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Category Archives: Architecture

Alfred Eichler, The Architect of California

The work of Alfred Eichler reflected the spirit and diversity of California. During his time as an architect for the state, Eichler designed buildings which reflected the everyday lives of a ‘modern’ citizen. There was no grandiose flash in his design, but a subtle sophistication that people just felt comfortable with. Even though his name is not widely known, his projects dot the landscape of this great state and serve the people who call it home.

Alfred Eichler was born to Dr. Alfred Eichler Sr. and Laura Eichler in Shadyside, Missouri in 1895. Just after his birth, his parents moved the family to San Francisco, where he grew up with his siblings. At age 13, Eichler contracted spinal meningitis, which left him deaf. However, his disability didn’t hamper his motivation or drive for creative success in the future. Eichler attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco before studying at Columbia University and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design in New York. After completing his studies, he went on to serve his country in the Navy, where he functioned as a civil architect during WWI. After his service in the Navy, Eichler worked in private firms in New York, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. He was later hired as the Senior Architectural Designer for the Division of Architecture of California’s Department of Public Works. In 1949, he was promoted to Supervisory Architect in the Design Section until his retirement in 1963.

List of Notable Projects

  • San Quentin State Prison – Hospital addition
  • San Quentin State Prison – Cell block & solitary confinement
  • San Quentin State Prison – Dormitory & prison yard
  • San Quentin State Prison – Women’s cell block
  • California Institution for Women  – Tehachapi
  • Folsom State Prison – New cell blocks
  • Folsom State Prison – Chinese and Negro Dormitory
  • State Reform School – Preston School of Industry
  • Fred C. Nelles School for Boys – Gymnasium
  • Ventura School for Girls
  • Stockton State Hospital
  • Camarillo State Hospital
  • Napa State Hospital
  • Mendocino State Hospital

His work went well beyond prison and hospital designs. He completed work for state parks, the State Fair Ground, Veterans Homes and the Sacramento Tower Bridge. One of the most notable parts of his work were the drawings and watercolor renderings of his projects. Each one was a simply stated and clean rendering, but deeply creative and artistic. The watercolors especially captured the essence and feel of the specific structure he was depicting. The watercolors of public use buildings accurately reflected the colors of California. On the other hand, the renderings of confinement facilities were more more dark and somber, reflecting the spirit of the work.

Learn more about Alfred Richler here.

   From the Factory Floor

Design for a new hotel in San Luis Obispo launching this year! 

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Jack Laxer

The Passing of Architectural Photographer Jack Laxer

Jack Laxer spent the past six decades making his name as the most prolific and iconic architecture photographer of the 20th century.  He made his name focusing on the photography of Googie architecture, specifically in Los Angeles. His artistic talent and creative eye captured the essence and feel of the mid-century modern movement in and around Los Angeles. 

Googie architecture is a form of modern architecture and originated in Southern California in the late 1940s. It was a popular form of architecture with gas stations, coffee houses and motels. It later became known as mid-century modern architecture, which represented the populace style. Googie architecture features include upswept roofs, geometric shapes and very bold use of glass, steel and neon. Jack Laxer captured the style and form of the movement throughout the Los Angeles region.

His photographs of California modern architecture have been published in magazines and books, displayed in museums, and included in educational programs since the 1950s. He photographed the homes of Lucille Ball and Harold Lloyd with the Stereo Realist camera.      

He captured the architecture of Southern California in vivid color, sometimes even in three dimensions. He was 3D before 3D was cool. His subject matter perfectly embodies the spirit of modernism, both as an artistic movement as well as an everyday reality in postwar Los Angeles. 

Jack Laxer passed away in Culver City at the age of 91. He not only photographed Googie architecture, but found artistic inspiration in backyard parties, chemical molecules and other bits of life that brought us all joy. In 2009, he was awarded the Modern Master award by the Los Angeles Conservancy and had the honor to be a featured speaker at the Googie World Expo.      

His amazing views offer a full-color, 3D glimpse into a world that no longer exists, even as we drive by it every day.

From the Factory Floor

Finishing the powdercoat for these Belair beauties!
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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

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southern California, architecture

The Crazy Architecture of Southern California

Southern California is home to the movie capital of the world. Creativity and imagination is what inspires our culture and our economy. The environment of make-believe allows entrepreneurial spirits to create environments and products that allow us to get lost in our imaginations. These inspirations could not be lost on the architectural world in our region. A British traveler noted after a visit to Southern California in the 1930’s that either “we had lost our minds or he had stumbled into a fantasy universe.” So was the influence of mimetic architecture in Southern California.

The practice of mimetic architecture, also known as novelty or programmatic architecture, is a style of building design popularized in the United States in the first half of the 20th century. It is characterized by unusual building designs that mimic the purpose or function of the building, or the product it is associated with. Mimetic architecture was particularly popular between the 1920s and 1950s, as cars became widespread and freeways were built across America. Some roadside architecture started to be seen as a means for advertising to passing cars. For example, a roadside restaurant might be designed in the shape of a giant hot dog, a coffee shop in the shape of a coffee pot, or a fruit stand in the shape of a piece of fruit.

“If, when you went shopping, you found you could buy cakes in a windmill, ices in a gigantic cream-can, flowers in a huge flowerpot, you might begin to wonder whether you had not stepped through a looking glass or taken a toss down a rabbit burrow and could expect Mad Hatter or White Queen to appear round the next corner.”

British tourist visiting LA, 1930’s

From the iconic Brown Derby, to the numerous wigwam hotels that dotted the region, to giant donuts, ice cream and hotdogs, Southern California have been replete with some of the finest examples of mimetic architecture. While none of these buildings were terribly important in the historical value of the region, others were iconic landmarks that will remain etched in our historical memories and evoke the culture and feel of the Southern California lifestyle.

From the ADG Jobsite

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

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radical architecture, American architecture

Radical Architecture Inspired by a Radical Culture

“Seeing architecture differently from the way you see the rest of life is a bit weird. I believe one should be consistent in all that one does, from the books you read to the way you bring up your children. Everything you do is connected. “

~David Chipperfield

 The Apollo 11 lands on the moon. The LGBT community celebrates the first Gay Liberation Day. Hippies celebrate the culture of peace and love across the country and demonstrate against an unpopular war.  The civil rights movement reaches a crescendo. A great president and a powerful civil rights leader are senselessly slain.

These are just some of the monumental events of the 1960s and 1970s that will forever shape the way we look at the radical culture of the time.  Those cultural events influenced every part of American life and we have felt their impact up through current times. One of the most significant areas of culture impacted by the 1960s and 1970s was in radical architecture.

One of the most celebrated minds of the radical architecture period was architect and scientist Buckminster Fuller. He was an American engineer, architect, and futurist who developed the geodesic dome—the only large dome that can be set directly on the ground as a complete structure and the only practical kind of building that has no limiting dimensions. Given the complicated geometry of the geodesic dome, dome builders rely on tables of strut lengths, or chord factors. Tables of chord factors, the essential design information for spherical systems, were for many years guarded like military secrets.

Fuller Geodome 

Other notable inventions and developments by Fuller included a system of cartography that presents all the land areas of the world without significant distortion; die-stamped prefabricated bathrooms; tetrahedronal floating cities; underwater geodesic-domed farms; and expendable paper domes. Fuller did not regard himself as an inventor or an creature of radical architecture. All of his developments, in his view, were accidental or interim incidents in a strategy that aimed at a radical solution of world problems by finding the means to do more with less.

From The ADG Jobsite

Another great collaboration with Shain Development featuring our #297 Barstock Iron Light Modern Lantern. 
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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting
Kanye West Yeezy Studio Calabasas

Kanye West Launches YEEZY Home In Calabasas

“I want to do product, I am a product person. Not just clothing but water bottle design, architecture … I make music but I shouldn’t be limited to once place of creativity. I hang around architects mostly, people that wanna make things as dope as possible.”

~Kanye West, YEEZY

Entertainer, entrepreneur and social icon, Kanye West is constantly pushing the envelope and impacting modern culture. Best know for his music, he has taken his YEEZY brand to the top of fashion circles and made a name for himself as a designer. His shoe brand has become one of the most influential brands on the market.  Now, he is taking his YEEZY brand into the design space, specifically working with architects and interior designers to bring his inspirations to life. The design space is located in Calabasas, CA and will be the creative studio and headquarters for all aspects of the YEEZY brand.

The space was designed by longtime West collaborator Willo Perron. The equal parts rough and minimal spaces contain a mix of production facilities for West’s YEEZY brand clothing line, a recording studio, and meeting spaces, among other uses. The creative spaces reflect West’s collaborations with Axel Vervoordt for the rapper’s nearby home in Hidden Hills and speak to an interest on the part of West to mix and match visual modes. The endeavor will aim to include architectural and urban design in West’s growing collaborative art practice, which already includes music, film, fashion, and performance art initiatives. 

Kanye West has been known also for his outspoken political and social views, not to mention his strange behavior and comments during awards shows over the years. This has created a significant amount of controversy. Whether he is a lightning rod for public opinion or a genius marketer is up for significant debate. However, there is no doubt that the YEEZY brand is influential and Kanye is the one people are buzzing about. The old saying that any PR is good PR because people are talking may be just his approach. With that being said, Kanye West is a successful creative, and he is opening a door to an avenue for him to innovate and collaborate in with the backing of a powerful and influential brand.  

From the ADG Jobsite

A pair of gigantic lanterns at a client’s beach house 

Adg Custom Lighting Jobsite

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Dallas Architecture Uber BOKA Powell

Dallas Architecture Firm Presents Designs For Uber Skyports

For those who enjoyed The Jetsons cartoons, you will surely remember George Jetson and family embarking from their space age tower-like home and jetting off to their destination in a bubble-like space craft. Traffic was seen zipping about in synchronized flows all around the various towers in the city where the Jetsons lived. They would zip by residences, shopping centers, bowling alleys and theaters. There were no traffic jams or frustrated drivers as they zipped along to their next adventure. Now, Uber and BOKA Powell Architecture seem to be on the verge of making the Jetsons a reality for our future.         

The BOKA Powell architecture firm unveiled plans for an Uber skyport in Dallas. Uber has introduced plans to roll out their flying taxis in three test markets, with services starting in the year 2023. Dallas, Los Angeles and Dubai have been identified by Uber as their first three markets. The footprint of the skyport would be three acres, with a superstructure length of 930 feet, 200 feet wide and 200 feet tall. The design has been described as funky futuristic.

The concept would be for each city to have several skyports. When a passenger chooses the air taxi option, they would be picked up by a regular Uber, transported to the Skyport, where they would be flown to the closest skyport to their final destination, where a regular Uber would take them from the skyport to their final destination. The concept is to avoid commuter traffic and area with high congestion.   

Dallas Architecture Uber Skyport

The concept aircraft being developed by Uber and their partners, which includes NASA, is for a four-seat craft, plus a pilot that can cruise between 150-200 miles per hour, with a maximum altitude of 2,000 feet AGL. Their concept would have a range of 60 miles and have the ability to recharge between flights within five minutes. The would initially operate with a pilot onboard, but would eventually transition into an automated pilotless aircraft. 

BOKA Powell is a full-service architecture, planning and interior design firm, based in Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth.  With over 40 years of service to the community, they have received numerous honors and awards for their architectural and design projects. The firm has made its goal to give back and have become a recognized philanthropic presence in the regions where they live and work.       

From the ADG Jobsite

Oak and brass lantern with brass address plate

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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