The Einstein Tower

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Heather Turner, Blog Post 5

 

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Erich Mendelsohn’s most famous building is the Einstein Tower, located in Postdam Germany. It was constructed in the Expressionist Early Modern style, and is characterized by an ivory white curved tower with custom windows and a lack of angles. It was considered one of the most important solar observatories in the world from its completion in 1924 until it was damaged in WWII. It was renovated in 1999 and now exists mostly as a tourist attraction, though it still does contain a working solar observatory.

 

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The building hit a snag during its construction: because the exterior is primarily made of sculpted concrete, it is difficult to work with. The technology at the time was not sufficient to complete the building, and because of WWII, reinforced concrete was in short supply. As a result, portions of the building are made in brick. Because of the difficulties in constructing the building, Erich Mendelsohn partially abandoned this style for the rest of his career, making this building truly one of a kind.

 

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This my favorite of Mendelson’s projects, and I believe there is a reason it is his most popular. The exterior of the building is still streamlined like his other structures, but still maintains a unique shape and personality. The inside office pictured above feels cosy and not modernist at all, while still bringing in a ton of natural light. This building really appeals to me, and I wish Mendelson had kept his confidence and continued to construct in this way.

Sources:

http://www.archdaily.com/402033/ad-classics-the-einstein-tower-erich- mendelsohn

http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Einstein_Tower.html

Tower of the Americas

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Architect Post 2- James Livingstone

Tower of the Americas 1

The Tower of the Americas is a 750 foot observation tower and restaurant located in Downtown San Antonio, Texas. It was built as the theme structure of the 1968 World’s Fair.

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It is the tallest building in San Antonio, and the 27th tallest building in Texas. It surpasses the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.

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Construction began in August 9, 1966 and took 18 months to complete. Cables and Oil field pipes were used to hoist the tophouse of the building into place.

A restaurant was added to the top of the tower by Frontier Enterprises, and it operated for more than three decades until Landry’s bought the location in 2004.

 

O’Neil Ford

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Architect Post 1- James Livingstone

O’Neil Ford was an American architect from Texas who became a leading architect in the American Southwest. Though he is not very famous he was the only individual ever to be designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Council of the Arts.

O'Neil Ford

Ford was a strong preservationist and built his structures accordingly. He was influenced by the English Arts and Crafts Movement and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1960.

One of his works built during the Great Depression and named one of Texas’ most outstanding architectural achievements is Little Chapel in the Woods.

Little Chapel in the woods

This building helps to reflect the preservationist ideals that Ford held strongly.

He is known significantly for buildings in Denton, Dallas, San Antonio, and Kerrville which include the Little Chapel in the Woods, University of Dallas, Trinity University, Tower of the Americas, Museum of Western Art, and many more.

 

Skandia Cinema

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The Skandia Cinema opened in September of 1923 with 823 seats. The theatre currently only has 572 seats. The ceiling of the cinema had 60 silk star shaped lamps that were turned off one by one before the start of the film. As Asplund’s other buildings he built the cinema with a neo-classical design, with a semi-atmospheric ceiling. In 1926 there was an 2 Manual/7 Rank theatre organ that was installed and opened by organist Willard Ringstrand. In 1960 the organ was removed. In the recent years the fate of the theatre was unsure. From 1968-1991 the theatre was renamed to the Look Theatern, then reverted back to its original name. In 1996 the theatre closed and reopened in 1999, closing again in July of 2000. The future of the theatre is still unsure.

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The Snellman House

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The Snellman House is another one of Gunnar Asplund’s most famous building that was built during his time. It was built in 1917 on the outskirts of Stockholm in Djursholm. When building this house Asplund used a traditional Swedish neo-classical design. The house was built in an attempt to accommodate in a structure that is the width of one and a half rooms wide. The ground floor height is 2.6 m, the upper floor bedroom height is 2.5 m, “the gallery” height is 2.2 m and the upper hall height is 3.2 m. This house is said to display “a great sensitivity to the possibilities offered by the site, creating a house that is elegant, functional and full of quiet inventive wit” (Gunnar Asplund).

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