Rank #1: Cheap and Thin: Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright
What is the psychological process whereby one person inspires and influences another? In this interview, Dr. Raymond Richard Neutra traces the forty-year relationship between his parents and the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The author's father, the pioneer modern architect Richard Neutra, immigrated to the United States in the early 1920's with the dual motivation of working for his idol Frank Lloyd Wright and for exploring the American industrial potential for economical and light weight housing, schools, medical facilities and other "architecture of social concern."
Wright's early cordiality changed when he characterized those projects as "Cheap and Thin." Although meant as an insult, the characterization revealed a recognition of the different direction that Richard Neutra's goals had given to the basic strategies that Wright had developed twenty years earlier: Neutra wanted to develop an economic and light way to deploy technology and nature for a happy and healthy life.
The relationship between Wright and Neutra recounts family memories of visits between them. It then explores the substantial influence of Wright on Neutra and how Neutra adapted, adopted and added strategies and design features to gradually develop what was to become mid-century "California Modern."
Rank #2: The Architecture of Happiness
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.
Rank #3: Atlas for the End of the World: Urbanization Joins Conservation
“It's the end of the world where we thought nature was an infinite resource and we could exploit it without consequence,” Professor Richard Weller says.
By bringing urbanization and conservation together in the same study, the essays, maps, data, and artwork in this Atlas lay essential groundwork for the future planning and design of hotspot cities and regions as interdependent ecological and economic systems.
Interview with Richard Weller, the Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at PennDesign. He teaches in three subject areas: advanced design studios at all scales, urban design history and theory, and historical and contemporary ideas of Nature.
Rank #4: Greene & Greene in Long Beach: The Reeve-Townsend House: Part 1 of 3: Architecture and Design
Rank #5: Ted Wells living : simple Introduction
Rank #6: Troubled Times = Great Art
Change has arrived and it's time that the art world increases its influence, inspiration, and power. We’re entering a very interesting time in the arts, when increasing numbers of artists will use their talents to push back against a growing climate of racism, inequality, and social conservatism. As Ted Wells says: "Jump off the BLANDwagon."
Dark times can make life beautiful. With the arts, our lives can be transitional during a time full of powerful artistic commentary and vivid artistic and social expression.
Some artists protest the present while shaping and reinventing the future; others artists help us escape our current reality or remind us that beauty and novelty still exist in the world, regardless of how bad we’re currently feeling about it.
During the 1960s, artists created work that protested injustice and inspired the counterculture to battle the conservative backlash. And others made art that was so beautiful that it soothed shattered nerves and lifted average people out of the shadows. That was what the world needed then, and it’s what the world needs now. And I feel that’s exactly what is coming in the next few years.
The creation of art, by any of us, can be a way of expressing our feelings within a realm of freedom that we might not be experiencing in our job, or among our community, or within our family. In some ways, it can a be way of emerging some part of our soul that would otherwise be trapped because of the way artistic expression can be squelched by society. Be raw, rougher … more honest and expressive … and way more real.
Andy Warhol, Green Day, Revolution Radio, Billie Joe Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Rolling Stone Magazine, Dion, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and and Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Emory Douglas, Black Panthers, Broadway, Barry Goldwater, Donald Trump, Martin Later King Jr., Robert Kennedy, JFK, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George Wallace, Vietnam War, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Man Ray, Edward Steichen, Lee Miller, Stuart Davis, Jospeh Cornell, Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, John Giorno, Laurie Andersen, Andrea Fraser, Gus Van Sant, Ted Wells
Rank #7: Julius Shulman: Architectural Photographer of Modern Dreams: Architecture & Design
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
Rank #8: So, Brad Pitt Wants to be an Architect?: Architecture & Design
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.