight. www.tedwells.com

Oct 29 2005

6mins

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Rank #5: Man Ray: Surrealist Meets Architect

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Who contributes more to the public perception of a building, the architect or the photographer? For Harwell Hamilton Harris, a California architect in the 1930s and 40s, the photographer who helped make Harris’s buildings famous was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated Surrealists--Man Ray. Man Ray embraced the new ideas of art and culture, he was one of the leading spirits of DADA and Surrealism and the only American artist to play a prominent role in the launching of these two influential movements. He had never photographed architecture when Harris commissioned him to photograph three of Harris' most interesting houses. Man Ray’s architectural photos were unlike anything Harris had ever seen--and Man Ray never photographed architecture again. We, who are interested in architecture and art, are the better for Man Ray’s short, but memorable side trip into architecture, when two great artists--one a mild-mannered modernist, and one a Dada Surrealist--met on sunny hillsides in Los Angeles and Berkeley and created works of art, in architecture and photography. For more information about Man Ray and his art, read Ingrid Schaffner's book, The Essential Man Ray (2003,The Wonderland Press, Harry. N. Abrams, publishers). To see Man Ray's work online, visit www.manraytrust.com. And see what's surreal at www.tedwells.com. Photograph of the Weston Havens House, Architect: Harwell Hamilton Harris; Photo by Man Ray, Copyright Man Ray Trust.

Oct 29 2006

11mins

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Rank #6: Antonin Raymond & George Nakashima: Soul Mates

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Two men, both architects -- one, Antonin Raymond was a Czech who came to America and worked for Frank Lloyd Wright and would become the father of Japanese modernism; and the other, a talented American of Japanese descent from Spokane, Washington, George Nakashima. These men's paths would dramatically cross a few times during their lives, and each time, their lives were changed. Design in America, Japan, India and the world, is better because of it. This is their story.

At the Graham Foundation in Chicago until May 25, 2006, visit the exhibition about Antonin Raymond and George Nakashima's ashram dormitory building, Golconde: The Introduction of Modernism in India (www.grahamfoundation.org). The Sri Aurobindo Ashram allowed scholars access to the library and archives and all images and drawings were catalogued wih the Ashram's permission. The research team for Golconde comprised of Pankaj Vir Gupta, AIA and Christine Mueller, partners in the firm of vir.mueller architects (www.virmueller.com).

Mira Nakashima's book, "Nature Form & Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima," is a tribute to her father, his architecture and furniture, and his reverence for nature. For information on the book and tours of the Nakashima Studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania, visit www.nakashimawoodworker.com.

And visit www.tedwells.com.

Apr 20 2006

10mins

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Rank #7: So, Brad Pitt Wants to be an Architect?: Architecture & Design

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Every few months I hear Brad Pitt talking about his love of architecture, and this week it appears he's in the thick of it. He's been blasted by residents of a British seaside town for a controversial design project he's worked on -- before construction has even begun.

And on the same day, I saw a study finding that architects have been voted the sexiest male professionals, in a survey of women's ideal partners. Coincidence? ...

The photo is of Brad Pitt intently using a glue gun on a design model as Frank Gehry beams at the camera.

www.tedwells.com

Nov 09 2005

5mins

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Rank #8: Spanish Modernism: Architecture of Loss and Hope

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At the farthest western edge of Spain, where it meets the sea and looks to the setting sun over the Atlantic this desolate landscape is formed by the constant wind and waves. It is a harsh land, this tip of Galicia, where the most valued natural resource is the sea. And on this westernmost point, Finisterre, also known as the coast of death because of a long history of shipwrecks, perches one of the most moving pieces of modern architecture, a cemetery for sailors and fishermen, by architect Cesar Portela.

Through May 1, 2006, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York there is a new exhibit of modern Spanish architecture. For more information, visit www.moma.org. And visit www.tedwells.com.

Feb 22 2006

9mins

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Rank #9: Charles Moore and the Burns House: Part 3 of 4: Architecture & Design

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Leland Burns is a professor of Urban Planning at Cambridge and UCLA. His house, by architect Charles Moore, is imaginative, playful, colorful and memorable. It's a "harmonious and fruitful collaboration between architect and client." This is the third in a series, presented by Ted Wells, about four architects and four clients who were committed to the ideals of modern living. These clients are true patrons: generous with their praise, evangelical in their fervor to spread the spirit of Modernism, and satisfied that the rest of the world has finally caught up with their foresight. www.tedwells.com

Oct 30 2005

6mins

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Rank #10: Julius Shulman: Architectural Photographer of Modern Dreams: Architecture & Design

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Julius Shulman's photos did more than publicize the work of Modernist architects. He showed the world that the best architecture of mid-century America reflected the unique and imagined lifestyle of this place. In Shulman's perceptively sharp photos of architecture, interesting men and beautiful women are caught in the middle of a stimulating conversation over cocktails, or lounging in the garden, or emerging from an evening swim in the pool. Ted Wells notes that Shulman's photographs created the two things architecture needs for immortality: respectability and desirability.

The Julius Shulman archive of 260,000 photographs has been acquired by the Getty Research Institute. The exhibit "Julius Shulman: Modernity and the Metropolis," is on display until January 22, 2006 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. For more information visit www.getty.edu. Photo from the Getty Research Institute: Chuey Residence, Los Angeles, 1956. Richard Neutra, architect. www.tedwells.com

Nov 02 2005

5mins

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