I hope everyone had a good Christmas and is having a wonderful holiday season. I am happy to write about this gift coming next year from the National Building Museum. The museum, with the Revada Foundation, is bringing the Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF) to Washington for the first time. The ADFF is the nation’s largest film festival devoted to the creative spirit that drives architecture in design. The Opening Night celebration and screening of BIG TIME, the film about Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, will be held the evening of Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. The festival runs through Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. The museum will be the venue for all films, featuring three separate theaters, two of which will be specially outfitted for the festival, including the Museum’s iconic Great Hall. Other films will explore the life and work of architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry and Kevin Roche, and journalist, author and activist Jane Jacobs. For more details and ticket information, click here. Mark your calendars now.
Tag Archive for: National Building Museum
Springtime has finally hit DC. The cherry blossoms have come and gone and now the azaleas are in full swing. It is a good time of year to think about the natural environment and landscaping. The National Building Museum is holding a free event May 15 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on 20th-century modernist urban landscapes by the likes of Dan Kiley, Lawrence Halprin and Paul Friedberg among others. Landscape architects Elizabeth Meyer of the University of Virginia and Gary Hilderbrand of Reed Hilderbrand will discuss ideas for how to sensitively honor and adapt these landscapes in a conversation moderated by Brad McKee of Landscape Architecture Magazine. The event is free but registration is required.
As part of its Portraits in Design series, the National Building Museum on January 11 will explore the work and life of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known as Le Corbusier (1887–1965). The son of an engraver, Le Corbusier studied art at a foundation for watch engravers. His first architecture commission came at 18 when he was asked to design a villa for one of the teachers at the school. During the 1.5 hour session at the museum, Anthony Flint, author of Modern Man: The Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow (New Harvest, 2014), will discuss the Swiss-French architect’s influence on urban planning and dedication to developing better living conditions in crowded cities. A book signing follows the talk. For more details and to buy tickets, click here.
Interested in what is happening in efforts to preserve Washignton’s mid-century modern architecture? If you are, pick up tickets for an Oct. 4 event at the National Building Museum (NBM) that will explore the issue. Six years ago, the D.C. Preservation League, working with Robinson & Associates, a research and consulting firm specializing in architectural history and preservation, took a comprehensive look at Washington’s mid-20th-century architecture, such as the Pan American Health Organization building by Uruguayan architect Roman Fresnedo Siri (above). D.C.’s Historic Preservation office published a 20-page brochure based on the larger study “DC Modern: A Context for Modernism in the District of Columbia. The publication examines the rise of modernism in a more classic architectural town, the urban development of Southwest and the reaction against modernism in the city.
The NBM panel of architects, developers, and preservationists will look back at Washington’s history of mid-century design and discuss the progress made on preserving this building stock, while upgrading it for current use. Panelists include Graham Davidson, FAIA, Hartman-Cox Architects, former Washington Post architecture critic Benjamin Forgey (moderator) and David Maloney, State Histroic Preservation Officer, D.C. Office of Planning.
Looking for a place to beat the heat? Head to the National Building Museum for some architectural mini-golf and an exhibit on the work of Kevin Roche. Kicking off today (July 4) and running through Labor Day, you can play a one-of-a-kind mini-golf course designed by some of the region’s most creative architects, construction firms, urban planners and designers. “Challenge your friends and family to a round of mini-golf in air-conditioned comfort, packed with enough fun to make Augusta National Golf Club green with envy,” the museum says in prescient marketing copy. Cost is $5 per round per person. With purchase of full-price Museum exhibition admission ticket, the price per round is reduced to $3. Museum members play for $3.
After a round of golf, head upstairs to see the exhibit Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment, which highlights the work of modernist and Pritzker Prize-winner Kevin Roche. Originally known as Eero Saarinen’s right-hand man, Roche along with John Dinkeloo took over and expanded Saarinen’s practice after he died unexpectedly at 51. Roche, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, and Dinkeloo finished the iconic projects of the TWA Terminal at Kennedy Airport, the Gateway Arch and Dulles Airport. Roche’s clients ranged from IBM, Union Carbide, and Merck to the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Roche came into his own in the 1960s and quickly established himself as a big-picture thinker,” the museum says in notes on the exhibit, which runs through Dec. 2. “He adopted an expansive definition of architecture that encompassed civic concerns such as transportation, infrastructure, and public space, as well as the broader economic and cultural landscape. His mastery of systems theory applied to architecture was especially appealing to corporate America.” (For a contrarian view of Roche’s work, read this review by the Washington Post‘s Philip Kennicott.)
You can also see some of Roche’s more recent work in person here in DC, including Station Place 1 near Union Station, Lafayette Tower at 801 17th St. and the Leed Gold-designated office building at 1101 New York Ave. (seen below.)
As the nation was gripped with the Great Depression, the world’s fairs held in six cities across the United States promised a better future for the country replete with cool modern design and technological advances. Designing Tomorrow: America’s World’s Fairs of the 1930s, a first-of-its-kind exhibit, will open Saturday at the National Building Museum and highlight the impact the fairs had on introducing modernism to the country.
“Participating architects, eager for new projects at a time when few new buildings were being financed, populated the fairgrounds with an eclectic modern architecture,” the museum says in a description of the exhibit, which runs until July 10, 2011. “Pavilions housed innovative and dynamic exhibitions that paid tribute to factory production, technology, and speed. Exhibits forecasted the houses and cities of tomorrow and presented streamlined trains, modern furnishings, television, and talking robots.”
One of the most popular exhibits/ride, was Futurama in the General Motors Building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Architect Albert Kahn and designer Norman Bel Geddes created a 35,000 square-foot of model of a city and its countryside in 1960. Visitors experienced a guided ride/ tour into the future.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Art Deco Society of Washington (ADSW) is holding a weekend of events and working on raising money to restore the Belgian Friendship Pavilion that was built for the 1939 fair in New York. “One of only two major structures from the fair that survive, it is the only building in the United States designed by famed Belgian modernist architect Henry Van de Velde,” says Jim Linz, the president of ADSW. “The building was donated to Virginia Union University in Richmond following the close of the world’s fair.”
The ADSW events and resources and the museum’s exhibit look like excellent opportunities to learn more about the visionaries and their ideas that helped bring the United States into the modern age.