There’s been a flurry of activity in the world of film and architecture this week. Notable LA filmmaker and film critic Thom Andersen released his unconventional documentary Reconversão about last year’s Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura and their mutual fascination — one you know we share — with abandoned spaces, contemporary ruins and the societal conflicts that create them. Add to that an intriguing Kickstarter for Great Spaces, a web series by four young design enthusiasts exploring the world one space at a time, showed up in our inbox and persuaded us to champion their worthy cause.
To celebrate the very best of multidisciplinary mash-ups, we thought we’d take a look at some of the fantastic films about architects that have been made over the years. From one of the most inspiring films you will ever see about husband-wife creative powerhouse Charles and Ray Eames (notably narrated by our favorite art house badboy James Franco) to Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack’s look at America’s design darling, Frank Gehry, click through to check out our picks for must-see films focused on one of the most enigmatic and conflicted characters in the world: the architect.
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The good folks at Princeton Architectural Press just released Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography, John Comazzi’s stunning illustrated biography of one of the greatest architectural photographers of our time. Working for many years as Eero Saarinen’s official photographer, Korab immortalized a defining era of design that’s made a major comeback in large part thanks to the colorful cast of a sinful little TV land ad agency by the name of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
Along with everyone else in America, we jumped headfirst on to the mid-century modern bandwagon and now that the show’s on hiatus, we’re on the lookout for ways to indulge our healthy obsession with tulip chairs and sunken living rooms. What better way than to revisit the momentous designs that started it all? From Saarinen’s iconic TWA Terminal at JFK and the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana to Mies van der Rohe’s fit-for-Don-Draper Lake Shore Drive Apartments, click through to check out highlights from the book and the heyday of the design epoch.
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Long before college students started exposing themselves to celebrate sexual liberation and Will Ferrell made a name for himself streaking the silver screen, Herodotus was writing about exposure en masse to help spread the good word about a jubilant pilgrimage to The Festival of Bast, an annual event in ancient Egypt now famous for being home to the world’s largest orgy. In the words of the Father of History, “when in the course of their journey they reach a community — not the city of their destination, but somewhere else — they steer the bareis close to the bank. Some of the women carry on clapping and singing, but others dance or stand and pull up their clothes to expose themselves. Every riverside community receives this treatment.”
Because there’s nothing like starting a week off with a bawdy cultural phenomenon, we thought we’d apply the fun of mooning, flashing and streaking to architecture by posing the question: where would exhibitionists live? Beginning with the two glass houses that started it all, here’s our look at see-thru architecture that will have you frolicking naked in no time. From Philip Johnson’s iconic glass house to an Italian glass cube of a home complete with glass furniture to a glass barn, click through to check out our roundup of transparent homes that are sure to inspire a mooning or two. Let us know in the comments if you could live in such an exposed home!
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There’s nothing we love more than inspired cameos and iconic design so when we spied Kanye West sitting on the wonderfully whimsical but insanely priced Proust Geometrica in a music video about one of our favorite native Brooklynites, we couldn’t help but wonder what other notable chairs have popped up in music videos, movies, and maybe even on album art.
From the world’s most popular chair in Mike Mills’ indie hit Beginners to the folded felt masterpiece in Rihanna’s sadomasochistic music video to the aluminum standby that played a crucial supporting role in one of the most famous dance sequences in pop-culture history, click through to check out our survey of iconic chair sightings. Then, tell us about your favorite chair cameo in the comments!
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If you’re planning on hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend (last year, 31 million people did), then the thought of stopping for gas is probably a bit of a buzz kill. While we can’t do anything about the prices at the pump, we would like to point out that it can be an aesthetically pleasing experience; in fact, over the years some of the world’s most famous architects — from Mies van der Roh to Norman Foster — have built what we consider to be beautiful gas stations. Click through to check out 10 of our favorite examples, and leave your own suggestions in the comments.
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Ezra Stoller — considered a pioneer in the world of architectural photography — was known for snapping images of some of the 20th century’s most celebrated buildings, from the Guggenheim Museum to the TWA terminal at Idlewild Airport. In fact, his work was considered so influential that architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Paul Rudolph, and Richard Meier all wanted their buildings “Stollerized.”
His method for magically capturing a building’s essence? Patience. ”Photography is space, light, texture, of course,” Stoller once said, ”but the really important element is time. That nanosecond when the image organizes itself on the ground glass.” A selection of his gelatin silver prints are currently on display at New York’s Yossi Milo Gallery through February 12th; click through to check out a few of our favorite images of iconic NYC landmarks, alongside a few lesser known gems.
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