Architecture and the City Festival
September 1–30, 2014
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA San Francisco) and the Center for Architecture + Design announce the 11th annual Architecture and the City festival, the nation’s largest architectural festival of its kind. Taking place in San Francisco every September, the month-long celebration features behind the scenes and walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more, providing opportunities for participants to engage with the local architecture community and experience design in a myriad of ways throughout the city. The 2014 Architecture and the City festival theme, Home: My San Francisco, will examine the shifting nature of home, the different elements that contribute to its definition, and its relation to the urban fabric. Over 40 festival programs will explore the cultural richness and diversity of our local architectural and design community as well as provide a platform for conversation about our changing landscape and its implications for a city in a time of rapidly intensifying housing needs.

Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism
September 12–December 12, 2014
With works as varied as a Vidal Sassoon Salon from 1968, the U.S. Expo Pavilion in Seville, Spain in 1992, and his steel houses, this exhibit will present an overview of almost fifty years of architecture. Barton Myers first attracted attention in the late 1960s for his civic buildings and urban projects in Canada. He returned to the United States in 1984 to open a Los Angeles office and became known for his performing arts centers, campus buildings, and steel houses among many projects. 

The Barton Myers papers were donated to the Architecture and Design Collection of the AD&A Museum, UC Santa Barbara in 2000.  The archive covers Myers’s work from 1968 through 2002 and includes sketches and computer drawings, watercolors, images by well-known photographers, detailed study models and models of blocks-long sections of cities, as well as research notes, correspondence, lectures, and writings.

Gearing Up for Better, Healthier, and More Efficient Homes
September 19, 2014
The USGBC will present, Gearing Up for Better, Healthier, and More Efficient Homes, at the upcoming AltCar Expo on Friday, September 19th at 9:30am.   Designed for building & design professionals, the lecture addresses the need to erect higher performing buildings and the push towards zero net energy buildings. Panelists include:  Tim Kohut, AIA Architect, Green Dinosaur; Lena Ashby Senior Sustainability Coordinator, Green Dinosaur; and Joel Cesare, Sustainable Building Advisor, City of Santa Monica.

10th Annual KAYAK and SUP Coastal Cleanup Day Event
September 20, 2014
On Saturday, September 20, from 8:15am–1:30pm, The Bay Foundation (TBF) will host its 10th Annual Marina del Rey Kayak Cleanup Day Event as part of the greater annual Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) which draws over 14,000 volunteers from across Los Angeles County to hundreds of events. As the longest-running kayak and SUP cleanup site, the TBF event is immensely popular each year and spaces fill up early.

San Francisco Living: Home Tours
September 20–21, 2014
AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design are excited to announce the 12th annual San Francisco Living: Home Tours, a two-day open house event featuring a select number of modern residences. The popular weekend showcases a wide variety of architectural styles, neighborhoods and residences, including single-family homes, contemporary renovations and multi-family residences, and is the first tour series in the Bay Area to promote residential design from the architect's point of view. Throughout the weekend, tour participants can see some of the city's latest residential projects from the inside out, meet design teams, explore housing trends, and discover innovative design solutions that inspire unique San Francisco living.

Detroit Design Festival
September 23–28, 2014
Presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), and supported by the Knight Foundation, the fourth-annual Detroit Design Festival spans all design disciplines and brings together commerce, culture, education, and entertainment with a full, varied program of exhibitions, openings, installations, shows, talks, open studios, fashion shows, product previews, performances and workshops.

Archtoberfest San Diego 2014
October 1–30, 2014
Archtoberfest San Diego 2014 is a collaboratively-operated initiative aimed at establishing an annual, month-long program of public events and activities pertaining to architecture, design, planning and sustainability.

Case Study & Site Tour
October 2, 2014
Steven Ehrlich will discuss his elevon designs at an Urban Land Institute Los Angeles event at elevon at Campus El Segundo. He will be joined by representatives of the development and leasing teams.

Docomomo US Tour Day 2014
October 11, 2014

Docomomo US is pleased to announce the full schedule of Tour Day, one of the largest national programs devoted to the appreciation of Modern architecture in the United States. Set to take place on October 11, 2014 and throughout the month of October, this year’s event includes more than 50 tours planned in 21 states and 37 individual cities and brings together 17 Docomomo US Chapters, 5 Friend Organizations, in addition to architecture and preservation organizations, architects, historians, designers, and enthusiasts. Hosted by many of the leading preservation voices, Tour Day 2014 events will offer something for everyone.

Westedge Design Fair
October 16–19, 2014
The curated fair features over 150 leading and emerging, domestic and international furnishings brands. Catering to both trade and consumers, the event offers a complete experience for attendees, including panel discussions and workshops, culinary activities, custom installations, and a series of special events.

4th Annual Found L.A.
October 19, 2014
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, the non-profit L.A. Commons ( will host its 4th annual Found L.A: Festival of Neighborhoods, and its first based on a mayoral theme, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Program. Angelenos will explore the main arteries of neighborhoods around the city, developed and not so, and meet the people in the center of activity there.

ACADIA 2014 Design Agency Conference
October 23–24, 2014
DESIGN AGENCY will bring together the spectrum of research and creative practice currently occurring within the ACADIA community through the combined support of the research networks of the University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles and Southern California Institute of Architecture. Questions the capacity for computation to inform or challenge traditional design processes; computation as design operation - the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power, and/or computation as design instrumentality - the design mechanism through which power is exerted or an end is achieved.

New Urbanism Film Festival
November 2014
The primary goal of the New Urbanism Film Festival is to renew the dialogue about urban planning with a broader audience. The Festival brings in movies, short films, speakers, on the topics of architecture, public health, bicycle advocacy, urban design, public transit, inner-city gardens, to name a few.

Making LA Conference
November 7, 2014
de LaB's one-day event will be a unique setting where creative leaders from across Los Angeles will share best practices and investigate new ways to make their burgeoning civic, architectural or design projects a reality. More details are coming soon.






Registration Opens: October 1
Breaking New Ground
The California Endowment

Deadline: October 31

Show Us Your Baldwin

Deadlne: November 30
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

Deadline: December 8

2015 Diversity Scholarship

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

FORM Event Images

Industry Partners




« Interiors Issue - March/April 2010 - Sample | Main | What Color Is Your Lease? - Beyond the Grid »

Inspired Match - How Patronage Drives Architecture

From Medici to Marx, how patronage drives architecture and what we can learn from it today.

By John Gendall

Nottingham Science Park, Image: Martine Hamilton-KnightHistorians position the Renaissance’s birth in Florence, Italy around the year 1400. They give it this coordinate in place and time because of a perfect storm of conditions: a wealth of talent pouring out from several accomplished workshops (Lorenzo Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, and Filipo Brunelleschi), a thriving economy owing to bustling trade, and, importantly, an ambitious and tasteful patron of the arts, the Medici family, willing to invest in provocative new art and architecture. In the midst of the Bubonic Plague, the revelation of the Florentine patrons served as a guiding light, paving they way for the exquisite work of the high renaissance. In other words, without the Medicis, there would have been no Michelangelo.

The same relationship between patron and architect carries through architectural history, with nobility, religious leaders, business owners tapping architectural talent to give opportunity and, in many
cases, a sense of legitimacy to their achievements.

Then came Marx.

Though patrons have long been regarded as indispensible partners in the advancement of architectural ideas, they have spent decades as architecture’s whipping boy, sent out to the shed because of their complicity with Capitalism. In the 20th century, visionary patronage drove many now-iconic projects. Darwin D. Martin plucked a young Frank Lloyd Wright to design the Larkin Company Headquarters along with his own Prairie Style residential estates, in Buffalo, New York, encouraging
Wright to develop his novel approaches while simultaneously creating monuments of early 20th century design. The Savoye family, who took a risk with their villa in Poissy, France, enabled Le Corbusier to
create the definitive icon of High Modernism: a white box with ribbon windows elevated on pilotis.

A patron willing to believe in the designer’s artistic vision supported each of these architects. But the model soon changed: inspired by new industrial potential, architects, working largely with socialist states, took aim at creating social housing. In the 1960s and 70s, riding a wave of Marxist criticism, designers imagined a condition where the patron could be eliminated altogether, creating an architecture free from outside influence evident in much of Peter Eisenman’s early work, most notably his houses of cards. Others followed: Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, John Hejduk and Aldo Rossi, while the preeminent Italian critic and historian Manfredo Tafuri and Harvard professor K. Michael Hays contributed to the theoretical backbone of the movement. The Autonomy Project so called because of its aspiration to design independent from the patron.

A painter or sculptor, so the theory goes, can from his or her own studio and with his or her own materials, paint or sculpt independently, without the corrupting interference of outside influences. Therefore, the product—art—is pure form, the exclusive immanence of the artist’s thought. Architecture, on the other hand, demands a sponsor with a vision—and a pocketbook—to first hire an architect, then
realize a project. In this process, an architect becomes beholden to other interests—the Church, the State, or the Corporation, known collectively by Marxist critics as the Ideological State Apparatus. It is
within this framework that architects and critics have developed an antagonistic, even contemptuous, stance toward developers.

Now that Marx’s reign over criticism is no longer hegemonic, it is possible (and indeed necessary) to reevaluate architectural patronage. Theory aside, the current economic climate carries with it a powerful reminder about the pragmatic value of patrons. Thanks to a growing group of visionary developers, this reappraisal of the patron’s role can be made readily and convincingly.

Consider Jonathan Rose, a New York-based developer whose mission is not simply to turn a profit, but rather to profit while transforming communities in a socially responsible way. To this end, he oversees
the development of mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-accessible communities with a cultural program. Entering wealthy resort communities—the Hamptons in New York, and Frisco, Colorado—and devising comprehensive plans that reconstitute the regions so that the local, lower-income workforce that serves the weekend vacationers can afford to live in the community.

In order for patronage to serve as a catalyst of great design, the patron must learn how to successfully find an architectural match.

Meanwhile in England, Igloo, a property investment firm specializing in socially responsible projects, is at work on a diverse portfolio. In 2006, the United Nations designated the company as the “world’s first
socially responsible property fund.” Igloo normally selects a team of different architects to give the design multiple voices. The firm also works with an urban designer from beginning to end, helping to guide its effort to create cohesive and meaningful spaces. The company operates under four guiding principles: outstanding design quality, environmental sustainability, social progress for its inhabitants, and the promotion of health, happiness and wellbeing.

Citing recent research into the science of happiness, chief executive Chris Brown is convinced neighborhoods are fundamental in that pursuit. Igloo’s work, however, is no simple act of altruism. “Our projects are all commercially driven,” he says. “Our values allow us to work successfully in a market niche. ” In order for patronage to serve as a catalyst of great design, the patron must learn how to successfully find an architectural match. “Good design comes from the relationship between architect and client,” says Brown. “We work hard on the brief, we do extensive community engagement, and we select architects with a certain style. “

Image: Martine Hamilton-KnightRem Koolhaas, in a memorable 2006 interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, said: “Today’s architecture is subservient to the market and its terms. The market has supplanted ideology. Architecture has turned into a spectacle. It has to package itself and no longer has significance as anything but a landmark.”

True, perhaps, but if the market has appropriated some of the ideologies that once drove Modern architecture—social housing, inventive formal solutions—then architecture can reclaim its significance as something more than a mere landmark. It can once again emerge from the boudoir and get back to solving the problems that once inspired the Modernist architects.

It was a medieval Florentine banking market that unlocked the Renaissance, a soap business near the busy Erie Canal that changed the game for Wright, and a thriving Parisian insurance company that permitted Le Corbusier, in his estimation, to create for Modernism what the Parthenon created for Antiquity. “We live in markets,” says Brown.“ This is an issue about markets. At the end of the day, this is a battle for people’s investment dollars, and that’s a battle we want to win.”

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>