An idealized portrait of the crumbling Cuban capital, which offers very incomplete coverage of the modernist treasures of the 1940s and 1950s. The subtitle is more exact: The early decades of the 20th century saw a wonderful flowering of Beaux Arts and Art Déco, including a scaled down version of the US Capitol and the exuberant Bacardi Building. Those decorative styles occupy more than half this book, but the images must have been extensively photo-shopped to achieve such pristine elegance. In reality most of these houses and public buildings are shabby and decayed, even on the verge of collapse.
Entries in Restoration (2)
The Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam is one of the key landmarks of modernism; and Dutch architect Wessel de Jonge will describe how he restored it in a lecture at The Getty Center this Thursday, November 15, 2012. The Getty loves pompous titles and has christened this one “Continuity and Change: Approaches to Conserving Modern Architecture Internationally”. It’s part of the Getty Conservation Institute’s new and welcome focus on modern buildings, which began with a long-term program to restore and maintain the Eames house. What makes the Van Nelle so exciting is its fusion of poetry and functionalism. The Dutch industrialist C.H.Van der Leeuw, who loaned Neutra the money he needed to build the VDL house in Silverlake, believed that his workers deserved the best working conditions, and the model factory (which is open for public tours) now serves new media and design companies. Imagine any of Bain Capital’s ventures being held up as an exemplar, 90 years from now! The lecture will be presented in the Harold Williams Theater at 7 p.m.; click here to reserve your free tickets. -- Michael Webb