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Washington D.C. Architecture – Finding the Best of Pope

Washington D.C. is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Every year, millions of tourists flood our nation’s capital for the multitude of attractions that make up the city. The city’s tourist venues are also noteworthy because of their architecture. The design, function and architecture of the city is unique. One architect contributed significantly to the face and function of the city.

The History of Washington D.C.

On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River. The exact location was to be selected by President George Washington and the land was donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia. Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown, Maryland, founded in 1751, and the city of Alexandria, Virginia, founded in 1749. The new federal city was then constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of Georgetown.

Washington, D.C., is a planned city. In 1791, President George Washington commissioned Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect and city planner, to design the new capital. He enlisted Scottish surveyor Alexander Ralston to help lay out the city plan. The L’Enfant Plan featured broad streets and avenues radiating out from rectangles, providing room for open space and landscaping. He based his design on plans of cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe, and Milan that Thomas Jefferson had sent to him.

The Influence of John Russell Pope

The work of John Russell Pope is the best example of the classical tradition of architecture in the United States. He was responsible for the classical elegance demanded by the federal government and wealthy private citizens during the first third of the 20th century. Most of Pope’s early designs were for very large houses for influential businessmen and other prominent people. His affinity for formal design clearly shows in his Georgian, Tudor and Federal houses.

Pope’s practice grew to include churches, commercial buildings, and master plans for five colleges and universities. However, it was the monumental public buildings that truly characterized Pope’s work and on which his reputation rests. These buildings show his adherence to the classical tradition and demonstrate his belief that monumental architecture must have its roots in ancient Greece or Rome. Here are a few of the finest examples of his work in Washington D.C.:

The Jefferson Memorial – The Jefferson Memorial features circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome.

National Gallery of Art’s West Building – What makes the West Building unique is its Neoclassical style. Inside the Italian Renaissance galleries, there is travertine wainscot and hand-finished plaster walls.

National Archives Building – The National Archives offers Corinthian columns and porticos in the outer structure as well as an exhibition, coffered half dome, and two large murals inside.

DAR Constitution Hall – The Neoclassical-style DAR Constitution Hall has over 3,700 seats and more than 50 boxes. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Work of Gerald Olesker in Washington D.C. at the Holocaust Monument

 

From the Design Studio

Sketch for a Spanish revival project 

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Full Moon Rising Over Seattle Washington

Seattle Architecture: It’s Not All About The Space Needle

When you think of Seattle, most think of music, art and people that push the boundaries. If you ask about an iconic building, hands down, it is the Space Needle. Most images of Seattle feature this iconic building.

The Space Needle is a landmark of the Pacific Northwest, and an icon of Seattle. It was built in the Seattle Center for the 1962 World’s Fair, which drew over 2.3 million visitors. The downtown Seattle skyline, as well as the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Elliott Bay and surrounding islands can be viewed from the top of the Needle. The trip takes 41 seconds. On windy days, the elevators slow to 5 miles per hour. In April 1999, the Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board designated it as a historic landmark.

But architecture in Seattle is so much more than the iconic Space Needle. The feel and character of the city is reflected in the shapes of its’ architecture. The innovation of Frank O. Gehry bursts out of Seattle Center with vibrant colors and eccentric curves. Other landmarks turn heads and attracts visitors for its unique design. Here are just a few examples of the true architecture of Seattle:

Olympic Sculpture Park – The park was opened in 2007 and houses 25 permanent sculptures by celebrated artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois.

Pioneer Square – The classic historical enclave in Seattle.

Chapel of Ignatius – A place of Catholic worship for campus Jesuits, the abstract, modern chapel was built to be an instrument of shifting daylight, mirroring a spiritual journey, particularly the experience of a Catholic Mass.

Georgetown – An industrial neighborhood is a food and drink magnet that feels like it’s in the midst of a transition.

The Thompson Seattle – Located on an ideal corner, overlooking Pike Place Market. The exterior is inspired by the change in the street grid among neighborhoods and evokes a sense of ordered motion.

From The Factory Floor

Rock crystal chandelier crated and ready to go!

 

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By Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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archtoberfest, architecture, adg lighting

Let’s Celebrate Archtober Fest 2017

October is the month we set aside to celebrate all things architecture. Archtober Fest is a away to bring awareness and appreciation to the art and science of architecture. Across the U.S., various cities are celebrating Archtober Fest to bring awareness forward and celebrate the architectural landmarks that their great communities offer.

The earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, by the Roman architect Vitruvius in the early 1st century AD. According to Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas. Our modern day equivalent would be durability, utility and beauty. According to Vitruvius, the architect should strive to fulfill each of these three attributes as well as possible.

Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.

Here are some links to two of the best Archtober celebrations across the country:

NYC Archtober Fest – New York City’s Architecture and Design Month, the seventh annual month-long festival of architecture activities, programs and exhibitions taking place during the month.

San Diego Archtober Fest – San Diego’s Architecture and Design Month, celebration of San Diego’s built environment, will kick off with a rapid-fire show-and-tell, tours and talks, and conclude with awards for good and bad buildings.

In the spirit of the celebration, get out and explore the architecture of your city and region. It is all around us, but we tend to be focused on the day-to-day of our lives and miss the creative beauty that is all around us. Through their artistic and technical skills, architects translate the experiences of the culture into buildings that mark the passing of time.

From the ADG Jobsite

New custom designed lights in Malibu
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By Gerald Olesker, CEO ADG Lighting

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The Perfect Creative Collaboration for Your Lighting Design Needs

ADG Lighting is a leading creative custom design and lighting manufacturing firm. We are fanatical about using our 20 plus years experience to bring to life the vision of clients in a manner that evokes quality and style. This passion for design and quality have made for the perfect partnership with Dering Hall.

Dering Hall is obsessed with quality design and broadening the audience for the best the industry has to offer. Their mission is to assemble a community of the world’s leading creators in one place and to connect them with savvy and sophisticated consumers.

Our collaborative efforts allow us to showcase creativity in a manner that inspires both clients and designers alike. We are proud to share two of our recent features on the Dering Hall platform.

Round & Circular Flush Mounts

Featured in Dering Hall’s Round & Circular Flush Mounts. Kitchens and dining spaces are the ideal locations for flush mount lighting.

Mount Ring Ceiling Flush Fixture

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Vintage Pendant Lights

Featured in Dering Hall’s 40 Vintage Pendant Lights. Vintage and antique accessories add a sophistication and personality to any space in a home.

Vintage Cast Cameo Pendant

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From The Factory Floor

Our new Pop Pendant shipping out to a happy client!
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Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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British Architecture – A Building Deemed So Ugly It Is A Carbuncle

To be “cruel to be kind” is to cause someone pain for his or her own good. The phrase is used by Hamlet after he had berated his mother for her infidelity to the memory of her deceased husband. It is also a kitchie song from 1979 that is forever embedded in our pop culture. Is it “cruel to be kind” to a building and its designer, to be designated as a carbuncle on the face of London architecture?

The annual contest managed by the UK trade publication Building Design commissions a judging panel which bases its decision on reader input. It is a strong counterpoint to the officially sanctioned and prestigious Stirling Prize given by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The publication Building Design is a professional trade publication for architects to turn to for a broad range of relevant topics. Their insights include articles on a range of topics affecting architects, which includes controversial planning issues, policy, business, project wins and professional issues.

Each year they award the controversial “Carbuncle Cup” for the worst architectural project for the year. What is a carbuncle you ask? It is defined as a red, swollen, and painful cluster of boils that are connected to each other under the skin. A boil or furuncle is an infection of a hair follicle that has a small collection of pus under the skin.

The new mixed-use building called Nova Victoria is this year’s dubious winner of the award. The building is commonly referred to as the “bright red hideous mess” by anyone visiting the area. It has also been described by many as cringeworthy. One of the judges of the competition stated, “It makes me want to cringe physically. It’s a crass assault on all your senses from the moment you leave the Tube station.” No doubt, the architectural firm responsible for the design will eagerly await the next Carbuncle Cup winner to take away the critical focus from their creation. The review and feedback of professional work is a common practice that typically drives innovation and quality. Is this dubious award “cruel to be kind” in the architectural community?

From the Design Studio

Sketch work

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by ADG Lighting founder Gerald Olesker

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Is There an Unknown Architect as Big as Texas?

 

Everything is bigger in Texas! You have heard it before and it is just a fact. Texas is home to nearly 26.5 million people, or 8.4% of the total U.S. population. Most of this population is concentrated around cities including Houston, Dallas, and Austin. The Lone Star State holds a major portion of the U.S. economy. Its total gross domestic product is $1.43 trillion, which is approximately 8.5% of the entire U.S. GDP. Although Texas is primarily known for its oil, it is also the leader in wind power development, and has a large aerospace and aviation industry. Fifty-two Fortune 500 companies including Exxon Mobil, AT&T, and American Airlines are headquartered in Texas.

With that kind of standing behind them, Texans are known to brag about just about everything. If they aren’t bigger and better, they will be soon. So, it becomes quite puzzling to most folks when a Texan’s work is significantly impactful, yet folks just don’t know his name. The Texan that remained so anonymous for so long is renowned architect O’Neil Ford, better known as the Texas godfather of modern architecture.

O’Neil Ford was a renowned architect of the mid-20th century in Texas and a leading architect of the American Southwest. He is considered one of the nation’s best unknown architects, and his designs merged the modernism of Europe with the indigenous qualities of early Texas architecture. In 1974 he was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Council on the Arts, the only individual to ever be given that title.

His designs include several buildings in Denton, among them the Little Chapel in the Woods, renovations at the Emily Fowler Public Library, the Denton Civic Center, Denton’s City Hall and several buildings at The Selwyn School. Because his designs form much of Denton’s identity, a Texas historical marker honoring Ford was dedicated at the Emily Fowler Library in 2009.

Other Dallas works by Ford include much of the University of Dallas campus in Irving. He designed the Braniff Memorial Tower, the Braniff Graduate Center, the Gorman Lecture Center, parts of the art village, the Haggar University Center, and the Haggerty Science Building.

Many of Ford’s works can also be found in San Antonio. These works include the renovation of La Villita, the campus of Trinity University, the campus of Saint Mary’s Hall, the University of Texas at San Antonio Main Campus, and the Tower of the Americas.

Other significant works by O’Neil Ford include buildings at Skidmore College and several facilities around the world designed for Texas Instruments. Shortly before his death, he completed the design of the building of the Museum of Western Art in Kerrville.

From the Factory Floor

Solid walnut plank to be illuminated on job site!
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by Gerald Olesker, ADG Lighting