2017 Holiday Gift Books

This year I'm highlighting 33 books by the same number of publishers, arranged alphabetically by publisher – from A+A to Zone. Titles and covers link to Amazon for easy gift-buying.

A+A Books
Álvaro Siza Architectural Guide: Built Projects
Edited by Maria Melo, Michel Toussaint

By Interboro Partners

Caruso St. John Architects, Javier Mozas, Aurora Fernández Per

By Edgar Stach

Black Dog & Leventhal
Bridges: A History of the World's Most Spectacular Spans
By Judith Dupré

Edited by Andrew Goodhouse

Frame Publishers
By Julien De Smedt, Julien Lanoo

Harvard University Press
By Reinier de Graaf

Hatje Cantz
Álvaro Siza: Neighbourhood: Where Alvaro Meets
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Back from Berlin

Last week I was in Berlin covering the World Architecture Festival (WAF) for World-Architects. I had a little bit of free time to venture about the city, snapping photos of the below buildings.

The biggest highlight was the Nordic Embassies, a complex I wanted to visit last year but only found a book on the design by Berger+Parkkinen instead (more of my photos here):
Nordic Embassies

On the way to the S-Bahn from the Nordic Embassies, I came across the Bauhaus-Archiv, designed by Walter Gropius in 1964 but not completed until 1979 by Gropius’s former employee Alex Cvijanovic:

Another highlight was the Tchoban Foundation's Museum for Architectural Drawing, designed by Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov (more of my photos here):
Tchoban Foundation

A major disappointment was Dominique Perrault's Velodrome and Swimming Pool, which I wrote about back in 2000 and will write about again very soon (more of my photos
Velodrome and Olympic Swimming Pool
Central Library Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
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Book and Exhibition Review: Harry Seidler

Harry Seidler: The Exhibition: Organizing, Curating, Designing, and Producing a World Tour by Vladimir Belogolovsky
Oscar Riera Ojeda Publishers, 2017
Hardcover w/slipcase, 272 pages

Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture curated by Vladimir Belogolovsky
Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY
September 26 - November 22, 2017

Just as Vladimir Belogolovsky recounts a few times in Harry Seidler: The Exhibition that he learned about architect Harry Seidler (1923-2006) in 2010 from Emilio Ambasz, I first became aware of Seidler at a precise time. Although I don't recall the exact year, I was working on a proposal for a residential tower while employed at an architecture firm in Chicago. Faced with the need to do something creative with balconies, I stumbled upon the high rises Seidler had designed in Sydney. His work was a powerful precedent, since it was simultaneously logical and sensual, repetitive and flowing. This is evident in such
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Art in the Open

On Friday Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York opens at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). On display until May 13, 2018, the small but visually dense exhibition (designed by Tsao & McKown) covers notable displays of public art in New York's public spaces from 1967 to the present. Though described by curator Lilly Tuttle in today's press preview as "not comprehensive," the exhibition's four parts touch upon just about all of the major pieces of public art executed in those years.

Art in the Open

Art in the Open does so first in the corridor, where a timeline along one side leads visitors to the exhibition proper and briefly presents important pieces of public art. Those included in the other three sections of the exhibition – Art in Public, Art in Place, and Art in Action – are highlighted by bands of tape with
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
Art in the Open
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Book Review: Obra Architects Logic

Obra Architects Logic: Selected Projects, 2003 - 2016 by Jennifer Lee, Pablo Castro
B Architecture Publisher, 2016
Distributed by Idea Books
Hardcover, 416 pages

Like many others, I'm guessing, I first heard about Obra Architects, the duo of Jennifer Lee and Pablo Castro, in 2006, when they won MoMA PS1's Young Architects Program (YAP) and realized BEATFUSE! in the museum's Long Island City courtyard. Writing about it that summer (without having seen it in person, unfortunately), I described the wood and mesh construction as "more substantial coverage" than previous YAP installations and "a happy medium" between more open structures and blobby forms, the two evident poles at the time. More than other YAP winners before and since, Obra took the shade consideration of the competition to heart and produced something that actually looks like a respite from the summer heat.

[BEATFUSE!, Long Island City, Queens, NY |
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Today’s archidose #986: PJ Edition

Today is the #saveatt protest over Snøhetta's plans to disfigure Philip Johnson's iconic AT&T Building. Before heading there to observe and maybe partake, I raided my Flickr pool (as well as photos of people I follow and my own photos) to collect images of other Philip Johnson buildings. So here's a smattering of 18 buildings presented in chronological order. Mouseover or click photos for information on the photographers.

Johnson House, Cambridge, MA, 1943:

Glass House and Brick House, New Canaan, CT, 1949:
Dots Obsession

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, 1953:

Roofless Church, New Harmony, IN, 1960:
Roofless Church

Robert Woods Bliss Collection of Pre-Columbian Art at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, 1963:
Philip Johnson-WASHINGTON-The Pre-Columbian Collection Pavilion-Dumbarton Oaks-1963

New York State Pavilion for the New York World's Fair in Queens, NY, 1964:
nyc - world's fair grounds 1

Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC, 1967:
Kreeger Museum

Albert and Vera List Art Building at Brown University, Providence, RI, 1971:
List Art Building

Hagop Kervorkian
nyc - summer 2013 misc buildings 9
nyc - bobst library 2
Philip Johnson, Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas, 1976
Forth Worth
Philip Johnson's Studio
"Crystal Cathdral - los Angeles, CA - Architect Philip Johnson"
American Gothic
glass castle.
Philip Johnson's Da Monsta
torres KIO, Madrid
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Disfiguring a PoMo Icon

On Monday Snøhetta released renderings of their proposed renovation of 550 Madison Avenue, better known as the AT&T Building, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and completed in 1984. The main rendering reveals that a section of the pink-granite base facing Madison would be removed in favor of a wavy glass wall exposing the innards of the lower floors, including diagonal steel bracing located just behind the facade.

[Rendering: DBOX, courtesy of Snøhetta]

The main argument for what is effectively a disfigurement of a Postmodern icon is, in the words of Snøhetta, that "the recognizable top of the tower will remain a fixture of the New York City skyline." Even though the oft-called Chippendale top of the AT&T Building is its most recognizable feature, it is not a separate entity from the base. Base and top are two parts of a total composition, one that emphasized weight and
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Book Review: LOT-EK: Objects and Operations

LOT-EK: Objects + Operations by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano with Thomas de Monchaux
The Monacelli Press, 2017
Hardcover, 400 pages

[Cover via LOT-EK]

If one architecture firm deserves credit for sticking to its guns, it's LOT-EK. The duo of Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano has incorporated industrial detritus – primarily shipping containers – into their built and unbuilt projects for around a couple decades. Other architects have exploited the potential of inexpensive shipping containers, but none have done it so thoroughly and repeatedly. Projects like the 2008 Wiener Townhouse in the West Village, which I included in my book Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture, look to have abandoned the reuse of industrial parts, only to subtly reveal they are built with truck containers and ducts. About ten years later, LOT-EK has just completed Drivelines in Johannesburg, a live-work building made from dozens of "upcycled ISO
Whitney Studio
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November Talks

Just a heads up on a trio of New York-centric events taking place next month. Descriptions are courtesy the respective venues.

November 9 at the Architectural League of New York at 7:00pm:

All the Queens Houses
Photographs by Rafael Herrin-Ferri
Rafael Herrin-Ferri in conversation with Joseph Heathcott

All the Queens Houses is an ongoing photographic survey by architect/artist Herrin-Ferri of the (in)formal qualities of the borough’s attached, semi-detached, and detached houses and small apartment buildings. The survey explores the themes of identity, differentiation, and adaptation in the low-rise housing stock of Queens, often regarded as the most ethnically and linguistically diverse place in the world.

To celebrate the installation, The Architectural League will host a reception and discussion on Thursday, November 9. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., followed at 7:00 p.m. by a conversation on the changing residential landscape of Queens and the appeal of the spectacular
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Einstein and Wright

I couldn't help being drawn to the fact that a note written by Albert Einsten in November 1922 that just sold at auction for $1.56 million is on Imperial Hotel letterhead.

Architects know the Imperial Hotel was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, who boasted about it surviving an earthquake in 1923, the year it opened. Even with those "strong bones," the building was demolished in 1968 to make way for a larger building for the hotel.

A portion of Wright's Imperial Hotel sits in the Meiji Mura Architecture Museum in Nagoya:
Imperial Hotel

But Einstein wrote the note in November 1922, the year before Wright's hotel opened in September 1923. So what building was Einstein staying in, and why does the letterhead look very "Wright"? I'm guessing that Einstein stayed in an annex that Wright designed in 1919 to replace the old Imperial Hotel that was destroyed in a fire that
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Apple Store Opens in Chicago

Today the Apple Michigan Avenue store opens to the public. Designed by Norman Foster, the store replaces the older Bohlin Cywinski Jackson store a few blocks up Michigan Avenue. Like other recent Apple stores around the world, this one is more lightweight, transparent and outwardly simpler than older stores.

[All photographs courtesy of Apple]

The store is also a symbol of Chicago's move toward the river, something it has been doing with the Chicago Riverwalk (south side of the river, roughly between Michigan Avenue and Lake Street) and projects like this one on the north side of the river and the new CAF location opening across the river from Apple next year.

Although I've yet to see the completed store in person, these photos give the impression that the building is a good neighbor, both in the way it knits and visually connects the plaza at Pioneer Court to the
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Book Talk at the Skyscraper Museum

Next week I'll be giving a talk at the Skyscraper Museum on one of my new books, How to Build a Skyscraper. It will take place on Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30pm. More details below the book cover.

From the Skyscraper Museum:
In How to Build a Skyscraper, John Hill examines 45 noteworthy skyscrapers from across the decades and around the world – from our hometown Flatiron Building to the world's current tallest, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE – and highlights unique characteristics of their history, design, construction, and function. Each iconic building is described in concise text, beautiful photography, and bespoke drawings that reveal the tower's internal structure. Join us as Hill discusses selections from a book that promises to be a best-seller in The Skyscraper Museum's book store!

John Hill is an architect, editor-in-chief of the Daily News section of World-Architects.com, and founder/editor-in-chief of the
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My OHNY Weekend

The 15th anniversary Open House New York (OHNY) weekend took place Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15. I was giving a walking tour for the 92Y on Saturday, so Sunday was the only day for me to get out and see some OHNY sites. I decided on one — well actually a few, all in one location: the buildings of McKim, Mead and White, Robert A.M. Stern, and Marcel Breuer on the campus of CUNY's Bronx Community College. (It was originally New York University, who sold the campus to CUNY in 1973.)

Here's a scan of the site plan provided by OHNY, showing the MMW and Stern buildings symmetrically facing a large quadrangle, and the Breuer buildings informally peppering an area to the south. (Only Meister Hall is labeled, but Breuer designed all of the dark buildings in that area, including, east to west, Carl Polowczyk Hall,
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
Bronx Community College
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Book Briefs #31: A Trio of Wright

"Book Briefs" are an ongoing series of posts with short first-hand descriptions of some of the numerous books that make their way into my library. These briefs are not full-blown reviews, but they are a way to share more books worthy of attention than can find their way into reviews on this blog.

This year's 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's birth (1867-1959) has generated much in the way of content: exhibitions, publications, and articles galore. I've done my share on this blog – So You Want to Learn About Frank Lloyd Wright, a book review of An Organic Architecture, and Wright at Columbia – and here I wrap up my coverage with some takes on three publications devoted to an architect we're sure to be celebrating again in another fifty years.

Frank Lloyd Wright in New York: The Plaza Years 1954-1959 by Jane King Hession and Debra Pickrel
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