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Paul Rudolph: Section-Master

Rudolph’s unbuilt Wayne State University Humanities Building. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s unbuilt Wayne State University Humanities Building. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

SECTION DRAWINGS ARE GETTING ATTENTION

 We’ve recently seen an on-line article from the news site, Architizer, “Architectural Drawings: 10 Cultural Landmarks in Section.”  In it, marvelously done section drawings are shown, along with the photos and info on the buildings they depict.  Here’s a fine example: a fascinating design for the Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame by Trahan Architects 

A celebration of section-drawings is always welcome - but we wonder: where is any acknowledgment of Rudolph? - truly, one of the masters of the form.

SECTION STUDY

A recent book, Manual of Section, by Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis, was published by Princeton Architectural Press.

Image: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis

Image: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis

The publisher’s page on the book shows that it has an extensive selection of building sections—all redrawn to a uniform standard (which facilitates comparison).  Though the book’s selection of buildings is generally skewed to rather recently constructed ones, happily they do include a Rudolph building: his Yale Art & Architecture Building:

Section of Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building (now Rudolph Hall). Image: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis from  Manual of Section .

Section of Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building (now Rudolph Hall). Image: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis from Manual of Section.

One of the best aspects of the book is its opening sections, which give a well-illustrated introduction to the history of the use of sections in architecture, and the development of this kind of drawing.

[And, as an additional treat, the authors—who are partners in an eponymously named architecture firm—are also offering a coloring book version of their book.]

The Coloring Book version. Image: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis.

The Coloring Book version. Image: Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David J. Lewis.

RUDOLPH DRAWING

The Library of Congress has the largest collection of Rudolph’s drawings & papers, and they’ve put online good scans of several hundred of his drawings. These include numerous examples of his famous sections - and below are several examples:

The Cohen Residence. Image: Library of Congress

The Cohen Residence. Image: Library of Congress

A section through Rudolph’s architectural office in Manhattan. Image: Library of Congress

A section through Rudolph’s architectural office in Manhattan. Image: Library of Congress

Rudolph’s penthouse “Quadruplex” apartment, on Beekman Place, NYC. Image: Library of Congress

Rudolph’s penthouse “Quadruplex” apartment, on Beekman Place, NYC. Image: Library of Congress

Burroughs Wellcome Company headquarters, North Carolina. Image: Library of Congress

Burroughs Wellcome Company headquarters, North Carolina. Image: Library of Congress

The Concourse, Beach Road, Singapore. Image: Library of Congress

The Concourse, Beach Road, Singapore. Image: Library of Congress

Of course, Rudolph’s most famous drawing is probably his own section through his most famous building—Yale’s Art & Architecture Building (now rededicated as Rudolph Hall). It is always worth taking another look at that drawing—appreciating its subtleties, the way that Rudolph conveyed light entering the space, and the way he was able to convey so much information into a single drawing (without muddying the overall message):

Art and Architecture Building, now Rudolph Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Perspective section. Photograph of drawing by Paul Rudolph, circa 1964, printed later. Image: Library of Congress

Art and Architecture Building, now Rudolph Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Perspective section. Photograph of drawing by Paul Rudolph, circa 1964, printed later. Image: Library of Congress

THINKING IN SECTION

To cap this off, here are two drawings shown in the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation’s recent exhibit to celebrate the centennial of Rudolph’s birth:  Paul Rudolph: The Personal Laboratory.

In designing the Modulightor Building, Rudolph - as ever - explored many, many ideas: a variety of facade treatments, different uses for the various levels, alternative materials, varying building profiles—and sectional designs. While he never lived in the Modulightor Building, Rudolph did have his architectural office there for at least half-a-decade (where, most of the time, it occupied the building’s 2nd floor.) But Rudolph had alternative conceptions for the building, which included having a several-story atrium-like architectural office at the top.

Here is a Rudolph drawing which shows one such design with angled glazing and multiple levels. This colorful section is full of scale figures, and notes to himself and his team. It shows his concern about how light enters, vistas from various levels, structure, circulation, the placement of drafting boards for his staff - and even the practical consideration of drawing storage. Here, you can really see Rudolph thinking - thinking in section.

Paul Rudolph’s proposed upper level addition to the Modulightor Building. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation archives.

Paul Rudolph’s proposed upper level addition to the Modulightor Building. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation archives.

That drawing shows Rudolph concentrating on the uppermost levels of the building. But there’s another drawing which shows him considering the Modulightor Building as-a-whole. It’s not a very preprocessing graphic: it’s just some small, black & white pencil sketches on a letter-sized piece of paper. Indeed, when faced with the attractions of Rudolph’s other magnetically involving drawings, this is one most people would probably pass by.

Paul Rudolph’s study of the section of the Modulightor Building. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation archives.

Paul Rudolph’s study of the section of the Modulightor Building. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation archives.

But a careful look shows that Rudolph is trying-out alternatives for the sectional arrangement of the building. It looks like he’s taking a cue from the way Le Corbusier wove apartments together in his “Unite” apartment house designs. That’s shown in Le Corbusier’s section of two apartments, (over 3 levels), sharing a common corridor:

A section through Le Corbusier’s “Unite”

A section through Le Corbusier’s “Unite”

In the little Rudolph drawing, one can see a similar approach: he’s fitting the parts together like a puzzle, just-so—the various units are closely packed—but the arrangement allows each unit to have internal access to more than one level. Of course, Rudolph would not be satisfied with just one attempt at a design, and the drawing shows him trying varying approaches.

Once more we see: Rudolph is thinking in section.

How many other architects make that such a leading part of their design thinking?

P.S. — TAKING NOTICE

It’s nice to know that we’re not the only ones who have appreciated Rudolph’s section drawings. Here are some other resources:

  • Fosco Lucarelli has written a fine appreciation for Rudolph’s drawings, and it includes a good selection of them to enjoy and study on this website.

  • In the fascinating, recently-published collection of papers, “Reassessing Rudolph” (published by Yale University Press), the book’s editor—and preeminent Rudolph scholar—Timothy M. Rohan has an essay: “Drawing as Signature: Paul Rudolph and the Perspective Section.”

  • And Tony Monk’s excellent study, “The Art and Architecture of Paul Rudolph” includes a consideration of Rudolph’s presentation techniques. You can read Tony Monk’s essay on our website here.

Paul Rudolph's Futuristic Vision: The Galaxon

Rendering of Paul Rudolph’s ‘Galaxon’. Image: Shimahara Illustration

Rendering of Paul Rudolph’s ‘Galaxon’. Image: Shimahara Illustration

VISIONS OF THE FUTURE

There are not many phrases more evocative than “THE FUTURE”. Whether in joyous expectation or fear (of a mixture of both), imagining, predicting, envisioning, and forecasting The Future has been one of humanity’s longest obsessions - and indeed, many religious and social practices, going back to the most ancient of times, are concerned with prognostication.

New York World’s Fair Button from the General Motors Futurama Exhibit. Image: www.tedhake.com

New York World’s Fair Button from the General Motors Futurama Exhibit. Image: www.tedhake.com

But, beyond the products of imagination (literature, art, and film), where can one actually go to get a tangible touch, a taste of the future? Not a virtual reality version, but rather an experience where one can actually wander around samples of a futurific world? The answer is—or rather, was—world’s fairs.

WORLD’S FAIRS — THE GEOGRAPHY OF WONDER

Humans also have a taste for novelty, adventure, the exotic, and news from beyond our borders (and products, material and cultural.) One phenomenon brings such appetites together with our fascination with the future: World’s Fairs.

World’s fairs were international events, taking place in intervals varying from several years to several decades. A city—like Paris, London, Osaka, New York, Seville, Rome - would be selected, and countries, states, companies, and trade organizations (and even religions) would erect pavilions - each of which would show the sponsor’s self-image and aspirations to the fair’s visitors (coming, often from all-over-the-world, during the fair’s few months duration.)

For countries, their industrial, consumer, and agricultural products would be featured, along with something of the nation’s culture—and generally there would be a lauding of the leaders, government, and “way of life”.

Companies, too, would extol their accomplishments, productive might, and the quality of their products. Most interestingly, they would often present displays about the forefront - The Future - of technology in their field. Sometimes such demonstrations were startlingly dramatic, but sometimes amusingly humanizing—like the talking (and joking) robot, Elektro (with his robot dog, Sparko), who were featured in the Westinghouse pavilion of the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.

The architecture of the pavilions in world’s fairs have been particularly powerful evokers of “tomorrow.” Examples range from the jaw-droppingly giant (for that time) open space (377 feet x 1378 feet, and open to a height of 13 storeys) of the Galerie des machines in the 1889 Paris fair to the gargantuan geodesic dome of the US pavilion in Montreal’s Expo 67. Each building competed for the visitor’s attention—and, through striking shapes, unusual construction systems, and the manipulation of light (natural and artificial), often created dream-like, fantasy, forward-looking/futuristic icons. Sometimes a whole landscape would be populated by these odd, wonderful, future-dreamy buildings—like this view from Expo 67:

Photo: Laurent Bélanger from  wikipedia

Photo: Laurent Bélanger from wikipedia

One of the most famous pavilions of the 1939-1940 New Fair was the “Futurama” exhibit created by Norman Bel Geddes for General Motors: using architecture, and giant, detailed, moving, and carefully lit models, it showed kinetic, luminous visions of tomorrow, beguiling visitors with an image of a motorized utopia. Upon leaving, attendees were given a button that read “I Have Seen The Future”—and no they doubt felt they had.

Even at the distance of decades, the images created by Bel Geddes and his team—and the future-oriented displays and architecture of the fair’s other pavilions—continue to fascinate, and evoke that “If only…” feeling. The great author William Gibson wrote of the ongoing seductiveness of such visions in his short story, “The Gernsback Continuum.”

NEW YORK AND THE FUTURE—AGAIN!

The New York World’s Fair, spoken of above - considered to be one of the greatest fairs of all - took place in 1939 and 1940, just before World War Two. But well after that war - in the midst of the 60’s, one of the USA’s most economically & militarily strong (and socially vibrant) periods - a second world’s fair was held in New York City.

Photo: Anthony Conti; scanned and published by  PLCjr

Photo: Anthony Conti; scanned and published by PLCjr

That fair—the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair—was planned on the same pattern as the previous one: countries, companies, and groups each showing themselves off—only this time, with updated images of the future. For better-or-worse, the world had moved from planes to jets, from vacuum tubes to transistors, and from hydro to atomic power. The Future had new horizons—and that future was: Outer Space.

EVERY FAIR NEEDS A SYMBOL

Almost all world’s fairs have had a central building or structure—that serves to symbolize the fair. It is used both to distill the message of the fair, as well as to create an icon around which communication and marketing can be done (as well as being suitable for souvenirs!)

For the 1939 New York World’s Fair, that symbol had been the Trylon and Perisphere: these were huge platonic forms - a gigantic sphere and a spiky, towering, elongated tetrahedron (designed by Harrison and Fouilhoux). They were large enough for visitors to enter, and there was an exhibit inside about the city of the future (designed by Henry Dreyfuss).

Trylon & Perisphere Monuments of 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows Linen Postcard. Photo:  Michael Perlman

Trylon & Perisphere Monuments of 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows Linen Postcard. Photo: Michael Perlman

But for New York’s 1964-1965 fair, a new symbol would be needed. Here’s what Robert Moses - the fair’s boss - said about the search for a symbolic structure:

“We looked high and low for a challenging symbol for the New York World's Fair of 1964 and 1965. It had to be of the space age; it had to reflect the interdependence of man on the planet Earth, and it had to emphasize man's achievements and aspirations. … and built to remain as a permanent feature of the park, reminding succeeding generations of a pageant of surpassing interest and significance.”

A LOFTY VISION - IN CONCRETE

Concrete may be hard and heavy—but it can be manipulated make soaring structures of deft grace and even visual nimbleness. Nor does the concrete industry  want to be thought of as stodgy, as they are always showing that they are moving ahead with forward-looking research and engineering—indeed, the American Concrete Institute once produced a set of research findings and projections on the possibility of using their material in a non-terrestrial environment, a book called “Lunar Concrete”!

The Portland Cement Association is, since 1916 “ the premier policy, research, education, and market intelligence organization serving America’s cement manufacturers.  …  PCA promotes safety, sustainability, and innovation in all aspects of construction, fosters continuous improvement in cement manufacturing and distribution, and generally promotes economic growth and sound infrastructure investment.”

Like other trade associations and companies, the Portland Cement Association wanted to be represented at the fair—and in a very forward-looking way. So they put forward a design for the fair’s central, symbolic structure—one that would embody a feeling of future-oriented optimism (and, of course, use portland cement!)—and they hired Paul Rudolph to design it.

THE GALAXON

Paul Rudolph came up with one of his most daring designs—and, given that Rudolph was one of the world’s most adventurous architects, that’s saying a lot.

His design was christened “The Galaxon”, and Architectural Record magazine reported:

“The Galaxon, a concrete ‘space park’ designed by Paul Rudolph, head of the Department of Architecture at Yale University, has been announced by the Portland Cement Association as ‘a proposed project’ for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Its cost is estimated at $4 million.

Commissioned by the P.C.A. as ‘a dramatic and imaginative design in concrete,’ the Galaxon consists of a giant, saucer-shaped platform tilted at an 18-degree angle to the earth and held high above it by two curved walls rising from a circular lagoon. The gleaming 300-foot diameter disc of reinforced concrete would hover in the air like some huge space ship. Visitors would be lifted to the center of the ‘saucer’ by escalators and elevators inside the curved supporting walls. From the central ring they would walk outward over curved ramps to a constantly moving sidewalk on the disc’s outside perimeter. The sidewalk would rise and fall from the 160-foot high apex of the inclined disc, to a low point approximately 70-feet above the ground.

A stage is projected from one of its two supporting walls and a restaurant, planetary viewing station and other educational or recreational features could be located at points along its top surface to make it an entertainment center. The Galaxon was among several designs displayed at an exhibition in New York of the use of concrete in so-called ‘visionary’ architecture.”

- Architectural Record, July 1961

Rudolph did not disappoint—and he created drawings and a model to convey his striking design. The drawings themselves are impressive, with the main one stretching to nearly 20 feet long.

rendering.jpg
section.jpg
site plan.jpg
Photo of Rudolph’s presentation model. Image: http://www.nywf64.com

Photo of Rudolph’s presentation model. Image: http://www.nywf64.com

Drawing of night view (with spotlights). Image: " Remembering the Future,"  " Something for Everyone: Robert Moses and the Fair " by Marc H. Miller, published to accompany the 1989 Queens Museum exhibition " Remembering the Future: The New York World's Fair from 1939 to 1964."

Drawing of night view (with spotlights). Image: "Remembering the Future," "Something for Everyone: Robert Moses and the Fair" by Marc H. Miller, published to accompany the 1989 Queens Museum exhibition "Remembering the Future: The New York World's Fair from 1939 to 1964."

A VISION SPURNED

The real power (to select the central, symbolic structure) rested with Moses - the famous (or, to some, infamous) Robert Moses, who’d built so many bridges, roads, and other facilities, all over the tri-state area. Of searching for an iconic central structure for the fair, he said:

“We were deluged with theme symbols - mostly abstract, aspirational, spiral, uplifting, flashing, or burning with a hard and gemlike flame, whose resemblance to anything living or dead was purely coincidental.”

Among the several many designs that Moses rejected was the Galaxon.

And so another structure was chosen, the Unisphere (made from a rather different material: stainless steel - and sponsored by a major manufacturer: US Steel). The Unisphere—still in place after all these years—admittedly has some uplifting visual power, and does still speak to the goal of a unified world.

But it’s not the forward-looking, FUTURE-evoking, space-expansive, upward-aspiring GALAXON.

Fortunately, we have Rudolph’s beautifully drawn visions to sustain our dreams.

PUBLICATIONS, ARCHIVE, AND EXHIBITION

When the Galaxon was originally proposed, it got some press—and it has since also appeared or been mentioned in books on Rudolph, and been on-exhibit.

Paul Rudolph was known for his virtuoso presentation drawings (especially perspectives and sections), and Paul Rudolph: Drawings is a beautiful, large book of them. It was edited by Yukio Futagawa, and published by A.D.A Edita Tokyo Co., Ltd. In 1972. The book includes a well-reproduced perspective view and a section of the Galaxon.

The preponderance of Paul Rudolph’s architectural drawings (well over 300,000 documents!) are in the Library of Congress. The collection includes several fascinating drawings of the Galaxon, which have been scanned and can be seen on-line.

Paul Rudolph’s original rendering. Image: Library of Congress

Paul Rudolph’s original rendering. Image: Library of Congress

From the Library of Congress, impressively large, full-size reproductions of Paul Rudolph’s Galaxon drawing were made, which were very prominently displayed in the exhibit, Never Built New York (which was on-view at the Queens Museum from 2017-2018.) While the Galaxon didn’t make it into the exhibit’s catalog (the curators discovered it after the book had gone to press), the catalog is still well worth obtaining, as it is an exceptionally rich collection of visionary proposals for New York City - and it does include other fascinating projects designed by Paul Rudolph.

Build-Your-Own-Rudolph!

When you want to build a Rudolph, but lack the upper body strength. Photo: Mini Materials

When you want to build a Rudolph, but lack the upper body strength. Photo: Mini Materials

TABLE-TOP CONSTRUCTION

 You’ve probably seen the growing number of Lego kits devoted to great architecture: sets that allow you build distinguished buildings such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum, his Fallingwater Residence, London’s Buckingham Palace, Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate, and even Mies’ Farnworth House!  [Hint: These special sets, in Lego’s “Architecture” series, often sell out - so if you’re a design-oriented Lego-phile, get them while you can!]

Fallingwater in Lego. Image: Amazon

Fallingwater in Lego. Image: Amazon

One has to admit that it must have been a challenge to translate some of these buildings into such sets: not all of these buildings’ geometries readily lend themselves to the modules of Lego’s system. Even so, we commend all attempts to encourage more audiences to appreciate architecture—and especially salute Lego’s efforts.

But hey, Lego! - Why don’t you take on a building that would wonderfully translate into an impressive Lego structure:  Paul Rudolph’s most famous design, the Yale Art & Architecture Building (now redidicated as Rudolph Hall).

Now that would make an exceptional Lego set!

Anybody want to start a petition?

Imagine this - in Lego! Photo:  Gunnar Klack  from Wikipedia

Imagine this - in Lego! Photo: Gunnar Klack from Wikipedia

Meanwhile:  What’s the table-top builder to do?

MATERIALS AT LILLIPUTIAN SCALE

 There is an answer!

 For those of you who want to build at home - or rather, in your home, right on your kitchen table - there are sets of diminuitive construction materials that will allow you to get started.

For example:

  • There are miniature concrete blocks, made of real concrete, and real miniature bricks—which can be laid with minute amounts of mortar.

  • There are scale sets of miniature wood 2x4’s, 2x6’s, and plywood—all ready for your handy hands to assemble!

  • There are even mini palettes, to help you transport these materials across your table-top construction site! [And it’s been suggested that they make good drink-coasters too.]

Take a look at the full range of materials and accessories that Mini Materials offers. We’re sure you’ll be inspired to get building!

P.S. 

The only problem:  

There are no ribbed concrete blocks—like the kind that Rudolph created & used for many of his projects. 

Anybody want to start another petition?

Paul Rudolph's Picasso

Photo: Seth Weine, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Photo: Seth Weine, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

An Intriguing Object

Many visitors to the Modulightor Building are intrigued by the Picasso sculpture that’s on display within it—or rather, the several Picasso sculptures.

The origin of the artwork, and how they got here, is an interesting story…

A Very Public Artist

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is widely considered to be the most famous artist of the 20th Century. He worked in a plenitude of mediums: painting, drawing, ceramics, printmaking, stage design, and sculpture.

But his art is not found only in museums and private collections—for his sculptural work includes several commissions of monumental scale, to be used in public settings. The “Chicago Picasso,” a 50 foot high sculpture in Chicago’s Daley Plaza, is probably the most well-known example:

Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, US. Photo: J. Crocker, marked as public domain from Wikipedia

Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, US. Photo: J. Crocker, marked as public domain from Wikipedia

New York City also proudly has one of Picasso’s large public works: the concrete “Bust of Sylvette”, situated in the plaza of “University Village” (a complex of three apartment towers designed by I. M. Pei):

NYC - Greenwich Village: Picasso's Bust of Sylvette. Photo: Wally Gobetz

NYC - Greenwich Village: Picasso's Bust of Sylvette. Photo: Wally Gobetz

A Commission for both Architecture and Art

In the late 1960’s-early 70’s the University of South Florida wanted to build a visitors & arts center for their Tampa-area campus. The building design was by Paul Rudolph, and Picasso was approached to provide a sculpture that would be the centerpiece of the center’s exterior plaza. It was to be over 100 feet high, and - had it been built - would have been the largest Picasso in the world.

Rendering of Paul Rudolph’s building with Picasso’s sculpture. Image: USF Special Collection Library.

Rendering of Paul Rudolph’s building with Picasso’s sculpture. Image: USF Special Collection Library.

An OK from Picasso

As a famous artist - indeed, a world-wide celebrity - one can imagine that Picasso was continually besieged about all kinds of projects. Carl Nesjar (a Norwegian sculptor—and also Picasso’s trusted collaborator, who fabricated his some of his large, public works) spoke to Picasso about the Florida project, and got an approval.

Nesjar said: “He liked the whole idea very much….  He liked the architectural part of it, and the layout, and so forth. That was not the only reason, but it was one of the reasons that he said yes. Because it happens, you come to him with a project, and he will say oui ou non … he reacts like a shotgun.” [Recently, a tape of Carl Nesjar speaking about the project has been found—a fascinating document of art history.]

Picasso’s Proposal

Picasso supplied a “maquette” of the sculpture—the term usually used for models of proposed sculptures. His title for this artwork was “Bust of a Woman.”

Picasso’s model. Photo: USF Special Collection Library.

Picasso’s model. Photo: USF Special Collection Library.

The model was about 30” high, and made of wood with a white painted finish. Picasso gave the original to the University, and it is currently in the collection of the University of South Florida’s library.

“Bust of a Woman” sculpture with the audio reel of Carl Nesjar’s interview. Photo: Kamila Oles

“Bust of a Woman” sculpture with the audio reel of Carl Nesjar’s interview. Photo: Kamila Oles

The sculpture was to be towering—more than twice as high as his work in Chicago—and, at that time, would have been the biggest concrete sculpture in the world. Carl Nesjar made a photomontage of the intended sculpture, which gives an idea of its dramatic presence.

Carl Nesjar’s photomontage showing how “Bust of a Woman” would appear on the University of Southern Florida’s campus. Image: USF Special Collection Library

Carl Nesjar’s photomontage showing how “Bust of a Woman” would appear on the University of Southern Florida’s campus. Image: USF Special Collection Library

Not To Be

But, for a variety of reasons—cultural, political, and financial—the project never moved into construction: the university didn’t build the Picasso sculpture, nor Paul Rudolph’s building. That sad aspect of the story is covered in this fine article.

A Sculpture Greatly Admired by Rudolph

Although the project didn’t proceed, Paul Rudolph liked the sculpture so much that he requested (and received) official permission from Picasso to make copies of the maquette. Several faithful copies were made: the ones that are on view in the Modulightor Building.

Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

A Virtual Life?

But this might not be quite the end for that Picasso sculpture, nor for Rudolph’s building design for that campus: they now have an existence - at least in the virtual world.

Kamila Oles (an art historian) & Lukasz Banaszek (a landscape archaeologist), working with the USF’s Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST) have created virtual models of what the building and sculpture would have looked like. You can also see a video of their process here.

Exciting visions - but ones that dramatically show an architectural & artistic lost opportunity.

NOTE:  Several authorized copies were made - one of which will always be on permanent display in the Rudolph-designed residential duplex within his Modulightor Building. But the other authorized copies are available for sale to benefit the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation. Please contact the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation for further information.

BRUTMOBILE!

Wolf Vostell, Concrete Traffic, 1970. Campus Art Collection, The University of Chicago. Photo by Michael Tropea. Art © The Wolf Vostell Estate.

Wolf Vostell, Concrete Traffic, 1970. Campus Art Collection, The University of Chicago. Photo by Michael Tropea. Art © The Wolf Vostell Estate.

Wolf Vostell (1932-1998) might not be a readily-recognized name today, but - primarily from the 60’s -to- the 80’s - he was known as one of the world’s most creatively provocative artists. He often made stimulating & challenging visual statements by incorporating the products of industrial civilization - cars, motorcycles, planes, and [especially] televisions - into his work, and he’s reputedly the first artist in history to integrate a television set into a work of art.

Even if less known today, Vostell might be familiar to the generation of architects educated in the 1970’s, as he was co-author of the 1971 book Fantastic Architecture - a wonder-filled little compendium of artist-generated projects with architectonic flavor.

The simple-minded think that Brutalism is just about concrete - but we know that’s not even close to accurate. Even so, it is often-enough identified with concrete - and that’s where the intersection with Vostell comes in. The man had an intense relationship with both cars and concrete—and in a number of his works, he encased whole automobiles in the material.

One such example is his 1970 artwork, “Concrete Traffic”, now located in a garage in Chicago:  it is a 1957 Cadillac, to be precise, which is entombed in 15 cubic yards of gray loveliness!

It’s an extraordinary sight - Brutalism that looks like it’s about to speed off! - and additional views (and more) can be seen here.

A rear view of Vostell’s concrete car. Photo by Michael Tropea.

A rear view of Vostell’s concrete car. Photo by Michael Tropea.

Paul Rudolph's 1953 Umbrella Residence is on the list of 'Florida Buildings I Love'

Paul Rudolph’s Umbrella residence in 2018. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Paul Rudolph’s Umbrella residence in 2018. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

As with Paul Rudolph’s Cocoon House, Sarasota High School, and Sanderling Beach Club, Harold Bubil—the distinguished Real Estate Editor Emeritus for Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune—has put Rudolph’s Umbrella House on his list of “Florida Buildings I Love.”

And with good reason, as the 1953 building (which has been nominated to be on the National Register of Historic Places) embraces so many still fresh architectural ideas, and was executed with economical elegance.

An Amazing Client

Philip Hiss was an extraordinary and endlessly energic character: adventurer, writer, photographer, developer, educator, traveler (with an eye to anthropology and indigenous building solutions)—and a discerning patron of Modern architecture. His own library-studio, designed by Tim Siebert in 1953, was also a local (and very Modern) landmark: a cleanly rectilinear volume, using modern construction materials, raised on a steel structure. It even included the innovation of air conditioning (to protect Hiss’ book collection)—an unusual (and, for the time, pricey) feature.

The Architect

When developing the Lido Shores neighborhood in Sarasota, Hiss chose Paul Rudolph to design the flagship home: the Umbrella House.

Pearl Harbor happened very shortly after Rudolph began his graduate architecture studies at Harvard (under the famous former director of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius), and Rudolph (and his cohort of classmates) enlisted. Rudolph became a U.S. Navy officer, stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where he learned important lessons on construction, materials, organization, and even the style of command—a body of knowledge that was to serve him for the rest of his career. Rudolph’s adventurous & innovative use of materials—perhaps seeded by his experience of maritime construction—can be repeatedly seen n his Florida work.

After the war, Rudolph returned to for his degree. Harvard was among a number of design programs which created accelerated programs for veterans, and Rudolph was able to graduate in less than a year. Moving to Florida (which he had been told was a place of opportunity for architects), his career really got started in the Sarasota area in the mid-1940’s (tho’ he eventually did work in several parts of Florida.)

Philp Hiss had good grounds for selecting Paul Rudolph as his architect:

  • in the approximate half-decade since starting practice in Florida, Rudolph had already built an impressive number of houses

  • even though the design of his houses had a fresh and Modern feel, such construction was not necessarily more expensive: Rudolph had shown the practical ability to build on a budget

  • Hiss, from his wide travels - especially to tropical environments - had developed definite ideas about how to build for hot climates - and Rudolph’s designs were simpatico to Hiss’ concerns and requirements

Modern Character (and Innovations) in the Umbrella House’s Design

Modern architecture has been much derided (sometimes with good reason) for its endless proliferation of banal & characterless container-like buildings - or as those productions are dubbed, the “Harvard Box.” Even though Rudolph was educated, at Harvard, by Gropius - the very fountainhead of that boxy approach - you could never say that a Rudolph building is boring! Here, at the Umbrella House, he brought his always inventive-yet-practical creativity to the design of this home.

Ground Floor Plan. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Ground Floor Plan. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

First Floor Plan. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

First Floor Plan. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Some of its design features include:

  • One of the most intractable problems of building design in hot and sunny climates is the solar heat-load on the roof. Covering the building’s entire area, the roof becomes a giant solar heat “magnet.” Even the best-insulated roof can only ameliorate the problem to a rather limited extent—and any mitigation is further reduced when the whole environment is hot (“Florida hot!”) day-after-day. One solution - very effective, but rarely tried - is a roof-over-a-roof: the upper roof blocks the sun, and a lower roof - well-separated by air-space, and shaded from above - is the actual enclosure of the house. Rudolph went far in the direction of this approach by erecting a large, trellis-like structure over the entire house (living volume, pool, and deck) - an “umbrella” - thus giving the house its famous name.

Side Elevation. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Side Elevation. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

  • Rudolph raised the volume (enclosing the interior living spaces) above the ground plane. Not only did this separate the body of the house from ground-borne moisture, but it also reinforced the visual purity of the architecture: the main component of the house—the one that defined the interiors—seemed to float, and the volume’s edges were well-defined by the shadow-line at its bottom.

Pool-side Elevation. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Pool-side Elevation. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

  • Most architects, when designing, primarily focus on the plan (and then the elevations). But Paul Rudolph thought in section—something that even his colleagues jealously admit is rare among architects. His orientation to sectional analysis led him to creating spaces with a profound variety of ceiling heights—and his ability to manipulate space allowed him to create the two major kinds of environments that people like to occupy:  large, open spaces (which Rudolph characterized as “the fishbowl”) and enclosed, snug spaces (which he called “the cave”). The height of the Umbrella House was the canvas within which he could compose such spatial experiences. The double-height living room was airy and commodious—but, tucked beneath the stairs, was the Florida incarnation of a fireplace inglenook for reading and cozy conversation.

  • Even though the entire house—including pool and its deck—was under the roof’s trellis-like shade, Rudolph provided a particularly protected sitting area (at the far end of the pool): this is a lowered, solid roof, which not only offered definitive blocking to the sun, but also fulfilled the occupants’ psychological needs for a well-defined seating area.

Preservation

In the mid-1960’s, the house suffered some hurricane damage, and in the subsequent decades it came into a state of disrepair. In 2005 it was partially restored---and then later sold, and restored by Hall Architects (for which it won several outstanding awards for preservation.)

Christopher J. Berger did an extensive thesis about the challenges of preserving works of the “Sarasota School”—and one of the buildings he focused-upon is the Umbrella house. You can see his full, well-researched thesis—which includes extensive historical context on building in Sarasota, and the fascinating cast-of-characters involved—here: http://etd.fcla.edu/UF/UFE0041751/berger_c.pdf

City Recognition—and National Register Nomination

The Umbrella House has been designated as an historic landmark of the City of Sarasota. 

Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

David Conway—deputy managing editor of the Sarasota-based YourObserver.comwrites that the Umbrella House is a “a defining work of the Sarasota School of Architecture,” and reports:

Backed by the state Bureau of Historic Preservation, the Umbrella House has been nominated for a slot on the National Register of Historic Places. The two-story home in Lido Shores, designed by Paul Rudolph and built in 1953, is frequently cited as one of the standout works from the midcentury Sarasota School of Architecture movement.

Although dozens of structures within the city are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of them date to previous waves of development in the early 1900s. The Umbrella House is set to become one of the few Sarasota School works on the National Register, joining the Rudolph-designed Sarasota High School addition and the Scott Building at 265 S. Orange Ave.

The Umbrella House already has a local historic designation, which offers incentives for rehabilitation and requires city review of proposed changes to the home. In 2015, the Umbrella House was renovated to re-create its namesake “umbrella” structure, designed to shade the residence.

City Planner Cliff Smith said the national designation was another way the property owners are attempting to secure the Umbrella House’s historic legacy. On Tuesday, the city’s Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously to endorse the application, which a national committee will consider in August.

Smith said the designation would add to the significance of an architectural movement in which the community has taken great pride.

“The Sarasota School of Architecture, that unique form of building that’s indigenous to the city of Sarasota — we’re very happy that’s reached national status,” Smith said.

Brutalism in Virtual Reality

Image: Moshe Linke

Moshe Linke creates beautiful art games in which you can freely explore Brutalist environments. Most of them can be downloaded here: https://moshelinke.itch.io 

Here are a couple of our favorite images from his work:

Fugue in Void

According to the developer’s description:

Explore all kind of mysterious places and dive into a world full of atmosphere. Let this experience unfold in your head.  Let it inspire you.

Brutalism - Prelude on Stone

According to the developer’s description:

Brutalism: Prelude on Stone was a rather small project for me under the theme "Forces".  It is a small installation art exhibition set in brutal environment. You can freely explore a huge brutalist building. Here and there you are going to find art installations. All the art installations deal with the elements and nature. With it comes a rich soundscape that plays perfectly together with the visuals. I wanted to depict a harsh contrast between the elements and brutalist architecture. In the future there is still erosion from water, wind and other forces.

Wonders Between Dunes

According to the developer’s description:

Travel through a wonderful mysterious world and explore huge brutal architecture. Stroll through deserts. Stroll through lush jungles. Walk deep inside the belly of concrete monsters and feel the enormous weight of the city above you. Discover wonders between dunes.

A almost dream like experience waiting for you. Relax and take a break from all those action packed games out there.

Image: Moshe Linke

Image: Moshe Linke

Brutalism, with its simple forms and dramatic environments, is a powerful experience in virtual space.

With virtual gaming getting more popular, we look forward to the day we can virtually walkthrough a Paul Rudolph designed space. Until then, we will sit back and try not to look too far over the edge of that staircase.

Paul Rudolph's Walker Guest House For Sale

Image: © Ezra Stoller / Esto

Image: © Ezra Stoller / Esto

The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation has learned that Paul Rudolph’s iconic Walker Guest House will be for sale in the coming weeks. The listing will include the Walker Guest House and the main gulf-front residence on a 1.6 acre lot for $6,795,000.

The 1952 project was the first commission received by the thirty-four year old Rudolph after he left his partnership with Ralph Twitchell. Rudolph would later describe it as one of his favorite homes, saying the home “crouches like a spider in the sand.” The project would also be known as the ‘Cannonball House’ because of Rudolph’s use of red cannonballs as weights to hold the home’s signature wood panels in place.

Rudolph’s renderings showing the movable flaps for privacy. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

According to Rudolph in the 1970 book The Architecture of Paul Rudolph by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy,

"Two bays on each side of this guest cottage are filled with pivoting panels which function as
1  the enclosing wall,
2  the ventilating element,
3  the shading device,
4  the hurricane shelter.
The third bay is filled with glass, to admit light and splendid views. When the panels are closed, the pavilion is snug and cave-like, when open the space psychologically changes and one is virtually in the landscape."

Plan with raised wall elements.  Two sections each of all four walls can be swung upwards into a horizontal position, steel balls suspended from steel cables provide counter balances.  All connections of the white painted wooden structure are joined by screws.  Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Plan with raised wall elements. Two sections each of all four walls can be swung upwards into a horizontal position, steel balls suspended from steel cables provide counter balances. All connections of the white painted wooden structure are joined by screws. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Author Tim Rohan wrote about the significance of the guest house in Curbed,

The Walker House was Rudolph's complex tribute to and critique of the International Style's most celebrated dwelling, the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe (Plano, IL, 1946-51). With its lightweight, white wood frame, the Walker House was Rudolph's "poor man's" version of the Farnsworth's expensive white, steel frame, whose beauty he could not help but admire. Rudolph corrected the main drawback of the Farnsworth House, evident as well in the Glass House (New Canaan, CT, 1945-49) by Philip Johnson: lack of privacy. Edith Farnsworth felt exposed by her house's glass walls, which she was powerless to change. For privacy, Johnson retreated to the almost windowless confines of his adjacent Brick House. Rudolph rectified this drawback by allowing the user to adjust the shutters of the Walker House for privacy and to suit their moods. Rudolph explained, "With all the panels lowered the house is a snug cottage, but when the panels are raised it becomes a large screened pavilion. If you desire to retire from the world you have a cave, but when you feel good there is the joy of an open pavilion." The Walker House set Rudolph upon the path to concluding that architecture was the art of manipulating space in order to affect and reflect human emotions, as was evident from the interior complexity of his Brutalist buildings, the most famed being his Yale Art & Architecture Building (New Haven, CT, 1958-63).

Many architecture students have studied the design and built models of it while in school making it one of Rudolph’s best known early works along with his 1961 Milam Residence. The home was also recognized by the AIA Florida chapter as ‘Best Residential Building in the State of Florida’ in 2012.

Please spread the word about the upcoming sale and if you know anyone interested in preserving the house, please reach out to us at office@paulrudolphheritagefoundation.org

Paul Rudolph's 1952 Sanderling Beach Club is one of the 'Florida Buildings I Love'

Photo: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Photo: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Harold Bubil, Real Estate Editor Emeritus for the Herald-Tribune, writes in the newspaper that Paul Rudolph’s Sanderling Beach Club is one of his favorite buildings in Florida.

The project was begun when developer Elbridge S. Boyd originally formed Siesta Properties, Inc. in 1946 with the plan to create a residential community in the area. In 1951, a homeowners association for residents of Siesta Properties known as the Siesta Club was founded. A year later in 1952, a cabana club was proposed to house guests of the local residents.

According to the website Satasota History Alive,

Local architect Paul Rudolph was selected to design the clubhouse, cabanas and observation tower. The initial phase, built in 1952, consisted of a concrete patio with a small white wooden observatory. The platform, about 10 feet up, was reached by a simple set of stairs, along the east side and furnished with chairs and a table. On either side of the patio was a single-story structure containing five cabanas each. A two-bay restroom building was located east of the tower. Each of these structures displayed a distinctive roof consisting of a series of shallow vaults constructed of thin plywood. Several resident-members participated in the construction of these early buildings.

Rudolph’s first proposal for the project. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s final proposal - note the revised design of the lookout. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s final proposal - note the revised design of the lookout. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s rendering of the final scheme. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Paul Rudolph looking out from the constructed observatory. Photo: Library of Congress

According to the website Satasota History Alive:

By 1958 three more buildings, with five cabanas each, were constructed by local contractor John Innes. Three new cabana buildings, which followed Paul Rudolph's design for the original two buildings, were arranged in a stepped line extending south of the original group. “A tennis court had been built, a life boat and telephone provided a measure of swimming safety to the area, and Sunday lunches were being held underneath table umbrellas.”

A clubhouse was not constructed until 1960, although included in Rudolph's original plans. John Crowell was hired to prepare the plans for the new two-story building. It was to abut the existing restroom building on the south and contain five Rudolph-style cabanas on the second floor. It was also expected to align with the shell roofed observation tower. However, a lack of structural integrity was recognized in the tower soon after its construction. For a time people were no longer allowed on the platform. The entire tower was torn down in the late 1960s.

The current site. Photo: Google Maps

Typical Cabana Floor Plan. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Writes Bubil:

The Gulf-front site demanded modestly sized structures that sat lightly on the sand and provided shelter for the tenants, some of whom have rented their cabanas for decades and have decorated the interiors to suit personal tastes and needs.

Rudolph’s early Sarasota structures often were experiments, and that was the case at Sanderling. The arched roofs are made from curved plywood, a material he learned about while serving at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II. The posts are economically made of doubled-up 2-by-4s.

But it is the spirit of the cabanas that defines Rudolph’s creativity. The wave-like form of the roofs is appropriate for the site, and the simply geometry of the cabanas makes them look like delicately sized temples for sun worshipping.

On June 29, 1994, the project was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Previously unseen Rudolph project donated to the Foundation's archives

Rudolph’s Medical Arts Building project in Singapore. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s Medical Arts Building project in Singapore. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Paul Rudolph’s 1990 proposal for a Medical Arts Building in Singapore was donated to the archives of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation by Jeremy Moser, a former Rudolph employee. He also donated other project materials which will be covered in future posts.

The site today. Image: Google Maps

Rudolph’s proposed site plan. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

The project was never built. Along with a site plan and elevation, copies of the floor plans showing Rudolph’s characteristic alternating pinwheel floorplans:

The plans are dated February 16th, 1990 and list Rudolph’s office as 246 East 58th Street. Rudolph’s offices were on the second floor of the building, where the offices of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation are located today.

Photos of Rudolph's residence added to the archives of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Photo of Rudolph’s residence taken in the early 90’s. Photo: Robert Schwartz; Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Photo of Rudolph’s residence taken in the early 90’s. Photo: Robert Schwartz; Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation was visited by Robert Schwartz, an architect who came to see the recent exhibit, ‘Paul Rudolph: The Personal Laboratory’ at the Foundation’s headquarters in the Modulightor building which featured Mr. Rudolph’s residence on 31 High Street. Afterwards, he spoke to us and showed photos of the space when he lived there from 1990-1993.

He donated copies of the photos to the Foundation’s growing archives of Paul Rudolph’s architectural works. These will be used to update the model which was based on Mr. Rudolph’s drawings and black and white historical photos.

Rudolph’s drawing of the first floor. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s drawing of the first floor. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s drawing of the second floor. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

Rudolph’s drawing of the second floor. Image: Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation Archives

According to Mr. Schwartz, the floor was white marble (we had assumed brick!) in a herringbone pattern. The steps were the same white marble inset into a metal frame, hung off the wall. The brown cushion shown in the photos was original from Rudolph’s design.

Mr. Schwartz noted a few errors in the model such as a small water feature located outside in the yard. He also said the house had a number of tenants after Mr. Rudolph moved out before he lived in the space - including a rumored funeral parlor. He also pointed out details like doors and areas of the building that were not included in Rudolph’s drawings of the addition.

Sadly, the building was eventually turned into a residence for a local fraternity who made major changes including enclosing Rudolph’s floating staircase.

Thanks to Mr. Schwartz’s contribution to the Foundation’s archives we have another chapter to add to the history of this iconic project. For more photos, please see the links below.


Paul Rudolph's Rolling Chair now available for sale to the public

The Paul Rudolph Rolling Chair   Photo: Modulightor

The Paul Rudolph Rolling Chair Photo: Modulightor

Paul Rudolph’s sketch of the original design   Image: Library of Congress

Paul Rudolph’s sketch of the original design
Image: Library of Congress

This chair was designed by Paul Rudolph (1918-1997), one of America’s greatest Modern architects. Rudolph was famous for his strong, expressive forms, powerful spaces, and innovative use of materials & light. A very prolific designer of both architecture and interiors, his active career extended to nearly the end of the 20th century, and across the decades he continued developing his aesthetic and experimenting with space & materials.

Rudolph’s own residences were his “laboratories” for exploring ways to shape space and create dynamic forms. When he was looking for furniture for his own home, he found that there was nothing on the market that would fit well with the interiors he was creating - so he designed his own furniture, of which this chair is a prime example.

Paul Rudolph was thoroughly knowledgeable about design history - and had met many of the leading figures of 20th Century architecture. One can see the roots of this chair’s design in the work of Rietveld and Le Corbusier, both architects greatly admired by Rudolph. But, as with all his work, Rudolph puts his own creative stamp on the design - in this case: using a system of modular components to create furniture of great visual lightness & transparency. In addition, its use of casters makes it very flexible for moving into a variety of room arrangements.

Above: After he designed the chair, Paul Rudolph had an employee produce documentation of the design Images: Library of Congress

Rudolph was intensely interested in the flexibility and efficiency offered by modular systems. Whether it be for the design of a large-scale building, a set of furniture, or a light fixture, he thought architects should “speak the language of modularity.” This chair uses a system of stainless steel tubes & joints, carefully fabricated and assembled, to create a practical piece of furniture and a fine object of design. This same system can be also be used to make other kinds of furniture, and even light fixtures.

NOTE:  This chair is made by Modulightor, a company co-founded by Paul Rudolph and Ernst Wagner. This chair is often used in conjunction with other furniture designed by Rudolph: the Rolling Side Table and the Small Side Table. They’re also made by Modulightor and are available, and can be viewed on their website www.modulightor.com If you have any questions about the chair and how to order one, please email us at office@paulrudolphheritagefoundation.org

Specifications:

  • Title:  Paul Rudolph Rolling Chair

  • Size:  Approx. 29-3/8” tall  x  approx. 28” wide  x  approx. 22-1/2” deep (Note: All dimensions are approximate.)

  • Material:  Stainless steel, Plexiglas, and casters

  • Manufactured and Sold By:  This Paul Rudolph-designed chair is made and sold by Modulightor - a firm co-founded by Paul Rudolph

Pricing & Availability:

  • Price:  $3,450   Note: a portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation.

  • Availability:  Any quantity is available

  • Ordering:  Must be pre-ordered and pre-paid. Please email office@paulrudolphheritagefoundation.org to order

  • Lead Time:  Approximately 8 weeks, from receipt of paid order

Shipping & Packing:  Will depend on the destination. The purchaser can either:

  • Pick-up the chair at Modulightor’s New York City showroom

  • Make their own arrangements to have it crated and shipped

  • Arrange for Modulightor to have it crated and shipped (at additional cost, to be determined based on destination)

'Paul Rudolph: A Way of Working' greeted by full house at the Center for Architecture

Speakers Rocco Leonardis, R.D. Chin, Jeremy Moser, Nora Leung and moderator Roberto de Alba. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Speakers Rocco Leonardis, R.D. Chin, Jeremy Moser, Nora Leung and moderator Roberto de Alba. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

On Friday December 14 The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation joined the Center for Architecture for a special presentation, ‘Paul Rudolph: A Way of Working’. The program was presented in coordination with the exhibition ‘Paul Rudolph: The Hong Kong Years’ on display in the gallery adjacent to the event.

The night began with an introduction about the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation by President Kelvin Dickinson. Roberto de Alba, author of the book ‘Paul Rudolph - the Late Years’, introduced keynote speaker Nora Leung who spoke about her experience working with Mr. Rudolph on several projects in Hong Kong.

The program concluded with a panel discussion featuring several past employees speaking about what it was like to work with Mr. Rudolph.

The event was part of the Paul Rudolph Centennial which features two exhibitions about his work. For more information about the two exhibits celebrating Mr. Rudolph’s life and work for his centennial please follow this link.

Upcoming lecture: 'Paul Rudolph: Influences & Opportunities' at the Center for Architecture

Paul Rudolph asking concrete what it wants to be.  Photo: Library of Congress

Paul Rudolph asking concrete what it wants to be. Photo: Library of Congress

Please join the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation
for a special program for Paul Rudolph: The Hong Kong Journey.
 

PAUL RUDOLPH:
INFLUENCES & OPPORTUNITIES


Wednesday, December 19 2018
6pm-8pm


At the Center For Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place, New York, NY 10012


For reservations, go to the Center for Architecture’s site here.

 

Paul Rudolph considered an allowance for growth in his architecture and once said his buildings “took on a life of their own” after they were designed.  The Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation in association with the Center for Architecture present a panel speakers influenced by the richness of Paul Rudolph’s architectural legacy. The program will present stories by those who have had the the opportunity to adapt his work to present-day needs.

Introduction:
Kelvin Dickinson, President, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Speakers:
Kate Wagner, Founder, McMansionHell
Eric Wolff, Owner, the Fullam Residence
John Wolstenholme, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Wolstenholme Associates LLC
Andrew Bernheimer, FAIA, Principal, Bernheimer Architecture
Robert Miklos, FAIA, Founding Principal, designLAB architects
Ben Youtz, AIA, designLAB architects
Kelly Haigh, AIA IIDA, design LAB architects
 

For more information about the event go to our website here.
For speaker bios follow the link here.

Rudolph's view of the UN General Assembly building

Dag Hammarskjöld outside the UN building in 1953. Photo: Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation

Dag Hammarskjöld outside the UN building in 1953. Photo: Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation

Paul Rudolph was a fan of Le Corbusier's work. So much so, that he radically changed his design of the Art & Architecture building at Yale following a visit to Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp. But his criticism could be as strong as his praise.

A friend of the Foundation alerted us to the following excerpt from the February 1st, 1953 edition of the Sydney Herald about the then-recently completed United Nations building:

Walking through the General Assembly building for the first time last month, a prominent younger-generation American architect, Paul Rudolph, disliked what he saw. ‘It brings the so-called International style close to bankruptcy,’ he said in “Architectural Forum” ‘The building is not really a product of the International style, but rather a background for a grade B movie about “one world” with Rita Hayworth dancing up the main ramp.

Ouch.

Is that a look of anticipation in Dag Hammarskjold's face while he waits for the show to begin?

If you have a favorite quote you found and you'd like to share, let us know!

Paul Rudolph, The 'Future' and Brain Science

The Future Condominiums. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

The Future Condominiums. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Paul Rudolph’s design of the exterior of the Future Condominium is used as an example of optical illusion in the article ‘Can we change our vantage point to explore imaginal neglect?’ published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences by Paolo Bartolomeo and Sylvie Chokron.

Image: Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Image: Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Write Bartolomeo and Chokron,

The objects in Figures 1 and 2 were designed to represent the salient features of a building, two views of which are shown in Fig-ure 3 (Griffiths & Zaidi 2000; Halper 1997). Notice that in the left panel the balconies seem implausibly tilted up, whereas in the right panel they implausibly appear tilted down. A frontal view of the building reveals the balconies to be horizontal parallelograms.

This knowledge never weakens the illusion.

Image: Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Image: Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Paul Rudolph’s building exterior. Photo: Nicolas Janberg

Paul Rudolph’s building exterior. Photo: Nicolas Janberg

The 35-story building, located at 32nd Street and Third Avenue, was built in 1990-1993.

Floor plan showing the parallelogram shape of the balconies. Image: Douglas Elliman

Floor plan showing the parallelogram shape of the balconies. Image: Douglas Elliman

The building has 165 condominium apartments and was developed by Donald Zucker. It was designed by Costas Kondylis with Paul Rudolph as consulting architect for the building’s distinctive exterior.

Rudolph inspired dollhouse for your 'miniature Modernist'

The Dylan House. Photo: Brinca Dada

The Dylan House. Photo: Brinca Dada

Who says a dollhouse has to be Victorian? If you are looking for a cool holiday gift to inspire a young future architect, we found some amazing examples at Brinca Dada. The above caught our attention for an obvious reason:

Inspired by the minimalist masterpieces of Paul Rudolph and Tadao Ando, the brinca dada Dylan Dollhouse House with Furniture features a concrete-and-glass feel, but with the breezy openness of a beachfront home. Floor-to-ceiling windows open to allow natural light into the house and play from many angles. The Dylan House has five living spaces on three levels: living room/dining room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and roof patio. The Dylan House Furniture set contains 23 pieces...enough to fill five living spaces on three levels: living room/dining room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and roof patio. Furnish their imagination with this awesome complete dollhouse and furniture set.

We’re not sure the above is very Rudolphian, but it may have taken a cue from his Florida work:

Do you see a resemblance? Neither do we…. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Do you see a resemblance? Neither do we…. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Brinca Dada also makes other options for your miniature Modernist which remind us a little of Paul Rudolph’s Quadruplex at 23 Beekman Place:

The Bennett House. Photo: Brinca Dada

The Bennett House. Photo: Brinca Dada

All that’s missing is a lot of chrome and some Plexiglas furniture. And is that hole on the roof where the bathtub is supposed to be?

Paul Rudolph Featured in Docomomo US 'Doco Games' for Giving Tuesday

VOTEFORRUDOLPH.jpg

Paul Rudolph’s Burroughs Wellcome Headquarters, Shoreline Apartments and Niagara Falls Public Library are featured in Docomomo’s ‘first ever battle for architectural survival with the “Doco Games.” 

According to the organization’s website,

The #DocoGames is a day-long tournament that features sixteen of Docomomo US’ biggest supporters fighting to save a building they love.

Armed with razor-sharp adjectives like “rectilinear”, “articulated” and “brutalist”, the #DocoGames will begin promptly at 10:00 AM Eastern on Tuesday, November 27th, with four (4) rounds of players advancing every two (2) hours. Each of the (16) sixteen players will encourage friends and colleagues through social media channels to give to Docomomo US throughout the day.The player who brings in the most money during each round will advance to face a new player. 

Round 1 pits Mr. Rudolph’s architecture against such notable works as SOM’s Union Carbide Building, Richard Neutra’s George Kraigher residence and M. Paul Friedberg’s Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

While we don’t want to take sides, we ENCOURAGE YOU TO SUPPORT TEAM RUDOLPH!

Support Tim Hayduk’s love of “PAUL RUDOLPH'S SCULPTURAL ARCHITECTURE” by following this link

Support Kate Wagner’s idea of “BRUTALIST HEAVEN” by following this link

Support Barbara Campagna’s aversion to ‘VICTORIANA’ by following this link.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.

Please support Docomomo’s efforts to preserve Modernism and may the BEST RUDOLPH WIN'!

Rudolph's Woman's Home Companion house rendered in 3D

Image: Woman's Home Companion

Image: Woman's Home Companion

In 1956, the Woman's Home Companion magazine commissioned a house designed by Paul Rudolph. Tim Hills, who runs a vintage design and furnishing team based in Kalamazoo, Michigan known as Trystcraft, recreated 3d renderings of the proposed home after careful study of plans and renderings found in the magazine.

Image: Woman's Home Companion

Image: Woman's Home Companion

Image: Woman's Home Companion

Image: Woman's Home Companion

Using addresses published at the time, Tim was able to track down two additional versions beyond the one that is considered online as the only realized project.

Floor Plan of the house. Image: Woman's Home Companion

Floor Plan of the house. Image: Woman's Home Companion

To read more including vintage photos and the story behind his work, follow this link and click the links below to see larger images.

Rudolph's Cocoon House captured in new video

The exterior in 2017. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

The exterior in 2017. Photo: Kelvin Dickinson, Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation

Paul Rudolph’s Healy Guest House, known as the ‘cocoon house’ for its unique roof construction, is featured in a new video by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.

According to the video’s description,

Located on Bayou Louise Lane on Siesta Key, Cocoon House is a two-bedroom, one-bath, 760-square-foot cottage built as a guesthouse for Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Healy. The house gets its name from the technology used to build its roof: a polymer spray that Paul Rudolph saw being used at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on warships returning after WWII in order to "cocoon" or moth-ball them. Rudolph's creativity made him realize that this material could also be used in the construction industry. The Cocoon House was named “Best House Design of the Year” from the AIA in 1949; selected by MoMA New York in 1953 as one of 19 examples of houses built since WWII that were "pioneers of design;” and locally designated as a historic property by the City of Sarasota in 1985.

To watch the two-minute video, click below or follow the link here.