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Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture


Director: Edgar B. Howard & Tom Piper

Ground has been broken on Roosevelt Island for New York City's newest academic campus - the sustainable, high tech home of Cornell Tech, a radical reconception of graduate level engineering study for the information age. Over the next three years, a stunning complex of architecture and landscape will emerge - a unique hub of high tech research and entrepreneurial activity.

This film tells the story of how political visionaries, educational innovators, architectural designers and philanthropic benefactors have come together to create something that will have an incredible impact on New York City for decades to come.

DVD (Color) / 2015 / 64 minutes

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Director: Muffie Dunn & Tom Piper

Diller Scofidio + Renfro has long been at the forefront of design. The interdisciplinary design firm, founded in 1979, first stirred interest with its provocative exhibitions of theoretically based projects that blurred the boundaries between art and architecture. In 1999, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, the firm's founding principals, were awarded the prestigious "genius" grant by the MacArthur Foundation, in recognition of their commitment to integrating architecture with issues of contemporary culture.

With the almost simultaneous completion of two large-scale projects in New York City - the renovation of the High Line and revitalization and expansion of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts - Diller Scofidio + Renfro has galvanized the public's attention. Between 2004 and 2011, the firm, in collaboration with James Corner Field Operations, converted the derelict High Line railroad tracks on the city's West Side (from Gansevoort to 30th streets) into a sophisticated 1.5 mile elevated urban park.

From early 2003 to 2010, DS+R redesigned Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and the Juilliard School, built a free-standing, grass-covered pavilion that houses a destination restaurant (the Lincoln) and a public lawn, and inventively modified the public spaces connecting the complex's existing buildings. As architecture critic Martin Filler states in the film, "Both the High Line and Lincoln Center have had a really euphoric effect on life in New York. So it's populism of a very high order."

In this 54-minute documentary, intelligent commentary from the architects is complemented by remarkable cinematography and interviews with New York City planning commissioner Amanda Burden and other civic figures. Critics and theorists Mark Wigley, Anthony Vidler, and Mr. Filler, offer insights into the firm's history, previous completed projects, and their unique process of reimagining the public identities of two major New York urban spaces.

DVD (Color) / 2012 / 54 minutes

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By Edgar Howard

An historic event in New York City gathered the founding members of the Postmodernism movement on November 11 and 12, 2011. "The generations who followed came together at what was possibly the last opportunity to learn from those women and men who forged Postmodernism and to consider its legacy," says ICAA president, Paul Gunther.

Reconsidering Postmodernism features film interviews with Denise Scott Brown and Vincent Scully, as well as Tom Wolfe's keynote address celebrating the 30th anniversary of the publication of his seminal text, From Bauhaus to Our House. Also incorporated are lectures and panel discussions by 36 leading architects, scholars and critics including Tom Beeby, Barry Bergdoll, Andres Duany, Paul Goldberger, Michael Graves, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Demetri Porphyrios, Jaquelin Robertson, Witold Rybczynski, and Robert A.M. Stern.

The film captures the intellectual spirit of the conference through rich content presented by the people who shaped Postmodernism, including Charles Jencks, who coined the term in his 1975 essay "The Rise of Postmodern Architecture."

The conference was conceived by Gary Brewer, architect and partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects and ICAA Board Member. "Thanks to the peerless artistry of the Checkerboard Film Foundation," Brewer commented, "Institute constituents and others can explore a collective debt to Postmodernism íV prompting the possibility to question the orthodoxy of high modernism in force at the time of its advent."

Paul Gunther concludes, "Our aim has been not only to look back historically, but also to place Postmodernism in a dynamic current contextíK To that end, current students and others curious and uninitiated are welcome to take due advantage of this vibrant film and video archive."

4 DVDs (Color) / 2012 / 16 hours

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By Richard Meier

Richard Meier studied at Cornell University, working for SOM and Marcel Breuer before setting up his own practice in 1963. His architecture, characterised by its whiteness, its preoccupation with the use of natural light and its debt to Le Corbusier, includes the Getty Centre in Los Angeles, The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana. He has won a string of prizes including the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects, the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Pritzker Prize and the Praemium Imperiale. In 1996, Meier beat off competition from amongst others Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry and Tadao Ando to secure the commission for Jubilee Church, his first church project. Here he describes his first meeting with the Pope to present the project, how Jubilee, with its three monumental concrete sails, fits within and breaks free from, traditional church architecture and the challenge of relying on donations to fund construction.

CD-ROM (Win) / 2009

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By Bernard Tschumi

Swiss born Bernard Tschumi came to prominence as a theorist with the publication of his 1981 Manhattan Transcripts. In 1983 he won the competition to design the Parc de la Villette on the edge of Paris and in 1988 opened an office in New York. His current projects include the Museum for Contemporary Art in Sao Paulo as well as the New Acropolis Museum, Athens which opened in June 2009. He was awarded France's Grand Prix National d'Architecture in 1996. Here he discusses the Acropolis Museum project. He charts the history of the project and the development of the design concept and explains some of the controversies surrounding it, including the Greek claim to the Elgin Marbles held by the British Museum. Speaking in the month before the Acropolis Museum project opened to the public, Tschumi understands it within the context of his earlier work including the red follies in Parc de la Villette and Factory 798 in Beijing. He gave a previous talk in 1996 on Space, Event, Movement.

CD-ROM (Win) / 2009

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Director: Tom Piper

Chicago is famous for its role in fostering modern architecture, owing to the legacy of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright in the late 1900s, and Mies van der Rohe in the mid-20th Century. Now Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang, is giving the epithet "Chicago School" a new meaning. Gang, who started her architectural practice in Chicago in 1997, completed Aqua, an 82-story apartment tower, overlooking the city's Millennium Park in 2009. She has differentiated herself from the big-office architects who usually get apartment building commissions by the design of a sinuously curving concrete tower that is imaginative as it is elegant. Already an icon on the city's skyline, the concrete floorplates take on a different contour at each level, with variously curved cantilevered balconies.

Gang worked with Aqua's developer James Loewenberg of Magellan Development Group, who is also an architect, to come up with a number of green features for the building. The terraces provide shading against the sun, with heat-resistant and reflective glass provided where needed, and the building has an 80,000 square-foot garden on the roof of the podium on which the tower sits.

The film not only examines the thinking behind Aqua that make its presence on the skyline so striking, but takes visitors to the award-winning "Brick Weave House" (2009) in a Chicago residential neighborhood, where brick walls form a large open-air "screened porch" at the house's front. Another project, the SOS Children's Village Lavezzorio Community Center on Chicago's South Side (2008) makes use of irregular, workmanlike concrete. In addition, Blair Kamin, the architectural critic of the Chicago Tribune, appears in the film to elucidate the impact Gang has had on the Chicago landscape.

DVD (Color) / 2009 / 27 minutes

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Director: Muffie Dunn

Architect Daniel Libeskind first gained world-wide attention when his haunting, zig-zag-shaped Jewish Museum opened in Berlin in 1999. After his dramatic urban design plan for Ground Zero was selected by city and state officials in 2002, Libeskind became a household name in America. Now with his first work of architecture to be realized in the U.S., an addition to the Denver Art Museum, the American public has a chance to examine his unconventional talents. In this filmed tour of the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building, Libeskind explains his unusual, titanium-clad, shard-like building. The dazzling geometry we see on the exterior is reflected inside to provide spectacular spaces and arresting angles for viewing contemporary art. The sculptural building of fractured planes insouciantly claims its status as a major landmark in American museum architecture.

DVD (Color) / 2008 / 30 minutes

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At the crossroads where architecture, urbanism, economics and sociology meet, this film profiles some of the most well known skyscrapers in the world and provides commentaries and analysis from their engineers and some of the world's greatest contemporary architects such as Norman Fisher, Jean Nouvel, Christina de Partzamparc and Paul Andreu.

Creating the tallest structure is the culmination of an ancient dream, from the mythical tower of Babel to the Eiffel Tower. For over two centuries, these skyscrapers have defined the cityscapes of New York, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and other great cities. Today in Asia, towers are now shattering previous height records. A building nearly a mile high is being planned in Malaysia. Far from going out of fashion, this architectural challenge has become essential in the planning of contemporary urban landscapes; especially in cities where land is extremely scarce.

Towers all over the world symbolize economic growth and success. In Paris or New York, towers crowd the business districts. In Dubai and Shanghai these concrete and steel giants have radically transformed their cityscapes.

Everywhere, architects rival each other in originality, and all have their special place in the field of modern architecture.

DVD / 2007 / (Senior High, College) / 52 minutes

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By John Johansen

John Johansen has been practicing and teaching architecture in the USA ever since World War II and is famous for his Oklahoma Theatre Center (see his 1983 Pidgeon Digital talk "Ad Hoc Architecture", P8306), which was completed in 1983. But in recent years he has been thinking about the look of architecture in the future, based on developments in the scientific world. In this second recording made by Johansen for PAV, he dwells exclusively on his futuristic ideas, showing seven projects which have already appeared in an exhibition in 1996 at London's Building Centre and in a monograph on his work (John M Johansen: A life in the continuum of Modern Architecture -- L'Arca Edizione, Milan). He delights, he says, "in founding, from building methods, new building methods that have never been investigated before...and out of that, ending up in what I call a true new aesthetic which is not stylistic...but one which honestly grows from new ways of building." Being at the time of this talk already 80 years old, he does not expect to see any of his ideas realised in his lifetime, but hopes that they may inspire others to find a new architecture for themselves.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1997

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By Kenneth Frampton

Peripatetic Ken Frampton, best known for his lectures and scholarly writing, is the author of "Modern architecture: a critical history" (Thames & Hudson, 1980). Trained as an architect at the AA School, London, he is Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, N.Y., a Fellow of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, N. Y., and a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London, and various other universities. In his recorded talk, he categorises architecture today under five isms " productivism, rationalism, structuralism, populism, and regionalism". He does this, not only to put some order into the confusion of the present situation, but as a way of suggesting what might prove to be the most fertile method for continuing with architectural culture in the future. He thinks that productivism and populism, abundantly evident, and the spontaneous building production of our time, are somewhat incapable of significant elaboration. But rationalism and structuralism, though not extensively realised, are capable of constituting the basis of a critical regionalism open to endless creative development as the fundamental principle of architectural form.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1982

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By Reyner Banham

The late Reyner Banham, architectural historian and 'eminence grise', was Professor in Art History at the University of California at Santa Cruz at the time of this talk. He went there from Buffalo where he had chaired the Department of Design Studies in the School of Architecture after a long reign at London University's Bartlett School of Architecture. His claim to fame came in 1960 with the publication of his doctoral thesis under the title 'Theory and Design: the First Machine Age'. It was the beginning of a series of best-sellers from his pen, some written while he was still an editor at the 'Architectural Review' in London. These included 'Guide to Modern Architecture', 'Architecture of the Well-tempered Environment', 'Los Angeles', and 'Megastructure'. He also had a devoted following for the articles on all manner of subjects which he contributed over the years to the 'New Statesman' and then to 'New Society'. In his recorded talk, he discusses the grain elevators of North America and how they constitute a kind of monumental vernacular of the early 20th century around which gathered powerful myths. It was Walter Gropius who first drew attention to them in an article on the development of modern industrial architecture, yet he, along with most of the early modern architects of Europe, has seen the buildings only in photos.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1982

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By Kisho Kurokawa

The late Kisho Kurokawa has been called 'one of the boy-wonders' of modern Japanese architecture. In 1960 he gained international fame with the architectural theory of Metabolism which he developed while working with Kenzo Tange. He has since been responsible for some fifty outstanding buildings, and written many books. He also featured regularly on Japanese television. He describes, in his recorded talk, characteristics of Japanese culture: acceptance of impermanence and the need for change; integration of different cultures and ideas into a symbiotic relationship; provision of intermediary space between opposing elements. His greatest concern is how to apply these aspects to modern architecture, and he believes that Japanese culture offers keys to the problem. His work has always included the elements of growth and change. At the end of his talk, Kisho Kurokawa makes a short statement in his native Japanese.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1981

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By Maxwell Fry

The late Maxwell Fry began practising architecture in the early Thirties, a pioneer of the Modern Movement in Britain. Instrumental in engineering Walter Gropius' escape from Nazi Germany and bringing him to work in London, he designed with him a number of buildings before Gropius departed for America. Fry conveys in his recorded talk something of the excitement and optimism he and his colleagues experienced in the Thirties, with new materials coming on the market, and new ideas filtering from the Continent of Europe. He tells of the birth in 1928 of CIAM (Les Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne) and in 1934 of its British offspring the MARS Group (Modern Architectural ReSearch), and of their subsequent influence.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1980

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By Philip Johnson

The late Philip Johnson, one-time partner of Mies van der Rohe, and possibly the most renowned architect of the time, was accused of turning his back on modern architecture in favour of Post-Modern. This he denied, saying 'There's absolutely no way I can get functionalism, structural clarity, simplicity, non-ornament, flat surfaces out of my system ... the whole paraphernalia of the International style'. In his recorded talk he goes on to state that he sees no reason why Modern can't embrace some of the richness and fun he finds in the designs of Sir Edwin Lutyens or, better still, Sir Ernest George, Lutyens' first employer. He elaborates on this idea and shows how he has taken advantage of it in some of his own recent work. As a preamble he takes a look at the streets of London and also tells us what he appreciates about recent British architecture.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1980

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By Jack Pritchard

Jack Pritchard was all his life involved with furniture design and architecture in Britain. In retirement, he looked back and chatted about the Thirties and the famous people with whom his life interacted. It started in the late Twenties when he got involved with the engineer-architect Wells Coates. Before long they had formed a personal friendship that led to a piece of real estate development. Lawn Road Flats was the name of the building in Hampstead, London, which Pritchard commissioned from Coates and which, the moment it was completed, became a centre for the pioneering architects of the time. Pritchard recounts the anxieties and pleasures he underwent in the process. He was by now involved with the Modern Architecture Movement in Britain and, with writer Morton Shand and architect Maxwell Fry, contrived to get Walter Gropius out of Nazi Germany, finding work for him and offering accommodation in the Lawn Road Flats. Marcel Breuer too. He also engineered the coming together of Gropius and educationalist Henry Morris, which led to the design of Impington Village College by Gropius with his new partner Maxwell Fry.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1979

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By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

"Modern Architecture Revolution" - Talks from the 1950s and 60s

Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), one of the pioneering masters of 20th century architecture, talks about his education and background, his time at the Bauhaus, his relationship with Peter Behrens and approach to architecture. The images that illustrate the interview are of the Seagram Building, one of his most seminal buildings, designed in 1958.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1955

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By Frank Lloyd Wright

"Modern Architecture Revolution" - Talks from the 1950s and 60s

With a brief personalised introduction by John Peter, Frank Lloyd Wright informally discusses his childhood, his experience working with Louis Sullivan, a number of his famous buildings, Taliesin, his life and architectural convictions with both criticism and humour. Incorporated with the talk is a brief text consisting of a biography, comprehensive list of buildings, books by and about FLW, and visitor information for the buildings.

CD-ROM (Win) / 1955

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Harry Seidler was born in Vienna in 1923, went to school in England, and studied architecture at the Universities of Manitoba and Harvard (under Gropius). He was much influenced in his work by Albers, Breuer, Nervi and Niemeyer. "No other architect in Australia has created such a body of high quality work of comparable integrity, spanning over four decades from 1949, which illustrates the ideas of Modern architecture as a unique synthesis of technology, society and the visual imagery of this century." (Philip Drew: "Harry Seidler", Thames & Hudson, 1992). The works illustrated are in Sydney, Canberra and Hong Kong.

DVD (76 images)

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Architects represented:

After the bombing which the city was subjected to in 1940, a great deal of reconstruction took place. The core of the new centre was De Lijnbahn by van den Broek & Bakema. In this set of slides this is included along with the Van Nelle factory by Brinkman & Van der Vlugt and the Bijenkorf department store by Marcel Breuer because of their importance as examples of Modern architecture in Holland. A great inspirer of a new generation of designers in the 80's and 90's was Rem Koolhaas who set up his Office of Metropolitan Architects (OMA) in the city. His designs for the Museum Park and the Kunsthal (images 109-122), plus Jo Coenen's Netherlands Architecture Institute (images 31-52) and, more recently, Ben van Berkel's dynamic suspension bridge (images 1-8) over the River Maas, have all contributed to placing Rotterdam firmly on the world architectural map, and are included in the set of slides.

DVD (138 images)

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Directed by Rima Yamazaki

Metabolism is the first Japanese architecture movement after the World War II, manifested in 1960 by Noboru Kawazoe, architecture critic, and the five architects, Kiyoshi Awazu, Kiyonori Kikutake, Kisho Kurokawa, Fumihiko Maki, and Masato Otaka. They envisioned a new direction for future Japanese architecture and urbanism. They created various architecture and urban plans with large, flexible and expandable structures. The Nakagin Capsule Tower is a rare built example of Metabolism.

The Nakagin Capsule Tower, completed in 1972, was designed by Kisho Kurokawa, the youngest Metabolist architect. The building is composed of two concrete core towers and 140 capsules plugged into the towers. All of the capsules were prefabricated and designed to be removable and replaceable. Each of the original capsules, about 10 square meters (approx. 107 square feet), contained various amenities, including: a bed, a desk, a refrigerator, a TV, storage spaces, a toilet and a shower. It was planned as a futuristic niche for modern businessmen in Tokyo.

Today, more than 30 years after its completion, this historic building is in danger of demolition. The building has many problems, such as pipe ruptures, leaks and disruption of water supply, which affects the daily lives of its residents. The more than 100 owners discussed the possibilities of restoration or rebuilding over the years, and voted to replace the tower with a new building in 2008, while Kisho Kurokawa proposed a plan of replacing all the capsules with new ones.

Tracing the history of postwar Japanese architecture and reviewing the characteristics of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, this documentary, filmed in 2010, examines the meaning of preservation and demolition from various points of view. Why do we need to preserve a building? What are the difficulties of preservation? Is demolition a tragedy or a natural phenomenon for modern architecture? The documentary includes interviews with residents of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, an architectural historian, a former Kurokawa office architect who was in charge of the Nakagin Capsule Tower project, Kurokawa's son, and leading architects Arata Isozaki and Toyo Ito. It contains historic footage of the fabrication of the capsules and their installation on the tower infrastructure.

DVD (Color) / 58 minutes

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Narrated by the architects.

Filmed during the design and realization of the Sainsbury extension to the National Gallery in London, Venturi speaks of the revelatory experiences with classical architecture that led to his revolutionary re-appraisal of modern architecture and his landmark text of 1966, Complexity and Contradiction. Wife/partner architect Denise Scott Brown describes their formulation of post-Modern principles in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Architectural historians both attack and defend the National Gallery extension and Venturi and Scott Brown's work. The video surveys the couple's major works. Filmed with architects in Las Vegas, Rome, Venice, Philadelphia, and at his mother's house in Pennsylvania.

DVD (Color) / 58 minutes

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