Architects

DINING WITH RUDOLPH

Some of the architectonically delicious creations of architect-turned-pastry-chef    Dinara Kasko   . Image courtesy of Dinara Kasko Pastry Art.

Some of the architectonically delicious creations of architect-turned-pastry-chef Dinara Kasko. Image courtesy of Dinara Kasko Pastry Art.

ARCHITECTS EAT…

One can easily imagine architects eating—or at least snacking. All those endless professional conferences, presentation meetings, site visits, class design crits, touring of the great monuments, ‘till-midnight toil at the drawing board (or screen)—surely any that will induce hunger and thirst.

Food is also a chance for bonding and relaxation. There are several pictures of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s fellowship community (including Frank and Olgivanna) out for what look like rather enjoyable picnics—and one can presume that Wright partook in the al fresco fare.

Some types of foods are the special focus of chefs with an eye for composition—particularly the design of cakes and pastry, which have a long history of architectonic expression. In fact, professional competitions in that field seem to bring out the builder in chefs’ hearts—and there is always the opportunity for innovation, as is shown so richly in the work of architect-designer-turned-pastry-chef, Dinara Kasko.

Frank Lloyd Wright and members of his Taliesen Fellowship, out for a countryside picnic. Wright is seated just right-of-center, in the hat and striped jacket. Photo by    Pedro E. Guerrero   , a superb photographer of architecture and the arts (many of whose works    are collected in fascinating books   )—and who is well-known for creating some of the most memorable images of Wright and Wright’s community. Photo (c) The Estate of Pedro E. Guerrero

Frank Lloyd Wright and members of his Taliesen Fellowship, out for a countryside picnic. Wright is seated just right-of-center, in the hat and striped jacket. Photo by Pedro E. Guerrero, a superb photographer of architecture and the arts (many of whose works are collected in fascinating books)—and who is well-known for creating some of the most memorable images of Wright and Wright’s community. Photo (c) The Estate of Pedro E. Guerrero

And we have this, from Robert A. M. Stern, It is from his affectionate memoir of fellow architect Charles Moore, recounting their time together during a group project in which they were engaged: 

“… we . . . stayed in a great downtown club where we would gather for breakfast before embarking on our day's work in the SOM offices. I remember those breakfasts with him vividly: Charles was not a person who watched his figure, and he would seat himself in the cavernous dining hall and dive into an enormous breakfast, taking generous helpings of chipped beef on toast and all kinds of other calorie-laden goodies. Faced with the pleasures of the table, he just couldn't say no.”

Philip Johnson was well-known for his regular lunches at the The Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building (a set of elegant dining spaces he had designed, within Mies’ great skyscraper). Famously, Johnson even had his own booth, often inviting those whom he thought were the most-promising architectural up-and-comers.

Philip Johnson: master of many things—including the power lunch—but that’s not a napkin tucked under his chin. Image courtesy of Wikipedia; photo by: B. Pietro Filardo

Philip Johnson: master of many things—including the power lunch—but that’s not a napkin tucked under his chin. Image courtesy of Wikipedia; photo by: B. Pietro Filardo

And in Timothy M. Rohan’s comprehensive study of Paul Rudolph, he mentions that Johnson and  Paul Rudolph—old friends and rivals—used to eat at Billy’s: a bar-restaurant on Manhattan’s 1st Avenue (located about equidistant from both of their self-designed homes.) [Billy’s, which originally opened in 1870, closed in 2004—an amazing run, having been in continuous operation for 134 years!]

This may be an authentic, archival view of the old bar at Billy’s. We don’t know what it was like when Rudolph, Johnson, and their friends & colleagues dined there—but in this 1936 photo, it certainly had a most intriguing look. [And if it was like this when our heroes dined there, Johnson might have picked-up some ideas for his Post-Modern phase.] Photograph by: Bernice Abbott, courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs - Photography Collection, The New York Public Library

This may be an authentic, archival view of the old bar at Billy’s. We don’t know what it was like when Rudolph, Johnson, and their friends & colleagues dined there—but in this 1936 photo, it certainly had a most intriguing look. [And if it was like this when our heroes dined there, Johnson might have picked-up some ideas for his Post-Modern phase.] Photograph by: Bernice Abbott, courtesy of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs - Photography Collection, The New York Public Library

Finally, we learn something we hadn’t before heard about Luis Barragan, according to an article in the famously fact-checked New Yorker. Among the design signatures of Barragan’s severely-shaped architectural work, was his use of color—frequently quite saturated—as in the intense pink he specified for some of his sun-drenched walls. It turns out that

“He enjoyed melon halves drizzled with sherry, and was known to have his maid prepare entirely pink meals.”

But be careful: getting architects mixed-up with food can be hazardous—at least as interpreted by this satirical news story fromThe Onion:

News story courtesy of the   www.theonion.com

News story courtesy of the www.theonion.com

…BUT IS ARCHITECTURE EDIBLE?

We can’t think of too many buildings named after architects. Offhand, the couple we can readily recall are the Yale Art & Architecture Building which has been rededicated (after renovation) as “Rudolph Hall”; and the “Met Breuer”—the Marcel Breuer-designed Madison Avenue branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which had previously been the Whitney Museum.)

 But on-the-other-hand, naming restaurants after architects does seem to be a thing—as in:  

  • The Aalto Lounge in Portland, Oregon (which is filled with mid-century Modern furniture.)

  • The The Wright which opened in 2009, within the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum.

  • The restaurant which is part of the Le Corbusier Hotel, within Corb’s famous “Unite” apartment house in Marseilles (a venue whose appetizers look well-designed and proportioned.)

  • The Auberge de Mies, in Switzerland.

And, speaking of Mies, we discovered that this taste treat which had been offered by the creative (and design-oriented) dessert company, Coolhaus:

Image courtesy of    www.cool.haus

Image courtesy of www.cool.haus

WHAT ABOUT RUDOLPH?

Well, of course Rudolph ate: as noted above, he used to go out with nearby-neighbor Philip Johnson—and, in the archives of the Paul Rudolph Heritage Foundation, we have snapshots of him at various dining events.

But now you too can eat with Rudolph—or at least in Rudolph’s—the new restaurant, named for him, that’s opened within The Sarasota Modern, a boutique hotel in the Rosemary District of Sarasota, Florida.

Image courtesy of    The Sarasota Modern

Image courtesy of The Sarasota Modern

Sarasota is the perfect place for a restaurant honoring Paul Rudolph, as the “Sarasota School of Architecture” is the appellation for the post-World War II set of architects who practiced in that area, creating significant Modern designs. Rudolph was the creative & energizing center of that group (similar to the way that Wright is the pivotal figure for the “Prairie School”.)

Sarasota Magazine gave it a very good review, starting with:

If you name your restaurant after a legendary architect, you’d better make sure the space looks sharp. Rudolph’s, the restaurant inside The Sarasota Modern hotel, which opened in the Rosemary District in December, is named in tribute to Paul Rudolph, and its lush environs do justice to a revered name.

The restaurant is divided into three main areas: a brightly lit, glass-walled dining room that offers nighttime street-corner vistas; a mellow-mood round bar; and a lattice-ceilinged patio adjacent to the pool. Does it follow the strictures of the Sarasota School of Architecture that Rudolph helped pioneer? You’ll have to ask an architecture critic.

Sarasota Magazine’s reviewer went on to lavishly praise the food, the creative and enterprising chef, the selection of cocktails, and the overall ambiance. From some of the views we’ve seen—like of the interior—

Image courtesy of    The Sarasota Modern

Image courtesy of The Sarasota Modern

—and of the food—

Image courtesy of    The Sarasota Modern

Image courtesy of The Sarasota Modern

—a visit to Rudolph’s looks like it would be a well-designed (and tasty) treat.