The late Detlef Mertins distilled a lifetime of scholarship and research on Mies van der Rohe into this massive and authoritative survey of the master’s work and thought. Seven hundred drawings and photos illustrate the entire arc of a career that took Mies from Peter Behrens’ office in Berlin to a global practice in Chicago as the primary exponent of international modernism. “Less is more” and “God is in the details,” have become part of the everyday language of architecture. To some he was a god-like figure; others dismissed his buildings—even the best of them—as unlivable, dysfunctional, and authoritarian. It’s time for a reappraisal.
The words “mobile home” conjure up a pretty specific set of images, and they’re not necessarily pretty. Sure, Airstreams are wonderful, but you’re more likely to see something big and boxy lumbering down the interstate rather than something sleek and silver. Enter architect Kelly Davis and hotelier Dan Dobrowolski, the guiding force behind Wisconsin resort Canoe Bay, who have set out to change those expectations with ESCAPE.
By Michael Webb
The New York Architecture and Design Film Festival was SRO last October, and it’s being reprised in LA, March 12-16, at the downtown Los Angeles Theater Center, 514 South Spring Street. Highlights include Tadao Ando: from Emptiness to Infinity, documentaries on visionary architects Paolo Soleri and Eugene Tssui, and a community building program in the poorest county of North Carolina. I’ll be moderating a panel on the restoration of classic modern houses with Kelly Lynch, Michael Boyd, and Frank Escher on the afternoon of Sunday 16th and that will be followed by The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat, a portrait of the little gem in Lone Pine, CA, that Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer lovingly restored. Featured designers include Massimo and Lella Vignelli, and the British maverick Paul Smith. The scandal of Chavez Ravine and the misguided reinvention of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia will be explored, along with a dozen other projects, large and small. It’s must-attend event, and you should buy your tickets asap at adfilmfest.com.
In the 19th century, “Go west, young man” was an invitation to settle the prairies or prospect for gold in Colorado and California. Now, architects fly to China to realize their dreams on a scale and at a speed that’s unimaginable in the West of today. Few have achieved more spectacular success than Steven Holl. When I was in Beijing in 2008, his Linked Hybrid was a construction site; now those towers have been matched by Sliced Porosity in Chengdu and Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzen. To come are a pair of new museums near Tianjin, and a porous city within the fast-growing city of Dongguan, a neighbor of Shenzen. All five of these vast projects are explored in a masterpiece of miniaturization that is elegantly produced and fairly priced for a book of this quality.
If you happen to be fortunate enough to work at EPT Design, a landscape design firm with offices in Pasadena and Irvine, and have a hankering to check out what’s happening with, say, playgrounds in the Netherlands or dry gardens in Australia, you’re in luck. For the past decade or so, the company has offered the TREK program, which gives two staffers each year the chance to travel and explore.
The program (TREK stands for Travel, Renewal, Exploration, Knowledge) got its start over a decade ago when Nord Eriksson and his partners Matthew Hall and Stephen Carroll started thinking about their own travel experiences. “We got really rejuvenated and inspired,” says Eriksson. “We talked about our travels in the office and in clients meetings.”