Join host George Smart as the USModernist Radio crew talks and laughs with people who enjoy, own, create, dream about, preserve, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world.
Architect John Lautner of Los Angeles was incredibly ahead of his time. Over 50 years, Lautner blurred the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces, between nature and architecture. He carried out 144 of his designs, 103 of which are still standing, mostly around Los Angeles, and all highly prized. Two architects in the Netherlands set out to personally discover not just a few of his projects - but ALL of them. Jan-Richard Kikkert and Tycho Saariste's new book, Lautner A-Z, has dedication and commitment and sheer perserverance to get inside almost every Lautner building.
One of the best 80s films is, the envelope please, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Here's the plot: near the end of the school year, high school senior Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick) fakes being sick to stay home. His parents believe him, though his sister Jeanie (played by Jennifer Grey, the baby you don’t back into a corner) is not convinced. Ferris persuades his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) to help lure Ferris' girlfriend (Mia Sara) out of school and let them use his father's prized 1961 Ferrari. Spoiler: that Ferrari tumbles out of a really cool Modernist house, much to the chagrin of Cameron and his dad. Our pal Bob Langford, who pretty much knows every line in the movie, drops by to help us examine this cultural icon with guest Meghann Salamasick, who with her husband Chris are the owners of the that now-famous Modernist house. Later in the show, with apologies to Wayne Newton, it's George and Bob and Tom serenading Meghann.
Returning podcast guest Pierluigi Serraino is an architect and author whose book Modernism Rediscovered contributed to the huge re-emergence of interest in the architecture we all know and love. He has written books on Eero Saarinen, NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernism, California Captured with past podcast guests Emily Bills and Sam Lubell, and his newest book co-authored with Erica Stoller, Ezra Stoller: A Photographic History of Modern American Architecture. Erica Stoller is the director of Esto, an agency representing architectural photographers and managing a massive archive of related images related to the architecture photography of her father, Ezra Stoller. One of very best photographers of mid-Century Modernism, his work lives on in the esto archive used by scholars, photo researchers, and publishers worldwide. In addition to running ESTO, Erica is a photographer and an artist, making wall sculpture of repurposed industrial materials like plastic plumbing tubes, foam insulation, parachute cord, cable ties, bead chain, wire rope and metal connectors.
A graduate in Architecture from Oxford, Professor James Stevens Curl is known for scholarship, penetrating criticisms, lucidity of style, and holding his nose at the stench of Modernism, of which he is definitely not a fan. He’s probably rather be down at the Groaning Board hoisting a pint, but we’re thrilled to have him talk about his new award-winning book, Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism, in which he takes apart the Modernist movement piece by piece! However, he makes a good argument for how the wider modern movement in the 1950's (highways, cars, planes, not just architecture) has harmed the planet and the community way of life.
Over the last few year, we’ve been checking out design and architecture podcasts from around America. We've had Frances Anderton of DnA, Debbie Millman of Design Matters, Josh Cooperman of Convo by Design, and David and Marina of Midnight Charrette. Today we welcome two new friends who keep the public's design fire going with their interesting and popular podcasts. Architect Steve Chung is based in Boston, where the good clam chowder lives, focused on residential and hospitality projects. Steve graduated in architecture from Harvard and interned with Richard Meier in New York, worked for Machado Silvetti in Boston and collaborated with designer Philippe Starck. He was the host and creator of the PBS series Cool Spaceswhich ran in 2014 and is currently co-host with Doug Patt on the Design Your Dream Home podcast. Architect Donna Sink is the host of the Archinect podcast with guests we know and love such as Sekou Cooke and David and Marina from Midnight Charette, plus our buddy Rusty Long from right here in North Carolina. A graduate of the University of Arizona and also Cranbrook, which is like a Jedi school for architecture, her career began at Atkin Olshin Shade in Philadelphia in historic preservation. She joined Rowland Design in 2017 and was President of the Indianapolis AIA.
New on USModernist Radio - Three Amigos: Tom Kundig, Frank Harmon, and Marlon Blackwell. Not only are they the best of friends but they are award-winning rockstars of Modernist residential architecture. Tom Kundig is principal with Olson Kundig Architects and came to national attention with 1998’s Studio House and in 2002, the Chicken Point Cabin. Tom’s honors include the Cooper Hewitt 2008 National Design Award, eleven national AIA design awards, too many Washington AIA awards to count, and over 450 feature articles worldwide. He is the author of Tom Kundig Houses, Tom Kundig Houses 2, and Tom Kundig Works. Frank Harmon grew up in North Carolina and worked for North Carolina’s Ed Loewenstein and New York’s Richard Meier, teaching at Auburn University and NC State University’s College of Design. He’s received over 60 design awards, the most ever for a North Carolina firm. Frank is the author of the book Native Places: Drawing as a Way to See and writes the Native Places blog. Marlon Blackwell is the author of An Architecture of the Ozarks: The Works of Marlon Blackwell and has taught at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville since 1992, serving as head of the architecture department for six years. His firm won more than 120 design awards and he received the 2012 Architecture Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. USModernist Radio is sponsored by Angela Roehl, your special real estate agent for Modernist houses. Listen via iTunes. Listen on Android devices and PC's. View past and future show descriptions.
Today we wrap up coverage of Modernism Week 2019 by honoring architect Paul Rudolph. 2018 was the 100th anniversary of architect Paul Rudolph's birth and his work lives on to even high acclaim than when he was alive. Rudolph got on the national radar through innovative Modernist houses in Sarasota, Florida. Later he created masterworks in concrete and steel in New York, New England, and late in his career Singapore and Hong Kong. Host George Smart talks to two big Rudolph fans, returning guest Sarasota Architecture Foundation President Christopher Wilson and the lead moderator of the Modernism Week Paul Rudolph tribute, Dick Burkett.
Today we welcome back Justin Shubow, President of the National Civic Art Society, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the classical tradition in public art and architecture. President Trump appointed him in 2018 to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a federal agency which oversees the design and construction of government buildings and memorials in Washington DC. Shubow is the author of The Gehry Towers over Eisenhower, a 150-page critique of the Eisenhower Memorial, a battle he sort of won, sort of lost against architect Frank Gehry. With a background in philosophy and law, he has taught at Michigan and Yale and speaks on architecture at places like the US State Department, Baylor University, Colorado College, Hamilton College, and the University of Virginia.
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Architecture documentaries visually capture the spirit and stories of great Modernist buildings in ways not possible through books and photos. USModernist Radio welcomes architect Dion Neutra and producer Devon Chivvis to our poolside studio at the swanky Hotel Skylark. Neutra stars in PJ Letofsky's new documentary Neutra: Survival Through Design that premiered at Modernism Week; and Devon Chivvis shares the latest progress on her exciting new documentary, The Harvard Five - about the architects that settled in (and unsettled the locals) in New Canaan, Connecticut: John Johansen, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, Phillip Johnson and Eliot Noyes, transforming Modernist design and influencing a generation of architects. Spoiler alert: she grew up in one.
In an interview recorded at REX in Brooklyn, New York, George Smart sat down with architect Josh Ramus. The Huffington Post named him one of the five greatest architects under 50. Wallpaper Magazine described him as one of the world's most influential young architects. Esquire Magazine dubbed him the young saviour of American architecture. Icon Magazine called him one of the 20 Essential Young Architects. And Popular Mechanics said “Josh who? Is he that cold fusion guy?” Graduating from Harvard in Architecture in 1996, Ramus worked for Rem Koolhaas before forming his own practice, REX, in 2006. Like many famous architects, Charles Gwathmey and Richard Meier come to mind, his mom helped him get the project that rocket-launched his career. He has been a Visiting Professor at Yale, Rice, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, and Syracuse. And in his spare time, he trained for the Olympics!
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Authors Michael Stern and Alan Hess join us poolside at the swanky Hotel Skylark to discuss their new book: Hollywood Modern: Houses of the Stars. They uniquely capture the glamour of each star and how their personality, even their appearance, matches the house they chose. From the Johnny Carson House in Malibu to the ultramodern Gary Cooper House in Holmby Hills, these houses curate our brains just like the movies do. Later on, we welcome back the delightful celebrity expert Lindsay Blake, creator of the hugely popular movie location blog Iamnotastalker. Spoiler alert: she’s quite the stalker!
Despite enormous success, architect Minoru Yamasaki’s reputation declined in the 1970's with the negative public reception of the World Trade Center in New York and the spectacular failure of St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe public housing project. Author Dale Gyure is associate chair and professor of Architecture at Lawrence Technological University. His most recent book, Minoru Yamasaki: Humanist Architecture for a Modernist World, is the first to closely examine Yamasaki's work and life.
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! The photographers documenting the mid-century movement provide us a wealth of information, perspective, and enjoyment, capturing not only amazing houses but the lives and careers of their owners and architects. From poolside at the swanky Hotel Skylark, you’ll meet authors Emily Bills and Pierluigi Serraino talking about one largely undiscovered Modernist photographer, Marvin Rand. Their new book along with Sam Lubell, California Captured, puts Rand front and center in the same world class as Julius Shulman and Ezra Stoller. Later we join photographer Andrew Pielage about his quest to shoot every Frank Lloyd Wright building in the world.
If you’ve been listening closely, you know our special series called Children of Genius, featuring Susan Saarinen, daughter of Eero Saarinen, Raymond Neutra, son of Richard Neutra, Emily Ain, daughter of Gregory Ain, and Randy Koenig, son of Pierre Koenig. Today we're thrilled to talk with Charlee Deaton, daughter of architect Charles Deaton. You can also see it from the nearby Interstate. The Sleeper House got world-famous through the Woody Allen movie of the same name in 1973. Deaton’s projects included the Wyoming National Bank in Casper and the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City. And in case you're wondering, and we know you are if you saw the movie, the house's orgasmatron is not a real thing! Plus, dropping by the studio, great mid-century jazz from musical guests the Luca Colonna Trio. There's something special about these guys - listen for more!
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Today USModernist welcomes two California architects building new Modernist houses and one expert sharing how Modernism started: Joel Turkel founded Turkel Design and created NextHouse, a series of prefab modern homes still marketed by the fine folks at Deck House. In 2014, in an exclusive collaboration with Dwell Magazine, Joel launched the Axiom Series, a line of modern houses that combine sleek modern design with all the benefits of prefab construction. Now he lives in one! Anthony Poon is an architect, concert pianist, artist, and author. He created new ways to build and promote Modernist home developments while maintaining design integrity and construction quality. His entertaining talk at Modernism Week was about architects in popular culture - TV and movies. There are many more than you might think! Wrapping up, we talk with Jacques Caussin, associated with Modernism Week from the very beginning and this year’s speaker on how Modernism got started and made itself popular in the US.
Debbie Millman is the founder and host of the pioneering, award-winning, long-running, and successful podcast, Design Matters. Going into her 14th year, Millman has interviewed over 400 designers, artists, and others in the creative culture such as Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Barbara Kruger, Massimo Vignelli, Marina Abramovic, Thomas Kail, Laurie Anderson, Shepard Fairey, and Steven Heller. She’s a polymath of designer, artist, writer, educator, curator, speaker, and CEO. Design Matters won the 2011 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, a Webby for Best Individual Episode, and in 2015 Apple designated it one of the best overall podcasts on iTunes. She is the author of six books, and her art has been included in the Boston Biennale, the Chicago Design Museum, Anderson University, and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art.
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! You remember books, right? Those things we had in our hands to read before Kindle? George and Tom welcome author Adele Cygelman, whose newest book is Arthur Elrod: Desert Modern Design. Elrod was one of the country’s most famous interior designers and his John Lautner-designed Palm Springs house became a celebrity (and still is) from an appearance in the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. Later on, we move down the road to Rancho Mirage, an oasis of Modernism that’s the subject of a new book, Mod Mirage, by Melissa Riche with photography by Jim Riche. Rancho Mirage had the very first developments on golf courses—a model that soon adopted around the world. Famous residents included old Hollywood’s Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Doris Day, and Bob Hope.
Kinston is about as typical Eastern North Carolina as you can get. They have lots of barbeque, a minor league baseball team that’s pretty good, they support what’s left of the tobacco industry, and they keep up the CSS Neuse, one of the last Confederate ironclad ships, although Donald Trump is considering restoring it to attack Canada. Kinston never had a really great restaurant, but that changed when chef Vivian Howard and artist Ben Knight came to town in 2006 from New York and opened Chef & the Farmer and later the Boiler Room and Benny’s Big Time. Then there was their PBS TV series A Chef's Life, which won two Daytime Emmys and a Peabody award. They are also Modernist homeowners! We first came across this talented couple when their Modernist house in Deep Run NC won a George Matsumoto Prize for North Carolina residential Modernist design. Host George Smart and guest co-host, NCModernist's Rebekah Laney, chat with Ben in the studio and Vivian from her car!
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Music is an important part of Modernism Week. Host George Smart talks with singer-songwriter AJ Lambert, who just released a debut album and performed to rave reviews at Modernism Week; see if you can guess the Secret Word before George says it. Plus Joan and Gary Gand of the Gand Band, owners of one of the sweetest mid-century houses in Palm Springs and known across the Coachella valley for their swinging Chicago-inspired blues.
Over the last few months, we’ve been checking out fellow design and architecture podcasts from around America. We've had Frances Anderton of DnA and Josh Cooperman of Convo by Design – and today we’re excited to welcome the hosts of Midnight Charrette. Co-host Marina Bourderonnet (bor-dare-ro-nay) grew up in France, training at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. She speaks four languages and loves, we recently learned, suspenders. Co-host David Lee grew up near Disneyland and teaches architecture at Woodbury University. He also went to school in France, with a degree in Music and Architecture from the American Art School at Fontainebleau. Marina and Dave’s wideranging repartee with guests and between themselves does indeed cover the known spectrum of human experience from the credibility of Aquaman -- to why you can’t buy a simple cactus plant in Palm Springs.
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Today George talks with author and longtime Modernist researcher Christine Madrid French, who with Marty Hylton did the first comprehensive survey of Florida mid-century Modernist architecture, accessible here; plus he chats visiting Australian Modernist Amy Jarvis of Canberra; and finally a talk with Ken Topper of Richard Neutra's iconic Lovell Health House, which you’ll remember from the movie LA Confidential.
Architect Philip Johnson’s father invested 100 years ago in ALCOA, the huge aluminum company, which Johnson a millionaire in his '20s. Before he became an architect, however, Johnson organized a landmark exhibition on International Style at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932 which introduced important Modernist architects as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe. He went on to get formal education in design but by then his reputation as a kingmaker of architects was firmly established. He is regarded as one of the first architects to achieve celebrity status, as much for his design evangelism and connections than for his buildings. He died in 2005 at the age of 98. Today host George Smart with co-host Kate Wagner of McMansion Hell welcome Mark Lamster, an award-winning architectural critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington. For nearly a decade, Lamster studied Johnson’s correspondence, archives, and even his FBI file for a new biography titled The Man in the Glass House. He has been a contributing editor to Architectural Review, Design Observer, ID, Architect, Architectural Record, Metropolis, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Today from poolside at the swanky Hotel Skylark, George Smart welcomes one of the show's favorite guests - it's Ms. Modernism, Annalisa Capurro from Australia, who has logged more Modernism Week miles than anyone in the world. Next, the founder of the Palm Springs Modern Committee, Peter Moruzzi. And we wrap up with Modernism Week CEO Chris Mobley. Learn about how to build one of the most successful Modernist events in the world - and a super toilet village!
Today host George Smart and special guest cohost Kate Wagner of McMansion Hell dives into two Modernist house museums by internationally famous architects: Richard Neutra’s VDL house in LA and Philip Johnson’s Glass house in New Canaan CT. Richard Neutra became one of the most important architects in the world. In fact, Time Magazine featured Neutra on its cover and ranked him second only to Frank Lloyd Wright. Our first guest is Sarah Lorenzen, Director of the Neutra's VDL house in Los Angeles, a place where he experimented with new Modernist building materials and techniques. Philip Johnson was an architect but he thrived on being a kingmaker to the growing Modernist movement. He organized the profoundly influential exhibition on International Style at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932 which introduced important Modernist architects such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe. Joining the conversation is Cole Akers of the Glass House, former home to Johnson and his partner David Whitney in New Canaan CT.
Palm Springs has a huge architecture event called Modernism Week every February. It’s a fascinating array of architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and the occasional plastic surgery gone awry. Host George Smart was there earlier this year talking with nearly all the speakers, authors, and special guests who make the week (actually 11 days) a blast! Craig Ellwood was one of the most exciting people in American architecture. He took Los Angeles by storm and no one since has fully captured his personal style or his incredible story - but that's on the way. Although he took structural engineering courses at UCLA, Ellwood was not a licensed architect, but that did not matter to him or to his clients. Ellwood was a true design genius. Ellwood could sell, too. He had a red Ferrari (among other great cars) and was a perfect fit with the celebrity culture of Los Angeles. He was a master of promotion. Derided by the architecture profession of which he was formally not a part, he rose to public fame when three of his houses were included in the iconic Case Study House series of Arts and Architecture Magazine. His houses are still incredibly prized today. From poolside at the swanky Hotel Skylark, Host George Smart interviews Ellwood’s daughter, Erin Ellwood; his partner, architect Jim Tyler; producer Maria Demopoulos who’s working on a new feature film about Ellwood, and expert Ellwood restorer Barton Jahncke, who has brought more than one ailing house gloriously back to life.
New York City architects Abby Suckle and William Singer are the authors of Cocktails and Conversations: Dialogues in Architectural Design. AIA New York’s Center for Architecture has a great Friday night format: invite people to to hear a famous architect paired with a master bartender who creates a custom cocktail to share with a thirsty audience. Architects have included David Adjaye, Jeanne Gang, Peter Gluck, Frank Harmon, Tom Kundig, Daniel Libeskind, Eric Owen Moss, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams, among many others. Host George Smart spoke with Abby and William at the Long Island Bar, 110 Atlantic Avenue, in Brooklyn. Joining them were David Moo and Toby Cecchini (inventor of the Cosmopolitan!), master bartenders behind all the cocktail creations. About a month later, George and co-host Tom Guild met Australian Phillip Jones, the Martini Whisperer, poolside at the swanky Hotel Skylark in Palm Springs. For over a dozen years Jones worked as a fine dining manager and ran restaurants and events companies around the world. Then he created a website for lovers of Martinis, craft spirits and cocktail culture with an Australian point of view. In 2015 he gave the first ever TED talk on the Martini. And as he was leaving the Eau du Vie bar in Melbourne one fateful night, a lovely gang of actresses approached ....
Today we kick off Modernism Week coverage with internationally known architect Moshe (mo-shay) Safdie. He’s been famous for over 50 years for many brilliant buildings; first as architect for Habitat 67 in Montreal, in the 2000’s as architect for the Marina Bay Sands, that crazy rich Singapore hotel featured in the movie Crazy rich Asians; and for a special small chapel you might not know about. Safdie won the 2019 Wolf Prize in Architecture and his other honors include the AIA Gold Medal, Canada’s Royal Architectural Institute Gold Medal, and The Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement. Host George Smart talked with Safdie from the somewhat noisy atrium lobby of the Hyatt Palm Springs.
USModernist has documented thousands of mid-century modernist houses, especially in Los Angeles. One name that kept popping up when those mid-century moderns needed renovation is Los Angeles architect Barbara Bestor. She’s referred to as the unofficial Mayor of Silver Lake, an area full of great Modernist houses. She also has a robust commercial practice, including the Beats Electronics Headquarters, the Nasty Gal Headquarters, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Ashes + Diamonds Winery and Event Center and the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. She has taught architecture at Harvard, UCLA, and now at Woodbury University School of Architecture where she is executive director of the university’s Julius Shulman Institute. She is author of Bohemian Modern, Living in Silver Lake. In 2017 she was elected to the AIA's College of Fellows, which is like making the Baseball Hall of Fame. And she got married in a fantastic Modernist venue that will make you super-jealous.
Most people refer to architect Mies van der Rohe as Mies, which puts him into that rare club of people known by their first names, like Cher or Sting or Wynonna. Born in Germany, Mies was into totally architect Adolf Loos -- who famously declared that ornament is a crime and pursued unadorned Modernist design to represent the new era of technology and production. Mies got worldwide attention with two projects, the Barcelona Pavilion and the Villa Tugenhat. He joined the avant-garde Bauhaus school as director of architecture and left Germany in 1937 to head up the architecture school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He designed many buildings on that campus including Crown Hall for the School of Architecture. Along with Gropius and Lecorbusier, Mies is widely regarded as one of the masters of Modernist architecture. Mies died fifty years ago in 1969. One of this three daughters was named Marianne, and her son became a talented architect in his own right. Dirk Lohan, grandson of Mies van der Rohe, was born near Berlin in 1938 and left Germany to study with his grandfather at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Later, he worked with Mies designing projects as the New National Gallery in Berlin, the IBM office building in Chicago and The Toronto Dominion Centre. He's known for the renovated Soldier Field, the original McDonald's campus (where he witnessed the first McNuggets), and many other buildings. He served on the Board of the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Board of Directors of Chicago Maritime Museum, and not surprisingly, the Mies van der Rohe Society.
Architect Victor Sidy was Dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin with campuses in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin. He was a vocal advocate for saving Frank Lloyd Wright houses and buildings and for walkable community development. In 2015 he returned to private practice but is still involved with one special Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, the David and Gladys Wright House, which father Frank designed for his son. The house has been on a rollercoaster in recent years, doomed one moment, saved the next, in limbo the next. Historian Alison King is founder of Modern Phoenix and is Associate Professor of Design at The Art Institute of Phoenix. Since 2003 she has published Arizona's largest website for midcentury architecture, ModernPhoenix.net, and she hosts an annual home tour and the always interesting Modern Phoenix Week. Alison gave USModernist a wonderful tour last November of both residential and commercial modernist buildings, culminating in a trip to the David and Gladys Wright House. Host George Smart interviewed Victor and Alison in the lobby of the Embassy Suites Hotel right off Central Avenue, just a few blocks up from Will Bruder’s Burton Barr Phoenix Central Library. By then it was happy hour, and of course we didn’t want to break protocol, so when in Phoenix, do as the Phoenicians do. Cheers!
USModernist took 25 fans of the podcast to tour Phoenix, Arizona last November. Phoenix is the home of the Chimichanga, which Tucson disputes, but more importantly for us, the city is home to some really great Modernist architecture. We saw the Musical Instrument Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Paulo Soleri’s Cosanti and Arcosanti, Wright’s First Christian Church, and the David and Gladys Wright House, among many other amazing buildings. One of these was Phoenix Central Library, designed by Arizona’s Will Bruder. Largely self-trained, Bruder apprenticed with Paolo Soleri in woodwork, metal work, and masonry and contributed to Soleri's book Arcology. After graduating from college in 1969, Bruder apprenticed with Gunnar Birkerts, assisting in design of the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. He opened his first studio in 1974 and in 1987 was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Host George Smart interviewed Bruder in the lobby of the Embassy Suites right off Central Avenue, just a few blocks up from his Phoenix Central Library.
Ah, Cape Cod, the arm-shaped stretch of Massachusetts where Boston goes in the summer. The sun. The ocean. The traffic. The clam chowder. The summer theatre productions. And best of all, except for perhaps the clam chowder, the modern architecture by Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, and others. There are more than 100 modernist houses representing a little-known treasure map of residential architecture. Our guest Peter McMahon is Principal of PM Design. Peter curated an exhibition on Cape Cod Modernist architecture for the Provincetown Art Museum. This led to the creation of the unique and highly effective Cape Cod Modern House Trust, which documents and preserves these houses and makes them available for the public to stay in. His own summer house in Wellfleet MA was published in House Beautiful and Outside and he is co-author with Christine Cipriani of Cape Cod Modern: Mid-Century Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape.
Every fall, the New York Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) premieres the best new documentaries of the year. Host George Smart was on the scene talking with the people behind the new movies. Ultan Guilfoyle’s award-winning films have been shown on PBS and HBO in the US and the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in the UK. He is author of two books about design, and with Sydney Pollack, Guilfoyle produced Sketches of Frank Gehry. His latest film is Frank Gehry: Building Justice where architect Gehry, philanthropist George Soros, and students at SCI-ARC and Yale re-design prison architecture for the complex social, political, racial, and aesthetic issues behind incarceration. Paul Clemence is co-producer with Aksel Stasny of the film Two Pianos. His book on Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House remains the most complete photo documentation of that iconic design, and his many photographs have appeared in Metropolis, ArchDaily, Architizer, Casa Vogue Brasil, and his own blog Archi-photo with nearly 1M followers worldwide. Two Pianos is about the Italian architect Renzo Piano, and the film captures the masterful use of light, carefully orchestrated relationship between inside and outside, the seamless connection to the surroundings, and an exacting craftsmanship. Alan Hess is an architect and author who has shed light on many forgotten and neglected styles of postwar American modernist architecture. The Los Angeles Conservancy named him "The preeminent authority on Southern California Modernism." Host George Smart named him the Samuel L. Jackson of architecture documentaries, because like the prolific Mr. Jackson in film, Alan has appeared in more documentaries for design than anyone else. Hess is one of the stars in a Jake and Tracey Gorst documentary on architect Albert Frey, the first American to work for French superstar architect Le Corbusier, in the film Frey Part I, The Architectural Envoy.
We love realtors, and we also know many who would rather tear mid-century Modernist houses down than find new caring owners. That's ok, because there are realtors like today's guests who are passionate advocates for Modernist houses and go the extra mile. Martie Lieberman is a real estate agent with fans all over the world for mid-century modern and unique architectural houses. Martie was the force behind a resurgence of interest in the preservation of modern houses in Sarasota, Florida, and she created the Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF). She has been honored with the Florida AIA's Bob Graham Award for promoting and preserving Modernist design. Chris Menrad has been part of the Palm Springs real estate community for over 10 years. The stock trader-turned-real estate agent represents some of the most stunning mid-century modern houses on the market. He came to Palm Springs in 1999 and bought a Modernist house by architect Bill Krisel plus he has restored five mid-century modern houses in Palm Springs. Chris is a founding board member of the Palm Springs Modern Committee and a past board member of the Architecture & Design Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Watergate has come to mean scandal, usually but not always, political. The gate part is used as a suffix for other scandals in everything from sports to entertainment to media. Along with co-host Erin Sterling Lewis, winner of the 2018 AIA Young Architects Awards, host George Smart welcomes Joe Rodota, author of THE WATERGATE, a history of the iconic Washington DC building and some of its most famous residents. Rodota served as a writer and communications manager in the Reagan White House and as an aide to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and other publications.
Louis Kahn was one of the most brilliant and enigmatic architects of the 20th century. He died in 1974. There’s an stirring and brilliant documentary about his life, filmed by his son, called My Architect. Kahn taught at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania most of his career. He didn’t do a lot of buildings, but he was famous for almost all of them plus many fascinating unbuilt projects. One of those was the Four Freedoms memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Roosevelt Island in New York City. It was on the drawing boards when Kahn died. The project languished for decades and wasn’t finished until 2012. The architecture firm Mitchell Giurgola in New York ultimately took Kahn’s design and faithfully executed it to much international acclaim. Host George Smart does a West Wing walk n talk with Paul Broches, the Mitchell Giurgola partner in charge of Four Freedoms. They met at the tram station on the East side, right near the Queensboro Bridge. After a while exploring the memorial, they met one of the show's favorite guests.
Every fall, the New York Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) premieres the best new documentaries of the year. Kelsey Keith, the Editor-in-Chief of Curbed, was on the ADFF discussion panel for Enough White Teacups, a film by Michelle Bauer Carpenter about using design to solve critical human problems. Host George Smart interviewed Keith at the Curbed offices in New York where they talked about the movie as well as Paris, Candide, and tacos. The Mmuseumm is New York's smallest, barely the size of a closet, and highlights a new model of curating modern artifacts. The New York Times Style Magazine included Mmuseumm on The Cultivist’s “Top 12 International Hidden Art Gems,” and it was called curatorial genius by Steve Heller at The Atlantic. Closed for the winter, it will reopen in the spring. Greg Durrell is the producer of Design Canada, the first documentary chronicling the history of Canadian graphic design and how it shaped a nation and its people. He is a partner at Hulse & Durrell, a Vancouver-based firm that develops brands, products and films for ambitious organizations to make a lasting impact. Their client list includes the International Olympic Committee, the Canadian Olympic Team, NBC Sports, and Square, that company whose terminals you're swiping regularly.
California architect John Lautner, who died in 1994, was a genius of architecture who inspired generations of fans. His houses are among the most famous ever built - because you've seen them in so may movies: Chemosphere House (Body Double), Garcia House (Lethal Weapon), Sheats Goldstein House (Big Lebowski), and Elrod House (Diamonds are Forever) are just four of his many thrilling buildings. Today's guests are two of Lautner's closest associates, people who knew him best over decades; his partner and right hand, architect of the stunning Arango House in Acapulco, Helena Arahuete, and Modernist master builder Robin Poirier.
Sekou Cooke is a Jamaican-born architect with degrees from Cornell and Harvard who is a assistant professor of Architecture at Syracuse. He is a leading columnist and lecturer advocating for more minorities in architecture. If you think we live in a post-racial era in the profession of architecture, think again. Minorities in 1968 made up only about 1% of the architects in America. 50 years later, we’re up to 2%. Host George Smart spoke with Cooke at the AIA New York Center for Architecture where Cooke has a major exhibition on through January 12 called Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip Hop Architecture. Hip-hop is a cultural movement established by Black and Latino youth of New York’s South Bronx neighborhood in the early 1970s. Hip hop has profoundly affected music and all of the arts. It has emerged not only as an influence on architecture but something bursting to produce its own unique architecture."
Michigan, that fine state shaped like your hand, is a hotbed of amazing Modernism. Today George Smart and co-host Bob Langford chat with three knowledgeable guests about Michigan Modern. Michael Dow is President of the Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundations based in a town where the cherry pie is always amazing, Charlevoix Michigan. Established in 1960, the Foundation benefits central Michigan. He’s the son of architect Alden Dow, who took a sharp left from the Dow family chemical business and became a world-class Modernist architect based in Midland Michigan. You’ve heard a lot over the last few years about Columbus, Indiana, but Midland ranks right up there as one of the most remarkable Modernist enclaves in America. Susan Bandes is Professor of Art History and Director of Museum Studies at Michigan State University. She ran MSU's Kresge Art Museum which is now the Broad Art Museum and curated exhibitions on Frank Lloyd Wright, and American Modernism. She teaches Renaissance and Baroque Art, Modern Architecture, Curatorial Practices and is author of Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie. She’s also an expert on a chain called Dawn’s Donuts. Brian Conway is the longtime State Historic Preservation Officer in Michigan. He is co-author of Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America and won the 2016 Advocacy Award from Docomomo-US. That stands for the Documentation and Conservation of the Modern Movement, not to be confused to Kokomo, a Beach Boys song. His new book, Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy has remarkable color photography taken expressly for this book by James Haefner. Dropping by the studio, the Mac McLaughlin Group: Mac McLaughlin, Mike Randall, Peter Joyner, and Kevin Golden.
Not only did Tom resupply the Cheetos and those delicious Delta airlines cookies today but we have the privilege of talking with podcast host Frances Anderton. If you live in LA, you’re heard her since 2002 every Tuesday on KCRW and the podcast DNA which stands for Design N Architecture. She is also a full-time producer of KCRW's national and local current affairs shows To The Point and Which Way, LA? We’ve been fans for years, and her insightful stories and interviews inspire design fans nationwide!
We're checking out other design podcasts around the country and this week it's the host of the design podcast Convo By Design, Josh Cooperman. Josh is a speaker, writer, publisher, host, brand manager and product designer with over 25 years in the broadcast industry including CBS Radio Motorsports and Playboy Radio. His masterful podcast Convo by Design tells powerful and inspiring stories of how architects, artists, designers, tastemakers and influencers make a difference in our lives, build their brands, and delight their clients.
Laura Massino is LA's premier architecture tour guide and the prolific author of a series called Architecture Tours LA Guidebooks, which includes the volumes Frank Gehry Architecture, Pasadena, Downtown, Hancock Park, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, and our favorite hood, Silver Lake. Heather Papinchak is co-owner of Polymath Park in Acme PA. She and her husband Tom are serial Modernists. They don’t just collect chairs and art like you do, they collect entire houses associated with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright – even moving some houses across the country – to create a fantastic 130-acre touring experience within an hour of Wright’s other landmarks, Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, where you can stay overnight in one of the houses!
With training in historic Preservation, Architecture, and Urban Planning, Lorrie Muldowney is President of Creative Preservation and has lived in Sarasota County for the past 47 years. She formerly served as the Sarasota County historical resources specialist and manager of the Sarasota County History Center. Lorrie is part of the wildly popular Architectural Trolley Tours offered by the Center for Architecture Sarasota with Harold Bubil, the former Sarasota Herald-Tribune real estate editor who has written about Modernist architecture since before it was cool. Retired from the paper after 43 years, he continues to write feature stories and is working on a book, Florida Buildings I Love.
Tom Dyckhoff is one of Britain’s best-known commentators on architecture and urbanism, with many radio, television, and documentaries to his credit. He is the presenter of The Great Interior Design Challenge and the Radio 4 series The Design Dimension. He was previously architecture and design critic for BBC2’sThe Culture Show and architecture critic of The Times. He presented The Secret Life of Buildings for Channel 4, and his seven-part BBC 2 series, Saving Britain’s Past, examined Britain's obsession with heritage. An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute for British Architects, which is the British equivalent of our AIA, Dyckhoff writes for the Guardian, GQ, Wallpaper, and the New Statesman, among others.
Today USModernist Radio welcomes guest co-host Kate Wagner of McMansion Hell along with author of the book The Creative Architect, Pierluigi Serraino, the Fox Mulder of architecture, with information on a secret 1950’s psychological study involving IM Pei, Richard Neutra, George Nelson, Victor Lundy, Louis Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and Philip Johnson among others. Yes, folks, there are architecture X-files! Pierluigi Serraino is an architect and author with expertise on postwar American architecture, modernism, architectural photography, and digital design. he has been published in Architectural Record, Architecture California, the Journal of Architectural Education, and Architectural Design (UK), among others, and has authored several books, among them Modernism Rediscovered (2000) and NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernism (2006).
Today USModernist Radio welcomes guest co-host Kate Wagner of McMansion Hell along with two people working to keep Modernism alive and well - brutalist documentarian Chris Grimley and the founder of iconichouses.org, Natascha Drabbe. Chris Grimley is a partner at the firm over/under, designing not just buildings but full experiences in architecture, graphic design, and interior design. His book Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston has been awarded honors by DoCoMomo and the Boston Preservation Alliance. In addition, he curates the pinkcomma gallery, is a co-founder of Design Biennial Boston, and recently released the Boston Brutalist Map, published by Blue Crow Media. Natascha Drabbe is an architectural historian and founder of the Iconic Houses Network, connecting important 20th century houses from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater to Mies van der Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat. She divides her time between Amsterdam and Utrecht, where she runs the Van Schijndel House that inspired her to set up the house museum network.
Craig Ellwood was not a licensed architect but to his Los Angeles design clients he was a true design genius, and he could sell, too. Derided by the architecture profession of which he was formally not a part, he rose to public fame when three of his designs were included in the iconic Case Study House series. His houses are still incredibly prized today. Michael Boyd is a landscape, furniture, and architectural designer. He is the principal of BoydDesign, a consultancy for the restoration and preservation of Modernist architecture – and listen to this, kids, he lives in Oscar Niemeyer’s only North American house. If you don’t know who Oscar Niemeyer is, start googling. Michael is the creator of PLANEfurniture, a line of architectural furnishings featured at the SF MOMA, The Palm Springs Museum, and the University of California Santa Barbara. His new book, Making L A Modern, is about the man, the myth, the designer Craig Ellwood - and he joins us from that amazing Niemeyer house in Santa Monica.
Anyone listening to USModernist has gotten in a car, or a plane, to pilgrimage to some amazing building. In fact, tt's a sure sign you're a Modernist fan if you go to a city just for the architecture. Sam Lubell is an expert on Modernist buildings and houses you can visit. He writes for Wired, the architect’s newspaper, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Architect, Architectural Record, and Architectural Review. Recently he co-curated exhibitions Never Built Los Angeles and Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles. He has written seven books about architecture including the Modern Architecture Travel Guide East and West Coast editions. Don't leave home without them!
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week, a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, and exhibits. Host George Smart wraps up our series in conversation with some of the talented people behind Modernism Week: Executive Director Lisa Vossler Smith, early organizer Jacques Caussin, and Chairman William Kopelk.
Modernist fans tend to be foodies - or it is the other way around? USModernist Radio's biggest fan in Melbourne, Australia is Chef Ben Shewry. He’s been featured in many publications, including the New York Times as owner of Attica in Melbourne. He was one of six chefs featured in the inaugural season of the Netflix original documentary Chef's Table and he is author of Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry. Chef Scott Crawford is a four-time James Beard semi-finalist and the owner of Crawford and Son in Raleigh NC, the Triangle’s Restaurant of the Year for 2018. Crawford also was named among the top 100 chefs in America by Esquire magazine’s longtime national dining critic John Mariani. Raleigh architect, artist, banjo player, and returning podcast guest Louis Cherry has taught in the NCSU College of Design on and off for over 20 years, and since 1992 he has designed a dozen restaurants.
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher is the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She designed exhibits including A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at the Hammer Museum in 2013 and The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and The Bay Area in 2012. Since 2010, she has been building SFMOMA’s Architecture and Design collection. Christiane Robbins, Professor and Director of USC’s Matrix Program for Digital Media, and Katherine Lambert, Professor at the California College of the Arts join George to discuss their new film, Gregory Ain, the Most Dangerous Architect in America. With images of FBI surveillance records recently obtained, they explore architect Ain’s career and why J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI watched him and his family for years.
People who like Modernism show it in various ways. They buy the books, they watch the documentaries, they get a few pieces of furniture, they may visit the work of a few famous architects. Sometimes they build or buy a Modernist house. Michael LaFetra is way beyond that. Born in Los Angeles, Michael had a successful career creating restaurants in New York City before he moved back home to LA in 1999. Since then, he bought a Modernist house. Then another. Then another. As far as we can tell, he may be the foremost collector of Modernist houses in the country; with houses designed by Quincy Jones, John Lautner, Rudolph Schindler, Frank Gehry, Richard Neutra, Paul Williams, Pierre Koenig, Ray Kappe, and more. Dropping by the studio, it’s a special reunion of Lulu and the Lounge Lizards, with Linda Smith as lead singer, Richard Tazwell on piano, David Shore on drums, and Jeff Brown on Sax.
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. Nate Cormier is a Principal working Los Angeles-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios. He discusses the new public space in downtown Palm Springs, a wonderful area that will include the Big Marilyn as well as Frey and Kocher's Aluminaire House. Michelle Delk is a Partner, Landscape Architect and ASLA Discipline Director with Snøhetta, an architecture and design firm that has garnered international acclaim for projects including the Bibilioteca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt, the expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, and the Jim Hunt Library in Raleigh NC. She discusses the design of the Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon and how landscape architecture inspires us in ways most people don't realize.
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. Cory Buckner is an architect, artist, and author from LA. She is one of the world's experts on A. Quincy Jones Modernist houses loved by celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Ellen Degeneres. Los Angeles Magazine named Cory as one of Six Women who Changed The Face of LA Architecture and her architecture firm specializes in Modernist design. She was the force behind preserving Crestwood Hills in LA, a neighborhood full of Modernist houses that by now would likely have been extinct if not for her efforts. Producer Leo Zahn premiered "Sinatra in Palm Springs – The Place He Called Home" at Modernism Week, exploring Frank Sinatra’s primary home for almost 50 years. From his houses to where he ate to where he entertained, the film features interviews with Barbara Sinatra, Mel Haber, Tom Dreesen, Nelda Linsk, Bruce Fessier, Trini Lopez, Michael Fletcher, and others who knew and lived and played with Frank Sinatra. After completing USC Film School, Zahn studied architecture and design in Europe. Over the course of his 30 year career in advertising he directed and photographed more than 600 commercials.
Architect Paul McClean grew up Ireland, thinking of houses and getting in trouble for drawing them in high school. He graduated from the Dublin Institute of Technology in 1994 and by 2000, he was on his own in Los Angeles. His clients include Irish real estate investor Paddy McKillen, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss of Facebook fame, and developer Niles Niami, a spec Modernist house clocking in at 104,000 square feet, with an asking price of half a billion. It is the largest and most expensive Modernist house in the world. Dropping by the studio, longtime North Carolina swing band Rebecca and the Hi-Tones play "Straighten Up and Fly Right" by Nat King Cole. We visit with Rebecca and Keith as they share the story of the band.
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. You may not think of Modernism and Denver in the same sentence, but Adrian Kinney is about to change that. Kinney was born and raised in Lakewood CO. After college, he stayed in Colorado and became a fulltime realtor specializing in Modern, starting with his own house designed by architect Cliff May. Now he's the force behind Denver's Modernism Week this August. You also might not think of Indiana and Modern, but that state has a lot going on. George welcomes back Marsh Davis of Indiana Landmarks to catch up on Modernist preservation in the Hoosier state.
In 1948, most US universities were slow to embrace the growing Modernist movement. Then NC State University brought in a brilliant Dean from Oklahoma who went all-in on Modernism. Within two years, Frank Lloyd Wright and Richard Neutra were speaking at the school and students and faculty from all over the world wanted to be there. He wasn't the greatest architect and only designed a few buildings, but he sure knew how to get NC State's School of Design on the map. Although he died in 1990, his impact on thousands of careers and tens of thousands of buildings endures. USModernist Radio welcomes former students, old friends, and respected colleagues Abie Harris, Roger Clark, Ben Taylor, and Jerzy Główczewski to talk about the man, the myth, the legend, Henry Kamphoefner.
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. The Kaufmann House is one of the most famous residences in Palm Springs. Designed by Richard Neutra, it passed through a succession of owners and unfortunate renovations until Brent and Beth Harris brought it back to its original glory. George talks about the house and it's journey from the past into the future with Brent Harris in a rare visit, poolside at the Kaufmann House. Hugh Kaptur is the last living major mid-century modern architect in Palm Springs. He's the Obiwan of Modernism, the last of the Jedi. Alongside other celebrated Palm Springs architects, such as E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler, Bill Cody, John Porter Clark, and Albert Frey, Kaptur created the Modernist vibe that Palm Springs is famous for, from hotels to fire stations to apartment complexes to houses. From the 1950's through today, he's been turning out head-turning award-winning architecture. Kaptur has a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. He was featured in the documentary Quiet Elegance.
Architect Ellen Cassilly worked in Paris with Christian DePortzamarc, who you’ll recall was a winner of the Pritzker Prize, and Arata Isozaki in Tokyo, before coming to North Carolina. After bringing exciting projects together for other firms, such as the NC Museum of Art Ampitheatre, she started Ellen Cassilly Architect in 1999. She is featured in the book, Drawing From Practice, and she co-teaches the architectural design/build studio at NC State University’s College of Design. With her husband Frank Konhaus, they gave birth to a spectacular house/museum/gallery called Cassilhaus, a combination of their names. The house now celebrates its 10th anniversary. Cassilhaus is more than just beautifully designed and built, it’s part gallery, part artist quarters, part home!
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. You can't go to Modernism Week without running into our next two guests at some event. Annalisa Capurro flies in every year from Sydney, Australia, where she is an interior designer, educator, architectural historian, author, and writer. One of Modernism Week's most popular speakers, Annalisa is passionate about the protection and preservation of mid century architecture. She owns 'The Jack House' on Sydney's Upper North Shore. Alan Hess is an architect and architectural historian. He's been in so many architecture documentaries, we call him the Samuel L. Jackson of Modernism! Alan is the author and/or co-author of nineteen books exploring about Modernist architecture and is a frequent speaker at Modernism Week.
In this digital age, everyone’s taking photos, billions of them, primarily with their phones. We talk today about architectural photography, and how both digital and social changes in photography affect decisions about the kind of buildings we see built, the design competitions where photos play a part, and how you can take better photos of architecture you love, like your own house. Our first guest is architect Harry Wolf, joining us from his home in Portugal. Harry worked at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in New York and opened Wolf Architecture in North Carolina and later NY and LA. If you were watching closely, Harry was in the documentary Concert of Wills about the making of the Getty Center. Harry won five national AIA honor awards and over 30 regional and state AIA honors. He is a frequent juror for the George Matsumoto Prize, North Carolina’s highest honors exclusively for Modernist houses. Raleigh Architect Matt Griffith graduated in Architecture from the NCState College of Design. Before founding the award-winning design firm in situ studio with past podcast guest Erin Sterling Lewis, Matt worked in the offices of Marlon Blackwell and another past podcast guest, Frank Harmon. Matt and Erin won twenty-two local and state design awards, including several of the George Matsumoto Prizes we mentioned earlier. He lives in a mid-century modernist house and is Associate Professor at the NCState School of Architecture. Photographer Jim Sink has been shooting buildings, with his camera, for nearly 50 years. He is a graduate of the US Naval School of Photography. Since 1980, he’s been an award-winning architectural photographer, creating beautiful images of homes, offices, theatres, and other structures that influence design and construction decisions across North Carolina and the nation.
USModernist Radio goes to Palm Springs each February for the incredibly popular Modernism Week. It’s a fascinating array of sunshine, architecture, lectures, parties, tours, exhibits, and you can even order martinis for breakfast. Yes, you can do that anywhere but you'll feel glamorous in Palm Springs. USModernist Radio's George Smart was there with the week's keynote speakers and other special guests who make Modernism Week a blast. Atomic Ranch Magazine celebrates mid-century houses from 1940's ranch tracts to 1960's architect-designed Modernist homes. George welcomes Sarah Jane Stone, editor and brand leader, as they chat poolside at the Hotel Skylark. And later, he talks with Lindsay Blake, location expert, is creator of the blog I Am Not a Stalker. She's a walking encyclopedia of TV and movie locations all around California. She'll share the ground rules of not-stalking and her quest for the home of Tal Weaver, an obscure character in her favorite show, Beverly Hills 90210. (Since this show was recorded, Lindsay found the Tal Weaver house!)
Richard Neutra was one of the world’s most important architects, and today his work is even more popular. Neutra designed more than 300 amazing Modernist houses in California and elsewhere. In 1949, Time Magazine featured Neutra on its cover and ranked him second only to Frank Lloyd Wright in American architecture. Neutra hired several architects who went on to independent success, including Gregory Ain, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and Raphael Soriano. Our first guest is Neutra’s son and a good friend of the podcast, Raymond Neutra, who has been traveling the world photographing his father’s houses. He is author of Cheap and Thin: Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright. Joining Raymond is Barbara Lamprecht, one of the world’s foremost experts on Richard Neutra’s architecture. If you’ve been in any Modernist house worth talking about, you’ve seen one of her Neutra books on the Noguchi or Nelson coffee table. She is an architect and architectural historian and a kind of forensic examiner, performing environmental reviews, and applying for the National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmarks, and Mills Act programs. She specializes in Modernism and has appeared in the documentaries GlobeTrekker, Visual Acoustics, and Coast Modern.
Gregory Ain was inspired to become an architect after visiting Rudolf Schindler's King’s Road house. He worked for Richard Neutra as well as Harwell Hamilton Harris. As a result of a proposed housing project suspected of being communist by Senator Joseph McCarthy -- because it was racially integrated -- Ain was investigated by the FBI over 30 years. He was considered the most dangerous architect in America, and this broad and inaccurate accusation caused the loss of many commissions. Our first guest is Ain’s daughter, Emily Ain. Architect Pierre Koenig apprenticed in the offices of Raphael Soriano and A. Quincy Jones. He designed the iconic, world-famous Stahl House, the most famous "case study house," up in the hills above LA. His innovative steel buildings often hung onto cliffsides and masterfully defied gravity. We are joined by his son, attorney Randy Koenig, specializing in the legal needs of design professionals.
Johnny Örbäck was about 47 when he had a fantastic idea. It was 1999, and as Managing Director of a public housing agency in Malmo, Sweden, he decided to commission the world’s most unique housing project from architect Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava, known for wildly creative buildings and bridges all over the world is famous for being an architectural genius, and he’s also famous for enormous cost overruns, for example, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York, with a $3.9 billion price tag, $2 billion over budget. The New York Times has documented every Calatrava financial disaster, including his truly brilliant City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain that came in at four times the original price. What's it like to be a client of Calatrava? Today, you'll find out.
Covering topics from England to the Congo, today’s show features host George Smart and the stars, producers, and creators of the latest architecture documentaries, recorded in New York at the Architecture and Design Film Festival late last year. George’s first guest is Sarah Howitt, Producer and Director of Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres, beautiful architect-designed facilities for patients with cancer and their families in the UK. Next, George is joined by Thatcher Bean, producer of Made in Ilima, which tracks the collective building process of a modern school and community center in Ilima, a town in a remote and ecologically sensitive region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hugh Hefner passed away last year after decades at the helm of Playboy magazine, the first mainstream magazine featuring nude centerfolds that depending on your point of view, liberated women, demeaned women, or both. But you may not know that for nearly 20 years, Playboy promoted Modernist design like no other publication. Features on Frank Lloyd Wright, Bucky Fuller, Mies Van Der Rohe, Charles Eames, and others influenced a generation. Professor Beatriz Colomina is Director of PhD Graduate Studies at Princeton University's School of Architecture. Her books include Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media, awarded the 1995 International Book Award by the AIA; Sexuality and Space awarded the 1993 AIA International Book Award; She also had an essay published in the book The Sex of Architecture. In 2016, her exhibition Playboy Magazine and the Architecture of Seduction highlighted the magazine’s role in popularizing Modernism. Originally from New Zealand, Sandra Costa was a Playboy bunny in Miami and Los Angeles from 1967 to 1974. Soon she was known as the Kiwi bunny. She’s a well-known celebrity designer and founder of the Sandra Costa Design Group, providing custom interior design and remodeling - an award-winning furniture designer and a grandmother of three.
Seattle has coffee, and rain, and Amazon, and amazing Tom Kundig houses. It also has our guest today, Eugenia Woo, one of Seattle’s top advocates for Modernist historic preservation. She is the director of preservation services at Historic Seattle and is a co-founder and board member of Docomomo WEWA. Founded in 1974, Historic Seattle preserves Seattle’s architectural legacy. Eugenia has a BA in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters of Urban Planning and Preservation Planning from the University of Washington. We talk about key Modernist buildings in Seattle and Woo's work to save them.
From the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York City, held late last year, host George Smart's first guests are Ted Bosley and Lori Korngeibel talking about the Gamble House in Pasadena, America’s most famous Arts and Crafts house, and later, George is joined by Catherine Ledner and Roy Beeson, creators of a new documentary about Catherine’s father, New Orleans architect Albert Ledner, who died shortly after the film premiered.
Tammy Hauser is Executive Director for the Center for Architecture Sarasota, a nexus for midcentury Modernist houses. She's the CEO of Blue Sky Thinking, a consulting firm based in Sarasota for nonprofit organizations. This spring, the Center for Architecture Sarasota hosts an exhibition on Larry Scarpa, a Modernist architect based in Los Angeles, who uses conventional materials in unexpected ways and is considered a leader in sustainable design. She's also a commercial theater producer and creator of The Ultimate Pajama Party™, a theatrical experience for women.
Today’s special bonus edition features George and the stars, producers, and creators of the latest architecture documentaries, recorded in New York at the Architecture and Design Film Festival late last year. George’s first guest is Mina Chow, producer and star of Face of a Nation: What Happened to the World’s Fair, and later on, he talks with Bruce Inglis, director of Photography for the documentary Glenn Morcutt: A Spirit of Place.
Hawai'i native Dean Sakamoto is an architect with a focus on sustainability in tropical environments. He worked with the Univ of Hawai'i Department of Urban and Regional planning and founded SHADE, Hawaii's first public interest design organization. Returning to the podcast is our good friend Brad Dunning, one of California’s most sought-after interior designers. He has written about architecture and design for Vogue, the New York Times, and GQ Magazine.
Fallingwater in Pennsylvania is Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest residential work. We talk with Denise Miner, Public Tour Supervisor at Fallingwater. She is their Obiwan Kenobi, training their team of wonderful guides. And out in LA there’s a house that’s a true Hollywood movie celebrity. Former football player Buck Stahl created the vision for the Stahl House, aka Case Study House 22, designed by Pierre Koenig. Shari Stahl Grunwald grew up in the home and administers the property with her brothe
After WWII, states looked at their aging capitol buildings and considered sweeping new plans to bring technology, commerce, government, and even the performing arts into the full 20th century. One of the few state capitols to actually achieve this was Albany NY. The Empire State Plaza is series of Modernist office and cultural buildings that started in the late 1950’s, and it’s gorgeous. It’s a stunning achievement spearheaded by NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller and designed primarily by architect Wallace Harrison. Albany’s master plan was so successful, other states wanted to do the same thing. One of those was North Carolina. In 1965, the State Capital planning Commission issues a report and a design they had been working on for several administrations. The goal was, like Albany, to transform the epicenter of downtown Raleigh, the state capitol, into a city of the future. The blue ribbon panel of architects, consultants, and government members presented a beautiful plan. One of those consultants from 1965 is a young man with a lot of potential who just turned 90. Lewis Clarke is one of North Carolina’s most celebrated and prolific landscape architects. Clarke came to Harvard on a Fulbright Scholarship taught at the the NCSU School of Design from 1952 to 1968. His teaching influenced generations of architects and his 1300 projects, papers, photographs, and slides are now at the NC State University Special Collections Research Center, their third largest collection. And he’s received awards from Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, and Nancy Reagan. Erin Sterling Lewis is a partner in situ studio in Raleigh. Her firm won multiple design awards, including our own Matsumoto Prize, and she teaches at NC State University. She was President of AIA North Carolina representing the thousands of architects in the state. She also works with NCModernist on our high school outreach program, Project BauHow, and has served on countless AIA committees plus the Raleigh Historic Development Commission and the Raleigh Planning Commission.
Australian comedian Tim “Rosso” Ross has starred in countless Australian radio and TV series. He’s a writer for Men’s Style Australia, Rolling Stone and Sydney Magazine. He’s interviewed and talked with celebrities like Will Farrell, John C. O’Reilly, and Hugh Jackman through shows such as Merrick and Rosso Unplanned, The B Team, Uncharted, Facing the Hangover, and Australia Versus. He’s a speaker, giving talks on Modernism at the Museum of Sydney, Government House, and Sydney Design Week. And he’s been part of an 80’s hair band called Black Rose, where he totally rocks it in lycra. In 2013 Tim started a unique stand-up show ‘Man about the House’ set in real Modernist houses, with sell-out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand. The best part is, he got up 7am his time to talk with us, for which we are profoundly grateful.
Roberta Leighton "runs the place" for owner Jim Goldstein at the Sheats Goldstein house in Los Angeles, designed by John Lautner. She manages hundreds of movie, commercial, and photo shoots at the house, one of the country's most iconic. One of the most famous movies shot there was The Big Lebowski. Roberta has also been in a ton of some of the movies and shows we love. She was Bill Murray's girlfriend in Stripes, plus she's appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard, Barnaby Jones, Switch, Rosetti and Ryan, Days of our Lives, General Hospital, Baretta, and for over a dozen years she played Dr. Casey Reed on the Young and The Restless. USModernist Radio is sponsored by Sarah Sonke of ModHomes Realty. Listen via iTunes. Listen on Android and Windows PC's via Libsyn.
Architect Edward Durell Stone like many of his generation fell in love with Modernism. His first independent commission was a 1933 Modernist house for Richard Mandel, which led to many other prominent commissions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington. Stone is one of the few architects to make the cover of TIME. Business Week called Stone "the man with a billion on the drawing board" for the number and scale of prestigious projects in development. About that time, however, Stone had a change of philosophy about Modernist design and moved away from what he called the “transient enthusiasms” of Modernism. Stone was not alone. By 1970, the Modernist movement was nearly dead. In North Carolina, Stone worked with Raleigh architects John Holloway and Ralph Reeves on two of the state’s most recognized and treasured buildings, the 1963 North Carolina Legislative Building and 20 years later, the North Carolina Museum of Art. We talk with Stone’s son, Hicks Stone, and Reeves’ son, Bernie Reeves. Hicks Stone is the author of Edward Durell Stone: A Son's Untold Story of a Legendary Architect.He is the principal of Stone Architecture LLC and has been featured in House & Garden, Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens, The New Yorker and This Old House. North Carolina publisher and political writer Bernie Reeves created Spectator Magazine; Triangle Business Journal; Triad Business Journal; and Raleigh Metro Magazine. He ran for Congress in 2010, writes for the National Review, and has been a good friend to NC Modernist and US Modernist since we started.
Design guru and critic Stephen Bayley came to prominence in the 1980's curating the Boilerhouse Project at the Victoria and Albert Museum and later created London’s Design Museum. In the 1990’s he was briefly the creative director for a notoriously expensive and bureaucratic public boondoogle called the Millennium Dome (now the 02 Arena), and in 2007 he became The Observer's architecture and design correspondent. We talk about what makes an architect a starchitect, his dust-up with Zaha Hadid, and his appearance on Top Gear, a world-famous BBC car show that’s still running, barely, like a 1977 Ford Capri.
Emmy-winning filmmaker Jake Gorst is the Steven Spielberg of design documentaries, capturing mid-century modern architecture in at least 12 films on modern design, including a great series on Palm Springs architects such as E. Stewart Williams, Donald Wexler, and Bill Krisel - plus Modern Tide, Modern Ruin with past guest Matthew Silva, Beyond the Beach: The Life and Death of Norman Jaffe, and the upcoming film Frey. Architect Kyle Bergman is director of the upcoming Architecture & Design Film Festival in New York, which he started in 2008 and has expanded to cities all over the world. In 1994 he created and moderated an architectural lecture series about the design/build process for the Smithsonian Institute. An entrepreneur at heart, Mr. Bergman founded Alt Spec in 1999, a publishing company that produced a visual resource of unique and alternative products for architects and designers. Our first musical guests! Peter Lamb and the Wolves stopped by the studio to perform "Mess Around" and "Night Witches." Peter Lamb, sax; Pete Kimosh, bass; Carl Blackwell, drums; Paul Rogers, trumpet; Mark Wells, vocals and keyboard.
Rudolph Michael Schindler, who went by Michael, was one of the most important Modernist architects of the 20th century, yet he is largely unknown to the public outside California. Frank Lloyd Wright hired him in 1918, and soon he was running Wright's studio in Oak Park the later in Los Angeles. Schindler and Wright argued frequently and eventually Schindler quit, becoming a huge success on his own. Schindler and his wife Pauline were dead center in the Los Angeles creative scene, hanging out with the era's celebrities in art, sculpture, design, and dance. Richard Neutra and his wife lived at King's Road with Schindlers for several years! We talk with Dr. Mary Schindler, his daughter-in-law, perhaps one of the last living people who knew Michael Schindler, who died in 1953. She was married to his son Mark at the time and lived in their famous King’s Road house with Mark, Michael, and Pauline. We also talk with musician Guillaume Schindler, Schindler's great-grandson, who is a docent at the King's Road house. And did you know that, briefly, Dr. Mary Schindler was Groucho Marx' therapist?
What makes a house too big? And is it really anyone’s business other than the owner? We talk with Thomas Bena and Mollie Doyle, stars and creators of the new documentary One Big Home, based in Martha's Vineyard MA. Like many wealthy coastal communities, new homes there are not the cottages which have dominated the area for centuries. 10,000 sf and 20,000sf and even larger McMansions started appearing during the 1990’s. One Big Home is a documentary about Thomas Bena's work to curb the disruption of life on the island by giant houses. But the film is more than the story of a cause. Along the way, he found a girlfriend, Mollie Doyle, they married, moved, had a beautiful daughter named Emma - all events that influenced or changed his progress and perspective on the film and his life.
Fire Island, just 50 miles from New York City, was one of the few gathering places in the 1950’s where gay people could feel safe in a world that certainly did not offer such a welcome. It was also a haven for the creative class from New York and LA who built houses by Andrew Geller, Harry Bates, and the unbelievably attractive Horace Gifford. Our guest is Chris Rawlins, architect and author of critically-acclaimed Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction. Chris is an architect who lives in New York City and Fire Island and is founder of Pines Modern, a non-profit preservation initiative documenting the island’s architecture. We also talk with the last living mid-century architect of Fire Island, Harry Bates, whose masterful Modernist coastal residences adorn both Fire Island and the Hamptons.
Ever wondered how the famed children's book Knuffle Bunny intersects with thoughtful urban planning? Probably not. However, today's guest is well-versed in both! Allison Arieff is editorial director of SPUR, a San Francisco-based thinktank promoting urban planning in the Bay area. Allison writes about architecture, design, and cities for the New York Times, California Sunday, Wired, MIT Technology Review, and CityLab. She is a former editor-at-large for GOOD and Sunset magazines and was a founding editor at DWELL, one of our favorite design publications. Allison is the author of Prefab, Trailer Travel: A Visual History of Mobile America, and Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht. She's been on NPR, KQED Forum, the Diane Rehm Show, the Sundance Channel, HGTV, CNN Money, and 99% invisible.
One of the problems with preserving futuristic-looking Modernist buildings is that they just don’t look that old. They aren’t universally loved, in fact some of them weren’t that popular when they were built. The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is a private nonprofit organization to decelerate the destruction of important artistic treasures throughout the world. You might have heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? They helped fix it. Well, they helped stop the extra leaning. We'll talk with Joshua David, President and CEO of the WMF about the fund's latest focus on Modernist buildings around the world. Filmmaker and high school teacher Matthew Silva produced the acclaimed documentary “Modern Ruin” about one highly endangered Modernist site, the New York State Pavilion in Queens New York, or if you’re under 40, the Men In Black headquarters. As a kid. Matthew would ride past the ruined, hulking New York State Pavilion, built for the 1964 World’s Fair, and wonder what it was. Years later while studying architecture, he could not believe such a visible building by Philip Johnson could be left to ruin. His film charted the up and down history of the complex and has led to new public funding for its preservation.
Host George Smart reports from the USModernist trip to London last May. He visits architect Alison Brooks who has won the triple crown of the UK's most prestigious awards for architecture: the RIBA Stirling Prize, the Manser Medal and the Stephen Lawrence Prize. Do you know you've arrived as an architect when your building gets a nickname? And, for the first time, you'll hear the guys all sing!
Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, the center for all things Mid-Century Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the amazing week of design, art, food, lectures, movies - a delightful week. George talks with Penelope Seidler, her daughter Polly Seidler, and documentary producer Daryl Dellora who created a compelling documentary about Australian architect Harry Seidler, Polly’s dad and Penelope’s husband. Harry Seidler, who died in 2006, was Australian architect considered to be one of the country's leading Modernists. He designed more than 180 buildings and won many architectural awards throughout his 58-year career. Daryl Dellora is also the producer behind The Edge of the Possible, the story of Jorn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House.
June is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Frank Lloyd Wright, the most famous architect in the world, still showing off 58 years after his death. Few architects have come close to Wright's arrogance, his brilliance, and his incredible output that's still with us plus buildings he designed that never got built. Today we talk with Eric Lloyd Wright, grandson of Frank, and son of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., aka Lloyd Wright. Although he aspired for another career, Eric eventually returned to his roots in architecture. Following his apprenticeship with his grandfather 1948-1956 he moved back to Los Angeles to work with his father until 1978. He has since been in private practice, creating his own projects plus helping clients of his grandfather and father restore and expand their buildings. Eric is the Obiwan Kenobi of architecture, involved in seven decades of buildings you know and love, such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin; the Wayfarer’s Chapel in Palos Verdes, California; plus restoring older Wright projects such as Auldbrass in South Carolina; the Storer and Ennis Residences in LA, and his own house – still under construction after 30 years in Malibu.
Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, ground zero for all things Mid-Century Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the week. And today is Indiana day! Todd Zeiger is the Northern Regional Director for Indiana Landmarks Director, a nonprofit saving significant and meaningful places. He's been particularly working saving and restoring Fred Keck's House of Tomorrow, a home that was ahead of it's time 80 years ago and in many ways still is. Jennifer Sandy is a Senior Field Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, currently living in Chicago. She manages a diverse portfolio of National Treasure campaigns, working to save historic places by providing on-the-ground support to individuals, communities, and organizations engaged in protecting America’s heritage. Marsh Davis is the President of Indiana Landmarks. He is an ardent preservationist and has successfully saved several wonderful buildings. Davis co-wrote 99 Historic Homes of Indiana: A Look Inside. He is a founder of the National Barn Alliance and originated the long-standing Barn Again in Indiana program.
Kate Wagner created the riotously popular blog McMansionhell.com where she tears into the impractically large, ridiculously constructed, and often hilariously furnished monuments to wealth misspent. As a writer for Curbed and other design publications, she has appeared on 99% Invisible and has her own TEDx talk. Like us, she's a fan of Modernist evil lairs, writing on buildings used in film to depict the evil corporation archetype in Robocop, Blade Runner, and The Matrix. She's got a huge following and a new book in the works!
Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, the Mecca for all things Mid-Century Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the week. Annalisa Capurro, aka Ms. Modernism, is a interior designer, design educator, architectural historian, speaker, writer, preservationist, MCM photographer, and mid-century design afficionado who lives in the 1956 Russell Jack House in Sydney, Australia. She is an educator at Design Centre Enmore and the University of New South Wales. At Modernism Week 2017, she starred in SEXY & CULTURE, six presentations on surprising topics related to sexual mores in the MCM world. She love-love-loves the color orange. Brooke Hodge is an architect, journalist, and blogger for the New York Times Style Magazine - and the Director of Architecture and Design at the Palm Springs Art Museum, overseeing their huge architectural assets including the Architecture and Design Center and the 1964 Albert Frey house. She's worked for some of the greatest names in design museums: the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. She's also into Japan, California, juggling, modeling hats, and writing Mad Libs. Besides serving as Treasurer for Palm Springs Modernism Week, which is a huge job, Mark Davis is Chair of the Aluminaire Foundation, dedicated to preserving, moving, and rebuilding Albert Frey's and Lawrence Kocher's iconic Aluminaire House from New York to Palm Springs. Spoiler: they moved it. Next challenge, getting it rebuilt. You can help!
A lot of Modernist houses you love from the 1950's and 1960's are going the way of unfortunate "renovations" or the bulldozer, largely because few people are aware of their architectural significance. Although most houses by famous architects are on lists, it's difficult to find where they are actually located. We talk with two expert house trackers who have between them documented thousands of houses and flown tens of thousands of miles to visit them! Jan-Richard Kikkert is an Amsterdam-based architect and head of the Architectural Department of the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture. He has visited every project designed by John Lautner, over 300 from Los Angeles to Aspen and from Anchorage to Acapulco. He is Head of Architecture Department at the Amsterdam University of the Arts and a member of the Board of Advisors of the John Lautner Foundation. He was in the documentary Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner. Paul Moore is a former architect turned IT professional. He graduated with a BS in Architecture from the University of Michigan in 1986 and moved to Los Angeles to study at SCI-ARC. He started working on the digital version of Sweet's Catalogs for several years and in 2007, began using online mapping tools to locate public art and architecture posting to VirtualGlobeTrotting.com. He has searched for and found nearly 11,000 houses!
Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, the Mecca for all things Mid-Century Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the amazing annual event. Bill Earls is the author of The Harvard Five in New Canaan, Modernist houses by Breuer, Gores, Johansen, Johnson, and Noyes. A virtual tour of thirty-five landmark houses, 1947-1966, that elicited strong reactions from nearly everyone who saw them and are still astonishing today. Devon Chivvis is a writer, director, and producer of narrative and documentary television and film with a passion for visual storytelling. Since 2003, she has produced, written, and directed documentary and narrative television and film for a variety of clients such as Nat Geo Channel and Travel Channel. She's working on a documentary on the Harvard Five architects with Bill Earls. Bert Simonis is the producer of Quiet Elegance, a documentary on Palm Springs architect Hugh Kaptur. Originally from Amsterdam, Simonis' other documentaries include The Last First Comic, an award-winning film chronicling the start of stand-up comedy in the burlesque industry; Mid-Century Moderns: The Homes That Define Palm Springs; 88 Days in the Mother Lode: Mark Twain Finds His Voice; and The Neon Struggle.
Today we explore two different approaches to reviving Modernist buildings: preserving them or building them from scratch! Michael Miner is a documentary filmmaker who since 2002 has devoted his career entirely to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, chronicling the master architect’s buildings in a series of films. Miner’s first Wright film, Sacred Spaces, was completed in 2005 followed by A Child of the Sun, the story of the West Campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland and Romanza, which was released in 2011. Miner's fourth film is called Masterpieces. But here what's really interesting - he's on a mission to actually build some of Wright's unbuilt buildings starting in Banff, Canada. Liz Waytkus is the Executive Director of Docomomo US, the leading preservation organization dedicated to the preservation of modern architecture, landscapes, and design. She has worked to increase the awareness of and appreciation for significant modern sites and developed annual Docomomo US National Symposium and the Modernism in America Awards. Her organization's most recent success was preserving the Ambassador Grill near the United Nations in NYC.
Host George Smart reports from February's Modernism Week in Palm Springs, the Mecca for all things Modernist! He spoke poolside from the Hotel Skylark with keynote speakers from the week. Alan Hess is a journalist, historian, architect, and author with 19 books specifically addressing mid-century modernism and countless appearances in architecture documentaries. He's the Samuel L. Jackson of architecture movies! Janice Lyle is the Director of Operations for Sunnylands Center and Gardens, known as the "Western White House" or “Camp David West” as a secure facility established by Walter and Leonore Annenberg for internationally significant meetings. Like world-leaders level of significant! She is the author of "Sunnylands: America’s Midcentury Masterpiece" and is the former Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
If you’ve seen a thriller like North By Northwest or Diamonds are Forever (or many others since) you may have noticed that the bad guy has impeccable taste. The classic villain has custom-tailored suits (or dresses, let’s not be sexist), a high-end car you can’t even buy used at Carmax, a British or vaguely Russian accent, and a gorgeous Modernist house, preferably with a killer view as certainly there will be some killing going on. We're talking about Evil Lairs, the tricked-out Modoernist houses no self-respecting villain intent on world domination would be without. Our guests are two authors who have written about some of these infamous houses, both real and imagined. Adele Cygelman was editor-in-chief of the Robb Report Collection and Senior editor at Architectural Digest, both of which surely had villain Ernst Blofeld as well as James Bond as readers. She is the author of “Palm Springs Modern” which was the first book to focus on desert modern architecture and its talented architects. The book has been a best-seller since 1999 and was re-issued in 2015 to rediscover the timeless, cool appeal of the mid-century modern. Adele spoke at Modernism Week this year on Arthur Elrod, who you’ll learn about shortly. Christine Madrid French is a nationally known advocate for the study and preservation of American architecture. After working as a historian for the National Park Service, she directed the Modernism Program for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and taught at the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. I consider her ten-year fight to save Neutra’s Cyclorama in Pennsylvania is considered one of the heroic legends in preservation, even though the bulldozer ultimately prevailed. Her new book, Critical Insights Series: Alfred Hitchcock, will be out soon.
In 1957, architect Jorn Utzon unexpectedly won the commission for the iconic Sydney Opera House. His submission was one of 233 designs from 32 countries, many of them from the most famous architects of the day. Saarinen described the design as "genius" and declared he could not endorse any other choice.
Yet building the project was rife with politics, cost overruns, incompetent cost estimators in the Australian government, and years and years of wrangling. Utzon was eventually fired, though no fault of his own. The Opera House was finally completed, and opened in 1973. Utzon was rehired in 1999 to develop a master plan and bring closure to a long-running drama.
Annalisa Capurro is an interior designer, writer and speaker working in the sectors of commercial, residential, hospitality, conservation/heritage and textile design, both in Australia and overseas. She is a design educator at Sydney Institute's Design Centre Enmore in Sydney, Australia where she specialises in teaching design studio, design processes and methodology, material technologies, architectural and design history and conservation/restoration studies.
She regularly presents public lectures including the Sydney Design Festival, Sydney Architecture Festival, Sydney Writers Festival and Modernism Week in Palm Springs. She also owns the iconic 1957 Sulman Award-winning Jack House in Sydney designed by architect Russell Jack, founding partner of the prestigious Australian architectural firm Allen Jack + Cottier.
Sean Knorsandi of the Paul Rudolph Foundation
Every year, Sarasota Mod in Sarasota FL throws a great conference on mid-century modern and this year was focused on Paul Rudolph, an architect who made his name in exciting coastal architecture before moving on to become Dean of Architecture at Yale. Rudolph's work is recognized around the world for bold, progressive masses. People are polarized around his work. Modernists praise his visionary designs of concrete and steel, others see them as cold and impractical.
Sean Khorsandi is on the board of the Paul Rudolph Foundation, dedicated to continuing and preserving Rudolph's work. George Smart spoke with him about architecture and about Rudolph during the Sarasota Mod conference last November.
Stephanie Grosskreutz of Visit Sarasota
Every year, Sarasota Mod in Sarasota FL throws a great conference on mid-century modern and this year was focused on Paul Rudolph, an architect who made his name in exciting coastal architecture before moving on to become Dean of Architecture at Yale. Rudolph's work is recognized around the world for bold, progressive masses. People are polarized around his work. Modernists praise his visionary designs of concrete and steel, others see them as cold and impractical.
Stephanie Grosskreutz works with Visit Sarasota, the folks who want you to travel down there and stay, dine, tour, and take in the scenery. We talk about how Modernist architecture has impacted Sarasota and has become one of the big draws for people to visit. George Smart spoke with her during the Sarasota Mod conference last November.