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bad kissingen, architecture

Bad Kissingen is a Retreat for Aristocracy

Travel is Europe has never been more exciting than now, thanks to the openness of the European Union and the promotion on social media. Most everyone is familiar with the most high-profile attractions of Europe, such as Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum in Rome. Because of the influence of digital media and social sharing, the most amazing locations in Europe have been opened up to the world. These sights and locations have only been notable to local tourism or the fortunate few who have been able to spend extended  amounts of time on the continent. Now, the hidden wonders of Europe are being opened up to the world, and anyone can plan a trip to previously obscure locations for a monumental experience, avoiding the largest of the tourist traps.

One of these special locations is Bad Kissingen, Germany. For centuries, the Germans have believed in the curing treatments found in localities across the country, thus the town would be designated a ‘Bad’ or ‘cure spa’, thus the name of Bad Kissingen. The town is located in the Bavarian region of Lower Franconia on the Saale river. The town traces its roots back to the year 831 A.D. It was developed into a spa in the 1500’s. Because of the special geographic location and sheer beauty of the region, the Kings of Bavaria and renowned architects created a magnificent city on the Saale. It quickly became the favorite location for the nobility and aristocracy of Europe. Prince Otto von Bismark spent a great deal of time in Bad Kissingen, conducting affairs of state and entertaining royalty, along with taking in the ‘cures’ the town became famous for.

Bad Kissingen is know for the grand splendor of the architecture. From the Regentenbau and Arkadenbau buildings, to the Wandelhalle complex and Casino Lutpold, visitors are immediately inspired by these impressive buildings. These magnificent structures are surrounded by three expansive formal gardens and parks. Luitpoldpark was inspired by English landscape gardens, the Kurgarten incorporates many baroque elements, and the Rose Garden is arranged in impressive geometric shapes. The entire complex of parks, gardens and buildings nestle up to the slow moving Saale river which wanders through the town. This makes for a breathtaking tourist experience once reserved exclusively for the nobility and aristocracy of Europe.

Travel On!

From the ADG Jobsite

Hotel fun and construction in San Luis Obispo with Carrie!

Adg Slo Hotel Architecture Lighting

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

los angeles, historic architecture, adg

Los Angeles Celebrates the Return of the Pup

Who says you can’t teach an ‘old dog’ new tricks! Thanks to the 1933 Group, the iconic Los Angeles Tail O’ the Pup will be coming back into service very soon. The Pup was one of  the finest examples of mimetic style architecture that dotted the landscape of Los Angeles. It is one of the last surviving buildings in this style within the SoCal region.

The Tail O’ the Pup was designed by architect Milton Black in 1946 and opened to a typical Hollywood welcome of search-lit, star-studded fanfare that only Los Angeles can offer. During the 1980’s, it was scheduled for demolition, despite being a highly popular eatery and a regular feature location for TV, film and commercial programs. This effort met with a loud outcry from the Los Angeles community. As a result, the Pup was moved from its original location at La Cienega and Beverly Boulevards, to the nearby location it last occupied on North San Vicente boulevard.

In December 2005, the Pup was evicted and moved to a storage warehouse in Torrance. It was subsequently declared a cultural landmark by the city of Los Angeles. While the owners tried to find the right fit for a new ownership partner for the Pup, the structure was donated to the the Valley Relics Museum, where it waited on restoration. Recently, the Blake Family (owners) found the right partner for the Pup in the 1933 Group.

Currently, the 1933 Group is seeking the right street-facing location in either West Hollywood or Hollywood and is committed to bring back the menu people crave. They know they have one of the coolest, most iconic bits of Los Angeles culture and they want to totally respect that history.

From the ADG Jobsite    

New chandelier for a modern home, in collaboration with Details a Design Firm.

adg, custom lighting, architecture

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

fbi

FBI Building Becomes the Target of POTUS

 

The FBI and the President of the United States (POTUS) are squaring off again for what appears to be another battle royale! No, this time it is not about Russian collusion, James Comey or the dozens of other political battles that rage between POTUS and the FBI. This battle is about the existence of the current FBI HQ in Washington, DC. Will it continue to stand or will it be relocated to the suburbs? That is the question that has lit a fire between the two opponents.

From 1908 until 1975, the FBI was located in the Department of Justice (DOJ) building in Washington, DC. This was an ideal arrangement, as the DOJ is a parent organization to the FBI and makes perfect logistical sense. Due to the growth of the FBI and the expanding role of the organization in the long term, a decision was made to house the FBI in a separate building away from the DOJ. This also met higher level security requirements for the safety and appearance of an independent investigative agency. A formal request for the project was approved in 1941, but was delayed due to the onset of WWII. The second request was made in 1962 for the new construction, which was approved. In October of 1967, the National Capital Planning Commission approved the project with 2,800,876 sq. feet of space for a planned 7,090 employees. The building had to meet height limits on one side of seven stories and 11 stories on the other, complying with the current DC code requirements. Construction started in December of 1967 and finished in May 1975. The building was officially named the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in May 1972 by President Nixon, two days after Hoover’s death.  President Ford officially dedicated the building in September of 1975.

This historic building is now showing its age, and there is a movement afoot by POTUS to raze the structure. This is where the battle begins. POTUS has submitted a plan to destroy the building and construct a new facility on the existing grounds. He believes it to be the “ugliest of all ugly buildings” in DC and needs to go. The second plan submitted by Government Accounting Office (GAO) is to tear down the building and construct a new HQ building in the Virginia suburbs, where their current training academy is located. Detractors of POTUS say that he is trying to control what is built on the existing property when the FBI leaves. It just happens to be across the street from the Trump Hotel. They claim POTUS wants total control to prevent any competitor’s building near his property. The detractors of the GAO plan state that the Virginia move is significantly more expensive, and the fact that two Democratic Senators from Virginia are leading the effort makes it an immediate dead issue.

As the political battle rages between the FBI, POTUS, the GAO and Congress, the real focus is diminished. The real issue is that the current J. Edgar Hoover FBI HQ is a historical landmark. We should be debating a functional and respectful design that is befitting the status of all other landmarks of our nation’s capital.

From the Factory Floor

Fixture arrived safely in Utah!! Great collaboration with M. Elle Design and Forest Studio.

 by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

 

yugoslavia, architecture, custom lighting

Yugoslavia and the Lost Art of Socialist Architecture

When the iron curtain descended on Eastern Europe after World War II, the citizens of Yugoslavia found themselves suffering from the aftermath of global combat and yearning for the promised comfort of socialism. Stalinism had taken hold and made promises of work, food and housing as a right of every citizen. What these new socialists didn’t understand was there was a huge gap between what their leaders felt as ‘quality’ services and what the people thought was quality. Those promises didn’t keep their citizens warm in Eastern Europe and there was a dire need for apartment buildings to properly shelter their comrades. Im most of the eastern bloc, architects and planners were told by the state how to design and what they should design. There was no room for creativity. It was all up to the vision of the state. This was not the case in Yugoslavia. 

Yugoslavia was led by Marshal Tito, who had a vision that greatly differed from other iron curtain leaders. Even though he was a brutal dictator and led with an iron fist,  he had a unique world vision and took advantage of realistic political opportunities. Yugoslavia was located between east and west, and had a multiethnic population with a multiplicity of architectural traditions.  This allowed Tito to allow local control and architectural ideas start flowing from the bottom, not the top. Architectural opportunities emerged out of Tito’s political opportunism.

Socialists Explore Architecture in Yugoslavia

Architects were able to take advantage of Tito’s socioeconomic policies and build structures that were significantly more creative, innovative and truly support the needs of the people of Yugoslavia. This greatly separated the creative design of Yugoslavia under socialism and the cookie-cutter designs of the remainder of the iron curtain.   

Check out the MoMA exhibit titled Toward a Concrete Utopia:
Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980
.


Hot off the Press

Check out our latest feature in the LA Times!

washington dc, architecture

Washington DC Architecture Is All About Power

Washington DC was designed with one thing in mind … power!  It may not have the cultural cachet of Los Angeles or New York, but it was a city envisioned by George Washington to be what Paris is to France … a center of culture, finance, trade and power. Washington DC was founded as the heart of the federal government on 100 acres of land set aside from existing land belonging to Maryland and Virginia. This patch of damp land was transformed into an iconic capital and the seat of power for a newly founded country.

With the signing of the Residence Act of 1790, George Washington set into motion the development by appointing commissioners and planners to begin this monumental process. Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant became the man Washington entrusted to carry forth his vision of the new capital city.  

     “Washington commissions L’Enfant to design a city on an absolutely epic scale that could have easily fit a major portion of the population of London, the world’s most populous city at that time.”

~ Richard Longstreth, Architectural History Professor

Under the supervision of three commissioners, L’Enfant went to work. Washington and Jefferson had sent him a letter outlining the vision and to provide a drawing for the city plans, along with suitable sites for federal and public buildings. L’Enfant understood the vision, but in reality, had much more grandiose plans for Washington DC. On June 22, 1791, he presented his complex plan to George Washington. In August 1791, he sent the President an appended plan in a letter. Washington retained a copy of L’Enfant’s plan, presented it to Congress, then gave it to the three commissioners of the project.

In a swirl of controversy befitting Washington DC, Washington later dismissed L’Enfant from the project and engaged Andrew Ellicott to continue the project. Ellicott continued the city survey in accordance with the revised plan, several versions of which were engraved, published and distributed. As a result, Ellicott’s revisions subsequently became the basis for the capital city’s development. The city retained the vision of L’Enfant, which was a bold, modern city featuring grand boulevards and ceremonies, all inspired by his hometown of Paris, France. 

From the ADG Jobsite

Featured Brentwood home, great design collaboration with Tiffany Grayce Harris! Photo by Ryan Garvin.

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

glenbrook valley

Glenbrook Valley Is the Mid-Century Modern Jewel of Houston

When you think of cities with iconic mid-century modern architecture, Houston is not on that list. Maybe out of ignorance, neglect or a lack of publicity, the Houston neighborhood of Glenbrook Valley has managed to fly well below the radar since its heyday. The community was designed by the architectural firm of Hare & Hare and was developed by Fred McManus. The community is known as a jewel in the rough, surrounded by the urban blight of the nation’s fourth largest city. It has been so well preserved that visitors might expect to see Don Draper of Mad Men fame working on a front lawn.

The development of 1200 homes created quite the buzz during development. The first section of homes was opened in 1954, and six of those original homes were featured in the 1954 Parade of Homes. One of those six homes was cited by Better Homes and Gardens as “The Model Home for All of America.” The Houston press later wrote that Glenbrook Valley was a showpiece and a modern vision of the Jetsons that has come of age.

Because of the westward growth of Houston, the neighborhood started to decline due to general lack of interest. In the 1980’s, an oil bust threw Houston into economic decline and the neighborhood suffered. The older residents began leaving the community for economic reasons and the homes began to suffer from neglect. Luckily for Glenbrook Village, strong deed restrictions were in place from the original development, which prevented the razing of the original homes and building of ‘McMansions.’ This kept intact the ‘Mad Men’ feel of this iconic mid-century modern neighborhood.

In the early 2000’s, Glenbrook Valley got a breath of new life. A renewed interest in the homes was spurred by rising real estate prices in the more affluent areas and the keen interests of the young hip Houstonians who were seeking affordable and chic housing. In 2010, the Houston press nominated Glenbrook Valley as one of Houston’s most underrated neighborhoods. 

“The neighborhood’s webpage embraces the`60s feeling, and residents there have been resolute in preserving the history of the place.”

Richard Connelly

In June 2011, Glenbrook Valley was designated as an Historic District by the City of Houston and was the first designated historic neighborhood in the State of Texas for post-World War II structures.   

From the ADG Jobsite

Historic Boyd architect project in collaboration with Paul Williger!

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting