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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Venturi Architect 100

Robert Venturi, Pioneer of Post Modernism Passes at 93

“Don’t trust an architect who’s trying to start a movement.”

~ Robert Venturi

Robert Venturi, considered the father of postmodernism and an iconic architect, passed away this week at the age of 93. Declaring once that ‘Less is a bore,’ He gained acclaim from his 1966 book “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture.” In his work, he overturned the theory of Mies van der Rohe’s famous dictum of ‘less is more.’  During his lauded career, he went from an architectural renegade to a master, winning the 1991 Pritzker Architecture Prize. He has brought architecture to where it is today by shaping a generation of architects. The last 20 years of architecture would be lost without the influential work of Venturi.

His first important work was the Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia, which was designed for his mother and completed in the early 1960’s. The house can be recognized as a traditional house, but past that Venturi put his vision to work. He left the gable of the house open at the top, and the staircase wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. This gave you the strong impression that you were leaving the grandness of the open living area into the private living spaces above. He painted the exterior of the house a pale green, simply because he was told no one should paint a house green. This work was so significant that it was recognized on a postage stamp in 2005.

His reputation continued to grow after the acclaim of the Vanna Venturi House, as his views of architecture became more accepted in the mainstream. In the 1970’s, he designed the iconic Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. He later designed buildings for Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Venturi was celebrated with his addition to the Oberlin College Art Museum in Ohio, the National Gallery in London, and the new Seattle Art Museum.

From the Factory Floor

6′ tall double pair of bar doors, in collaboration with Studio William Hefner

Adg Custom Fixture Lighting Project

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

New Delhi Architecture 100

New Delhi Will Feature Smog Towers to Reduce Smog

New Delhi citizens are facing a smog crisis of epic proportions. The World Health Organization has classified Indian cities in the top 20 of the most polluted in the world. In 2017, the air quality in New Delhi was so poor that it was the equivalent of smoking 44 cigarettes a day. The health implications of this crisis are profound.

The Smog Project encompasses a series of 328 feet-high filtration pods, each capable of producing 353 million cubic feet of clean air per day, and is the brainchild of architect Najmus Chowdhry. He has said that the air quality in New Delhi is comparable to a gas chamber, and that everyone in positions of authority are passing the buck.

Chowdhry’s design sucks air in through the base of each tower structure and it passes through five stages of filtration. As the air flows through the tower, it is filtered through charcoal activated carbon, negative ion generators, and electrostatically charged plasma and photo-catalyst elements. These filters will trap airborne particles, bacteria and viruses. The towers would be powered by solar hydrogen cells, laid out in a hexagonal network of sky bridges between towers. The repository of carbon particles will be recycled into the production of graphene, concrete, fertilizer, ink, and the water distillation process.

Curbing practices that cause smog in the New Delhi area is a slow process that could take generations if something drastic is not done. Biomass burning, industry and transport emissions are the chief contributors to the smog crisis. It is estimated that it will increase by 775% in 2040, while public transportation is in a sharp decline. It is truly the perfect storm.

The Smog Project is shortlisted for a World Architecture Festival 2018 award in the  ‘Experimental Future Project’ category, for proposals that challenge conventional thinking.

From the ADG Jobsite  

Patina on steel custom joints, on a project with architect Eric Meyorwitz

Adg Custom Lighting         

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

pitigliano italy architecture

Pitigliano Rises Above the Tuscan Countryside

In the Grosseto province of Tuscany, a volcanic ridge rises high above the countryside. Perfectly situated above that ridge is the small town of Pitigliano, which holds some of Tuscany’s more fascinating architecture. The small town dates back to 1061, where it was first mentioned in historical data. In the early 13th century it became the property of a private family. It subsequently passed ownership between the government and other private families until 1562.

One of the most fascinating highlights of Pitigliano is the volcanic plateau it sits atop of. There are ‘cuts’ into the tufa rock which date back to the earliest history of the town. These cuts range in depth from three and a half feet down to a depth of over 10 feet. Some were used for water irrigation, but the majority were used as steps and walkways that create a small navigation network through the town. A few others have carve-outs that have served as shops or homes for the people of Pitigliano.

The architecture of Pitigliano is inspiring, some dating back to the 12th century. The Palazzo Orisini is a fortress that rises up above the city’s entrance. The fortress walls ensconce the city and the fortress itself is now a museum of art. The Chiesa di San Rocco is the oldest church in Pitigliano and dates back to the 12th century.  During a recent preservation and renovation of the church, ancient tombs were discovered and are leading historians on an adventure of the town’s ancestry. The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul were built during the Middle Ages and remodeled in baroque style in the late 16th century. You will also find a 16th century aqueduct that runs the length of the town. The Jewish synagogue is a ‘must see’ in this ancient city as it dates back to the 15th century. Jews first settled in Pitigliano in the 15th century, fleeing from the Papal State of the Catholic Church and thrived for centuries afterwards. As the community grew, the town became known as La Piccola Gerusalemme or Little Jerusalem.

From the ADG Jobsite 

It’s all about the leather. Thanks Rachael Goddard for the opportunity to have fun together!

Adg Featured Fixture Custom

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Spiral House 100

Spiral House in Phoenix For Sale

It is not often such an iconic structure comes on the market, as a serious offering to the public. Even more so, when that structure was designed by the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright, the potential sale becomes that more attention getting. To make things even more interesting, the home was designed specifically for his son and daughter-in-law, David and Gladys Wright.

The home is currently owned by Zach Rawling and was purchased for $2.4 million in 2012. His initial plan when purchasing the home was to run it into a museum, then donate it to the School of Architecture at Taliesin. However, this plan met with stiff opposition from the neighborhood due to traffic and publicity concerns adversely affecting the neighborhood. Now, the home is on the market for $12.95 million.

The Spiral House was labeled on the original plans by Frank Lloyd Wright as a model of how to live in the Southwest. His idea for the home was to perfectly harmonize the way a building relates to its environment. The round shape became a signature of his work in later years, including the Guggenheim Museum.

Located on 5.9 acres with a view of Camelback Mountain, the Spiral House is 2,553 square feet and was built in 1952. It currently has an application pending for historic preservation. The home features three bedrooms and four baths, with a cantilevered spiral walk-up access to the house. Inside, the home features the concrete block construction with elegant Philippine mahogany accents. The property includes a 360 square-foot guest house. The signature ‘March Balloons’ carpets and furnishings in the living area were custom designed by Wright.

David and Gladys Wright often referred to the Spiral House as their Taj Mahal, and understood the uniqueness of the building they called home.

From the ADG Factory

Water-jet cut bar doors, getting a gentle oil rubdown…

Adg Custom Fixture Jobsite

by Gerald Olesker, CEO. ADG Lighting