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route 66 adventure travel

Route 66: Part History, Mostly Romance

To hear someone mention Route 66, your mind automatically goes to a place that starts in Chicago, Illinois, then goes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before it ends at the corner of Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica, California. 

Route 66 exemplifies Americana at its best, and an era that was somewhere in time. Route 66 covers a total of 2,448 miles in its entirety. Beginning in 1916, the legislation for a public highway started named the Federal Highway Act. Revisions began in 1921 and continued until 1925, when the government created a plan for a national highway to be constructed.

From 1933 to 1938, thousands of unemployed young males from surrounding states were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of land that needed to be the extended highway. Route 66 helped us mobilize our manpower. 

As time went on, urban culture began to lay down its foundation that would contribute to the mystery and romance of this historical highway. Gas stations, cafes, and small general type stores popped up, providing an attentive audience for the popular highway.

By the end of the war, roadway travel along Route 66 was at its heyday. The roadside architecture represented the region that happened to be in that particular section of the highway. The material used to build the food stands, gas stations and motels included brick, wood, and stucco; many used canopies to cover the seating areas. This all added to the character of the different sections.

As time went on, Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments to extend its usefulness and appeal. Then in 1985, Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System. However, some states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks. These sections are called Historic Route 66 and are alternate routes, but maintain much of that allure. 

Today you can still see the cocoons of what’s left of roadside motels, gas stations, and tourist-type attractions. If you truly believe, you might see a 1962 Corvette Convertible drive by and disappear into the romance of Route 66.

To hear someone mention Route 66, your mind automatically goes to a place that starts in Chicago, Illinois, then goes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before it ends at the corner of Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica, California. 

Route 66 exemplifies Americana at its best, and an era that was somewhere in time. Route 66 covers a total of 2,448 miles in its entirety. Beginning in 1916, the legislation for a public highway started named the Federal Highway Act. Revisions began in 1921 and continued until 1925, when the government created a plan for a national highway to be constructed.

From 1933 to 1938, thousands of unemployed young males from surrounding states were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of land that needed to be the extended highway. Route 66 helped us mobilize our manpower. 

As time went on, urban culture began to lay down its foundation that would contribute to the mystery and romance of this historical highway. Gas stations, cafes, and small general type stores popped up, providing an attentive audience for the popular highway.

By the end of the war, roadway travel along the romantic highway was at its heyday. The roadside architecture represented the region that happened to be in that particular section of the highway. The material used to build the food stands, gas stations and motels included brick, wood, and stucco; many used canopies to cover the seating areas. This all added to the character of the different sections.

As time went on, the iconic roadway underwent many improvements and realignments to extend its usefulness and appeal. Then in 1985, it was officially removed from the United States Highway System. However, some states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks. These sections are called Historic Route 66 and are alternate routes, but maintain much of that allure. 

Today you can still see the cocoons of what’s left of roadside motels, gas stations, and tourist-type attractions. If you truly believe, you might see a 1962 Corvette Convertible drive by and disappear into the romance of Route 66.

 

hollyhock house architecture

Hollyhock House and the Genius of Frank Lloyd Wright

The Hollyhock House was just named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The mission of UNESCO is to build peace and harmony through the contribution of important information among nations of the world through scientific knowledge, communication and education to further multicultural respect and universal collaboration.

It is the epitome of creative genius — the Hollyhock House was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Originally commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall in 1919, it was named after her favorite flower, the Hollyhock.

Nestled in the hills of East Hollywood, the Hollyhock was planned as a performing arts complex and and to also serve as a home for the heiress and her children.

Part of the creative genius of Frank Lloyd Wright was his spontaneity, and he encouraged that in others. He even coined the phrase, “Freedom to make one’s own form.” Although the Hollyhock House was built to its entirety in 1921, it was never quite finished.

The house took years of restoration, which included extensive research on the detailed history and exact craftsmanship so that it would be brought back to its original glory in which it was intended. Now the Hollyhock House stands with massive structural improvements to its foundation, but the design and other important details have been kept to its original integrity.

The Hollyhock House was Frank Lloyd Wright’s contribution to California Modernism. Wright had a reputation for never having the most practical choice. In staying with the integrity of the original design, a more convenient, less fragile approach could not be taken, because that would change the entire architectural feeling of that space, which would have invalidated the purpose of their intent, which was to stay 100% true to that period and design.

So through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius lives on and continues to inspire. Check out Gerald’s sketch of the Hollyhock House below from his Mused book, and read more about ADG Lighting’s connection to Frank Lloyd Wright!

Hollyhock ADG Lighting

new york architecture

New York Is An Excellent Example of Diversity at Its Best

In New York City, every building has its own unique style and character, along with its special purpose for being there. Each building stands proudly along its diverse neighbors without an ounce of competition or animosity. We’ll start our discussion of New York’s great architecture with the UN Building, also known as the United Nations Headquarters, located on the East River between 42nd Street and 48th Street.

The United Nations opened its doors in 1952 and is a symbol of hope for post-war peace. Ever so fitting, it represents the very first example of International Style architecture. It is made up of three individual buildings, with a 39-story tower that houses the offices of the UN Secretariat. This building’s complexity and brilliant design is by Brazillian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The UN headquarters will always be a prominent landmark in the New York City skyline.

The Dakota is one of the most prominent and luxurious co-ops in all of New York City, and if the stunning cathedral-like structure doesn’t impress you, the stories behind the Dakota will. The Dakota was built on the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in 1884. This monumental building gave us the setting for the classic Roman Polanski movie Rosemary’s Baby. Although the Dakota is not a place of worship, after John Lennon died in front of the building some felt a spiritual connection to the property.

Another great example of New York’s diverse architecture is reflected with the 100 Eleventh Avenue building. A residential building resembling a tower, it stands tall at the intersection of 19th Street and the West Side Highway. French architect Jean Nouvel calls his 23-story building a “vision machine.” The way the windows are placed gives the illusion of a Gustav Klimt mosaic. 

Regardless of the taste of the individual, one can’t help but admire the creativity of these architectural geniuses. Diversity works beautifully when it’s a fair playing field, and that’s why we all love New York.

 

Palm Springs Mid Century Modern Architecture

Palm Springs Architecture Was A Classic From the Beginning

Palm Springs has the most extensive collection of modernist architecture in our free world. During its heyday, which was during the 1950s and 60s, the very elite and wealthy, which included celebrities, would have villas built in this up-and-coming paradise. So Palm Springs became a haven for the likes of masters such as John Lautner, Richard Neutra and Albert Frey, who have built their best architectural works in this area. 

‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

— Pablo Picasso

Features such as overhanging roof planes and shaded verandas are central to this style of architecture, as they evoke a time of an era gone by.

The Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra, circa 1946, is considered the perfect example of desert modernism. The Kaufmann House was designed for Edgar J. Kaufmann by Neutra. The interior includes five bedrooms and five bathrooms, and is in the shape of a cross with living quarters in the center. The four exterior axes create a series of outdoor areas around the property, which includes a large pool.

Of course, Palm Springs wouldn’t be Palm Springs without the mention of old blue eyes, Frank Sinatra. He commissioned E. Stewart Williams to design and build Twin Palms in 1947, which was Williams’ first project. This fabulous villa measures 4,500 square feet, has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The inside of the property is long and has flat, slightly sloped roofs.

Another example of modernist architecture in Palm Springs includes the Rey House II by Albert Frey. Completed in 1964, it has a simple steel structure on a concrete podium, and is topped with corrugated aluminium. It also comes complete with a sliding glass door for outside entry, and shade is provided by the overhanging roof.

These are just a few modernist villas worth mentioning, but there are more to see. They represent now only a style of an era gone by evidence that once upon a time, houses were built on a poetic notion.

 

Los Angeles Architecture Architect Adg

Los Angeles Is Synonymous with Modern Architecture

With examples such as the Schindler House built in 1922 in West Hollywood, the Fitzpatrick- Leland House built in 1936 on Laurel Canyon, and the Mackey Apartments built in 1939 on South Cochran Ave, Los Angeles has been the mecca of modern architecture for almost 100 years.

The modern movement, or modern architecture defined in simple terms, is based on new groundbreaking, and many times avant-garde technologies of construction. The materials used are also part of the allure, for along with its clean lines and minimalist concept is the use of such materials as glass, steel, and reinforced concrete. The mantra of modern architecture is form follows function, which accounts for such innovative shaped buildings and creative living spaces.

Los Angeles is still going strong in the new crop of architects that are making their way into neighborhoods and city streets by way of their uniquely constructed building and living concepts.

Are you curious about how to see all the new modern masterpieces in Los Angeles architecture all at once? A book published by Prestel available on Amazon titled “New Architecture Los Angeles” does a fantastic job of chronicling the new modern architecture starting from the year 2000.

Akin to designing and building a piece of architectural genius, this book is also a collaboration of text written by Brooke Hodge, whose resume includes Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Hammer Museum; Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, and most recently was named Palm Springs Art Museum’s first Architecture & Design Director.

The pictures in this book are breathtaking and taken by architectural photographer Mike Kelley.  

Some examples of the new modern architecture include: the Formosa 1140, built in 2008 on North Formosa in West Hollywood and designed by Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects (LOHA); the Wilshire Grand Center, built and designed by AC Martin in 2017 and located on (surprise) Wilshire Blvd. in Downtown LA; and the Vespertine, built in 2016 in Culver City by Eric Owen Moss Architects.

Los Angeles is just one of those cities which happens to have a psychic architectural past…just one of the many mysteries of living in LA.

Hot off the Press!

ADG Lighting Founder Featured in Architectural Digest

Our founder Gerald Olesker was interviewed for Architectural Digest for this feature on how the trade war is impacting design businesses


adg architecture lighting Read the Article
HERE

 

 

armour-stiner-architecture-historic

Armour-Stiner House Reemerges

The Armour-Stiner house set its mark as an architectural landmark. Year after year, the Lombardi family were visited by strangers wanting to see their house. It seems that an eight-sided Victorian house that looks like a Roman Temple isn’t an everyday occurrence, so the Lombardi family has recently decided to educate the public by opening its doors and conducting tours of this great piece of architecture from America’s octagonal phase.

There was a point in time, about 160 years ago when all the rage was octagonal homes. This interesting eight-sided style of real estate was short-lived, but did leave its mark in American architecture.

There are only about one thousand homes built during this wild and odd phase. The Armour-Stiner House is in a category all its own mostly because of its design. It was designed in the shape of a Roman temple. The original architect remains unknown, but between 1872-1876, Joseph Stiner, who was a tea importer, had a dome added and had the house enlarged.

In the 1970s, when architect Joseph Pell Lombardi bought the house it was in a terrible state of collapse. According to Joseph Lombardi’s son, Michael, who is the property manager of the Armour-Stiner House, the place was literally crumbling.

Much of the house had awful water damage, and the beautiful detail had been painted over. Painting over any detail on any original architecture is akin to throwing away the only picture you have of your mother.

It took the Lombardi family 40 years of research to restore small but significant details to its original beauty. One such detail mentioned were the birds on the salon ceiling, as well as the exquisite detail in the Egyptian revival room.

When restoring stunning architecture of long ago, it is important to understand the significance of the detail that was included in the original design.

The Lombardi family stated that restoration of the house is a work in progress and will probably never finish, as they keep finding new things to fix. As their goal is to restore the Armour-Stiner House to its heyday in the 1870s, they have even carefully scraped away paint that once had covered up great detail. The kitchen has the original cast iron stove.

With strangers wanting to stop by and view the odd-shaped house year after year, the family decided to conduct tours which are deemed to be educational as well as interesting for the art history enthusiast and spectator alike. The Armour-Stiner House is located in Irvington, New York.

From the ADG Factory Floor

 Oakland leaf crown gilded for a client…

adg-custom-lighting 

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting