Heather Turner, Blog Post 6
The De La Warr Pavilion, located in Bexhill, England was built in the 1930s by Erich Mendelsohn in the 1930s, and is considered one of the first Modernist buildings in the UK. It features curves both inside the building itself and in its landscaping, as is Mendelsohn’s specialty. Similarly to the Russell House, there is a prominent circular round sitting area on one side of the building. It also features a wide spiral staircase and a curved, bell-shaped bandstand designed to project music to the audience. Both the Pavilion itself and the bandstand focus on a streamlined look.
The pavilion was damaged during WWII, but was eventually renovated in 2003. It now houses a center for contemporary art and education.
Though I’m not a fan of the exterior (it seems a little plain to me), I can definitely appreciate the details created by Mendelson on the interior and in the bandstand. I also definitely appreciate all of the natural light in the bottom photo, and I think that Mendelson was ahead of his time in this respect.
Heather Turner, Blog Post 5
Originally built in the early 20th century, then remodeled by Erich Mendelsohn in 1922, the Mossehaus in Potsdam, Germany is considered a benchmark of modernism. The original building (by Cremer and Wolffenstein) was damaged after WWI in a riot. During renovation, Mendelson left the majority of the building, changing only the façade and corner, and added two stories.
The then-store building features a curved, streamlined corner, in contrast to the popular angled buildings of the time. The corner also includes custom curved windows, a staple of Mendelsohn. Natural light is emphasized as compared to the older building, which contained arched windows spaced further apart.
The building was restored in the late 20th century and is now used as an office building.
Though I like the modernized version of this building, I think I liked the original (shown in the top photo) more. The art deco style appeals to me a bit more than the simple, modern look. However, I appreciate the colors used and the use of natural light.
Heather Turner, Blog Post 6
The Russell House was designed by Erich Medelsohn in 1951 and is located in San Francisco. It is the only residential structure by Medelsohn in the United States, and was also one of his last works.
The home’s most prominent feature is a circular sitting area on the top floor of the house. It contains four floors and two wings, as well as a terrace overlooking the San Francisco Bay. In order to highlight the view of the Bay in the home, all living and dining areas are located on the side of the house that overlooks it, with the other side containing the kitchen and utility rooms. The house itself is elevated off the ground in order to create an open garage, and features many windows in order to allow in natural light.
Because the home is still used as a private residence, it is not open to the public.
This house is not my style at all. While I really like the circular sitting area, nothing else about the house really appeals to me. It feels outdated in the worst way, and I don’t think I could ever live in a house that sits on stilts. However, I bet it has a great view!
Heather Turner, Blog Post 5
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.
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.
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.
Heather Turner, Post 4
Appropriately abbreviated, the Madrid Airport was a source of turmoil for me during my study abroad trip to Italy, and therefore, the airport I remember best. I passed through this airport from the Fiumicino airport in Rome to O’Hare in Chicago, and spent a day navigating the various terminals after missing my flight.
The ceilings are vaguely reminiscent of the Dulles International Airport’s, as shown in the 10 Buildings that Changed America video. However, Madrid’s ceilings are more “wavy,” leading to a sense of whimsy. The supports are brightly colored in a rainbow pattern down the terminal, which adds to that sense of playfulness, hopefully alleviating some of the passengers’ stress. The terminals also feature large, floor-to-ceiling windows that allow natural light to pour in, both reducing electricity costs and allowing the space to feel larger.
In the underground area to move between terminals, a very different type of light is employed. Large, circular florescent light fixtures line the ceiling in straight lines, guiding the eye down the hall and toward the various terminals and exits. The lights are also reflected on the white floor, once again creating a sense of depth.
One of the most interesting features in the airport is a rail system that runs from the terminal with international incoming flights to the terminal with international outgoing flights, and vice versa. This allows for two separate buildings to be quickly navigated between, expediting travel for international travelers.
Heather Turner, Post 3
In my opinion, one of the most architecturally interesting coffee shops in Tulsa is the Phoenix, located in a renovated industrial building. It features blue marbled concrete floors and wooden beams that run across the ceiling, giving the building a rustic feel. Its décor is eclectic, with mismatched colored tables and art. The lamps hanging from the ceiling range from simple, standard lightbulbs to modern, blown glass fixtures.
However, its most intriguing feature is easily its “book bar.” The entire front counter and the column directly to its right is made up of book spines stacked on top of each other. These books range from easily recognizable titles to reader’s digest compilations, and lend themselves to the coffee shop’s studious feel.
Heather Turner, Post 2
My first job as a teenager was at the Charles Page Library in Sand Springs, OK. Housed in a brick building with a whimsical metal train fixed to its side, the library was built with both adults and children in mind. The bright white and green tiles reflected light to make the space seem larger, and the orange walls added a touch of playfulness to a normally-serious place.
The children’s area was my favorite section of the library; the picture book area was carpeted and featured a series of steps leading up to a window for a perfect place for parents to read to their children. All of the shelves were shortened, so that children could easily see and reach for their favorite titles. The book stacks curved around the children’s area, effectively blocking that portion off and creating a “just-for-kids” feel; no adults (other than caretakers) would venture into that area. In contrast, the adult nonfiction and fiction sections had much taller shelves, making the most out of the small building.
One thing notably lacking in the library was seating. The front of the library contained a small computer lab, and a few comfortable chairs for leisure reading, but the back of the building in particular lacked space to sprawl out and study or indulge in a book. As I quickly learned, this is because most library patrons preferred to read in the comfort of their own home after picking up the books, and the majority of people who came to the library for long periods of time did so to use the computers. With the rise in popularity of wifi, more people began to use the library as a study space, and Charles Page expanded its offerings of seating accordingly.
Heather Turner, Post 1
Over the summer, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Italy for a month. Near the end of our trip, we visited Rome and the Vatican City. The most impressive building I saw while in the Vatican City was not the Sistine Chapel as I expected, but St. Peter’s Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica can only be described as awe-inspiring. From the moment my group walked in, a hush fell over our group. I was spellbound by the high ceilings, particularly the rotunda that is so common in Roman architecture. The gold in the paint (unfortunately not as apparent in these pictures as in person) made the entire room sparkle. Large marble statues littered the room, and intricate paintings covered the walls and ceilings.
As I gathered my bearings, I realized that the basilica was much cooler than the blazing outdoors, despite being filled with people. The marble on the floors kept the ground cool, as did the lack of low-to-the-ground windows. Unlike the touristy feel of most of Rome, including churches, this building felt meaningful and weighty, undoubtedly due to it’s magnificent construction and design. Of all my memories in Italy, this single building stands out in my mind.