Dictionary of Architecture and Interior Design
Sample of Dictionary of Architecture and Interior Design
Dictionary of Architecture and Interior Design
ARCHITECTS, DESIGNERS, AND DECORATORS
No person who is not a great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can only be a builder.
John Ruskin (1819–1900), from Lectures on Architecture and Painting
The comment on the overleaf by John Ruskin—that great nineteenth-century art and architecture critic—may seem a little harsh on architects who are not so diversely gifted, not to mention builders, but as can be seen in this section, many of the world’s great architects, particularly during the Renaissance, were indeed sculptors and painters of distinction. Right up until the mid-nineteenth century in America and Europe, when architectural training was finally formalized, most architecture was not practiced as a business but as an art by gifted but untrained amateurs or dilettantes. It is true that there were exceptions. There were architects who called themselves professionals and who were exceedingly busy, but they had learned from observation and theory and were primarily imaginative artists and draftsmen who prepared drawings to be carried out by skilled craftsmen. In France, however, J-F Blondel established the first French school of architecture in the 1730s, which spawned many other such schools. This is presumably why that country took the lead in domestic comforts and sophisticated interiors for so many decades.
In the rest of the world, the majority of architects took little heed of the furnishing and decoration of interiors. A smaller number of architects—such as the English Palladian William Kent and the Neoclassicists Thomas Jefferson, Robert Adam, William Chambers, and James Wyatt—went in the opposite direction, busying themselves with designing every facet of their rooms as well as the furniture. Although early-twentieth-century ladies like Elsie de Wolfe and Syrie Maugham used to call themselves the first interior decorators, they had certainly been preceded by these great Neo-classicists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. And architectural members of the Bauhaus School, as well as many of the founders of Modernism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, certainly occupied themselves with furnishings and interiors as much as the manipulation of space and the general aesthetics of buildings.
In general though and for many hundreds of years, the design of furniture and interiors was left open to gifted cabinetmakers who had enormous influence, and to upholsterers who, recognizing the business opportunities, enlarged their scope to coordinate all aspects of the interior. In eras besotted by fashion, they created trends in furnishing and decorating quite as much as today’s fashionistas. They thus took on the role that segued, in the twentieth century, into the separate profession of interior designer, which, in turn, split up into specialties such as lighting and textiles.
AALTO, ALVAR (1898–1976)
Legendary Finnish architect and furniture designer who, after designing many distinguished Modernist buildings for his native country, was commissioned after World War II to design several buildings in the United States. They were Baker House, a residence hall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1947–49) and the Mount Angel Abbey Library, St. Benedict, Oregon (1970). But his best building may well have been his last, the Finlandia Hall, Helsinki (1967–75). Architecturally, he is particularly known for his individual style, with its play of brick and timber, curved walls, and single-pitched roofs. However, to the general public he is probably most famous for his exploitation of the natural spring in birchwood and his subsequent use of bent plywood and laminated wood (which he used in the early 1930s, much as Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had used the spring of steel in the 1920s). These techniques were applied to the production of his cantilevered chairs and the Aalto Stool, made by the Helsinki firm of Artek, with which he developed a whole range of laminated birch furniture. His eponymous stool was designed in the 1930s from birch with three separately glued legs that were sliced and bent to form a radius curve extending beyond the seat. Numerous cheaper copies made of plywood exist.
Baker Dormitory (1947–48), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, by Alvar Aalto
ADAM, ROBERT (1728–1792)
The most famous of four Scottish brothers—sons of William Adam, the leading Scots architect of his day—who all became architects and designers in their turn. Robert, however, was arguably the most famous British architect of the second half of the eighteenth century, particularly for his interiors and furniture designs—so much so that he has been frequently described as an interior designer who also created architecture. In fact, his light, elegant, and colorful brand of Neoclassicism has passed into the language as “Adam Style.” (This style fully utilizes motifs learned from his studies of Imperial Roman architecture under the French architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau and the then-recently discovered ruins of ancient Herculaneum and Pompeii, cities destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79) At a period when there were many arguments about the relative merits of Greek versus Roman classicism, Adam’s allegiance to the latter (and later, “Etruscan” decoration) caused him to be nicknamed “Bob the Roman.” But there can be little doubt that his light-hearted approach to colors and details in interiors and furnishings was both subtler and more charming than the Anglo-Palladianism that preceded him or the Greek Revival fashion that followed on both sides of the Atlantic. All the same, he was not immediately acclaimed. Some of his early interiors were described by those more used to the austere nobility of Palladianism as “snippets of embroidery.” Nevertheless, he proved to be brilliant at fitting new and exquisite interiors into the shells of existing great houses like Syon House just outside London, Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, Saltram House in Devon, and Osterley Park, also outside London, as well as creating the famous Kenwood House in North London, Harewood House in West Yorkshire, Home House in Portman Square, London, and many others. Adam was also known for his “classicizing” of the Neo-Gothic: adding comfortably classical interiors to massive Neo-Gothic castles. His influence spread as far afield as America and Russia. He was joined in his London practice by his brother James (1730–1794) in 1758, and the brothers used the name Adelphi (Greek for “brothers”) as their trademark. It was therefore particularly ironic that their eponymous speculative building, a palatial group of houses on the banks of the Thames (now destroyed), was a massive failure, and they were saved from bankruptcy only through a lottery and by loans from their elder brother, John.
ADLER, DAVID (1882–1949)
American architect, educated at Princeton and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After traveling widely in Europe he set up practice in Chicago (like his namesake Dankmar Adler of Adler and Sullivan, who died in 1900). He was the brother of the much-admired Californian designer Frances Elkins, who had an influence on subsequent generations. Adler was known particularly for his meticulous modern reinterpretations of eighteenth- andearly-nineteenth-century European designs. As an admirer commented: “Adler was brilliant at small-scale interpretations of grand European architecture, but in a totally modern, simplified, and updated way.”
ALBERTI, LEONE BATTISTA (1404–1472)
Italian architect, architectural theorist, mathematician, scientist, and writer of the first book on architecture published during the Renaissance—De re Aedificatoria. Alberti’s book was based on Vitruvius’s ten books called De Architectura (published in full in 1485 in Latin, but not until 1546 in Italian). In his scholarly study Alberti discussed contemporary ideas on proportion, the classical orders, and various precepts for ideal urban planning. As if this were not enough, he was also an athlete, a musician, a painter, a playwright, and a student of law—the ideal well-rounded Renaissance man. He wrote other noted books on architecture, perspective, and painting that greatly influenced later architects, artists, and craftspeople down the centuries. And he made every effort to practice what he preached, although he had nothing to do with the actual building of his designs and was, in fact, the first great dilettante architect. His new facade for the originally Gothic church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence (1456–70) was based on a complex system of squares and was thus the first instance of the use of harmonic proportions—a system of proportions first perpetrated in ancient Rome that related architecture to music—in the Renaissance period. Alberti was convinced that this proportion system was the key to the beauty of Roman architecture and even to the harmony of the universe. He defined architectural beauty as “the harmony and concord of all the parts achieved in such a manner that nothing could be added or taken away, or altered except for the worse.” (Not a cheery message for future decorators.) And he considered ornament (which, in his mind, was the classical vocabulary of orders—columns, pilasters, and architraves—adapted to the wall architecture of the Renaissance) to be “a kind of additional brightness and improvement of Beauty.”
ANDO, TADAO (B. 1941)
Distinguished both for his beautiful minimalist buildings (many of them in his native Japan), which seem so often to rise out of water, and for the fact that he is self-taught. His latest building is the new Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (opened 2002), which finalized the Fort Worth triumvirate of Louis I. Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum and Philip Johnson’s Amon Carter Museum. He won the distinguished Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered to be the equivalent in stature of the Nobel Prize, in 1995. (See also Pritzker Architecture Prize.)
ANDREWS, JOHN (B. 1933)
Sydney-trained Australian architect who also worked under José Luis Sert, after Sert took over Walter Gropius’s position at Harvard University. Much of Andrews’s work has been done inCanada and the United States, including Scarborough College, University of Toronto (1962–69) and the CN Tower, Toronto (1976); the Seaport Passenger Terminal, Miami (1967); and the Gund Hall Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (1968), which so appealed to the now-iconic Philip Johnson that he named it “one of the six great buildings of the twentieth century.” Buildings in Andrews’s native Australia include the American Express Tower, Sydney (1976) and the Merlin Hotel, Perth (1984).
ARCHER, THOMAS (1668–1743)
English Baroque architect who designed the imposing north front of Chatsworth, Derbyshire, as well as three distinguished churches: Church of St. John, Smith Square, Westminster, London (1713–28); St. Paul’s Church, Deptford, London (1713–30); and Birmingham Cathedral (1710–15). He was quite unusual for an English architect of his period in that he showed a fine appreciation of European Baroque—as opposed to the usual British reinterpretation that was either imperfectly understood or more classical than flamboyant—and that he was much influenced by the great Italian architects Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, whose buildings he came across on his four-year grand tour between 1689 and 1693.
Every now and then in the history of architecture there arise individuals or groups who have an inverse reputation and influence either through their writings or imaginative sketches, or through their actual buildings. Archigram, a cutting-edge English group started in 1961 by Peter Cook, Michael Webb, and David Green, all born in the mid-1930s, was one such group. Their spot-on, for the time, Pop Art designs for a Plug-In City (1964), an Instant City (1968), and Urban Mark (1972)—with their visions of candy-colored, flexible, and disposable buildings with clip-on technology—were all considered brilliantly innovative in the climate of the Swinging Sixties, although they were never, of course, actually built. The group did, however, realize a much-praised project for Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan—their “Capsule.” The group disbanded in 1975. Nevertheless, they created what must have been at least a gratifying amount of favorable publicity in the decade and a half of their existence.
Very little is known about the early life (or even death) of this eighteenth-century British-born architect, except that he emigrated to America from England about 1751 and was said to be America’s first professional architect. He may even have worked in England for James Gibbs, who was one of the most influential British architects of his day. In any event, he reputedly designed some of the finest English Palladian-style houses in Virginia—such as Mount Airy in Richmond County (1755–58)—in the style of Gibbs, who was well known in America through his Book of Architecture (published 1728). Gibbs had died in 1754, only a couple of years after Ariss’s arrival on American shores. Clearly enterprising and, some might say opportunistic, Ariss advertised himself as “lately from Great Britain and ready to undertake buildings of all Sorts and Dimensions…either of the Ancient or Modern Order of Gibbs, Architect.”
A uniquely American partnership started in Florida in 1977 by Bernardo Fort-Brescia (b. 1951); his wife, Laurinda Hope-Spear (b. 1950); and Hervin A. Romney (who left the partnership in 1984). They came to public attention with the colorful Atlantis Condominium, Miami residential apartments (1980–82), subsequentially featured in the television series Miami Vice. Two buildings in Lima, Peru, followed: Mulder House (1983–85) and Banco di Crédito (1983–88). Further buildings in the United States for quite disparate clients included: the North Dade Justice Center, Miami (1984–87); the Center for Innovative Technology Herndon, Virginia, (1985–88); the Rio Shopping Center, Atlanta, Georgia (1987–88); and their greatly publicized Walt Disney’s All-Star Resort in Orlando, Florida (1994). They had a somewhat more solemn-sounding commission for the Banque de Luxembourg, Luxembourg (1989–94), but went back to their quirky entertainment architecture with their winning entry for the Westin Hotel New York at Times Square, a hotel and entertainment complex at Forty-second Street and Eighth Avenue in New York, with the theme of converting Times Square to a symbolized rocket crashing down on Disneyland.
ARUP, OVE (1895–1988)
British architect and structural engineer who trained in engineering in Denmark and in Germany. Arup Associates was formed in 1963 as a partnership of architects and engineers with Peter Rice and was responsible for various university buildings, including new buildings in Great Britain for Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Somerville College, Oxford. The associates gained a fine reputation for overcoming difficult structural problems, most notably with Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, and as consultants for a great many other notable late-twentieth-century buildings including Norman Foster’s Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Hong Kong; Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers’s Centre Pompidou in Paris; and Nicholas Grimshaw’s International Railway Terminal at Waterloo Station, London. Arup only became involved in architecture between 1936–39 when he worked with Berthold Lubetkin’s Tecton Group, pioneering a new approach with freely molded concrete for the much-lauded Penguin Pool at London Zoo. Arup’s own works include a series of bridges in the 1960s and ’70s.
ASHBEE, CHARLES ROBERT (1863–1942)
An architect, craftsman-designer, and one of the founders of the British Arts and Crafts movement along with the poet and artist William Morris, thearchitects Charles F. A. Voysey and W. R. Letharby and the cabinetmakers Ernest Grimson and the Barnsley brothers. A “medievalist” enamored with the Gothic style, in 1888 Ashbee founded his own Guild and School of Handicrafts numbering about 150 working men, women, and boys.
ASPLUND, ERIK GUNNAR (1885–1940)
Considered the most important Swedish architect of the twentieth century though he actually started off working in the manner of the Scandinavian classicism developed by Denmark. In 1930 he began to work more in the Central European Modern style, but substituted a distinctive lightness of form for the rather massive work then current. Probably his most famous works were the extension to the Town Hall of Göteborg (1934–37) and the Woodland Crematorium, Stockholm (1935–40), for which he also designed the interiors and furniture.
AULENTI, GAE (B. 1927)
Versatile and innovative Italian architect and furniture and lighting designer. Although one of her major jobs between 1980 and 1986 was the radical transformation of the 1900 Parisian train station Gare d’Orsay into the Musée d’Orsay, she had already achieved a widely diverse and impressive body of work. In the 1960s she produced the “Pipistrello” telescoping lamp for Martinello Luce, the“Jumbo” coffee table for Knoll, the Olivetti showrooms in Paris and Buenos Aires, a showroom for Knoll in New York, and showrooms in Turin and Brussels for Fiat. In the 1970s she designed the “Aulenti” collection for Knoll, the “Gaetano” glass table for Zanotta, and the “Patrocio” table map for Artemide. In the 1980s, while supervising the dauntingly large Gare d’Orsay transformation, she managed to design the interiors for the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, the “Cardine” and “Sanmarco” tables for Zanotta, and a “Jumbo” full-sized table for Knoll, as well as convert the Palazzo Grassi in Venice into a museum. In the 1990s she designed her well-known “Tour” glass-topped table on wheels for Fontana Arte and the Italian Pavilion for Expo ’92 in Seville.
Woodland Crematorium (1935–40), Stockholm, Sweden, by Erik Gunnar Asplund
BAILLIE SCOTT, MACKAY HUGH (1865–1945)
English architect who went on to become, like his contemporary Charles Rennie Mackintosh, much admired and emulated in Europe. In fact, at the turn of the twentieth century, one of the first indications of the spread of a whole new train of thought in design was the publication of rooms designed by Baillie Scott and C. R. Ashbee for the Grand Ducal Palace at Darmstadt in the German design periodical Innendekoration. Baillie Scott, like Mackintosh, integrated built-in furniture into his wall patterns, unified by innovative, mainly pastel color schemes of great delicacy.
BAKER, SIR HERBERT (1862–1946)
Born in Kent, England, Baker went to work in South Africa for Cecil Rhodes, and is primarily known for his work in that country. His projects included private houses in Johannesburg in the Arts and Crafts manner and the Government House and Union Buildings in Pretoria (the capital), on which he worked on and off from 1905 until 1913. With Edwin Lutyens, he also worked on government buildings in New Delhi, India and was responsible for the Secretariat and Legislative Buildings there (1912). He was, however, less original than Lutyens, as is evident in his later public buildings in London: The Bank of England (1921), India House (1925), and South Africa House (1930). His best building in England is thought to be the considerably less grand War Memorial Cloister at Winchester College (1922–24).
BALDWIN, BILLY (1903–1983)
American decorator who has been extremely influential on other decorators; in his turn he managed to synthesize ideas he most admired from those who influenced him (not least of which included his ultrastylish and glamorous clients). He turned these influences into a fresh, comfortable, and simple but luxurious and instantly recognizable style of his own, which was never vulgar or pretentious but always looked new, crisply modern, and well maintained, even if the room was mainly full of antique furniture—an admirable feat. He began his career inBaltimore where he was born, before coming to New York to work for the equally legendary decorator Ruby Ross Wood, who herself came from the South, but more so, one might say, being from Georgia. He had several other distinguished mentors, among them Van Day Truex—one-time head of the Parsons School of Design in New York City and brilliant designer for Tiffany’s—who kept him in touch with European and specifically Parisian design trends; the Parisian Jean Michel Frank, whose woven straw chair became a Baldwin staple; the famously stylish fellow citizen from Baltimore, Pauline Potter, who became the Baroness Philippe de Rothschild; the redoubtable Elsie de Wolfe, grand decorator between World War I and World War II; Syrie Maugham, who always quite erroneously described herself as the “first decorator”; and Frances Elkins, who was the first great Californian decorator, though she came from the Midwest.
BARNES, EDWARD LARRABEE (B. 1915)
Environmentally concerned American architect who trained under both Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard University. His sensitivity to community concerns has ranged from the rural and charmingly low-key Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (1958–62) on Deer Isle, Maine, to his creation of one of the best appreciated urban public spaces—the spectacular atrium he included in his IBM Building (1973–83) at 590 Madison Avenue, New York. Other notable buildings are the New England Merchants National Bank, Boston (1963–70); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1971–74); the Dallas Museum of Art (1983–84); and another of his Manhattan skyscrapers, 599 Lexington Avenue (1981–86).
BARNSLEY, ERNEST (1863–1926) AND SYDNEY (1865–1926)
Brothers who started off as British architects of the Arts and Crafts movement and formed the firm of Kenton & Co. with Ernest Grimson and W. R. Letharby. In 1893 the Barnsley Brothers moved to the Cotswolds with Grimson and ten years later to the village of Sapperton, where they concentrated on cabinet and furniture making, particularly in unstained oak. They became the most accomplished of the so-called Cotswold Group of Furniture Makers.
BARRAGÁN, LUIS (1902–1988)
Mexico City architect and landscape architect who combined the spare geometric forms of Le Corbusier (whom he much admired) with lush landscaping, distinctly local Mexican elements, and painted walls singing with sizzling colors, to create a highly individual style of his own. His vivid “wall architecture” has encouraged imitators around the world. The Museum of Modern Art in New York showed his work in 1976 and, in 1980, he was the second winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, first awarded in 1979 to Philip Johnson.
San Cristobal stable and house in Mexico City built by Luis Barragán in 1968. The pavilion with the fountain to the left is painted a deep orange. The stucco work to the right of the white main building is candy pink.
BARRY, SIR CHARLES (1795–1860)
Early Victorian eclectic British architect, principally known for winning the important competition to design the Houses of Parliament in 1835–36. (Work actually started on the buildings in 1839, although they were not formerly opened until 1852.) He started off as a Gothic Revival architect designing what he termed “pre-archeological” Gothic churches that owed little to a correct interpretation of the style and much to his own fanciful invention. Nevertheless, his Travellers’ Club in London, modeled after an Italian quattrocento palazetto, marked the beginning of the English neo-Renaissance style, while his elegant Reform Club owed more to the Italian cinquecento.
BASEVI, GEORGE (1794–1845)
A pupil of Sir John Soane and architect of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England (1836–45). Basevi’s elegantly prosperous Belgrave Square (less the corner houses), solidly handsome Thurloe Square, and various other graceful stuccoed terraces and crescents in South Kensington, London are all examples of a variety of gracious urban planning that have been much emulated.
BASSETT, FLORENCE KNOLL (B. 1917)
Legendary American architect, space planner, furniture designer, and founder—with her first husband Hans Knoll (killed in 1954 in an auto accident)—of Knoll International, the world-renowned office design and furniture company. She trained with Eliel Saarinen (father of Eero) and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and her first commission was to design the Rockefeller brothers’ Manhattan offices. Other notable commissions were the interiors for the Connecticut General Life Insurance headquarters near Hartford, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and the interiors of Eero Saarinen’s CBS Building in Manhattan. In her capacity as head of the Knoll Planning Unit, she was responsible for the production of many of the twentieth-century furniture classics like the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, the Saarinen Womb and Tulip tables and chairs, and furniture by Harry Bertoia, Gae Aulenti, and Richard Schultz, as well as the designs she produced herself.
BAUDOT, ANATOLE DE (1834–1915)
A follower and pupil of Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, scholar, medievalist, and restorer. Baudot’s Saint-Jean de Montmartre in Paris (1894–1902) was actually the first nineteenth-century Gothic building that successfully combined old and new as advocated by his old master in his two-volume work Entretiens (published 1863–72). All the structural members, including the vaulting ribs, were made of reinforced concrete, which was most unusual at that time.
BEHRENS, PETER (1868–1940)
German architect and industrial and typeface designer who could be said to have run a training camp of sorts for great architects, since he had Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier all working for short periods in his office. One of the founders of the determinedly Modernist Vereinigte Werkstatten at Munich, for whom he designed table glass and other domestic products, he had actually started off as a painter and in the 1890s was much attracted to the teaching of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. This may well explain why, in 1907, he was also one of the founders of the Deutscher Werkbund, an association of avant-garde manufacturers, artists, and writers trying to create a new national art based on the cooperation of architects, artists, and artisans. Possibly as a result of this cooperation, Behrens was appointed that same year to A.E.G. (General Electric Company), for whom he also designed shops, products, and stationery as well as factories, the latter being the first wholly modern factories to be taken seriously architecturally. After World War I (1914–18) his style changed radically first to the current Expressionism and then to International Modern.
BELLINI, MARIO (B. 1935)
Italian architect and furniture designer for C&B Italia, Cassina, Artemide, and Heller among others. As early as 1961, he won the first of several Italian Compasso d’Oro awards and in 1966 was designing the first of his furniture for C&B Italia (now B&B Italia), the company set up by the Cassina brothers and Piero Busnelli to produce contemporary furniture. The Pianeta Ufficio office systems furniture he set up in 1974 became very well known. He designed a Tokyo showroom for Cassina in 1991 (in a building designed by Tadeo Ando), the stylish Design Centre, Tokyo (1992), and the Presidential complex and tower for the Citadel in Moscow (1995).
BENJAMIN, ASHER (1773–1845)
A carpenter-builder who, through his enormously successful books, was probably one of the greatest influences on American nineteenth-century colonial architecture and design. He synthesized the works of both Charles Bulfinch and Benjamin Henry Latrobe in his widely read The Country Builder’s Assistant: Containing a Collection of New Designs of Carpentry and Architecture (1797) and went on to produce an even more successful work. His hardly succinctly titled The American Builder’s Companion: or a New System of Architecture Particularly Adapted to the Present Style of Building in the United States of America (1806) went through six editions during the succeeding years.
BELTER, JOHN HENRY (1804–1863)
A German immigrant craftsman who remains well known for his extraordinarily elaborate nineteenth-century Rococo Revival furniture, which are today considered collectors’ pieces. Some one hundred years before it reached its real commercial success, Belter was also one of the pioneer originators of what is now called plywood, or laminated plywood, which consists of a number of veneers glued or laminated over each other, usually at right angles.
BENNISON, GEOFFREY (1921–1985)
London antique dealer and decorator who had—and still has—a great influence on international fellow designers with what he called his “New-Trad” style, a look often thought of as the new “style Rothschild” since he did so much work for the Rothschild family on both sides of the Atlantic. All through the 1960s and ’70s a visit to Bennison’s shop was like a sensitively edited trip through the centuries. In those two crowded floors painted with his favorite warm scarlet paint, upholstered pieces in their original leather or velvet jostled with old tapestries, needlework, and faded fabrics. Nineteenth-century Persian carpets flanked overscale eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French mirrors and armoires. Elaborately decorated consoles and side tables combined with often eccentric but useful incidental furniture of any century or country.There were handsome examples of marquetry and pietra dure (the Italian term for a mosaic of semiprecious stones embedded in stone and often used for tabletops, altar fronts, and so on); inlaid ebony and boulle; Imari jars and blue and white porcelain; and bronze and marble classical sculpture, not to mention the plaster casts and busts either perched on pedestals or crowded on the tops of huge old bookcases. All of this ever-expanding stock went to achieve rooms of a moody, nostalgic comfort that many relate to the world-popular Ralph Lauren look of instant ancestry that followed a decade or so later.
BERNINI, GIOVANNI LORENZO (1598–1680)
Great Roman Baroque architect who was equally famous as a sculptor and painter. Although he was born in Naples, his family settled in Rome in 1605, and it is said that no other city is as full of one man’s vision, grandeur, and flamboyance—including Baron Haussmann’s nineteenth-century grand boulevards for Paris and John Nash’s Regency London. Bernini was appointed architect to St. Peter’s in 1624 at the age of twenty-six, and it was he who really rediscovered the genius of Michelangelo’s earlier grand conception. But although the amazing baldacchino he erected under Michelangelo’s dome at St Peter’s is considered a wonderfully showy masterpiece, with its enormous bronze barley sugar twist columns, the majority of his most important ecclesiastical buildings were achieved in his middle age and after. Later Roman works, mostly from 1650 onward, included the extraordinary oval Piazza of St. Peter’s, with its surrounding colonnades of freestanding columns with a straight entablature above; the facade and imposing staircase of the Palazzo Barberini; the Cornaro Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, with its stunning lighting and scenic illusions; and Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, with its sculptural decoration and the Palazzo di Montecitorio and Palazzo Odescalchi, this last a model for subsequent European palaces. His fame became so prodigious that Louis XIV of France, the great “Sun King,” was said to have begged him to come to Paris to help complete the east front of the Louvre, although the subsequent very grand designs were never used; they were discarded in favor of the amateur architect Claude Perrault’s much lighter and more elegant facade, with its pairs of slender columns. It is said, however, that Perrault, a former doctor turned architect, used Bernini’s designs as a basis for his work.
BERTOIA, HARRY (1915–1978)
American furniture designer who is particularly known for the wire-mesh and wire-shell “Diamond” chair he designed for Knoll, which is now a twentieth-century classic.
BLONDEL, JACQUES-FRANÇOIS (1705–1774)
More influential as a writer and teacher than as a practicing architect, Blondel ran his own school of architecture in Paris during the Louis XV Rococo period.His publications included L’Architecture Française (1752–56) and Cours d’Architecture (1771–77). He taught that the walls, furnishings, and furniture in a room should be designed as a single entity and result in a homogenous whole. This idea became a guiding principle of the Rococo movement, though Blondel, who equally extolled the great classical traditions of Mansart and Perrault, also laid down the foundations for the Neoclassicism that was to follow. In 1756, he gave up his school to become professor at the Académie Royale d’Architecture.
The colonnade in the Piazza di San Pietro, Rome, by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, begun 1656
BOFFRAND, GABRIEL-GERMAIN (1667–1754)
Like Bernini, Boffrand—the greatest French Rococo architect, who in the Rococo manner, included the decoration and furnishing of interiors as part of the whole building project—began as a sculptor before he became first pupil and then collaborator with Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the then-official architect to the court of King Louis XIV. He specialized in sophisticated but simple and elegant elevations with luxurious interiors andmade a fortune with the speculative building of large Parisian hôtels particulières, but lost most of it in the infamous Mississippi Bubble of 1720. He had great influence abroad, particularly in Germany, whose enthusiasm for the Rococo in the eighteenth century continued in the face of the growing taste for the Neoclassical (mostly because Germany at that time was dotted with principalities all vying with each other for the best and most sumptuous architecture). The cogniscenti appear to think that his most striking and elegantly informal building is in his Château de Saint-Ouen, consisting of a small Trianon-like pavilion of three rooms set in a spacious courtyard formed by the guest’s apartments, stable, and domestic offices—small, as they say, but perfectly formed.
BOFILL, RICARDO (LEVI) (B. 1939)
Spanish architect and founder of the Barcelona architectural workshop Taller de Arquitectura in 1962. His first vividly painted and quirky low-cost housing complexes were a little reminiscent of Luis Barragán’s equally vivid “wall architecture” in Mexico. But Bofill is particularly known for his huge French Postmodernist housing and commercial developments, most of them around Paris. He also designed the Alice Pratt Brown Hall, home for the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
BORROMINI, FRANCESCO (1599–1677)
Particularly gifted but unconventional Roman Baroque architect. He was a contemporary of and, for a time, an assistant to Bernini (of whom he was said to be neurotically jealous); nevertheless, unlike Bernini, he started as a stonecutter rather than as a sculptor and painter. He progressed to being a stone carver at St. Peter’s and from there became chief assistant to Bernini, both working on St. Peter’s and on the Palazzo Barberini. Borromini, however, abhorred what he considered to be Bernini’s lack of technical knowledge, and when he was offered the job of designing the miniature San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1637–41), he seized the opportunity to produce, in effect, one of the most ingenious spatial compositions in existence. He went on to design San Ivo della Sapienza (1643–60), famous for its vertical star-hexagon shape and ziggurat-like spiral dome. Later buildings, however, were either left unfinished, or for various reasons, were less of a success.
BOTTA, MARIO (B. 1943)
Leading Swiss architect who had the inimitable advantage of working under both Le Corbusier and Louis I. Kahn. He started his career fairly modestly with a series of small houses gently worked into their surrounding landscape. He then proceeded to create some highly individual major buildings notable for their relaxed but innovative use of modern construction techniques, for their arresting shapes, and fortheir boldly colored and patterned facades. These include the triangular Watari-um, Tokyo (1990); the Commercial and Residential Building, Lugano, Switzerland (1991); the Museum of Modern Art San Francisco (1994); the Cathedral at Evry, near Paris (1995); and the Tinguely Museum, Basel, Switzerland (1996).
Ceiling of a small room in the Palazzo Falconieri (ca. 1640), Rome, by Francesco Borromini
BOUDIN, STÉPHANE (1888–1967)
French interior designer who worked for the House of Jansen, a Parisian decorating firm, for the first sixty or so years of the twentieth century. Representing for many the apotheosis of refined French taste and grandeur, he designed rooms for royalty (the Duke and Duchess of Windsor), for presidents (the Kennedy White House), for the aristocracy, and for the international super-rich.
BRAMANTE, DONATO (1444–1514)
Great High Renaissance architect, much influenced by Alberti, Michelozzo, and Leonardo da Vinci, who was described flatteringly by the great architect Palladio as “the first who brought good architecture to light.” Certainly, his monumental classical buildings in Rome, which approximated the spirit of antiquity, were to have a lasting influence on the development of Italian architecture. He was born and grew up near Urbino, where he met leading painters of the day—such as Piero della Francesca and Francesco di Giorgio—who may have fueled his abiding interest in perspective and its problems. In fact, in 1481 Bramante made a drawing that was subsequently engraved as a model of perspective for painters. In the meantime, he was employed by Duke Ludovico Sforza, for whom he worked as a decorative painter as well as an architect. His first building of any note was Santa Maria presso San Satiro in Milan. Begun in 1482, it elegantly wrapped around the very small ninth-century Capella della Pietà. He designed or worked on different parts of various other Milanese churches, until the French invasion of Lombardy in 1499 and the consequent fall of the Sforza family made it advisable to leave Milan for Rome. Apparent in his circular Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio (commissioned 1502; built 1504-after 1510) in Rome, his style changed out of all recognition, assuming a gravitas more appropriate to that city. Raphael, who inherited his mantle asthe first architect of Rome, eventually acquired the Palazzo Caprini, which Bramante had envisaged and had only just begun at the time of his death. Its design, with a heavily rusticated basement and five pedimented windows between coupled half columns on the upper floor, was widely imitated over the next century.
BREUER, MARCEL (1902–1981)
Born in Hungary and one of the chief Bauhaus architects and furniture designers. He studied at the Bauhaus School in Weimer with Walter Gropius from 1920, at the age of eighteen, until he resigned in 1928 to start his own practice in Berlin. In 1925 he had became head of the joinery and cabinet workshop at the Bauhaus and that same year, inspired, it was said, by the handlebars of his bicycle, designed the first tubular steel and cantilevered chair called the “Wassily” chair. In 1928, he produced his most famous chair, called the “Cesna,” consisting of one continuous steel frame acting as a cantilever with a cane seat and back in a black bentwood frame. “The most up-to-date material—chrome steel,” he explained, “contrasts with the oldest material—cane seating and wood.” Both chairs are considered icons of twentieth-century furniture designs. His first two architectural commissions in the early 1930s (the Harnischmacher House I in Wiesbaden, Germany, and the Mehrfamilienhäuser Doldertal, a residential complex in Zürich, designed with Alfred and Emil Roth) also showed an unmistakable talent. In 1935 he was forced by the rise of Nazism to move to London, which he apparently found less than hospitable—although his famous laminated wood “long chair” was first made by a British firm, the Isokon Furniture Company, in 1936 and his “Civic Center for the Future” project evoked great interest. In 1937, his old mentor Gropius invited him to teach at Harvard. Breuer worked in association with Gropius from 1937–40 before starting once more on his own. Many of America’s most outstanding architects—including Philip Johnson, Paul Rudolph, I. M. Pei, Edward Barnes, and John Johansen—were students of Breuer. He was commissioned to design some private houses in New England, including one for himself (the first of four he designed at different times), which had considerable influence on American residential architecture, as did the “Butterfly” house that he designed for the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1949 after he had moved his practice to New York in 1946. There, although he always liked to have some houses to design, he moved on to designing larger domestic and more international buildings, such as the Ferry Cooperative House, a dormitory for Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York; the De Bijenkorf Department Store in Rotterdam, Holland; and the new UNESCO headquarters in Paris (with Bernard-Louis Zehrfuss of France and Pier Luigi Nervi of Italy), all in the early 1950s. These were followed, among others, by the Lecture Hall, New York University Heights campus, Bronx (now part of the City University ofNew York); the IBM Research Center building in La Gaude, France, near Nice; the mountain resort town of Flaine, France; the IBM complex at Boca Raton, Florida; and the 1966 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
BROSSE, SALOMON DE (1571–1626)
Early French classical architect and the most distinguished precursor of François Mansart, who was believed to have been Brosse’s pupil when he worked on the Château de Coulommiers (1613). The Château de Luxembourg (1615; enlarged and altered in the nineteenth century) and the Château de Blérancourt (1612–19), along with the Palais du Parlement at Rennes (1618), were his most notable works. They conveyed his sense of plasticity and his ability to view architecture in terms of mass—in contrast to the emphasis of the Mannerists of the previous generation on complex and often ambiguous surface decoration.
BROWN, “CAPABILITY” (CHRISTENED LANCELOT, 1716–1783)
British architect of some elegant, landscape-accessory buildings, like temples, ornamental bridges, and gateways in the frivolous—as opposed to the more serious—Gothic taste, and one or two extensions to country houses, as well as a few new houses, including Croome Court, Worcestershire. Brown actually started off as a gardener, which he parlayed into fame as an outstanding landscape architect. He often talked of his work in terms of exploiting the “capability” of a site, hence his nickname. In 1741 he was appointed head gardener and supervisor of building works at Stowe, in Buckinghamshire, working there with William Kent on his great master plans for the park. After that outstanding success, he set himself up, nine years later, as a consultant landscape architect. Of his work it was said that his numerous artfully informal parks were less an alternative to formal gardens than an alternative to nature in the raw. The results of his landscaping plans can still be seen today, most notably at Warwick Castle (1750); his own Croome Court (1751–53) in Worcestershire; Bowood House (1761) in Wiltshire; Dodington Park (1764), South Gloucestershire; Blenheim in Oxfordshire (1765)—though it is now much altered; Ashburnham (1767) in Sussex; and Nuneham Park, Nuneham Courtenay (1778), again in Oxfordshire. His work and philosophy came to be appreciated as much in America and continental Europe as in England, although he was criticized toward the end of his life for making his landscapes look too much like common pastureland and for their lack of variety and somewhat sleepy tranquility.
BROWN, ELEANOR McMILLEN (1890–1990) & McMILLEN, INC.
One of the first American “lady decorators” of the early twentieth century to found, in 1924, a proper, full-scale, professional design business that has flourished ever since. She studiedthe history of decorating under William Odom (known as “Mr. Taste”), then principal of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, which became Parsons School of Design in 1940. McMillen, with the help of William Odom, who shipped beautiful furniture to the firm from Europe, established a fine reputation for correct period detailing and the highest quality work allied to a deep and relaxed comfort. In short, the firm established a set of standards for the best of American decorating; subsequently many of America’s most famous interior designers have passed through its portals.
BRUNEL, ISAMBARD KINGDOM (1806–1859)
The great British bridge-and-tunnel man, as well as ship and docks builder, was educated in Paris and trained in his father’s office. (His father, Sir Mark Isambard Kingdom Brunel, designer of the Thames Tunnel from Wapping to Rotherhithe, 1824–43, was born in Normandy and had worked in the French navy and as the city engineer for New York State before settling in England in 1799.) The son’s triumphs ranged from the noble Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol (1829), which he designed when he was only twenty-three, to the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash (opened in 1859); the Great Western Railway line from London to Bristol, which included the Box Tunnel; and The Great Western ship that took only fifteen days to get to America, an astonishing feat in those days, and the even larger Great Eastern, as well as the Bristol and Monkwearmouth docks.
BRUNELLESCHI, FILIPPO (1377–1446)
Although he began as a goldsmith and sculptor, he ended up—almost by accident after a visit to Rome with Donatello to study antique sculpture—as the first and one of the greatest Italian Renaissance architects. He was considerably less dogmatic than his immediate successors, Alberti and Michelozzo, being much less concerned with antiquity than with the practical problems of construction and space management. Although his interiors were exquisitely pure and simple, he seemed to have been drawn toward ancient Rome for its engineering prowess rather than for aesthetic reasons. Importantly, he was also the prime formulator of the laws on Linear perspective, a subject that often confused early painters and architects. His first architectural project seems to have been to give advice on one of the buttresses for Florence Cathedral in 1404. In fact, most of his great buildings were subsequently erected in Florence, his native city, from 1418 onward, and his masterpieces were the dome of the Cathedral in Florence begun in 1420, and the Ospedale degli Innocenti, also in Florence, designed in 1419 and built between 1421 and 1444, which is often declared the first real Renaissance building.
BUGATTI, CARLO (1856–1940)
Extraordinarily inventive and eclectic late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century Italian designer who created part oriental, partmachine-inspired, and nearly always exotic entities from jewelry and silver to whole rooms (his son, Ettore Bugatti, later became well known for his racing cars). He won the Diploma of Honor at the 1902 Turin exhibition for his Snail Room, which was furnished with his own eccentric furniture and whose walls were finished in a mixture of wood veneers, pewter, and vellum painted in red and gold. In 1904 he moved from Milan to Paris to concentrate on his silver designs, but his extraordinary furniture continued being produced by the Milanese firm De Vecchi.
Clifton Suspension Bridge, spanning 702 feet across the Avon Gorge near Bristol, England, by I. K. Brunel. Begun in 1836 and completed in 1864, five years after Brunel’s death.
BULFINCH, CHARLES (1763–1844)
A distinguished late-eighteenth-century and early-nineteenth-century American architect from Boston who, after graduating from Harvard, embarked on a prolonged two-year visit to Europe, where he met with and was advised by Thomas Jefferson. Other abiding influences were Sir Christopher Wren, Robert Adam, and Sir William Chambers. On his return to the States he started work on some of the most outstanding public buildingsof his time, including, between 1789 and 1817, a sixty-foot-high Doric column called the Beacon Monument in Boston; the Old State House at Hartford, Connecticut; and the Massachusetts State House and the Court House, both in Boston, as well as some particularly pleasant and unified terraces of town houses in that city. His career culminated with the Capitol in Washington, D.C., where he was in charge of the ongoing work from 1818 to 1830.
Pazzi Chapel, set in the cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, by Filippo Brunelleschi, begun 1429
BUNSHAFT, GORDON (1909–1990)
American architect with a long career as a partner and chief designer for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, one of the iconic architectural partnerships for twentieth-century commercial buildings. Bunshaft designed many of Manhattan’s towering landmarks of the 1950s and ’60s: Lever House (1952), the Manufacturers Trust Building (1954), and 140 Broadway (1967). He also designed the National Commercial Bank building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (1977–84). In 1988, he was the tenth winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.
BURGES, WILLIAM (1827–1881)
Widely traveled nineteenth-century Gothic Revivalist architect known for his highly decorative designs and decoration as well as his particular renditions of both English and French Gothic forms. He was originally trained as an engineer but then switched to designing both the exteriors and interiors of buildings. In 1856 he won, with fellow architect Henry Clutton (1819–1893), the competition for the Cathedral at Lille, France, but, as all too often happens with the winners of architectural competitions, he did not actually get to do the work. Three years later he added the east end of Waltham Abbey, in Essex, England, and went on to design additional buildings: Cork Cathedral in Ireland (1862–76); a substantial and resplendent addition to Cardiff Castle in Wales (1868–85); Harrow School Speech Room (1872); Hartford College, Connecticut (1873–80); and his own elaborately decorated house in Melbury Road, Kensington, London (1875–80).
BURLINGTON, RICHARD BOYLE, THIRD EARL OF BURLINGTON AND FOURTH EARL OF CORK (1694–1753)
The leading apologist for English Palladianism, as well as being a brilliant amateur architect in his own right. He first visited Italy in 1714–15, but his overwhelming conversion to Palladianism did not manifest itself fully until his return to London, which happened to coincide with the publication of Colen Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus as well as Leoni’s edition of Andrea Palladio’s Four Books of Architecture. Deeply impressed by the designs in these publications, he replaced James Gibbs—whom he had formerly commissioned to design his own Burlington House off Piccadilly, London (now housing the Royal Academy but, since its restoration, still containing a splendid room fully furnished and decorated by William Kent)—with Campbell. He then set out for Italy once again to study Palladio’s buildings more thoroughly and at first hand, returning in 1719 with the talented young protégé William Kent, whom he had met on his travels. For the next three decades Burlington, aided and abetted by Kent, virtually held sway over the British architectural scene, as well as its landscape, spreading the fashion for unadulterated English Palladianism, which, according to the satirist Alexander Pope, filled “half the land with imitating fools.” And, indeed, houses designed for the sun in Italy did not necessarily sit well in the colder and rainier climate of the British Isles. Burlington’s own best-known works were Chiswick House, his villa based on Palladio’s Villa Rotonda (1723–29)—one of several around the world; the Dormitory at Westminster School, London (1722–30; rebuilt in 1947); and the Assembly Rooms building in York (1732; refronted in 1828), an exact copy of Palladio’s Egyptian Hall, which in turn was based on one of Vitruvius’s designs.
BURTON, DECIMUS (1800–1881)
Prolific and precocious nineteenth-century British architect, who at twenty-three designed the Colosseum in Regent’s Park, London with a Greek Doric portico, including what must have been one of the first elevators and a dome larger than St. Paul’s Cathedral. The building was destroyed in 1875. At twenty-five he had already started work on the improvements to Hyde Park, including the Hyde Park Corner screen and Constitution Arch (1827–28). By the age of thirty he had designed and built the grand Athenaeum Club, looking over Carlton House Terrace. Other considerable achievements were the great Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire (with Sir Joseph Paxton, 1801–1865), as well as a number of villas in Regent’s Park, various country houses, and a development of handsome villas (many of them presciently designed with an arcade of bow-windowed shops underneath) in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Sadly, an entire Burton terrace in Tunbridge was torn down in the first half of the twentieth century to make way for a new town hall, which, ironically, is now itself preserved.
BUTTERFIELD, WILLIAM (1814–1900)
Well-known British High-Church Gothic Revivalist architect, responsible for a large number of Victorian ecclesiastical and scholastic buildings including St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury Kent (the 1840s); the red-brick All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London (1849–59); Keble College, Oxford (1867–75); Rugby School buildings (1870–86); and, an exception to his ecclesiastical and scholastic work, the sturdy and utilitarian County Hospital at Winchester, Hampshire (1863).
CALATRAVA, SANTIAGO (B. 1951)
Highly original Spanish architect and concrete engineer who has designed aseries of bridges, railway stations, and telecommunications towers in France, Switzerland, and Spain, respectively. (His work has all the fizzing vitality yearned over in the futuristic drawings of the young Italian Sant’Elia, who was killed in World War I before he could build a thing.) Calatrava’s stunning City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia, Spain, and auditorium for the Tenerife Opera House on the waterfront in the Los Llanos area of Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife, Spain, are both generating new tourist trade in themselves. In its way, the form of the Santa Cruz auditorium takes over where the Sydney Opera House leaves off. His addition to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York was a comparatively recent commission, but his latest job in that city was the new station at the revived World Trade Center site (the master plan for rebuilding the 16-acre site of the former World Trade Center was designed by Daniel Libeskind). Another fairly recent commission was the expansion of the museum complex for the Milwaukee Art Museum (1994–2001).
Not much is known about his personal dates and details, except that he was the ancient Greek Athenian architect, who, together with Ictinus, designed the Parthenon (448–432 B.C.). He was thought to have built the little Ionic temple of Nike on the Acropolis as well as the south and central portions of the Long Walls from Athens to Piraeus.
The Parthenon (temple to Athena) (448–432 B.C.), Acropolis, Athens, by Callicrates and Ictinus
CAMERON, CHARLES (CA. 1745–1812)
Scottish-born architect, designer of interiors, and follower of Robert Adam, who visited Rome in 1768 and was inspired to publish in 1772 The Baths of the Romans Explained and Illustrated, with the Restorations of Palladio Corrected and Improved. The book may have caught the imagination of Catherine the Great of Russia because in 1773 she apparently fired the French architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau, whom she had invited to submit designs for a new building to be built on the grounds of Tsarskoe Selo, her Palace near St. Petersburg, and summoned Cameron to her court. Seven years after the book’s publication she appointed him chief architect in charge of designing various interiors for her within some of her palatial residences, including the marvelously inventive and fanciful interiors at Tsarskoe Selo, started in 1779, and the adjacent Cold Baths, Agate Pavilion, and Cameron Gallery (1779–85). He also built the enormous palace at Pavlovsk (1782–85) for Grand Duke Paul (Catherine’s son). The Temple of Friendship (1780) was the first Greek Revival monument in Russia. Cameron was dismissed from royal service when Catherine died in 1796 but stayed on in Russia working for private patrons. In 1805 he also designed the naval hospital and barracks at Kronstadt.
CAMPBELL, COLEN (1676–1729)
Although he built Wanstead House, now demolished, which became the model for the English Palladian country house, little is known about Campbell’s early life until 1715, when he published the first volume of Vitruvius Britannicus, his treatise on the Roman Vitruvius’s work De Architectural, which had had such an enormous influence on Italian Renaissance architecture and in turn on Andrea Palladio, English Palladianism, and finally on Neoclassicism. After he had remodeled James Gibbs’s designs for Burlington House, London (1718–19) for Lord Burlington, he designed the imposing Houghton Hall, Norfolk (1721, executed by Ripley with modifications by Gibbs), Mereworth Castle (1722–25)—considered the best variation of the various English versions of Palladio’s Rotunda design (Lord Burlington’s Chiswick House was another)—as well as the elegant Compton Place in Eastbourne, Sussex (1726–27).
CAMPEN, JACOB VAN (1595–1657)
One of Holland’s leading Palladian architects, known for his simple and economic form of classicism and his use—most unusual at the time—of brick mixed with stone. His style was expressed particularly well at the Mauritshuis in The Hague (1633–35); his huge Town Hall in Amsterdam (1648–55), which now serves as the Royal Palace, is entirely built in stone and is a much-heavier-looking building.
CANDELA, FELIX (1910–1997)
Spanish-born, Mexican concrete engineer and architect, important as a mid-twentieth-century Expressionist. Some of his most interesting earlier works are considered to be the midcentury Expressionist Church of Our Lady of Miracles (1953–55), the very small Cosmic-Ray Pavilion, University City (1951–52), and the Radiation Institute (1954), all in Mexico City. Later buildings included a 1958 restaurant at Xochimilco (which he designed with Joaquin Alvarez Ordóñez and is reported to be skillfully perched in “water gardens like an eight-petaled flower of paraboloids”), as well as the Olympic Stadium, Mexico City (1968).
CANDELA, ROSARIO (1884–1966)
American architect and a transformer of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He was the architect who replaced so many of the nineteenth-century single-family mansions with the stately limestone-fronted Beaux Arts style apartment buildings that now line Fifth and Park Avenues. He managed to convert the prosperity of the timeinto the feel of the structures and instill a sense of stability and luxury that are as endemic to the beautifully detailed buildings as their sense of substance.
CASTAING, MADELEINE (1894–1992)
Another French decorator of great individuality and idiosyncrasy, who worked until she was almost one hundred and had, through her shop on the corner of the Rue Jacob and Rue Bonaparte in Paris, an enormous influence on American and British designers and decorators. In her shop, opened in the 1940s and not shut until the 1990s, she pioneered the idea of furnishing its various spaces like rooms in a house. In her decorating she pursued, like Proust, the results of her own Recherche du Temps Perdus, basing her work on a kind of nineteenth-century literary fantasy. Although her style was always based on some sort of dreamlike invented past, she was—like her contemporary and another great international influence, Jean Michel Frank—a Modernist who, nevertheless, was also inspired by the past. In the decoration world she is considered to be one of the true twentieth-century design originals.
CHAMBERS, SIR WILLIAM (1723–1796)
Important eighteenth-century British architect born in Göteborg, Sweden, where his Scots father was a merchant. He joined the Swedish East India Company at the age of sixteen and for the next nine years traveled back and forth to India and China. His travels would later inform his treatise on oriental architecture and play a role in his subsequent architectural success. However, his training at the architectural school in Paris, run by Jacques-François Blondel (1705–1774), did not start until he was twenty-six and was then continued in Italy until 1755, when he went to live in London. Within a year he had been appointed architectural tutor to the then Prince of Wales. He published his influential Designs of Chinese Buildings in 1757, and shortly after that he was appointed architect to King George III, along with Robert Adam. He was then appointed Comptroller and finally Surveyor-General for the King, during which time he wrote his standard work, A Treatise on Civil Architecture. His style was based on a rather academic Palladianism overlaid with the eclecticism and finesse imparted by his various travels. The Pagoda at Kew Gardens, London, is one of his most famous works. Another is Somerset House, off the Strand, London, with its front facade—a deliberate imitation of a Palladian composition originally carried out on the same site by Inigo Jones—shielding a splendidly spacious courtyard, and an interesting rear facade facing onto the river Thames.
CHIPPENDALE, THOMAS, II (1718–1779)
Enormously influential eighteenth-century furniture designer on both sides of the Atlantic. He was the middle and most distinguished of three generations of eighteenth-centuryEnglish furniture designers, all called Thomas, which can lead to some confusion. He worked with Robert Adam in the 1770s, producing some beautiful inlaid, Neoclassical pieces, but he also worked in a number of other styles including Gothic, Rococo, and Chinoiserie. His name and influence became particularly widespread after the publication of his trade catalog Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director in 1754. Although it was intended as an advertisement, the Director was actually the first complete and comprehensive pattern book for furniture to appear and was duly seized upon by lesser American and British cabinetmakers for its inspiration. Apparently, most of the designs were actually the work of Matthias Lock and Henry Copeland, who were employed by Chippendale at that time. Nevertheless, it was Chippendale who—according to J. T. Smith, the nineteenth-century writer—gained the reputation of being “the most famous Upholsterer and Cabinet-maker of his day, to whose folio work on household furniture the trade formerly made constant reference.” The Director was reprinted in 1755, and in 1762 a third and much enlarged edition was produced. In America, a group of furniture designers on the East Coast started towork in the Chippendale fashion and were consequently called American Chippendales. Their work, whenever one comes across it, is now highly prized. The group included such names as William Savery, Jonathan Gostelowe, Thomas Tufts, and Benjamin Randolph from Philadelphia; John Goddard and his relatives Christopher and John Townsend of Newport; Benjamin Frothingham of Charlestown, Massachusetts; Marinus Willett and Andrew Gautier of New York; Aaron Chapin of Hartford, Connecticut; and Webb and Scott of Providence. Of these works it is mostly the chairs and highboys—of William Savery (ca. 1721–1787) and John Goddard (ca. 1750)—and the fine secretary desks formerly known as Rhode Island desks that are the best known.
The Pagoda (1757–63) at Kew Gardens, near London, by Sir William Chambers
Chippendale Gothic chair
CLÉRISSEAU, CHARLES-LOUIS (1721–1820)
French Neoclassical draftsman and architect who, paradoxically, widely inspired his peer group both in Europe and the United States by his teaching and his deep knowledge of Roman architecture, although his own buildings were undistinguished. Thomas Jefferson became one of his patrons, as did his former pupils Robert and James Adam and William Chambers in England. Catherine the Great of Russia also commissioned designs from him, but like so many designs planned with high hopes for royalty, they were never built.
COATES, WELLS WINDEMUT (1895–1958)
A British pioneer of the International Modern Style as early as the 1930s. His pioneering Lawn Road Flats (apartment complexes) in Hampstead, London, built in concrete in the Modernist style in 1932–34, were one of the first developments of their kind in Britain.
COLOMBO, JO (1930–1971)
One of the most conspicuously original of the Italian architects and furniture and lighting designers of the 1960s who, for a decade or so, turned furniture, product, interior, and industrial design on its head. In 1948, Colombo founded the Movimento Arte Concreta along with Tawny Munari and Gillo Dorfles. In the productive and sizzling-colored 1960s, before his early death at forty-one, he designed the “Colombo” lamp for O-Luce, his “Mini-kitchen” for Boffi, his “4801” plywood chair for Kartell, the “Additional System” seating group of self-assembly furniture for Sormani, his “Tube” chair for Flexform (made from four plastic tubes covered in polyurethane foam and stretch fabric) and the “Roto-Living” unit for Sormani. In 1971, the year he died, Bayer, the German manufacturer, honored Colombo, the American designer Verner Panton, and the French designer Olivier Mourgue with a tripart exhibition of their work.
CONRAN, SIR TERENCE (B. 1931)
Prescient British furniture designer who virtually revolutionized furnitureselling around the world with the opening of his groundbreaking store, Habitat, in 1964, that made high design available at lower prices for the young. Stores were subsequently opened in major cities all around the world. The Conran name, through his design group, has become synonymous with sympathetic, clean-lined public and office spaces as well as with a whole raft of restaurants as far apart as New York and Tokyo, and Paris and London, not to mention his various books on so many different aspects of design for the home.
CORTONA, PIETRO BERRETTINA DA (1596–1669)
Great Italian Baroque painter and apparently natural-born architect with very little, if any, training who announced that he only regarded architecture as a pastime. In fact, the villa (now destroyed) he designed for his first patrons, the Sacchetti family, was said to be a landmark in villa design, and his first church, S. S. Martina e Luca in Rome (1634–69), was the first entirely homogenous Baroque church. Born in Cortona in Tuscany, the son of a stonemason, he moved to Rome at the age of eighteen to apprentice with an undistinguished Florentine painter. Happily for him, he was taken up by the highly cultivated Francesco Barberini and his circle, who ensured that Cortona had as many architectural as painting commissions. Particularly interesting are S. Maria della Pace in Rome (1656–59), which was treated rather like a theater, S. Maria in Via Lata in the same city (1658–62), and the dome of S. Carlo al Corso (begun 1668).
COSTA, LUCIO (1902–1998)
French-born Brazilian architect, planner, and distinguished architectural historian on the International Commission for Ancient Monuments. He led the team working on the new building for the Ministry of Education in Rio de Janeiro (1937–43), one of whose members was Oscar Niemeyer, who also worked in his office. Le Corbusier was the consultant on the project. Costa also built the Brazilian Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939 with Niemeyer. In 1957, he won the competition to plan the city of Brasilia, then scheduled to become the new capital of Brazil, and Niemeyer became the chief architect. All the results of this long collaboration between the two men have been impressive, but both the general planning and the extraordinarily original buildings of Brasilia have been particularly memorable.
CUVILLIÉS, FRANÇOIS (1695–1768)
Leading French Rococo architect and, like Sir William Chambers, a pupil of Jacques-François Blondel. His masterpiece is the wonderfully delicate and exotically silvered interior of Amalienburg (1734–39) in the park of Nymphenburg, near Munich, Germany. The little Amalienburg Pavilion is considered by many to be the apotheosis of secular Rococo architecture.
DANCE, GEORGE, THE YOUNGER (1741–1825)
Reputedly, one of the most innovative British Neoclassical architects of his age, although many of his buildings—such as Newgate Prison (1770–80) and the Council Chamber of Guildhall, London (built in 1777, with a parachute-like dome and fine lines radiating from the glazed opening in the center—were sadly destroyed. His father, George Dance senior, also an architect, designed the Mansion House, London (1739–42), home to the Lord Mayor. George Dance junior, together with his brother, Nathaniel Dance, the painter, were sent to study in Italy for seven clearly profitable years. Dance started his career by winning a gold medal in Parma in 1763 for some impressive Neoclassical designs and went on to design the pure and beautiful All Hallows Church on London Wall (1765–67). He became a founder member of the Royal Academy in 1768, and some of his subsequent work still extant in London includes the Library of Lansdowne House (1788–91) and the College of Surgeons (1806–13), as well as the austere Stratton Park (1803–06) in Hampshire, these last two with early Greek Revival influence. The manipulation of light at Landsdowne House, through concealed windows set in the exedrae (semidomed, semicircular recesses) at either end of the long flat-vaulted room, recalls the work of Sir John Soane, who was actually a pupil of Dance, and perhaps his best legacy.
DAVIS, ALEXANDER JACKSON (1803–1892)
Versatile American nineteenth-century architect and one of the founders of the American Institute of Architects. With his partner Ithiel Town (1784–1844)—who had already designed the Connecticut State Capitol with a Greek Doric portico in 1827—he designed the state capitols of Indiana (1831), North Carolina (also 1831), Illinois (1837), and Ohio (1839). Although Davis was talented at designing grandly Greek Revivalist buildings, he was equally adept at collegiate Gothic, as can be seen, for example, in New York University, Washington Square (1832 onward). But he was also interested in using the latest contemporary materials, designing an iron storefront as early as 1835 when metals of any sort were not yet fully accepted as building materials.
DAY, ROBIN (B. 1915) AND LUCIENNE (B. 1917)
British husband and wife design partnership for furniture (mainly by Robin) and textile, wallpaper, and ceramic (mainly by Lucienne). They designed, among other furniture, the best-selling polypropylene “Mark II” stacking chairs (more than 12 million sold) in 1963 and the “Hadrian” seating series in 1981 for the British furniture manufacturer Hille, the latter of which was chosen as the seating for the lobbies at the then new Barbican Center in London. One of their earliest successes as a couple was the Homes and Gardens Pavilion at the Festival of Britain in 1951; Robin designed the actual pavilion and furniture, and Lucienne designed the upholstery. In 1954 Lucienne was awarded the Grand Prize at the 10th Milan Triennale, along with Gio Ponti, for their One Room. Apartment (she designed the textiles). The couple had a much-heralded resurgence in the early part of the twenty-first century with an exhibition of their work at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
State Capitol (1839–61), Columbus, Ohio, by Alexander Jackson Davis with Henry Walter
DE SANCTIS, FRANCESCO (1693–1740)
Best known as the designer of the wonderful curvilinear Baroque Spanish Steps in Rome, leading from the Piazza di Spagna to S. Trinità dei Monti.
DEINOCRATES (4TH CENTURY B.C.)
Greek architect and a contemporary of Alexander the Great who was apparently one of the architects, along with Paeonius, of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (ca. 356 B.C.). He is also credited with having designed the town plan for Alexandria.
DOWNING, ANDREW JACKSON (1815–1852)
Nineteenth-century American architect in partnership with Calvert Vaux (1824–1895) but much better known as a writer on landscape gardening and country houses who is often called America’s Humphry Repton or John Loudon. Publications include the following: A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1841), Cottage Residences (1842), Notes about Buildings in the Country (1849), and The Architecture of Country Houses (1850).
EAMES, CHARLES (1907–1978) AND KAISER, RAY (1912–1988)
Influential Californian architects and furniture designers. As husband and wife working together, they produced some of the most interesting and ubiquitous twentieth-century furniture, now considered design classics. During the 1940s they started experimenting with molded plywood and fiberglass-reinforced plastic shapes and developed a curved molding process based on aviation technology, as well as criss-crossed wire chairs, some with snap-on upholstery, and an elegant elliptical table, all constructed on thin metal legs. Their “LCW” molded-plywood stacking chair was produced by Herman Miller in 1946 after the company’s new design director, George Nelson, had insisted that Miller take on the Eames as designers. (In 1999 this chair was named “the chair of the century” by Time magazine.) In the mid-1950s they produced the famous Eames laminated rosewood “Lounge” chair and ottoman on metal swivel bases with comfortable black leather cushions and headrest separated from the back support by an air space. They also produced a fiberglass swivel desk chair, among many other forms. Their own Californian house was one of the most publicized of the Case Study Houses program, set up in the 1940s by John Entenza, then editor of Art & Architecture, to encourage the propagation of good design. Although the house was unique and not meant as a prototype, nevertheless, it served as an inspiration for the imaginative results that could be obtained by the intelligent use of generally available factory-produced components.
EASTLAKE, CHARLES LOCKE (1836–1906)
Author of Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details (1867), which had almost as big an influence on design reform in the late nineteenth century as the work and writings of William Morris. Eastlake expounded on the virtues of lighter, less eclectic styles of furnishing, emphasized the personal elements that should always be found in home decoration, and expanded on the tradition of handicrafts (rejecting most mass-produced furniture in favor of individually made pieces). Above all, he declared very sensibly, each home should be thought of as an individual work of art, assembled slowly and lovingly rather than thrown together as quickly as possible for the sake of convenience. The first British edition of the book was followed by four further editions and by six editions in the United States.
EFFNER, JOSEPH (1687–1745)
Munich-born German architect who was sent by the Elector of Bavaria to betrained in Paris by Gabriel Germain Boffrand. He was made Court Architect to the Elector in 1715, whereupon he industriously completed the Palace at Schleissheim, designed the splendid Treppenhaus, turned the then Italian-ate Schloss Nymphenburg outside Munich into a German Baroque palace over twelve years (1716–28), and built several fanciful pavilions in the park, ranging from the half-Classical, half-Chinoiserie Pagodenburg to the very Roman Badenburg and the fantasy Magdalenenklause. The last is a very early example of Picturesque architecture.
EIFFEL, GUSTAV (1832–1923)
French engineer, chiefly known for his famous Eiffel Tower, erected, apparently temporarily, for the Paris World’s Fair of 1889. The structure, of course, remained rooted, and became the preeminent symbol of Paris. It also marked the acceptance of metal—in this case iron—as a respected building material.
EISENMAN, PETER (B. 1932)
American avant-garde architect, theorist, and teacher who, like other members of the so-called 1970s New York Five group (now disbanded) thought, basically, that function should follow form and not the reverse. Reflected in his first houses, which were considered to be more akin to live-in sculptures than “machines for living,” Eisenman took this precept very literally. In this the New York Five (the other four members were Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, and Richard Meier) were not so much being Neomodernists and revolutionary as following, in many ways, the original classicists of the Italian Renaissance, who mainly started out as sculptors, or at least stonemasons, and thought very little of domestic comfort. The classicists, however, did apply the measured and balanced framework of the Classical orders and a sense of perspective, whereas many of Eisenman’s buildings are deliberately created to look as if they are lurching, leaning, or even toppling. Eisenman taught at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, as well as at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, which he started in 1967. In 1988, he exhibited at the exhibition for Deconstructivists organized by Philip Johnson at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His buildings include the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus, Ohio (1983–86); the Koizumi Lighting Theater/IZM, with Kojiro Kitayama (1990) and the NC Building (1992), both in Tokyo; and the Aronoff Center, New York (1991–96).
ELKINS, FRANCES (1888–1953)
The first well-known 1930s Californian decorator who, although widely traveled in Europe and well versed in European architecture and design, was renowned for the clean, crisp, fresh clarity of her interiors—a look that at that time was uniquely Californian. She was born in Milwaukee but went to live in Monterey at the beginning of World War II and soon became known for her easy mixture of old-fashioned luxuryand contemporary chic. This is readily seen in the house she bought in 1918, which is now a United States Historic Trust Landmark. Just as Coco Chanel and Jean Michel Frank (whose furniture and accessories she used a great deal) were great influences on her, she became the muse to another great California decorator, Michael Taylor, as well as Billy Baldwin in New York. She also had a great influence on her older brother, the extremely successful Chicago architect David Adler, as did he on her. Many of the decorating ploys that we see today—such as geometric Moroccan rugs or kelims used both as hall rugs and stair carpet; all the books in a bookcase bound in creamy vellum or parchment, or variations of one color (like the late David Hicks’s plethora of reds); the repetition of colors in various weights from room to room; white-painted plaster palm tree pilasters; white shaggy cotton carpeting, and white fur throws on beds—originated with her or as the result of her friendship with Jean Michel Frank and Syrie Maugham.
FONTAINE, PIERRE-FRANÇOIS-LEONARD (1762–1853)
Reputedly Napoleon I’s favorite architect and more or less responsible, with his partner Charles Percier (1764–1838)—with whom he worked from 1794 to 1814—for a revolution in interior decoration and indeed the creation of the French Empire style, as well as for their achievements in urban planning and architecture. The two had spent the years 1786 to 1790 in Rome, absorbing the ancient classical vocabulary as well as that of the Renaissance, and first caught the public eye with the publication of their Palais, Maisons, etc., à Rome. Fontaine and Percier’s body of work was outstanding. Their first big commission was to design the furnishings for the Salle de la Convention at the Tuileries. They went on to design the Rue de Rivoli in 1801, the fountain in the Place Dauphine in 1802, and starting in 1802 they worked for Napoleon on Malmaison, where they paid particular attention to the Empress Josephine’s private quarters. In fact, the empress’s tented bedroom, with its painted “open” sky ceiling, set a fashion for bedrooms that still exists. After the Malmaison project the pair extended the north wing of the Louvre to the Tuileries and built the Arc du Carrousel between the Tuileries and the Louvre’s Grand Gallery in 1806–07. They also designed the Salle des Cariatides at the Louvre, and busied themselves with a great deal of renovation, restoration, and decoration at the various royal residences of Fontainebleu, Saint-Cloud, Compiègne, Rambouillet, and Versailles. Fontaine and Percier influenced architects and designers all over Europe and America with their book Receuil de decorations intérieures, which was published in installments from 1801 and in one volume in 1812 and was full of fetching line drawings showing their various designs for interiors and details of their furnishings. The two declared that “furniture is too much part of interior decoration for the architect to remain indifferent to it”—a precept that many modern architects might do well to note.When the partnership split up, Fontaine went on to restore the Palais Royal in Paris between 1814 and 1831.
Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (1806–08), Paris, by Pierre-François-Leonard Fontaine and Charles Percier
FONTANA, CARLO (1638–1714)
An assistant to Bernini for ten years—he finished Bernini’s Palazzo di Montecitorio in Rome, including the main entrance (1694–97)—Fontana eventually became the leader of his profession in that city, but more by diligence and hard work than for his originality. Nevertheless, like Blondel and Clérisseau in Paris in the eighteenth century, he had widespread influence throughout Europe and eventually America through his many distinguished pupils, who included James Gibbs.
Distinctive twentieth-century Italian designer whose furniture and ceramics,with their unique lacquered black-and-white and often stylized architectural designs, are instantly recognizable. His work has a cult following.
FOSTER, SIR NORMAN (B. 1935)
Prolific and distinguished British architect who has fulfilled distinctive commissions all around the world. They are distinctive because of their exposed structure and services that in no way detract from his buildings’ cool, precise looks or their general flexibility. Foster formed his High-Tech, sophisticated engineering approach to buildings in the 1970s, together with his contemporary and former partner Richard (now Lord) Rogers. The style is, in its way a continuation of some of the late-nineteenth-century thoughts on the aesthetics of glass and metal fused with the centralized or “plug-in” essential services of the late visionary Buckminster Fuller, as well as the 1960s Archigram Group. These appealing ideas have led him to design buildings as diverse as his 1970s suspended, tinted solar glass structure for the Willis-Faber-Dumas Insurance Offices in Ipswich, Suffolk and his somewhat aeronautical-looking building that houses the Sainsbury Center for the Visual Arts in Norwich, both on the east coast of England. Those projects, in turn, led to several more: the painted metal-and-glass Distribution Center for Renault cars in Swindon, Wiltshire (1980–83); the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters, Hong Kong (1979–86); the Stansted Airport Terminal, Essex (1989–91); ITN Headquarters, London (1989); the Century Tower, Tokyo (1992); the glamorous Chek Lap Koh Airport Terminal in Hong Kong; and various other equally impressive bank, university, and commercial buildings. In 1999, he was the twenty-first recipient of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture and in 2004, Foster finished the Swiss Re Headquarters, his newer, softer-lined building in the City of London, nicknamed “the gherkin” and based in many ways on the visionary controlled environmental theories and geodesic domes of Fuller.
FOWLER, JOHN (1906–?)
Partner with first Sibyl Colefax and then the American-born Nancy Lancaster (her mother was one of the famously beautiful and glamorous members of the Langhorne family of Virginia) in Colefax & Fowler, he promulgated a brand of elegant and beautifully detailed English, and particularly English Country style. Fowler’s early experience as a decorative painter, and in particular his ability to achieve the effects of age on almost any surface, stood him in marvelous stead when he became a full-time decorator, as did his superb sense and knowledge of color, his constant absorption and regurgitation of ideas from the past, and the legendary lightness of his touch. Both his work and his teaching (leading United States decorating practitioners such as Mario Buatta and Georgina Fairholme passed, as they say, through his portals) have inspired legions of other decorators all over the world.
FRANK, JEAN MICHEL (1895–1941)
A Modernist, yet thoroughly conversant with the past and one of the great French early-twentieth-century influences on designers and decorators all over the world. Like Madeleine Castaing, another true French original though in quite a different style, he had his own shop in Paris (in the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré) with the decorator Adolphe Chanaux, who had worked with the great Art Deco cabinetmaker or ébéniste, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, in the Art Moderne movement. It was from this shop that Frank not only sold inspired furniture and objects designed by himself and his circle but also radiated his talent for a kind of exotic chasteness. He could also be described as one of the first spatial and neutral minimalists, since he managed to make his rooms look almost empty (he rarely, if ever, allowed paintings to be hung on walls). And his color palette hardly ever proceeded beyond a creamy white to a pale, tawny brown. He managed to effect a peaceful truce between simplicity and luxury, as well as informality and glamour, by using materials associated with informality for his upholstery and unadorned curtains: linens, tweeds, corduroy, and men’s suiting, in combination with beautifully detailed leather (often made up especially by Hermès). He allied these materials to the hard surfaces of walls, furniture, and doors that also looked simple but were actually covered in vellum or parchment, shagreen, lacquer, bronze, or straw to create rougher textures. He was the decorator embodiment of Mies van der Rohe’s aphorism that “simplicity is not simple.” Some of his regular pre-World War II customers, Syrie Maugham from London and Frances Elkins—the first great Californian decorator—together with Elkins’s influential architect brother David Adler from Chicago, introduced Frank’s designs to their respective countries. It was to the United States that he fled from the Nazis and where, a curiously diffident character in spite of his obvious talent, he killed himself.
FRY, MAXWELL (1899–1987)
Another British pioneer of the International Style of the 1930s who was distinguished for his brief partnership with Walter Gropius from 1934 to 1936 and his specialized tropical design and architectural work. This partnership included various important university and government buildings for Nigeria after World War II, as well as housing at Chandigarh in India in conjunction with Le Corbusier. All through this period he worked with his wife, Dame Jane Drew (1911–1996) under the name of Fry, Drew, and Partners.
FULLER, RICHARD BUCKMINSTER (1895–1983)
Modern Renaissance American, who described himself as “someone engaged in comprehensive anticipatory design science.” Others, however, have styled him more simply if diversely as an engineer, visionary thinker, mathematician, chemist, philosopher, scientific idealist, eccentric, prophet, and, as a result of his inventions, on a par with Leonardo da Vinci. His inventive designs in so many areas seem to have tripped off his drawing board as words off the tongue of a masterful gossip. Among the many were his Dymaxion house (1927), followed by his Dymaxion car (1937), which was the essence of simplicity compared with car production today. (The term “dymaxion” is a Fuller amalgam of dynamic and maximum, by which he meant maximum gain of advantages for minimal energy output.) Fuller was frustrated by the time lag between so many really useful inventions and improvements and their commercial realization. During that period, the late 1920s and ’30s, he found an average four-year gap in the aircraft industry, a fifteen-year gap on the railways, and “approximately forty-two years” in the building industry. Moreover, he was convinced that traditional building techniques, already inadequate, as he thought, for current problems, would be totally inadequate for the future housing needs that he anticipated. Unfortunately for Fuller, his ideal housing prototype for industrial production consisted of a finished house that could be repeated on demand. The industry, on the other hand, preferred the more flexible approach of supplying various standardized elements of a house that could then be assembled together (rather like the Charles and Ray Eames Californian Case Study House; see also Eames, Charles and Kaiser Ray) according to needs, imagination, and geographical location. Fuller’s preassembled Dymaxion house, therefore, was not welcomed with much enthusiasm, although it demonstrated sophisticated technical advances for the creation of a controlled environment. For example, it contained a double-glazed enclosed area with a living room, two bedrooms, a bathroom, a study, and a utility room, the whole area fitted with a number of visionary mechanical labor-saving devices. Above, there was an open relaxation area shaded by a roof and, below, an open, sheltered services space and parking area. The structure was supported by a radial system in which tension cables extended from a central mast containing a centralized mechanical system for lighting, plumbing, and air-conditioning. In 1946, Fuller designed and built a second, more handsome, more refined, and stronger prototype in Wichita, Kansas. With limited mass production the house would have cost, at that time, only $6,500 (that’s equivalent to about $53,575 in today’s money), and less still as demand and production increased. As it happened, he received 37,000 unsolicited requests for reproductions of his prototype, but alas, a combination of postwar lethargy, lack of funds,and most of all a suitable service industry for distribution and installation meant that the idea went no further—although the idea could surely be realized now with greater success. Fuller began to understand that just as the aircraft industry had separated the manufacture of the air frame or body of a plane from the power-producing units or engine, so, too, his mass-produced house prototype might benefit by separating the manufacture of its energy and environment-controlling shell (or main body of the house) from the self-contained mechanical services package (the heating, air-conditioning, electrical wiring, and plumbing). Unfortunately while the solution for the mechanical services seemed quite easy to provide, the structural solutions were not. This set him in a new, ultimately successful, and certainly more profitable direction for his research—this time into geodesic structures (“geodesic” being the shortest distance between points on a curved or spherical surface)—to try to provide cheap, light, and effective shelter that could cover large spans and be erected with speed. The Ford Motor Company commissioned a ninety-three-foot-diameter dome for its Detroit plant. The United States Marine Corps then asked Fuller to advise on mobile, flexible shelter systems, resulting in various ideas from a dome fifty-five feet in diameter, to be delivered where needed by helicopter, to the “Kleenex House”—a disposable paperboard shelter, fifteen feet in diameter for six men, “one third the weight of a tent, which cost one-fifteenth as much, used less than $10 worth of material, and packed into a small box.” After these early successes, Fuller built others on the space-frame principle in materials as diverse as plywood, timber, cardboard, aluminum, prestressed concrete, and bamboo. He also did a good deal of work as well on Tensegrity (Fuller’s term, an amalgam of tension integrity) structures to provide alternative means for environmental control.
Buckminster Fuller’s prefabricated geodesic dome at the United States pavilion at Expo ’67
Geodesic dome by Buckminster Fuller with an interior diameter of over 375 feet. Built near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this all-welded steel dome is made up of bright yellow hexagonal units supported by a skeleton frame of blue pipes.
GABRIEL, ANGE-JACQUES (1698–1782)
In 1742, Gabriel succeeded his father, Jacques Gabriel (1667–1742), as premier architecte and Director of the Academy to King Louis XV. Many consider the son to have been the greatest eighteenth-century architect in France, if not all of Europe. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Gabriel never visited Rome; nevertheless, he was the creator of some of the greatest French eighteenth-century classical architectural icons. These included the École Militaire, Paris (1750–68); the layout of the Place de la Concorde—then called the Place Louis XV—together with the Rue Royale (worked on from 1755); the Hôtel de Crillon; the Ministère de la Marine, Paris (1757–75) that flanks both sides of his Rue Royale; and the Château at Choisy (1754–56), of which nothing remains. He was equally busily employed making extensive additions and alterations to the various royal residences of Fontainebleu, Compiègne, and Versailles. And finally, during the 1750s and ’60s, he occupied himself with some exquisite small buildings, combining elegance with the requisite classical severity for Madame de Pompadour (Louis XV’s mistress of acclaimed taste and discernement)—such as her Pavilion Français on the grounds of the Petit Trianon in the Park of Versailles; her Hermitage at Fontainebleu; several other hunting lodges and pavilions dotted about the forests around Versailles; and his masterpiece, the perfectly proportioned Petit Trianon, which was commissioned by Louis XV in 1761 so that he and Madame de Pompadour could occasionally enjoy some simple pastoral pleasures and be alone together without the pomp and circumstance of the court. The plans for the Petit Trianon are worth describing because they show such concern for the ease of running the house and its consequent enjoyment. By designing the house with three floors, which was unusual in a comparatively modest building of the time, Gabriel was able to provide for various household services at the most convenient points. Interestingly, the original plans for the dining room and neighboring servery, or buffet, show two mechanical “flying” tables, which, having been laid by the servants in the basement, could be made to rise through the floor to the rooms above, and eventually brought down again once a meal had been eaten, thus allowing for meals to be eaten with the minimum of servants present. Moreover, the absence of more conventional dining tables meant that people sitting in the room could enjoy an uninterrupted view across the balustraded terrace to the King’s Garden. Sadly, Madame de Pompadour died in 1764 when only the walls of the Trianon had been completed. The “flying” tables were never built, and the interiors were not finished until 1769, when the king dined there for the first time. Still, after Louis XV’s own death five years later, the rather maligned Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, continued the royal search for naturalness and simplicity, by replacing the formal gardens with a more romantic English-style landscaping—complete with undulating lawns, rocky grottoes, and irregular lakes—and added her famous hameau, or Normandy-like village, which included a rustic farm and dairy.
GARNIER, JEAN-LOUIS-CHARLES (1825–1898)
French winner of the competition for designing the Paris Opéra House in 1861. The very splendid Second Empire building, with its glamorous foyer and staircase, was completed in 1875. In fact, in today’s parlance, one could say that Garnier “did” glamour, since he also designed the famous Casino at Monte Carlo (1879–85), which was such a subsequent influence on grand resort architecture in general.
GAROUSTE, ÉLIZABETH (B. 1949) AND BONETTI, MATTIA (B. 1952)
Lively and original French architectural, furniture, and interior-design partnership especially popular in the 1980s and early ’90s. Their work includes the interior and furnishing for the couturier Christian Lacroix’s Paris salon, restaurants, and furniture collections made variously of twigs, wood, and canvas.
GAUDÍ, ANTONÍ (1852–1926)
Extraordinary Spanish exponent of Art Nouveau at its most extravagantly original and sometimes, one could say, deliberately nightmarish, who worked mainly in and around Barcelona. Like his Scottish contemporary, Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868–1928), he used many elements from local traditions in his work, in his case Moorish, Moroccan, and Gothic. And because his father was a coppersmith and a pot and kettle maker, he grew up with a thorough knowledge of metals, which he put to inventive use in his metal railings, ornamental grilles, and gates. The Art Nouveau use of iron in so many domestic interiors was a real breakthrough at the time—metal such as iron had never been considered as an integral building material in the past. Gaudí designed several innovative houses that owed little or nothing to any known historical style, before he was commissioned in 1883 to continue the designs for the up to then conventional Neo-Gothic church, the Sagrada Familia, now with cathedral status. He had finished the crypt and begun the transept facade when he was commissioned to design a town house for an industrialist, the Count Güell, who remained Gaudí’s patron for the rest of his life. The town house, the Palacio Güell, was built in 1885–89 and was the start of Gaudí’s penchant for parabolic arches and outrageous roof excrescences. From then on, Gaudí’s buildings grew ever more consciously wild. Construction for the asymmetric and jagged-looking chapel of Sta. Coloma de Cervelló, with its slanting pillars, for one of Count Güell’s estates was begun in 1889 but was never finished. After designing the Parque Güell, with its distinctive long and undulating bench faced with bits of broken tile and crockery, he borrowed the same sort of finish for the turrets of the Sagrada Familia, which he had begun, along with the upper parts of the transept, in 1903. The effect, like oversized crustaceans crouched on the roof, had never been seen on any building before, ecclesiastical or otherwise. In spite of these eccentricities, or maybe because they suited a certain bravado in the Spanish character, Gaudí was commissioned in 1905 to design two buildings of luxury apartments, the Casa Battló and the Casa Milá. In both there appear to be no straight walls. The facades rise and fall and undulate; there are sharp, aggressive-looking wrought iron balconies; and both buildings are topped with more bizarre excrescences. Strangest of all, however, in an age of fairly general conformity, was the fact that Gaudí’s clients, and indeed their clients—those who lived in the apartment buildings—were more than happy with the vigorous but eccentric results. Tragically, Gaudí was hit by a tram as he was leaving the Sagrada Familia in June of 1926, and he died three days later. His body wasburied in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia, the building on which he had worked for the last forty-three years of his life, and which is still under construction. When he died, it was said that he was mourned almost as a saint.
La Sagrada Familia Cathedral (1882–1926), Barcelona, Spain, by Antoní Gaudí
GEHRY, FRANK O. (B. 1929)
Avant-garde Californian architect, educated in California and at Harvard, but actually born in Canada. He came to his architectural maturity rather late but has had a radical influence on aesthetic thought and possibilities in the last few decades. An appropriate analogy for Frank Gehry might be to think of him as the Gaudí of the twenty-first century: someone who throws almost every previous architectural concept up in the air, then jumbles all the (sometimes quite deliberately homely) pieces together in a subtly controlled, often humorous—and, particularly lately—rather beautiful way. It is not hard to admire his complicated compositions of curving and slanting, softly rounded and sharply angular forms, often clad in various metals. They takeforms that one can hardly imagine the human brain slotting together and interlocking with any sort of ease. Nevertheless, his interiors, which work surprisingly effectively, show a skillful control of light. His own house at Santa Monica, California (1978–79), is an early example of his thought processes, although it makes great play with cheap industrial materials. There have been numerous innovative buildings since: the Vitra Design Museum, Basel, Switzerland (1987–89); the University of Toledo Arts Building, Ohio (1990–93); the stainless steel Frederick R. Weisma Art Museum, Minneapolis (1990–91); the American Center, Paris (1993–94); the Nationale-Nederlanden Building, Prague (1994–96); the glorious titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain (1994–97); the steel-enveloped Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (1989–2003); the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies in Cincinnati (1997–99); the plans for the then-projected new Guggenheim Museum to be built off the island of Manhattan (2000); and, not least, the dramatic staff cafeteria for the new Conde Nast Building in New York. In 2000, too, he received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the first Annual National Design Awards instituted by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, having already won the Pritzker Architecture Award in 1989.
GIBBERD, SIR FREDERICK ERNEST (1908–1984)
British pioneer of the International Style and the designer of the original buildings for Heathrow Airport, London (1950–69), as well as some of the more important buildings for Harlow New Town in Essex, begun in 1946. His earliest well-known building was Pulman Court in Streatham, London (1934–36).
GIBBONS, GRINLING (1648–1721)
Dutch-born immigrant to Britain and outstandingly accomplished sculptor and wood and plaster carver in the Restoration. He worked in close association with Sir Christopher Wren on both the choir and the stalls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Horace Walpole, the English essayist and son of Sir Robert Walpole, the prime minister, was a great fan and wrote that he “admired the loose and airy lightness of flowers…the various productions of the elements with free disorder natural to each species” evident in Gibbons’s carving. He also described the wonderful wood musical instruments Gibbons carved entirely in the round for Petworth House, Sussex “as worthy of the Grecian age of cameos.” One of Gibbons’s great staircases, now on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is believed to have been made originally for Cassiobury House, Watford, Hertfordshire, in 1674, and shows the kind of openwork and naturalistic carving that replaced the old strapwork for balustrade decoration in the 1630s. For the staircase at Ham House, Richmond, near London, he filled the panels with military trophies. Gibbons also did veryhandsome work at Windsor Castle; Sudbury Hall; Derbyshire, Badminton House, and Ramsbury Manor in Wiltshire; and Burleigh House.
GIBBS, JAMES (1682–1754)
Scottish-born architect whose work became widely popular in America. He studied first for the priesthood in Rome in 1703, then left to study painting in the same city and finally ended up as an architectural student with Carlo Fontana. His first building after setting up practice in London was the church of St. Mary-le-Strand (1714–17), which he followed with the then groundbreaking St. Martin-in-the-Fields by Trafalgar Square. Its combination of a noble temple portico with a steeple rising from the pitch of the roof was widely copied; the recessed oversized columns and pilasters on the side elevations frame were much admired, along with his eponymous Gibbs windows. (Gibbs’s typical windows have surrounds of alternating large and small blocks of stone, or of intermittent large blocks, sometimes with a narrow raised band connecting up the verticals and running along the face of the arch. These surrounds became so popular with other architects and builders that they are now known as Gibbs surrounds.) Distinguished secular Gibbs buildings include several large country houses (including Ditchley House, 1720–25, Oxfordshire, one-time home of the fabled Nancy Lancaster, owner of Colefax & Fowler, when she was Mrs. Herbert Tree); the Senate House (1722–30) and King’s College Fellows’ Building in Cambridge (1724–49); and the unique Radcliffe Library in Oxford (1737–49), with its Italian Mannerist influence, rarely seen in Britain. His Book of Architecture (1728) had a great influence in America through the architects and builders who emulated his designs. In fact, the White House in Washington (or Executive Mansion as it was then called) started in 1792 from plans by the Irish-born architect James Hoban, is thought to have been inspired by one of Gibbs’s plates.
GILLOW, ROBERT (1704–1772)
English furniture designer who founded, in 1730, one of the most successful eighteenth-century furniture companies, Gillows of Lancaster and London. Until its demise in 1932, the company had stamped every one of its pieces of furniture. From their inception the Gillow designs were so good that they soon had an appreciable European following. They were active in the West Indies trade, bringing large supplies of mahogany to England in their own ships in the eighteenth century as well as importing darker mahogany from Cuba and all sorts of rare woods for inlays. The London branch was opened in 1771. George Hepplewhite is thought to have been one of their apprentices.
GILLY, FRIEDRICH (1772–1800)
Neoclassical first-generation German architect of French Huguenot origin who died young but had many followers in America and Britain, as well as in his homeland. In a way, he provided the only real link between late-eighteenth-century thought and the seeds of twentieth-century Modernism. Interestingly, Gilly started his brief career with an enthusiasm for the Gothic, yet deeply inspired the next-generation German architects such as Karl Friedrich Schinkel with his massive Greek Doric temple memorial to Frederick the Great (1796), which was set on a high podium and approached through a solemn arched gateway. His work was similar to the Parisian barriers, or customs buildings (they were part of an unpopular new wall built to encircle Paris to try to suppress smuggling), designed by his contemporary Claude-Nicholas Ledoux. Gilly’s Monument, which he designed when he was only twenty-four-years old, won a competition set up by King Frederick William II to encourage a uniquely German architecture, or at least one not so dependent on French taste. In 1798, just before he died at the age of twenty-eight, Gilly was made Professor of Optics and Perspective at the newly started German Academy of Architecture and at the same time designed the forward-looking, almost purely geometric Berlin National Theater—a style of building that was not seen again until the very end of the nineteenth century.
GIRARD, ALEXANDER (1907–1993)
An architect and an early progenitor (in 1958) of the Postmodernist movement of the 1970s and ’80s, Girard was an arbiter of twentieth-century taste and an éminence grise of twentieth-century furniture and textiles (mostly for Herman Miller); interiors for Billy Wilder, Herman Miller, Hallmark, and Braniff; and some influential and legendary exhibitions. He was the color consultant for the General Motors Research Center and an influential aficionado of Santa Fe, New Mexico. One way or another, from the late 1920s onward, he was almost always in the design forefront. In 1929, at the age of twenty-two, he received a gold medal for design at the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. He moved to New York in 1932 (opening his architecture and interior design office there) and, in 1949, curated “An Exhibition for Modern Living” at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In 1950 he designed a traveling exhibition called “Europe. Design for Modern Use: Made in the USA” for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City and, in 1953 and 1954, designed the “Good Design” exhibitions for MoMA and the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. In 1955 he designed the sumptuous “Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India” exhibit for MoMA. In 1966 he made airline news as design director for Braniff Airlines, for whom he designed everything from airline lounges to airplane interiors, and staff uniforms to graphics. In 1982 he installed his own folk-art collection in the Museum of Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico. And in 2000, very fittingly the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York presented its exhibition “The Opulant Eye of Alexander Girard.”
GODDARD, JOHN (1723–1785)
Outstanding American cabinetmaker from Newport, Rhode Island, who was a disciple of Chippendale and became particularly well known for his fine secretary desks known as Rhode Island desks until it was realized that they were all the work of one man. Made of mahogany the desks all had drawers with block fronts and shell carving on the front of the writing leaf as well as on the doors of the bookcase compartment above and on the pigeon holes and drawers of the interior. Most, too, had broken pediment bonnet tops with flame finials.
GODWIN, EDWARD WILLIAM (1833–1886)
British architect and designer and a chief exponent of the Aesthetic movement, a uniquely British/American late-nineteenth-century style. Max Beerbohm, the theatrical entrepreneur and writer, once called Godwin “the greatest Aesthetic of them all,” and certainly he produced many beautiful rooms in which structure was simplified to its essential elements and decoration limited to the minimum. As early as 1862, when most homes on both sides of the Atlantic were sporting overcrowded rooms with rich, dark walls and layers of curtains, Godwin’s own house had, according to Nikolaus Pevsner in his Pioneers of the Modern Movement (1960), “bare floors, pale walls, a few Persian rugs, a few Japanese prints, a few pieces of antique furniture.” It sounds familiar, but at the time it was quite revolutionary. The houses he designed in London for James McNeill Whistler—then the most interesting house in England, according to Pevsner—and for Oscar Wilde, whose rooms were white on white with the palest of possible gray contrasts, were forerunners of the white-on-white style of Syrie Maugham from the 1920s to the ’40s.
GRAVES, MICHAEL (B. 1934)
One of the leaders of the American Postmodern movement and another member of the late New York Five. He developed an easily recognizable style as a reaction to Modernism in which he juxtaposed classical details and historical references with purely American Pop idioms; the result is buildings with an idiosyncratic elegance. His Public Services Building in Portland, Oregon (1980–83) was the structure that first drew international attention to his particular style. His Humana Tower, Louisville, Kentucky (1982–86); the Environmental Education Center, Liberty State Park, New Jersey City (1981–83); and the San Juan Capistrano Library (also 1983) all moved on some-what from the original whimsicality of the Portland building. He nevertheless shows a certain relish for the deft use of Americana in his many recent buildings for Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, and Euro-Disney France.
The Portland Public Service Building (1972–82), Portland, Oregon, by Michael Graves
GRAY, EILEEN (1879–1976)
British Modernist designer who settled in Paris in the early 1920s and worked with the French interior designer Jean Badovici. She wassupposed to have been the originator of the new craze for lacquered surfaces of the kind exemplified in the walls of the chic, luxurious apartment she designed for the Paris milliner and couturier J. Suzanne Talbot. Its floor was built entirely out of silvered glass, lit from below, and rugged with leopard skins. Although this was typical Jazz Moderne 1920s style, some of her now-classic furniture designsand rugs (which are still being reproduced), with her taste for dark colors and simplified forms, were forerunners of the International Style to come.
Eileen Gray “Bibendum” armchair, designed for J. Suzanne Talbot, 1926–29
GREENE BROTHERS: CHARLES SUMNER (1868–1957) AND HENRY MATHER (1870–1954)
Two of the first Eastern architects (Massachusetts Institute of Technology trained) who came west to California at the turn of the twentieth century. There they developed a strong regional idiom, a relaxed but sensitive style, and an indoor-outdoor relationship with gardens or yards that had a great influence on subsequent Californian architecture and, indeed, on architecture for the sun in general. They were particularly inspired by nature and the numerous possibilities inherent in timber, as well as the simple wood buildings of Japan and Scandinavia. Their own houses were boldly expressed timber structures with broad overhanging eaves, sheltered terraces, and sleeping porches that were considered quite radical at the time.
GRIMSHAW, SIR NICHOLAS (B. 1939)
British High-Tech architect of the handsome glass-and-steel Waterloo International Railway Terminal (1988–93) for the Channel Tunnel. In fact, for many overseas travelers arriving in England, his are the first, or at least some of the first, buildings to be seen, since he also designed the Compass Center at Heathrow Airport (1994) as well as many other British and European buildings of some elegance.
GROPIUS, WALTER (1883–1969)
German-born founder, in 1919, of the Bauhaus (meaning “house of building”), an extension of the Weimer School of Arts and Crafts and the single most powerful influence on the development and acceptance of what was then a totally new kind of design. Gropius started his studies at the Colleges of Technology of Berlin and Munich. Then, for three years, he joined the office of Peter Behrens, who was a firm believer in good design both for the workplace and for everyday objects. Inspired by this attitude (as he was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in America), Gropius started his own architectural practice in 1910 and wrote a detailed memorandum on the possibilities inherent in the standardization and mass production of housing and equipment. In 1911, he and a colleague, Adolph Meyer (1881–1929), designed the Fagus factory at Alfield in unadorned cubic blocks with revolutionary glass curtain-walling and corners with no visible supports; in short, he incorporated some of the main ingredients of the Modernist movement that segued into the International Modern style. In 1914, again with Meyer, he compounded this early Modernist success with a design for a model factory and office building for the Werkbund Exhibition in Cologne. It was this radical departure from the norm that prompted Henry van de Velde, the retiring head of the School of Arts and Crafts at Weimar, to suggest Gropius as his successor. After World War I, Gropius took up the appointment, and running with the ideas of WilliamMorris and the Arts and Crafts movement on the one hand and the Expressionists on the other, proceeded to transform the place, rechristening it the Bauhaus to suggest that the school should be the meeting and training place of all proponents of the arts and crafts; the initial training for all should be an introduction to color, form, and the nature of material. In the early 1920s, somewhat influenced by his contacts with the Dutch De Stijl group, Gropius returned to his earlier ideals and reorientated the school to an emphasis on industrial design rather than on craft—an emphasis that took physical form in the school’s new premises at Dessau. When Hitler assumed power, Gropius went to London, where he worked for a short time in partnership with Maxwell Fry, designing Impington Village College near Cambridge, before moving to the United States and Harvard University. There he started to teach again, joined (for the second time) with Marcel Breuer for a few years, and started his own firm, full of younger men each generously given a great deal of independence, called The Architects’ Collaborative. The firm produced the Harvard Graduate Center. Gropius also designed the United States Embassy in Athens, but probably his greatest contribution, apart from his inspired teaching and his enormous contribution to the International Style, was to the field of medium-priced domestic architecture and his early thoughts on the standardization of mass housing.
GUIMARD, HECTOR (1867–1942)
French Art Nouveau architect, best known for his Paris Metro stations (1899–1904), which consisted of a series of high metal arches that decorate various entrances. His most interesting building is the Castel Bérenger (1894–1912), a Paris apartment building with an interior of glass bricks, metal, and faience and room shapes as offbeat as those in Gaudí’s buildings in Spain.
GWATHMEY, CHARLES (B. 1938)
Prolific, much-publicized American architect and another member of the New York Five. He started Gwathmey Siegel & Associates with Robert Siegel (b. 1939) in 1968, and since then the two have designed university buildings for Columbia University, New York; Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Other projects have included the American Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York and the Science, Industry and Business Library of the New York Public Library. The firm has also designed much-photographed private houses, done work for Disney in Florida, and shouldered the extremely sensitive job of adding on an extension to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan.
HADFIELD, GEORGE (1764–1826)
British-born Greek Revival architect who studied at the Royal AcademySchools in London, won his Gold Medal in 1784, went on to study in Italy, and emigrated to America in 1795. There he was rapidly appointed as yet another construction supervisor of the new Capitol in Washington, D.C., but he made it very clear that he disapproved of the design and suggested radical alterations that were neither appreciated nor approved, so he lost the job. Undeterred, he continued to work industriously in the new city, producing designs (which were accepted) for City Hall (1820), the United States Bank (1824), Fuller’s and Gadsby’s Hotels, Van Ness’s mausoleum (1826), and the splendid Arlington House (1818), considered one of the best Greek Revival buildings in the United States.
The Capitol (1792–1827), Washington, D.C., designed and redesigned or added to by William Thornton, Etienne (Stephen) Hallett, George Hadfield, Benjamin Latrobe, and Charles Bullfinch
HADID, ZAHA (B. 1950)
Gifted and especially innovative Iraqi-born architect, trained in London, and now a British citizen, who in 2004 was the first woman and the twenty-eighth architect to have been voted a laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She worked with Rem Koolhaas at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) until the early 1980s. After winning a competition for a Club House in Hong Kong with an extraordinary “fragmented” design (the plans for which were later shown at the 1988 Deconstructivist Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), she left to work on her own and has produced other significant designs for projects, including the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales and an office building in Berlin. Neither were realized; this is the disappointing fate of so many original designs, remarkable though they may be. However, she subsequently produced a distinguished body of work that has been built in Japan and Germany (including, in 1989, a fire station for Frank O. Gehry’s Vitra Design Museum, Weil-am-Rhein, Germany); some equally original interiors for restaurants and other commercial buildings; the stunning, somewhat Russian Constructivist-style Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio (opened 2003), which was dubbed by The New York Times as “the most important American building to be completed since the end of the Cold War”; and the Price Tower Arts center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to coexist with a Frank Lloyd Wright building. She now has a stupefying list of international commissions, including a masterplan for the City of Bilbao in Spain; a National Center of Contemporary Art in Rome, Italy; another Guggenheim Museum in Taichung, Taiwan; and a high-speed train station just outside Naples, Italy.
HADLEY, ALBERT (B. 1921)
Unconventional, deeply versed in the classical, but anticlassical American decorator’s decorator. Albert Hadley’s career has had a broad range, going from design workrooms to teaching at Parsons School of Design, New York, not to mention working with two of the grandes dames of American twentieth-century decorating. He joined Eleanor McMillen Brown, founder of McMillen Inc.—one of the oldest decorating firms in the United States—in 1957; in 1962, Hadley left McMillen Inc. to work with Mrs. Henry “Sister” Parrish II (reputedly because Brown remarked that women made better decorators than men). After six years, Parrish invited Hadley to be a partner in what became Parish-Hadley Inc., and finally in 2000, Albert Hadley Inc. “The chic of suitability” is reputedly his motto, and few decorators are as capable of combining the past with the present with such aplomb.
HALFPENNY, WILLIAM (D. 1755)
British architect who is best known for his score or so of influential pamphlets created to assist country gentlemen and provincial builders in America as much as in Britain. These pamphlets illustrated mainly Palladian-inspired designs that could be copied successfully for new buildings. He also helped to popularize the taste for chinoiserie. Halfpenny’s books, some of which he wrote with his son, include A New and Compleat System of Architecture (1749); The Modern Builder’s Assistant (1757); New designs for chinese temples, triumphal arches, garden seats, palings, etc. (1750–52); and Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste (1750–52)—although the last seems something of an oxymoron since these Chinese buildings were follies, sophisticated and highly fanciful structures introduced as decorative elements to gardens and parks, and were not at all pastoral or rural.
HARDOUIN-MANSART, JULES (1646–1708)
Architect of the spectacular Place Vendôme in Paris (1698 onward), Hardouin-Mansart was royal architect to Louis XIV (whose extravagant needs he exceled in anticipating) in 1675, premier architect in 1685, and suprintendent des bâtiments in 1699. He may well have been trained by his great uncle François Mansart, although he was considerably more reliable and adaptable. But he certainly owed a good deal to Louis Le Vau, whose grand manner he perfected and, together with Charles Lebrun, brought to summation in the marvelous Galerie des Glaces, or “Hall of Mirrors,” in Versailles. The circumstances are not known, but it seems sad that Hardouin-Mansart, when put in charge of all the new extensions to Versailles from 1678 onward, managed to ruin Le Vau’s beautifully proportioned garden facade for the palace by filling in the central terrace and tripling its length. His new Grand Trianon (1678–89)—replacing Le Vau’s Trianon de Porcelaine—was considerably more successful, as were his orangery, chapel, and stables for Versailles. In the 1690s, his style became lighter, losing most, if not all, reference to what some considered the straitjacket of the Classical orders. Heavy paneling gave way to pale-painted panels and the lightest of moldings; indeed, some of the rooms he designed for Versailles, as well as for the Grand Trianon and for the king’s residence at Marly, give a foretaste of the Régence and Rococo style that was to come.
HARDWICK, PHILIP (1792–1870)
Eclectic nineteenth-century British architect of mainly London public buildings of interesting stylistic diversity. One such was Euston Station (1836–39), whose Greek Doric propylaeum (entrance gateway) was wantonly destroyed—in spite of public protest—by the British Rail Company. He also designed the classically inspired warehouses for St. Katharine Docks (1827–28)—now also used as “loft” apartments; the Baroque-inspired Goldsmith’s Hall (1829–35); and the Tudor-inspired Lincoln’s Inn Hall and Library (1842–45), which, with its finesse of period detail, is far removed from the usual nineteenth- and twentieth-century Tudor imitations.
HARRISON, PETER (1716–1776)
One of the best-known pre-Revolutionary amateur American architects who, though born in England, immigrated to America in 1740, ten years or so before John Ariss (reputed to be America’s first professional architect). He started as a trader of wines, rum, molasses, and mahogany in Newport, Rhode Island, but taught himself architecture in his spare time. He quickly became competent in first the English Palladian style and then—like Ariss—came somewhat under the influence of the redoubtable James Gibbs. His first commission was the Redwood Library in Newport (1749–50); it was followed by the Newport Synagogue (1759–63), known as Touro Synagogue,which is the oldest in the United States. These buildings and others, such as those in the town of Brick Market (1761–62), gave Newport the reputation of being the center of architectural art in New England, a design reputation that continues to this day with the Rhode Island School of Design. Harrison also designed Christ Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1760).
HARRISON, WALLACE KIRKMAN (1895–1981)
American architect who designed a roll call of iconic American buildings in Manhattan with his partner, Max Abramovitz. He designed Rockefeller Center (1931–40) with Raymond Hood, who had previously designed the Daily News Building and did the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center, the RCA Building; the United Nations Head-quarters with a team that counted Le Corbusier among its members (1947–53); and Lincoln Center (1962–68), including the new Metro-politan Opera House and Philhar-monic (now Avery Fisher) Hall. Outside of Manhattan, he designed the massive New York State Center at Albany (1962–78) and the domed University of Illinois Assembly Hall, Champagne-Urbana (1963).
HAUSSMANN, BARON GEORGES-EUGÉNE (1809–1891)
Born in Alsace, and first of all a lawyer and civil servant of a somewhat ruthless disposition, he was appointed Prefect of the Seine Department in 1853 by Napoleon III and entrusted to carry out the Emperor’s grand plans for the improvement of Paris, much of which had been destroyed during the Revolution, the Siege of Paris, and the Commune. This he did for almost twenty years, achieving perhaps more than even the Emperor had envisioned with his series of peerless boulevards, ronds-points, and dramatic vistas radiating off the Arc de Triomphe. Probably with good reason, many people thought that Haussmann’s long, straight boulevards were conceived not from aesthetic considerations but to obtain good firing lines in the case of another revolution; yet he was also guided by finding solutions to traffic problems and by providing good connections to the new railway stations.
HAWKSMOOR, NICHOLAS (1661–1736)
Great English Baroque architect who was employed by Sir Christopher Wren and Sir John Vanbrugh. He worked with the former as an amanuensis—a kind of literary and research assistant—-as well as on Wren’s plans for Greenwich Hospital and other buildings. For Sir John Vanbrugh he worked on Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire and on Castle Howard in Yorkshire, where his most recognized contribution was the austere and circular Doric mausoleum that forms such a landmark in the Park. Subsequently, he designed six original and slightly eccentric London churches, including St. Anne’s, Lime-house (1714–30); St. Mary Woolnoth, London (1716–24); St. George’s,Bloomsbury (1716–30); and Christ-church, Spitalfields (1714–29). He also designed the quadrangle, hall, and Codrington Library at All Souls’ College, Oxford (1716–35) and the west towers (1729) of Westminster Abbey.
HEAL, SIR AMBROSE (1872–1959)
Like William Morris before him and the Scandinavian firm Ikea and Terence Conran with his Habitat shops after, Heal wanted to prove that progressive, well-designed furniture could be sold at reasonable prices to the general public. He joined the family firm of Heal & Son in 1893 and issued his first Plain Oak Bedroom Furniture Catalogue in 1898, which popularized the simple wood bedstead in England for the next thirty years. But he was also capable of producing individual pieces in the same bright and airy style as Charles F. A. Voysey’s wallpapers. For example, a decorative and original wardrobe that he showed at the Paris Exhibition Universelle of 1900 was made of slightly fumed and waxed oak and decorated with small inlaid panels of pewter and ebony that were juxtaposed with gracefully drawn little flowers.
HENNEBIQUE, FRANÇOIS (1842–1921)
French architect who was not only one of the great pioneers of concrete architecture but who also engineered the spectacular glass-and-metal roofs for both the Grand Palais and Petit Palais (1900), which now seem such a characteristic part of Paris. He built the first-ever reinforced-concrete bridge in Viggen, Switzerland in 1894 and began his first concrete-and-glass factory buildings that same year. The following year he went on to install the first grain elevator in France (in Roubaix). In 1896 he built a cantilevered concrete staircase for an exhibition in Geneva, and, in 1899, he designed some cantilevered galleries for a small theater in Morges, France. He built his own eccentric concrete house at Bourg-la-Reine in 1904 and the reinforced-concrete Ponte Risorgimento over the river Tiber in Rome for Rome’s Esposizione Internationale d’Arte of 1911.
HEPPLEWHITE, GEORGE (D. 1786)
English furniture designer, thought to have been an apprentice of Thomas Gillow. He was not particularly known in his lifetime but became famous through his Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide, published by his loyal and enterprising widow in 1788, two years after his death. It was sold as a “Repository of Designs for every article of Household Furniture—near Three Hundred different Designs.” One of the most immediately popular of these designs was a comfortably upholstered gout stool, “being so easily raised or lowered at either end,” Hepplewhite explained, “that it is particularly useful for the afflicted.” By 1794, the book had gone into three editions and the “Hepplewhite” heart-shaped or shield-back chairs carved with ferns, Prince of Wales feathers, swags, and wheatears were widely copied in America.
Shield back chairs, from The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (1788–94) by George Hepplewhite
HERRERA, JUAN DE (CA. 1530–1597)
Spanish architect whose only partly executed designs for the Cathedral at Valladolid (1585) had, nevertheless, an important influence on the designs of the Salamanca, Puebla, Mexico City and Lima cathedrals. He also designed the Royal Gardens of Aranjuez (1569), the Exchange in Seville (1582), and some additions to the Escorial in Madrid, including the infirmary and chapel (1574–82).
HERZOG, JACQUES (B. 1950) AND DE MEURON, PIERRE (B. 1950)
Swiss partners since 1978 in the architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron, best known, so far, for their transformation of a former Bankside power station into the Gallery of Modern Art for the Tate Museum, London (1998–2000). Previous work over the last decade or so includes the Dominus Winery, near Yountville, California (1996–98); their fanciful copper-clad signal box for Basel Railway Station (1995); their Caramel Factory and Storage Building for Ricola in France’s Mulhouse (1993); and their minimalist private gallery for the Goetz Collection in Munich, Germany (1992). In 2001, they were joint winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
HICKS, DAVID (1929–1998)
British decorator who came to the fore in the 1960s with his courageous juxtapositions of vivid colors (especiallyred, pink, and eggplant), clean lines, distinctive geometric carpets, dramatic lighting, and genius for arranging disparate objects. He was hugely successful and had as big an effect on American decorators of the period (and, for that matter, French decorators like François Catroux) as Jean Michel Frank and Madeleine Castaing had in the 1930s. Certainly, like Terence Conran, though in entirely different mode, he was instrumental in contributing an entirely different feel to trans-Atlantic interior design.
HITCHCOCK, LAMBERT (1795–1852)
Connecticut designer and manufacturer of one of the best-known American “Fancy” chairs, as they were then called—an alternative to the ubiquitous nineteenth-century Windsor chairs. These chairs, like the Windsor, were also based on an English design, in this case a Sheraton style combined with a French Napoleonic chair with “pillow” backs or an oval-turned top rail. (See also Hitchcock chair in Furniture and Upholstery).
HOBAN, JAMES (CA. 1762–1831)
Irish-born architect who emigrated to America after the Revolution and is chiefly known for his designs for the White House in Washington, D.C., the facade of which was supposedly based on an illustration in James Gibbs’s Book of Architecture, although it also bears a resemblance to Leinster House in Dublin. The presidential domicile was built between 1793 and 1801, and Hoban also supervised its rebuilding after the British burned it down in 1814, a construction that was not finished until 1829. Other Hoban buildings in the District of Columbia are the Grand Hotel (1793–95) and the State and War Offices, begun in 1818. An earlier building was the South Carolina State Capitol at Columbia, which was completed in 1791 but burned down in 1865, during the Civil War, like so many of Columbia’s buildings.
HOFFMANN, JOSEF (1870–1956)
Austrian architect and furniture designer, and one of the founders in 1903 of the Wiener Werkstätte (along with Otto Wagner and Joseph Maria Olbrich), premised on the William Morris ideal of a unity between architecture and the crafts. Hoffmann was a pupil of Otto Wagner’s in Vienna, but, influenced by the mixture of elegance and austerity in the furniture and other work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which had been included in the Vienna Secession exhibit (from the German term Sezession) in 1900, he moved away from the Art Nouveau style to unrelieved square or rectangular forms. He first used such embellishment, but with a typical Viennese refinement, in the Convalescent Home at Purkersdorf (1903–11) outside Vienna. His most famous work, however, is the Stoclet House (1905–11) in Brussels, Belgium, with an exterior in bronze-framed white marble and interiors lined with jewel-like mosaics by his contemporary Gustav Klimt. This was unmistakable proof that his simple shapes could be made to look both monumental and luxurious when built with lavish materials.
Stoclet House (1905–11), Brussels, with fountain and pool, by Joseph Hoffmann
HOLL, ELIAS (1573–1646)
German Renaissance architect, and one of the first advocates of Classical design in Prussia. He traveled in Italy, where he is thought to have studied the work of Andrea Palladio and other Renaissance architects. He visited Venice at the beginning of the seventeenth century and holds a position in his own country’s architectural history equivalent to his exact contemporary Inigo Jones, who first brought Classical architecture to England. On his return from Italy he became city architect of Augsberg and built its exquisite Town Hall between 1615 and 1620.
HOLL, STEVEN (B.1947)
Versatile American architect, internationally trained (in Washington, Rome, and London) who first received particular attention for some relatively small but distinguished commissions: a vernacular, free-spirited, all-wood house he designed on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (1984–88); a shop and showroom for the Pace Collection (1985); the Giada shop, a women’s clothing store (1987); an apartment in Metropolitan Towers (1987); the very minimalist offices for D.E. Shaw and Company, the investment firm (1991); and, with Vito Acconci, the Storefront Gallery (1992–93)—all in New York. In the meantime, however, he started to expand first by writing his book Anchoring: Selected Projects, 1975–1988 (Princeton Architectural Press) in 1989 and then, in the same year, by producing his interesting Void Space/Hinged Space Housing, Nexus World Kashii, Fukuoka, Japan. In 1999 he won the National AIA Design award for KIASMA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, and, in 2000, he was commissioned to do a new addition for the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.
HOLLAND, HENRY (1745–1806)
One of the first English Neoclassical architects, known for the refined simplicity of his interiors as well as his knowledge of French Classicism. He added strains of the lighter and more esoteric Louis XVI style to the more solemn underlay of antiquity. His talent was said to be most apparent at Carlton House, London, that he enlarged and altered for the Prince of Wales (1783–85), but which is now sadly demolished, in spite of its allegedly beautiful rooms. However, there are at least illustrations of Holland’s splendid Chinese Room at Carlton House in Thomas Sheraton’s The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book (1791–1802) and in William Pyne’s Royal Residences (1819). He also designed Brooks’ Club, London (1776–78), and the Marine Pavilion at Brighton (1786–87), which was later transformed into the Royal Pavilion by architect John Nash. Holland had worked as an assistant to “Capability” Brown and had married Brown’s daughter before starting out on his own. He had good “connections” with the Whig aristocracy of the day and received many commissions. He was as popular for his meticulous attention to aesthetic detail, creating devices such as a gilded pelmet box with eagles to support curtains, as he was for his sense of comfort. One of his most thoughtful inventions was heated window seats.
HOLLEIN, HANS: (B. 1934)
Austrian architect and winner of the 1985 Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is considered to be just as much an artist as an architect, teacher, author, and designer of furniture and silverware and, as one of the judges of the Pritzker put it: “An architect who is also an artist who has the good fortune to design museums that are as eager to place within their walls works of art from his hand, whether in the form of drawings, collages, or sculpture.” After graduating from the School of Architecture in Vienna in 1956, he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship for Travel in the United States and took advantage of it to do graduate work at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and to finish his masters in architecture at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1960 he met and worked with Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Richard Neutra. After working for a time in Sweden, he settled back in Vienna in 1965 and became, as he has been called, a kind of “architectural Fabergé,” combining an architect’s sense of space with a goldsmith’s sense of craft. His work includes the 1970 Richard Feiger Gallery in New York City (1970) and the Abteiberg Museum in Monchengladbach, near Dusseldorf, Germany (1972–82). In 1985 he won the competition for the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt and the Cultural Forum in Berlin.
HOPE, THOMAS (1770–1831)
Early-nineteenth-century British furniture designer, dilettante, and transitional figure between the old aristocratic patronage and the aspiring middle classes. In a way, he epitomized the Regency style, the British version of the French Empire style, with its restless eclecticism contained in a Neoclassical framework. Originally a banker, he was seriously interested in Classical and Egyptian archeology and was also a great admirer of the designs of Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Leonard Fontaine, the Emperor Napoleon’s favored designers. Yet, most of all he had a burning desire to improve the public taste at whatever cost. To this end he set about decorating and commissioning furniture for both his London and country houses with Egyptian, Turkish, Indian, and Greco-Roman references, which he then let selected members of the public see—much as people are given guided tours of various homes today He also wrote the influential Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807), which was as widely admired in America as it was in Britain.
HOPKINS, SIR MICHAEL (B. 1935) AND LADY PATTY (B. 1942)
British High-Tech architects popular with the design cognoscenti who have been in partnership since 1976, after Sir Michael left the offices of Sir Norman Foster to set up on his own. Part of the Canary Wharf Development in London uses their successful Patera Building System. Other refined but relaxed public buildings include the new opera house at Glyndebourne, Sussex (1988–94) and the new Parliamentary Building, Westminster, London (1989).
HORTA, BARON VICTOR (1861–1947)
Belgian Art Nouveau architect and designer who was the first to understand that, as in the Rococo period, the essence of the movement was to synthesize architecture, room decoration, and furnishings into one indivisible whole. Like Robert Adam in the eighteenth century, Horta designed every part of that whole himself, from the hardware and light fittings to the furniture, furnishings, and stained glass—this last is a commodity he used a great deal, not only in window and door panes but for whole ceilings. A good example is the Hotel Van Eetvelde in Brussels, finished in 1896. Like Gaudí in Spain, Horta was excited by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc’s two-volume Entretiens sur l’architecture (published in France from 1858 to 1872, and in English, in Boston, from 1875 to 1881). In particular, he was inspired by Viollet-le-Duc’s writings on the possibilities of iron sculpture; he flew with this idea, as it were, in his balustrades, columns, and girders, which curved, weaved, and twisted in tendril-like forms that were often repeated in the painting on walls and ceilings and in mosaic patterns on the floors (just as Adam had repeated the intricate designs of his plaster ceilings in his specially woven carpets). Horta used his sculptural ingenuity to great effect in his first house, the Tassel House (1892) in Brussels, the sight of which is supposed to have moved his former master and teacher, Alphonse Balat, to tears. Other splendid Horta projects were the Hôtel Solvay (1895–1900; the “hôtel” prefix is used here in the original sense, in France and Belgium, to denote a large town house); the Maison du Peuple (1895–99), with its curved glass and iron facade; and the Brussels store called L’Innovation (1901).
HUNT, RICHARD MORRIS (1827–1895)
The first American neo-Renaissance architect, as well as a painter andsculptor, who came from a prosperous early Colonial family and moved to Paris in 1843. There he attended the École des Beaux-Arts and worked with Hector Lefuel, Napoleon III’s chief architect to the Louvre, which at that time was being extended. Having received firsthand knowledge of the French Renaissance Revival, he took the fashion back to New York, from where he commuted back and forth to France until he finally settled back in New York in 1868. He designed the Tribune building (1873), one of the first New York buildings with an elevator; various “cottages” for the Vanderbilts and the Astors in Newport, Rhode Island; as well as the impressive Biltmore Castle, in Ashville, North Carolina in the 1890s, with its particularly handsome library. At the beginning of the same decade, he also designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1894–1902). He was one of the founders of the American Institute of Architects.
One of the greatest of ancient architects in Periclean Athens who designed and built the Parthenon with Callicrates (447/6–438 B.C.). He was reputedly the architect of the Doric temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, begun around 430 B.C. after the Great Greek Plague.
INCE, WILLIAM (1738–1804) AND MAYHEW, JOHN (1736–1811)
Successful partnership of Neoclassical cabinetmakers who published an equally successful folio design book—The Universal System of Household Furniture (1762)—somewhat modeled on Chippendale’s Gentlemen and Cabinet-Maker’s Director.
ISOZAKI, ARATA (B. 1931)
An extremely versatile leader of the post-World War II generation of Japanese architects who first worked with Kenzo Tange before designing his much-praised Space City Project in Japan in 1962. In the mid-1960s he developed an East-West fusion style for several of his buildings until, in the late 1970s, he veered off into a whole new phase that he called “schizoid,” apparently quite aptly, which led to a commission to design the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (1984–86). Afterward he changed direction again, this time to Postmodernism, the result of which was an extraordinarily successful building—or perhaps monument would be a better word—The Art Tower, Mito, Japan (1990). (The Art Tower is topped by an endless column of “titanium-paneled tetrahedrons,” the edges of which create a DNA-like double helix, which sounds considerably more complicated than it looks.) On he went again, this time to work with that commissioning genius Disney (which often seems like a casting agency for architects) to design its Team Disney Building at Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in quite another sort of fusion—this time between European Rationalism and Pop Disneyland. At present he has moved on to a whole new dynamic international style,with buildings in Spain and Poland, as well as Japan.
ITO, TOYO (B. 1941)
Korean-born, but trained and working in Japan, Ito is one of the most experimental and innovative architects working today. He juxtaposes shapes and various, often transparent, materials in wholly ingenious ways, and since he is reported to have wanted to create architecture that is “as light as the wind,” he evidently succeeds as well as anyone can. In his own spatially ambiguous house, the Silver Hut, Nakano (1984), he experimented with layers of perforated, semitransparent screens of industrial materials. In his Tower of Winds, Yokohama (built in 1986 and taken—not blown—down in 1995), he used 1,300 flickering lamps, twenty-four floodlights, and twelve neo-rings within its perforated outer skin, all computer programmed to produce shimmering patterns that shifted and transmuted according to the direction of the winds. For the Municipal Museum at Yatsushiro (1991), he created a bubble-shaped repository to “float” above vaulted stainless steel roofs and perforated metal screens. The UFO-shaped Egg of Winds, Tokyo (1991) was hotly followed by the floating UFOs for the Nagayama Amusement Complex, Tama, Tokyo (1993), and that same year Ito pulled off an almost completely transparent building for ITM in Matsuyama, using every possible kind of glass, whether it was clear, wire-meshed, opaque, or frosted. Even his fire station at Yatsushiro floats some twenty feet above the ground—good practice, one supposes, for the firemen.
JACOBSEN, ARNE (1902–1971)
Danish architect and furniture designer who built many meticulously designed and elegant private houses in the 1930s before he started being commissioned to design various, equally meticulous Town Halls and other public buildings in Denmark. He also designed St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, England, finished in the 1960s, and during the 1950s designed his well-known laminated plywood and steel stacking chairs and the famous Egg pivoting chair, as well as some simple but handsome tableware.
JEFFERSON, THOMAS (1743–1826)
Not just the third President of the United States, but also an undoubtedly influential architect and educator who looked back to antiquity and to ancient Roman villa architecture for his architectural theory and inspiration; yet he seemed happy to use the writings and buildings of architects he admired from the present as well. He used several sources for his own meticulously well-thought-out house, Monticello, in Albemarle County, Virginia, begun in 1768. He selected the plan originally from Robert Morris’s Select Architecture (1755), adapting it to some of James Gibbs’s ideas as well as incorporating some Palladian elements culled from Giacomo Leoni’s English edition of Palladio’s work (1715). When he was the United States Ambassador to France,he was asked in 1785 to design the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. This he did with the help of the French architect and teacher Charles-Louis Clérisseau, with whom he studied architecture (and later with Benjamin Latrobe), producing a templelike design with Ionic pillars and pilasters on the sides and rear of the building. Finished in 1796, the building set the pattern for official buildings in the United States. From 1792 onward, as Secretary of State to George Washington, he made a substantial contribution to the planning of the new Federal Capitol in Washington. And when he became President he called in Latrobe in 1803 to complete what turned out to be a very long job. The new Capitol was almost entirely burned down in 1814 and had to be rebuilt. Latrobe also assisted Jefferson with the planning of the impressive University of Virginia at Charlottesville (1817–26).
Jefferson Library (1817–26) of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, by Thomas Jefferson
JOHNSON, PHILIP (B. 1906)
One of the American twentieth-century architectural icons who came to the actual practice of architecture rather late, although he had been an energetic critic and protagonist of the new modern architecture of the time for some years. While studying Greek and philosophy at Harvard, Johnson somehow became aware of the groundbreaking work of the De Stijl group, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe, and from then on “Nothing,” he said, “existed but architecture.” After traveling through Europe in 1930 with Henry-Russell Hitchcock, the historian and critic, looking at Modern architecture for their book The International Style: Architecture Since 1922 (1932)—which is said to have given that style its name—he became a convinced devotee of Mies for his classic approach and his devotion to beautiful materials. On his return, Johnson was offered and accepted the job of starting the Department of Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, curating the museum’s landmark exhibition introducing the new European architecture in the same year as the publication of his book on the same subject. Seven years later, Johnson returned to Harvard to study architecture for himself and was given the chance to build his thesis project in Cambridge. These were the years when Gropius was teaching, but still a convinced Miesian, Johnson worked on a project Mies had designed but had not built: “a house designed as a walled court where the rectangular living volume opened onto a paved court through a glass wall.” It is a prototype for so many urban houses today. After Harvard, he returned to MoMA, where he published his book Mies van der Rohe in 1947. During his many talks with Mies for the preparation of the book they discussed the idea of completely glazed buildings. Johnson thought it could not be done. Mies thought it could. They both worked on the idea: Mies produced his Farnsworth house and Johnson built his own Glass House on a fabulous site in New Canaan, Connecticut, in 1949. They are now considered to be two of the most famous houses in America. Many more houses followed. Then, as associate architect with Mies for the Seagram Building, he designed the stunning interior for the building’s Four Seasons Restaurant, though the building also marked his divergence from the Mies single-mindedness. Whereas the architects who came to fame in the 1920s denounced history as an influence on their respective designs, Johnson has done as much as any modern architect to reinstate it. “We cannot not know history,” he is reported to have said in an interview, and, “I do not think there is such a thing as originality.” To prove it, his many divergent buildings—including the Kneses Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Port Chester, New York; the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; the Art Gallery for the University of Nebraska, the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center; the Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana; the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, New York; the outdoor terracing for MoMA in New York; and the Nuclear Reactor at Rehovot, Israel—all show certain erudite but lighthearted references to nineteenth-century Classicism, whether derived from the German Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the British Sir John Soane, or the French Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. But, as Johnson has also said: “Professionalism—how you approach a building, how you get into it, and how you feel when you are there—has carried right through, as a main concern in my work, from Mies to today.” He could have added the well-known Mies aphorism: “I do not want to be original. I want to be good.” Johnson’s lifetime achievement was honored in 1979 when he was the first architect to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, set up by the Hyatt Trust and now the leading international award for architecture.
JONES, INIGO (1573–1652)
Great English Renaissance architect who was ahead of his time and, in his way, as much of a genius as his slightly older contemporary, William Shakespeare. The son of a cloth worker, he somehow managed to visit Italy before 1603 in the role of “picture-maker” and returned to England to become a popular figure at the royal court of James I as a stage designer for masks in the Italian manner. (Some of his beautifully executed and quite fantastic designs for Baroque costumes and architectural sets still survive.) At the same time he seems to have picked up architectural skills for, in 1608, he created designs for the New Exchangein London. In 1613 he visited Italy again, this time in the company of the well-known collector Lord Arundel. He stayed there for nineteen months while making extensive sketches of antique Roman details as well as of villas in the Veneto designed by Andrea Palladio; when he returned to England he became the first English architect to have a firsthand knowledge of not just the Italian Renaissance master, but of his Classical sources. In 1615, he was made Surveyor of the King’s Works and was continuously employed at the various royal palaces until 1642. In that period he built three outstandingly original classical houses that were the first buildings to break with the Elizabethan and Jacobean building traditions, even though they were erected almost a century after the Classical ideal had spread from Italy to France. Nor were they in any ways slavish copies of Palladio: correct in detail, those details were subtly transmuted to an essential solid Englishness. These original houses were the Queen’s House, Greenwich (1616–18, continued 1629–38); the Prince’s Lodging, Newmarket, Suffolk (1619–22, now destroyed); and Jones’s masterpiece, the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall, London (1619–22). Nearly all his buildings for the next monarch, Charles I, have been destroyed, except for the continuation of the Queen’s House,Greenwich; the great Corinthian portico for the Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, which transformed a medieval structure into a Roman one; and Covent Garden, the first London Square, thought to be somewhat based on the Place des Vosges in Paris, although only the church and a fragment of the original square now survive. The famous double-cube room at Wilton House, Wiltshire, for Lord Pembroke, often cited as the most beautiful room in England, was actually completed in Jones’s old age by his nephew by marriage, John Webb, but it bears every sign of his style. In his lifetime, Jones’s influence was mostly in court circles. Nevertheless, a century later, his was the greatest influence on the Palladian Revival engineered by Lord Burlington and William Kent.
The Queen’s House, Greenwich, near London, begun by Inigo Jones in 1616 (extended by John Webb in 1661)
KAHN, LOUIS I. (1901–1974)
Although his followers from the so-called Philadelphia School, and many others, think of him as one of the finest American architects of the twentieth century and second only to Frank Lloyd Wright, Kahn did not get much international attention until quite late in his career. An Estonian by birth, who emigrated to Philadelphia with his parents in 1905, he had a gift for both painting and music, but at sixteen was inspired by his prescient high school art teacher to choose architecture. After a Beaux Arts-style education at the University of Pennsylvania, he went to Europe for a year in 1928, where he was as impressed by Greek and Roman antiquity as he was by the new work and teaching of Le Corbusier. In 1947, he became visiting design critic at Yale and soon became a professor; a few years later he was commissioned to design the university’s first Modern building, the extension to the Yale University Art Gallery. In 1957, Kahn returned to the University of Pennsylvania as a teacher and was invited to design its Richards Medical Research Building, considered by many to be one of the world’s most important buildings of the 1960s. This led to commissions to design the National Assembly in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the second capital (the first capital being in Islamabad), where he was given a brief (a client’s instructions and list of needs) to design the Assembly and the Supreme Court as well as hostels, schools, a stadium, and a hotel for ministers, their secretaries, and members of the Assembly; the diplomatic enclave; the living sector; and the market. All of this, plus a mosque, was to be designed within one thousand acres of flat land prone to flooding. Other projects included the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California (1959–65); the United States Consulate in Luanda, Angola; Erdman Hall Dormitories at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania; the library for the Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire (1965–72); the Trenton Bath House, Trenton, New Jersey; and the Institute for Public Administration, Ahmedabad, India. The Sher-e-Bangla Nagara Dakar (1962–87), built in Bangladesh over a span of twenty-five years, but unfinished at the time of Kahn’s death, is considered one of the great post-war buildings on a grand scale. Another distinguished commission back in the United States was the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth,Texas (1966–72). All of Kahn’s buildings, whatever their geographical location, are buildings of some drama with an exquisite exploitation of natural light combined with a feeling of solid permanence, and a tough, unyielding urbanity, although they are always subtly detailed.
KENT, WILLIAM (1685–1748)
Naturally gifted eighteenth-century furniture designer, landscape gardener, painter, and architect. Although he came from poor parentage, he somehow managed to get to Rome to study painting for ten years, where he met his future and lifelong patron, Lord Burlington, who brought him back to London in 1719, where he corralled him into becoming another advocate for English Palladianism. However, since Palladio had failed to provide any ideas for furniture among his many illustrations of buildings, Kent had to look to other sources for inspiration. The result was sumptuous, somewhat architectural, and richly carved and gilded furniture and interiors that were partly influenced by the Italian Baroque of Rome and Florence and partly by Inigo Jones, whose designs Kent published in 1727 with the financial assistance of Lord Burlington. Kent’s own designs, published in America as well as England, influenced the design of American furniture for some years thereafter. Interestingly, Kent did not actually turn to the study and practice of architecture until he was already in his forties. Nevertheless he managed to design some notable buildings, interiors, and gardens, revolutionizing the relationship of house to landscape. From Kent’s time on, country houses were built to harmonize with their surroundings rather than to dominate them. His masterpiece, Holkham Hall in Norfolk (1734 onward), was almost certainly designed in conjunction with Lord Burlington. Its extraordinary entrance hall, which is considered to be one of the grandest eighteenth-century rooms in Britain, is half based on a Roman basilica and half on Vitruvius’s illustrations of the Egyptian Hall (the latter taken from Colen Campbell’s edition of Vitruvius’s work published about fifteen years before Kent’s design). Kent’s spatially ingenious staircase in 44 Berkeley Square, London (1742–44) is also well worth seeing, as are his interiors and furniture for Lord Burlington’s Chiswick House on the outskirts of London. One of his rooms, complete with furniture, has recently been beautifully restored at Burlington House, Piccadilly, now the Royal Academy.
KIKUTAKE, KIYONORI (B. 1928)
Japanese architect and a leading member of the Metabolism movement. Founded by Kenzo Tange, Kikutake, Kisho Noriaki Kurakawa, Fumihiko Maki, and Masato Otaka, the movement sought to promulgate a completely different kind of flexible, organic architecture that would concentrate much more on interior space—and on the flexibility to completely change function whenever necessary—than on form. The group was set up as a reaction to what they thought of as the rigidity of western Modernism.
KOOLHAAS, REM (B. 1944)
Dutch architect, theorist, product designer, urban designer, design visionary, teacher, image-maker, and writer—in short, a modern equivalent of a Renaissance man. He trained in London and New York and has had a major influence on modern architectural thinking, as much from his books and teaching as for his architecture (he has won the Progressive Architecture Prize in New York as well as the prestigious Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the 2000 Pritzker Architecture Prize). The various construction elements in Koolhaas buildings, like those of Frank Gehry and Toyo Ito and his ex-colleague Zaha Hadid are usually combined in totally innovative and thought-provoking ways. Former projects of note include the Netherlands Dance Theater in the Hague (1984–87); Nexus World Kashii Condominium, Fukuoka, Japan (1991); and the Eurolille project and Grand Palais Convention Center (1990–94), for which he was the head architect. Some of his latest buildings include the Educatorium in Utrecht, Holland; the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin; the Campus Center for the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago; the Kunsthal Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands; the Seattle Public Library in Seattle, Washington; the Casa de Musica, a concert hall in Porto, Portugal; and CCTV, the enormous headquarters he is designing for China Central Television in Beijing, a city for which he is proposing a new conservation policy. He has also designed the new European Union flag, the Prada shop in Soho in New York City, and some Condé Nast magazines. His books include Delirious New York (first published 1978; reissued 1996) and S.M.L.XL. (1996) as well as various works in conjunction with architectural students at Harvard, where he also teaches. His company, OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), has locations in London and Rotterdam.
KURAKAWA, KISHO NORIAKI (B. 1934)
Another Japanese architect and Metabolist who publicized the group’s philosophy as much with his writings as with his various projects like Wall Cluster (1960); Helix City (1961); and his capsule buildings (like the 1960s English Archigram’s wishful living pods) for Takara Beautillion Expo ’70, Osaka; and the Nagakin Capsule Tower in Tokyo (1972). This last was designed as a solution for the need for mobile urban residential buildings and was formed from 144 prefabricated capsules bolted to reinforced concrete shafts. Many other buildings followed, combining a fusion of tradition and modernism as well as East and West. (See also Kiyonori Kikutake.)
KJAERHOLM, POUL (1929–1980)
Danish furniture and interior designer. Probably best known for his elegant leather-and-steel daybed, designed in the 1950s, although he designed a whole series of good-looking chairs and tables including his last in 1980—a steam-bent wood and cane chair.
LANGLEY, BATTY (1696–1751)
One of the best-known and influential compilers of architectural books, meant mainly for country builders, carpenters, and artisans. He built hardly anything himself, and what he did is now destroyed, but his works were studied avidly in eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century America and Britain and used as blueprints for both buildings and details. Some of the best-known titles are A Sure Guide to Builders (1729); The Builder’s Compleat Chest-Book (1727 and 1739); Ancient Masonry (1736; particularly popular in Colonial America); and Gothic Architecture Restored, Improved by Rules and Proportion in Many Grand Designs (1747), which was instrumental in creating the American interest in Gothic Revival.
LANNUIER, CHARLES HONORE (1779–1819)
Leading New York cabinetmaker in the Federal style and an immigrant from France, just as his New York contemporary Duncan Phyfe immigrated from Scotland.
LARSEN, JACK LENOR
Architect, interior designer, and noted and innovative textile designer and weaver who founded Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc. Textile House in the early 1950s. He managed to achieve a fine amalgam of interesting style, craftsmanship, and high standard of technical production so sought after by William Morris and his contemporaries—a yardstick that many have emulated and few have achieved.
LATROBE, BENJAMIN HENRY (1764–1820)
An architect and engineer, much influenced by Sir John Soane, who spent his youth between England and Germany and emigrated to America in 1795. After some years he was noticed by Thomas Jefferson, who asked his help with the exterior of the Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, the start of what would become as fruitful an American partnership as that of Lord Burlington and William Kent in England. Latrobe’s Philadelphia buildings—the Bank of Pennsylvania (1799–1801) and the Water Works (1800)—were the first fine examples of Greek Revival architecture in the United States—the first in the simpler Greek Doric style and the second in the more decorative Ionic; yet at much the same time he built Sedgeley the earliest Gothic-Revival house in America. From 1803 to 1811, he again went to help Jefferson, this time with the Capitol in Washington, where he executed some splendid vaulted stone interiors, which almost all had to be redone after the disastrous fire of 1814. The Neoclassical Baltimore Cathedral (1804–18) designed over the same period was also a triumph, and he was instrumental with Jefferson in designing the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
The Supreme Court chamber (1815–17), The Capitol, Washington, D.C., by Benjamin Latrobe
LE BLOND, JEAN-BAPTISTE ALEXANDRE (1679–1719)
French architect notable for his introduction of the Rococo to Russia, most especially with his designs for the Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg (1716).
LEBRUN, CHARLES (1619–1690)
The most important painter and decorator in the court of Louis XIV of France. He worked on the grandly formal interiors of Vaux-le-Vicomte, the excessively lavish house built by the foremost Baroque architect, Louis Le Vau, for the king’s finance minister, Nicholas Fouquet. After Fouquet was arrested in 1661 by his great rival, Jean-Baptiste Colbert (ostensibly for embezzlement, but also, one suspects, for daring to outdo the Sun King himself), Lebrun became, as did Le Vau, one of the elite team working on the interiors of the Palace of Versailles, as well as other royal residences. When Jules Hardouin-Mansart took over from Le Vau at Versailles, Lebrun went on working on the interiors in his capacity as director and chief designer for Le Manufacture Royale des Meubles des Couronne (The Royal Factory for the Crown Furnishings), which was a sort of royal cooperative started rather cleverly by Louis XIII to concentrate and control France’s decorative arts. It was also known as the Manufacture des Gobelins, and its purpose was to provide furnishings for the royal residences as well as to help instigate a national style. Lebrun produced some extraordinary work in the grandiose style of the day but one of his best achievements was the staggeringly sumptuous semicircular vaulted arch and panels for Mansart’s Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) in Versailles.
LE CORBUSIER (1887–1966)
One of the leaders of the International style, a semiabstract painter, possibly the most influential architect of the twentieth century and one of the great masters—along with the Frenchman Auguste Perret (1874–1954), with whom he worked from 1908 to 1909—of the use of reinforced concrete. Born in French Switzerland as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (he took the pseudonym of Le Corbusier from a Monsieur Le Corbezier, his Belgian great-grandfather), he traveled to the Balkans and Asia Minor, met Josef Hoffmann, worked for a short time with Peter Behrens in Berlin, and settled in Paris in 1917. He made his main contribution to the International style between the two World Wars, using huge strip windows, simple columns, glass bricks, and metal as fundamental ingredients of both his interior and exterior compositions. His “total” plans for cities, with a center of identical skyscrapers symmetrically arranged in a park setting with lower buildings, and complex traffic routes between, were brilliant, if not particularly practical, but were never taken up. Years later, however, his layout for the town of Chandigarh in India and his powerful Law Courts and Secretariat buildings (1951–56) would have a major influence in Japan. Le Corbusier’s other major interests were in the mass production of housing as well as developing a whole new concept of the villa—a white, cubist private house perched on cylindrical stilts or pillars with rooms flowing into one another. Ideas for the latter were first shown publicly in his Esprit Nouveau exhibit at the Paris Exhibition of 1925, which had a tree growing through the building. And his subsequent villas, particularly the Villa Stein at Garches (1927) and the Villa Savoye at Poissy (1929–31), were profoundly influential on domestic building as much for the clever melding of the inside with the outside as for the innovative molding of walls and staircases. Another major desire—to reform furniture and furnishings in general—was shared by his cousin Pierre Jeanneret (1896–1966) and Charlotte Perriand (1903–1999). Their combined design for furnishing a unité d’habitation (living unit), exhibited at the Salon d’Automne des Artistes-Décorateurs in Paris in 1929, was a conscious and uncompromising effort to make people come to terms with “modern living” along with the advent of new technology—to create a “machine for living” that matched the age with built-in furniture, laminated surfaces, concealed lighting, and chromium-plated steel-tube furniture. Though scorned by many at the time, the fact is that decades later, few contemporary architects designing a modern home would even consider doing an interior without incorporating some of Le Corbusier’s ideas and, for that matter, some of his furniture such as his Grand Confort chair designed in the 1930s. Around the same time, Le Corbusier designed the Salvation Army Hostel in Paris (begun 1929) that had far-reaching influence; a plan for the League of Nations in Geneva (1927; not executed); the Centrosojus in Moscow (1928); and the Swiss House in the Paris Cité Universitaire (1930–32). In the late 1930s, he went to Rio de Janeiro to advise on the new Ministry of Education building being built by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer and subsequently worked with Niemeyer as advisor on his buildings for Brasilia. In 1947, he worked with others on the United Nations Headquarters and the Secretariat building in New York, which was, as it turned out, his last glass and steel building. After this, Le Corbusier’s work took an entirely different direction—one that became just as influential on progressive architects as his earlier work. Where his buildings had been rational, they were now antirational; where they had been smooth they were now Brutalist and aggressively sculptural, often exposing heavy concrete members. The first such building was the Unité d’Habitation at Marseilles (1947–52); its proportions were worked out based on a complicated system that he invented called Modulor. The system, which was based upon the human figure (as was Palladio’s system four centuries earlier), was used to determine the proportions of each building unit, and was first propounded by Le Corbusier in his book Le Modulor (1951). Other such unités were built in Nantes and Berlin, but his most revolutionary building in this style is the pilgrimage chapel of Ronchamp (1950–54). This last was followed by some hard, heavy-looking houses at Ahmedabad in India (1954–56); the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo (1957); and the Dominican friary of La Tourette at Eveux-sur-l’Arbresle near Lyon (1953–57).
Le Corbusier chaise longue, 1928
LEDOUX, CLAUDE-NICOLAS (1736–1806)
Another of J-F Blondel’s gifted students and a major disciple of Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Ledoux started off as a Louis XVI, early-Neoclassical architect who, though apparently somewhat eccentric and quarrelsome, managed to design a number of seemingly effortlessly glamorous Parisian hôtels particulières that held the same cachet for the prevailing taste in the eighteenth century as had earlier Italian palazzi and the great English country houses. As Robert Adam wrote: “To understand thoroughly the art of living, it is necessary, perhaps, to have passed some time among the French.” Ledoux also designed the witty interior of the Café Militaire in the Palais Royal (now in the Musée Carnavalet); the extraordinarily elegant Pavilion de Louveciennes for the king’s mistress, Madame du Barry (now mostly removed, but recorded in le feune, a watercolor by Moreau); the minute boudoir for Madame de Serilly, now to be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (the word boudoir is derived from the French verb bouder, meaning “to pout,” and appropriately the boudoir became the private getaway or sulks rooms for fashionable ladies); and finally, for this phase of his career, the dazzling Hôtel Thelusson in Paris, which was surrounded by an (unusually for France) informal English-style garden approached through an enormous triumphal arch. After all these undoubted successes, Ledoux precipitously dispensed with his elegant Neoclassical simplicity and geometric forms, did a complete about-face, and became the most extreme and original interpreter of a quite elemental Romanticism.
LE NÔTRE, ANDRÉ (1613–1700)
The designer of the Park at Versailles (1662–90) for Louis XIV that is famous for its radiating avenues, huge parterres, stretches of water, and grand fountains. The overall plan sensitively extended the symmetry of Le Vau’s designs for the new garden at the front of the Palace to the surrounding countryside. Generally thought of as the most distinguished designer of formal gardens and parks in the French manner, Le Nôtre was trained in architecture and painting as well as in landscape. He was appointed controller general of the king’s buildings in 1657 while he was working on the gardens at the magnificent Vaux-le-Vicomte (1656–61) for Louis XIV’s overly ambitious finance minister, Nicholas Fouquet. He later worked on the royal parks of St. Cloud, Fontainebleau, Clagny, and Marly.
LE VAU, LOUIS (1612–1670)
Leading French Baroque architect, remodeler of the Palace of Versailles for Louis XIV, and the designer of the even more magnificent Vaux-le-Vicomte for Louis XIV’s finance minister Nicholas Fouquet, who was arrested in 1661 by his great rival, the statesman and churchman Jean-Baptiste Colbert, ostensibly for embezzlement, but also, one suspects, for daring to outdo the Sun King himself. A great organizer, Le Vau had assembled a talented team of sculptors, painters, decorators, furniture makers, masons, carpenters, gardeners, and so on who had astonishingly managed to complete Fouquet’s house in just one year. As a result of Fouquet’s fall from glory, the king was able to take advantage of Le Vau and his team for the further enriching of his own palaces, including Versailles, as well as the Galerie d’Apollon in the Louvre (1661–62) with interiors decorated by both Le Vau and Charles Lebrum. Unfortunately, Le Vau’s purportedly beautiful garden front for Versailles was ruined a few years later by the alterations and extensions made by Jules Hardouin-Mansart (Louis XIV’s new royal architect and superintendent of buildings). Nor, sadly, does anything now remain of the interiors Le Vau worked on, again with Lebrun, including his famous Escalier des Ambassadeurs, though this had nothing to do with Mansart, who also replaced Le Vau’s nearby Trianon de Porcelaine with hisown Grand Trianon. Fortunately for lovers of the Baroque, Le Vau’s other great building in Paris, now the Institut de France but formerly called the Collège des Quatre Nations and begun in 1661, was paid for by Cardinal Jules Mazarin and is still intact.
LIBESKIND, DANIEL (B. 1946)
Polish-born American architect who arrived in the United States in 1960 and trained in New York. How fitting, then, that he gives back to this city the new designs for the devastated World Trade Center site. Libeskind exhibited his Lighting Flash zigzag design at Philip Johnson’s Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1988 and followed with his Osaka Folly Pavilion in Osaka (1989–90) and his Jewish Museum in Berlin (1990–96). At much the same time he won a competition for an extension to the high-Victorian Victoria & Albert Museum in London, just as he won the enormously publicized and emotional competition for the renewal of the World Trade Center.
LONGHENA, BALDASSARE (1597–1682)
Venetian Baroque architect who designed some of the best-known buildings in Venice: Santa Maria della Salute at the entrance to the Grand Canal (first designed 1630 but not finally finished and consecrated until 1687); the monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore (1643–45); the fanciful little church of the Ospedaletto (1670–78); and Palazzo Rezzonico (begun 1667) and Palazzo Pesaro (1649/52–82; facade begun 1676) on the Grand Canal. His work, most particularly his churches, had a considerable influence on later architects.
LOOS, ADOLF (1870–1933)
Avant-garde early-Modernist Austro-Hungarian architect and designer who was born in Brno, Moravia (which is now the Czech Republic), spent three formative years between 1893 and 1896 in the United States, worked mainly in Vienna and Paris, and achieved a good deal of influence with his somewhat polemical writing. He also designed houses for the so-called intellectual and artistic elite of the time, including Josephine Baker. His austere early-twentieth-century villas were characterized by the total absence of ornament (for example, white walls without any sort of molding) and by the strong cubic shapes that he promulgated in his journalism. However, he did like using luxurious materials for his various surfaces, as would Mies van der Rohe a decade or so later. In his celebrated and much disputed article “Ornament and Crime” (1908), he advocated the removal of all ornament, not just from architecture and interiors but from life in general. “Lack of ornament,” he wrote, “is a sign of spiritual strength.”
LUTYENS, SIR EDWIN LANDSEER (1869–1944)
If you think of that opulent era at the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—typified by imposing Edwardian architecture or the grandcountry houses of the Belle Epoque—it is hard to avoid thinking of Lutyens. He was the architect of most of the “modern” rambling and picturesque country houses of the time, designed with handsome details, many ingenious ideas for greater comfort, and an occasional puckishness. They are, consciously or unconsciously, what most people have in mind when they think of the proverbial “English Country Style” and, for that matter, English gardens. This is because many of them were designed integrally with gardens by Gertrude Jekyll (1843–1932), the garden designer who had revived and expanded the informal cottage garden feel, and to whose lawns and herbaceous borders Lutyens added mellow brick or stone walls, flights of steps, and balustraded terraces—a look much reproduced for early-twentieth-century mansions around the Hamptons, New York State in general, New Jersey, and Connecticut, as well as the antipodes. Lutyens had designed Gertrude Jekyll’s own house, Munstead Wood in Surrey, in 1896. But he was most famous for the imperial grandeur and scale of his designs for the layout of New Delhi in India, and for his magnificent Viceroy’s House (1912–31), now called Rashtrapati Bhaven, as well as for the four equally grand domed residences (begun in 1920) that surrounded his All-India War Memorial Arch. He also designed the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London (1919–20) and the wrenching Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval, near Arras, France (opened in 1932).
MACKINTOSH, CHARLES RENNIE (1868–1928)
A Scottish architect at the more rational end of the Art Nouveau period, who at the age of twenty-eight was commissioned by his clearly admiring old teacher at the Glasgow School of Art to design a new building for the school. The result, some think, is one of the masterpieces of early-Modern architecture. Mackintosh seemed not only to possess an extraordinary sensitivity to spatial relationships but an ability to combine restraint with sensuality expressed by his use of crisply rectangular shapes with long, languidly delicate Art Nouveau curves. Nikolaus Pevsner, in his absorbing book Pioneers of Modern Design (Penguin Books, first published in 1936), thought his early work showed him to be the European counterpart to Frank Lloyd Wright and one of the few forerunners of that most ingenious juggler of space, Le Corbusier. A further influential building took the unlikely form of Glasgow tea shops for Mrs. Cranston (for example, the Cranston Tea Room on Sauchihall Street), with interiors that displayed what have come to be thought of as Mackintosh trademarks: stiff vertical lines contrasted with curvaceous in-fills of rose, deep and pale lilac, and white; almost nonexistent cornices or crown moldings forming paper thin ledges around the room; and elongated ascetic floral forms. Mackintosh was somewhat influenced by the architecture and particularly the interiors of Edward William Godwin, who had almost single-handedly created the Anglo-Japaneselook endemic to the Aesthetic Movement. But like Gaudí in Spain, he also drew inspiration from a number of local sources—in particular, the strains of Celtic and Scottish Baronial, which are evident in his versions of traditional inglenooks and his designs for both freestanding and built-in furniture. This “feel” was translated in diluted form into other furniture, accessories, ceramics, and art glass, which are reproduced still. At the time, Mackintosh’s unique mixture of functionalism, austerity, and elegance was much admired in Europe, particularly in Austria, and by the group known as the Vienna Secession, created by Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, and Otto Wagner—all precursors of the Modern movement who absorbed many of Mackintosh’s ideas into their own work.
Leaded-glass doors of the “Room de Luxe” (1903), Willow Tea Rooms at 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasglow, Scotland, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
MACKMURDO, ARTHUR HEYGATE (1851–1942)
British architect and graphic designer much influenced by the art critic John Ruskin. In 1882 Mackmurdo founded the Century Guild, the first of five societies inspired by the teachings of William Morris to promote artistic craftsmanship. He was also widely credited for creating the impetus of the Art Nouveau movement with his famous design of sinuously weaving forms for the cover page of his book Wren’s City Churches, published in 1883.
MAGISTRETTI, VICO (B. 1920)
Italian designer, particularly well known from the 1960s to the 1990s for his furniture and lighting for Italian manufacturers such as Cassina, Kartell, Artemide, and O-Luce, and for innovative store designs for companies such as Cerutti. One of his best-known designs for Cassina was the Carimate chair (1959). With its bright-orange frame and rush seat, it has become a classic that is widely emulated by other manufacturers.
MAKI, FUMIHIKO (B. 1928)
Another distinguished “East-West” Japanese architect and the 1993 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the second Japanese architect to do so. Indeed, he studied with the first winner from Japan, Kenzo Tange, at theUniversity of Tokyo before having a year at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, going on to complete his masters of architecture degree at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and working with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York and Sert Jackson and Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He became assistant professor of architecture at Washington University, St. Louis. His first actual design commission was the Steinberg Hall (an art center) on that university’s campus. After serving on the faculty of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design between 1962 and 1965, he moved back to Tokyo, where he established his own firm, Maki and Associates. There he accomplished some massive commissions, including the gigantic Nippon Cultural Center, the Osaka Prefectural Sports Center, and the Fujisawa Municipal Gymnasium (1984–87). In the meantime he designed a large office complex for Isar Buro Park, near Munich, Germany and the Yerba Buena Gardens Visual Arts Center, which is part of a large-scale redevelopment in downtown San Francisco involving several prominent architects, including Mario Botta, James Stewart Polshek, and I. M. Pei. The Visual Arts Center is literally on top of the Moscone Convention Center.
MALLET-STEVENS, ROBERT (1886–1945)
The leading European Art Deco architect and furniture designer who segued into the International style in the 1920s as well as to designing early film sets. There is a Parisian street named after him that is filled with his Cubist buildings designed between 1926 and 1927. In 1937 he had the distinction of designing no less than five pavilions at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques in Paris: the Pavilion of Solidarity, the Pavilion of Hygiene, the Palace of Electricity, the Pavilion of Tobacco, and the Café du Brazil. In 1979, French designer Andrée Putnam included several reproductions of his furniture in her furniture company, Ecart International, which she started in order to present re-editions of classic designs from the 1930s.
MANSART, FRANÇOIS (1598–1666)
The Mansarts, both early French architects but born fifty years apart, are easy to confuse (although Jules—Mansart junior—is always referred to as Hardouin-Mansart). Both were the leading architectural practitioners of their day, but one was great uncle to the other. Mansart senior was the first great French classical architect, treasured for the clarity of his planning and the refinement of his detail, and as famous in France as Nicolas Poussin for his painting or Pierre Corneille for his plays. However, he never traveled out of France, was rarely employed by the king or by any great noble patron (although he was rather abortively consulted in the early 1660s about the Louvre and a royal chapel), and had a hard job, it seems, keeping to deadlines and sometimes finishing a job at all. Nevertheless, he completed a great many beautiful andsophisticated buildings for those members of the newly emerging and prosperous haute bourgeoisie who also happened to possess both ambition and taste, and gave his name to a type of continuous broken roof with a steep lower slope and flatter, shorter upper portion that he invented for the Orléans wing of the château at Blois (1635–38) in the Loire Valley. The château was never fully completed, but the Mansard, or Mansart, roof lives on. When he was halfway through building the Maisons Lafitte, near Paris (1642–51), designed for the very rich René de Longueil, he insisted, to his client’s consternation, on pulling down a good chunk during construction so that he could revise his ideas. All the same, it is his most complete work to survive, along with his remodeling of the Hôtel Carnavalet (1660–61) in Paris, now the Musée Carnavalet.
The vestibule in Maison Lafitte (1642–51), near Paris, by François Mansart
MAROT, DANIEL (CA. 1660–1752)
Leading late-seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architect and designer of both furniture and interiors who grew up in France. He fled to the Netherlands in 1685, along with many other Protestant refugees, after Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which had, since its establishment in 1598, tolerated the Protestant faith. In spite of his refugee status, Marot married the daughter of Pierre Golle, the celebrated ébéniste (a cabinetmaker, especially one working in ebony, a favorite Baroque finish for furniture) to Louis XIV, and then took up the position of architect-designer to Prince William of Orange (not unlike the position that Charles Lebrun held at Versailles). In this capacity he designed interiors and furniture—in particular some spectacular four-poster state beds—for the royal palace of Het Loo and the great hall of audience for the States General at the Hague. He thus introduced the flamboyantly luxurious Louis XIV style to the more stolid Dutch who, as the then major sea power with vast colonial possession as well as their trade with the Far East through the Dutch East India Company, were becoming increasingly prosperous. Added to this, the Dutch Prince William of Orange married Mary (daughter of the recently deceased Charles I and, for want of any other heirs, the new Queen of England) andthe pair became the joint rulers—known as William and Mary—over what had now become, for the first time, the United Kingdom. Accordingly, Marot accompanied William and Mary to England in 1688 and made several subsequent visits to work on the English royal palaces. He designed, for example, some of the interiors of the old Water Gallery at Hampton Court Palace, Middlesex (1689–98), including some unusual chimney pieces with supports for porcelain and faience vases. The queen had just introduced the fashion for the collecting and display of Oriental porcelain (through the offices of the Dutch East India Company) as well as the Dutch ware known as delft. So it was the Mary half of William and Mary who started the fashion for displaying collections of blue-and-white porcelain, which played such an important role in English, Dutch, and subsequently American interiors of the time—a fashion that has proved amazingly durable.
MAUGHAM, SYRIE (1879–1955)
Famous British decorator of the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, who did much work for the “beautiful people” of the time in the United States. She was the daughter of the famous Dr. Thomas Barnardo of the Barnardo Home for Boys and Girls, and wife and divorcée of the still more famous author Somerset Maugham. Her decoration will always be associated with “white on white on white” (the whites Maugham used were the “old” whites, not new ones, which have become increasingly brighter during the twentieth century with the addition of titanium; the old ones were much more gentle). For her clients, however, she actually used quite a large palette of delicate colors and an eclectic mixture of old, new, and reproduction furniture, including much Neo-Rococo. Other signature accessories were her ubiquitous shells of all sizes, plaster palm trees, satins and fringes, a good many shiny surfaces, exaggeratedly large dolphin console tables, folding screens, rock crystal, and mirrors, mirrors everywhere. Nevertheless, a smart Modernist mix of whites was the way Maugham decorated the much-photographed, legendary drawing room of her house in London’s Chelsea at the beginning of her decorating career (which did not actually begin until her late forties), and it is for her whites that she will always be remembered. Nor, of course, was Maugham the first bold user of whites, though fashionable New York and London clientele might not have guessed it. Whites had been used all through history, most especially in the fifteenth century by Filippo Brunelleschi—with his pure, simple interiors contrasting white or pale-cream plastered surfaces with gray or buff stone moldings and details—and in the nineteenth century by those working in the style of the Aesthetic, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau movements. Architects of these movements—such as Edward William Godwin, Philip Webb, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh—had all produced equally “revolutionary” white interiors, as of course did Maugham’s contemporaries Elsie de Wolfe in America and Jean Michel Frank in France. The latter was a great influence on Maugham and manyother designers, especially with his signature work of unadorned but exotically covered walls, mirrored screens, white side tables, bamboo, and white palm-tree decoration. Now, once again, these same tonal combinations have become very much de rigueur, leading some decorators better known for their taste than for their historical knowledge to claim the credit for inventing this style.
MAURER, INGO (B. 1932)
Influential German lighting designer and manufacturer who has designed many of the lighting icons of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, some of them widely imitated—such as his 1981 flexible lighting system strung on a series of taut, low-voltage cables, called YaYaHo and described as the start of the “low-voltage revolution.” His first inspiration was his large glass lamp in the shape of a light bulb (1966) simply called Bulb. Later light sculptures, as one might call them, were the flexible angel-winged light bulbs (1992), called Lucellino chandeliers; Zettel’z (1997), made up of sheets of paper that recorded passing thoughts (like an illuminated book of memorabilia); and the bead-filled star shapes surrounding flashing bulbs designed in 2001. In 2004 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London staged a whole homage to Maurer with a lighting show called, quite simply, Brilliant.
McKIM, MEAD & WHITE
Late-nineteenth-century New York architectural partnership whose work was considered to be the “turning point in American architecture.” Its first two members—Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909) and William Rutherford Mead (1846–1928)—had worked with the great American original Henry Hobson Richardson. The new firm designed many of the city’s nineteenth-century landmark buildings as well as a diversity of magazine and book covers, railway carriages, and yachts. These last were achieved through the talents of the brilliant and seemingly effortless designer, bon vivant, and third partner Stanford White (1853–1906). Some of the firm’s buildings in New York City include the group of Villard Houses (1882) on Madison Avenue (now the New York Palace hotel); Madison Square Garden (1891); the Washington Triumphal Arch (1891) in the style of the Étoile in Paris; Columbia University’s library rotunda (1893), inspired by the Pantheon in Rome as well as Jefferson’s University of Virginia in Charlottesville; the Pierpont Morgan Library (1903–07); and Pennsylvania Railway Station (1904–10), echoing imperial Roman thermae (splendid Roman bath complexes often containing libraries and other amenities as well as bathing facilities). Other famous McKim, Mead & White buildings are the stunning, heavily shingled Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island and the Boston Public Library (1888–95), with a McKim facade and sumptuous painted interiors by John Singer Sargent and the French painter and decorator Puvis de Chavannes.
MEIER, RICHARD (B. 1934)
Leading American public-building architect with work all around the world, including the Canal Plus Headquarters in Paris (1989–92); City Hall, the Hague, the Netherlands (1994); the Ulm Townhall and Cathedral Square, Germany (1995); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona (1987–95); and the Getty Center, Santa Monica, California (1985–97). He trained in New York—working with Marcel Breuer in the early 1960s—before starting his own practice, and was the most prolific of the New York Five group. He was also reputedly the most purist of the New York Five; in fact, his work on a group of private houses in the late 1960s/early ’70s was one of the reasons the group was also known as “the Whites.” His large public buildings have also made clean-lined assertive statements. He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1984, making him the sixth architect to be so honored.
MEISSONIER, JUSTE-AURÉLE (1695–1750)
Though born in Turin, Italy, he was really a native of Provence in southern France, and became one of the leading French promulgators of the Rococo style. He trained as a goldsmith but went on to become “ornament designer” to Louis XV, for whom he perfected the art of rocaille, a form of decoration derived from shellwork in grottoes and one of the chief elements of the Rococo style. Meissonier’s S-form and wavelike spiky designs were all published in his very successful book of engravings called Le Livre d’Ornements. The book included ideas for fountains, architecture, and decorative ornamentation. Fantastic curved, abstract structures are embellished with gushing water, curling plants and tendrils, animals, and fish. Because the book was so popular, all these motifs entered the contemporary decorators’ vocabulary and became known as the genre pittoresque. Interestingly, for those who like to make connections, Picturesque is the style that followed the much more severe Neoclassicism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, just as the lighthearted and delicate Rococo had followed the formal and massive grandeur of the Baroque. And more interestingly still, although the late-nineteenth/early-twentieth-century Art Nouveau was said to have no historical precedent, many of its vegetal motifs had also been used in the rocaille of the Rococo.
MEMPHIS MOVEMENT (1981–88)
Italian furniture movement, first introduced at the Milan Furniture Fair (the 1981 Salone di Mobile) with new-wave furniture by, among others, Ettore Sottsass Jr., Michele De Lucci, Aldo Cibic, Matteo Thun, Mark Zanini, and Javier Mariscal. The group’s designs quickly caused a big stir, resulting in a book about their designs called Memphis in 1983 (written by Barbara Radice) and an exhibition in 1988 at the International Design Center in New York called “Architects Inside: From Mies to Memphis,” though the latter turned out to be a swan song.
MENDELSOHN, ERICH (1887–1953)
German-born Modernist architect and visionary with a romantic enthusiasm, not just for the new twentieth-century science, technology, and rational planning, but also for pulsating speed and the roar of machines. Like Antonio Sant’Elia, the Italian Futurist who died at the age of twenty-eight, Mendelson made vigorous, expressive sketches of ideas for buildings that were more like sculpture than architecture. His sketches of buildings were not functionally worked out, but they nevertheless captured the excitement of the new technological age that was unfolding. Unlike Sant’Elia, he did manage to realize his vision in the form of the Einstein Tower at Potsdam (1919–21) and his remodeling of the Mosse building in Berlin (1921), which showed much the same vigorous streamlined curves as his visionary futuristic drawings. In 1921 he met Richard Neutra—who had yet to emigrate to America—and collaborated with him on a competition to design the business center for Haifa in Israel. They won first prize but the project was never built. In 1924 Mendelsohn visited the United States; his excitement about the new skyscrapers he saw there was reflected in later buildings he did in Berlin. Mendelsohn left Germany for London in 1933 and went into brief partnership with Serge Chermayeff, the architect for the much-admired molded concrete Penguin Pool at the London Zoo. A year later he moved to Israel where he built Hadasah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem (1936–38). He finally ended up in the United States, building, among other commissions, Maimonides Hospital in San Francisco.
Einstein Tower (1919–21), Potsdam, Germany, by Erich Mendelsohn
MICHELANGELO (MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI) (1475–1564)
Known famously by his first name only, Michelangelo was not only one of the world’s great painters and sculptors but also an extraordinary architect and the so-called “Father of the Baroque.” But he was a maverick as well: a restless, single-minded workaholic, apparently almost pathologically proud, and deeply religious but wracked by religious doubts, and as unsociable as he was untidy, he still managed to revolutionize almost everything he touched. He invented a new attitude toward interior spaces, a new vocabulary of ornament, and new principles of composition, and he idiosyncratically made clay models of buildings for builders, rather than the usual detailed perspective drawings. His first major commission was the facade for Filippo Brunelleschi’s church of San Lorenzo in Florence, which he conceived as an elaborate framework for greater-than-life-size statues. Just before this plan was abandoned, he was asked to design the Medici family mausoleum in the new sacristy of the same church. His revolutionary plan completely rejected what he thought of as the tyranny of the Classical orders and proposed tapered windows, pilasters without capitals, and walls that he treated as many-layered living organisms as opposed to inanimate surfaces. In 1524 he designed a library for San Lorenzo known as the Biblioteca Laurenziana (reading room designed in 1525, vestible in 1526). The now-famous library linked structure to decoration in a new way. Hitherto decorative pilasters were used only as actual supports for ceilings, just as columns actually supported the roof. However, since Michelangelo placed his columns in niches, like statues, they were made to appear more decorative than supportive. This was Mannerist thinking: A sort of tongue-in-cheek visual joke, when almost nothing was quite as it seemed. Like the Postmodernists more than 450 years later, Michelangelo appeared to be playing with history. Moreover, the crossbeams above the pilasters were echoed in mosaic on the floor so that the eye was drawn through a perspective of diminished oblongs. This last detail was the kind of thinking that Robert Adam indulged in some two centuries later when he designed carpets to match the intricate plaster work of his ceilings. In 1534, Michelangelo left Florence for Rome, where his first commission (begun 1539) was to reorganize the capitol to provide a handsome setting for the ancient statue of Marcus Aurelius, as well as a fitting place for outdoor ceremonies. He laid out the space as an oval, the first time this shape had been used in Renaissance architecture, and designed new fronts for the Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo del Senatore using huge columns rising two stories high, a device that had never been used before but that soon became quite commonplace. In 1546, he was commissioned to complete Antonio da Sangallo’s Palazzo Farnese, redesigning the upper floors of the inner courtyard and planning a vast garden to link it with the Villa Farnese on the far side of the Tiber River—though the latter was never undertaken. However, the idea for the grand vista that this would have provided, as well as his design for the Porta Pia (1561–65) at the end of a new street from the Quirinal, anticipated the principles of Baroque town planning. In spite of these triumphs, Michelangelo’s major work was still the completion of St. Peter’s (1546–64), started by Donato Bramante and continued by Antonio da Sangallo, who had also started the Palazzo Farnese. He went back to Bramante’s originalcentralized plan for the cathedral but made it much bolder, and was not in the least hesitant about demolishing a good many of da Sangallo’s additions. Even though his work on the interior of the cathedral was entirely covered over in the seventeenth century and his exterior is only visible on the north and south arms of the great building and on the drum of the dome (the dome itself was designed by della Porta and is quite different from Michelangelo’s conception), there is no doubt that the cathedral still owes more to his designs than to anyone else’s. And the marvelous painted decoration for the ceiling of the papal Sistine Chapel, recently restored, is another monument to his genius. Nevertheless, he must have died a frustrated man. Not one of his other major designs had been completed and, as unbelievable as it now seems, no contemporary seemed to have appreciated his extraordinary feeling for the control of the mass and shape of a building. Nor, for that matter, did anyone else fully appreciate his work until the seventeenth century, and he came in the form of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, another sculptor turned great architect.
MIES VAN DER ROHE, LUDWIG (1886–1969)
One of the great Bauhaus architects, although his earliest designs were inspired by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, considered to be the greatest German architect of the nineteenth century. Presumably, the spare, meticulous, and elegant precision of Mies van der Rohe’s lines, and the fact that almost all of his buildings were rooted to podiums of one kind or another (as were most Classical buildings), were founded on early Classical precepts that, after all, denote a stylistic unity into which nothing extraneous is allowed to intrude. But equally, it should not be forgotten that Mies van der Rohe, Sr., was a master stonemason and that the young Mies spent many hours helping him in his workshop, which led to the often repeated Miesian quote: “Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.” Like Walter Gropius, who was Peter Behrens’s chief designer, Mies worked for a time (1908–11) in Behrens’s office in Berlin, as he did, for some five months in 1910, with Le Corbusier as well. The dictate “Less is more”—implying the necessity to eliminate all that is irrelevant to function—actually came from Behrens’s forward-looking office, not from Mies himself, although this aphorism was always associated with Mies’s architecture. Also, like Gropius, Mies became caught up in the enthusiasm of Expressionism and took advantage of the latest technology to design revolutionary and visionary glass skyscrapers between 1919 and 1921 in which the nonstructural glass skin was separated from the structural bones behind it. He made a model with narrow, vertical strips of glass placed at slight angles to one another to make a multifaceted skin. It was at this time that Mies decided that reflections are more important to such buildings than light and shadow This was clearly an important realization to him, for from that time he always kept a framed photograph of the design in his office. By 1923, perhaps somewhat inspired by the new concepts of space explored by the painter Piet Mondrian and the Dutch De Stijl group, Mies started to turn toward abstraction. He did not really reveal the huge extent of his true talent, however, until the Barcelona Exhibition (1928–29), when his German Pavilion won enthusiastic accolades not just for its excitingly worked open-plan composition, but also for its exquisite finishes in marble, travertine, polished steel, bottle-green glass, and onyx. And it was there, too, that he introduced his elegant Barcelona chairs and stools that have become such enduring classics. In 1930, he took over from Gropius as director of the Bauhaus but left the position three years later to leave the country. In 1938, having emigrated to the United States, he was made professor of architecture at the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago, for which he designed a new campus. After World War II, his output blossomed with a number of private houses, including his Farnsworth House in Piano, Illinois (1946–51), which he undertook to design in glass at nearly the same time Philip Johnson designed his Connecticut version of a glass house. His handsome bronze and marble Seagram Building in New York, off Park Avenue (1954–58), is a Manhattan icon—“The most elegant skyscraper ever built” according to Architects on Architecture (New Directions in America) by Paul Heyer (Walker Company, 1966). The Federal Center in Chicago (1959–64) and the new National Gallery in Berlin (1963–68) are also outstanding classics of the twentieth century.
The Seagram Building (1954–58), New York City, by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson
MOHOLY-NAGY, LÁSZLÓ (1895–1946)
Hungarian architectural theorist, writer, photographer, lighting designer, and Constructivist artist, whose appointment to the Bauhaus in 1923 first steered the school in its new direction toward an amalgam of design and technology. He was appointed the first director of the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago in 1937. His publications include The New Vision (1930) and Vision in Motion (published in 1947 after his death).
MONEO, JOSÉ RAFAEL (B. 1937)
Spanish architect with tremendous range and the 1996 winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize as well as of the Spanish government’s highest award for architecture, the Gold Medal for Achievement in Fine Arts, the French Academy of Architecture’s Gold Medal, and the International Union of Architects Gold Medal. He taught at the Universities of Madrid and Barcelona before a five-year stint as chairman of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he is still on the faculty. In spite of this, most of his work has been in Spain, with the exception of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College in Massachusetts (1989–93) and an addition to Mies van der Rohe’s Fine Arts Museum in Houston, Texas. His most admired works in Spain are the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida (1980–84), the site of the most important city in Spain during the ancient Roman occupation; two minimalist translucent cubes that house the Kursaal Auditorium and Congress Center in San Sebastian; the rehabilitation of the Palacio de Villahermosa in Madrid to house the Thyssen Bornemisa collection of some eight hundred paintings (1989–92); and, on the island of Mallorca, the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation (1987–92).
MOORE, CHARLES WILLARD (1925–1993)
Pioneer in environmental architecture with the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin (b. 1916), with whom he worked on the experimental Sea Ranch on the Californian coast—“a place where wild nature and human habitation couldinteract”—and where his simple, unpainted redwood cabins were integrated seamlessly with the landscape. Subsequently, he took to Postmodernism with various university buildings and the dramatic Piazza d’Italia, New Orleans (1979), among others.
MORRIS, WILLIAM (1834–1896)
Social revolutionary, visionary, poet, decorator, textile designer, and one of the principal influences on the architects and designers of the Arts and Crafts movement. Though not an actual architect, he joined the architectural firm of G. E. Street in 1856, where he met his great influence, the architect Philip Webb (who later designed Morris’s subsequently famous Red House). Since neither of them could find any contemporary furniture that they liked—“Shoddy is king,” Morris is said to have complained, “from the statesman to the shoemaker, everything is shoddy”—they decided to become decorators and furniture designers themselves. In fact, the only bits of furniture that Morris actually made himself were achieved in 1858. It was really in his role as a passionate idealist that he had such influence over the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement in England, such as C. R. Ashbee, Richard Norman Shaw, and Charles F. A. Voysey; the Secession movement in Vienna; architects such as the Belgian Henry van de Velde and the German Peter Behrens; and subsequently, as it turned out, on twentieth-century design in general. He founded his own company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1861, with a one-hundred-pound loan from his mother and one-pound share contributions from the Pre-Raphaelite painters Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (who taught Morris to paint), and Ford Madox Brown, as well as the architect Philip Webb. The firm changed its name to Morris & Co. in 1874. The company produced stained glass, textiles, furniture, pottery and metal-work. Morris’s own best contributions, still reproduced, were his clean-colored textile and wallpaper designs, which introduced the desire for new and lighter furnishings and interiors that dominated the last part of the nineteenth century. Although Morris preached so passionately for the return of the medieval craft ethic, his objection was not so much to machine production as to bad workmanship. In fact, ironically his first registered design was a trellis of marigolds for machine-made linoleum (or corticine floorcloth, as it was then called). And his first carpets were designed to be machine woven, with separate borders of varying widths. The most ironic aspect of Morris’s aims, however, was that, although he set out to bring art to the masses, almost all the works of art and furnishings that he produced cost so much in materials and labor that they were unavailable to all but the rich. Happily, his designs were all copied by manufacturers anyway—and without shoddiness—so mass-produced emulations of Morris’s style appeared in middle class homes everywhere, as they still do.
MUMFORD, LEWIS (1895–1990)
A tremendous influence on American urban planning, regionalism, and ecological equilibrium with his many forcefully argued and widely read books, which include The Story of Utopias (1922); The Culture of Cities (1938); The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations and Its Prospects (1961); City Development: Studies in Disintegration and Renewal (1961); and The Urban Prospect (1968).
MURCUTT, GLEN (B. 1936)
Sensitive Australian architect who has led the way in designing elegant houses and public buildings particularly appropriate to their geographical locations and climate, as well as with his use of vernacular construction materials. A well-known example is the Berowra Waters Inn, near Sydney, designed between 1977 and 1983. He has consistently made the point that he is not interested in designing large-scale projects since it is smaller works that have given him the opportunity for his continual experimentation. The Aboriginal saying “to touch this earth lightly” is his mantra. His particular influences have been Mies van der Rohe and Luis Barragán, and on his first visit to the United States he was particularly taken with Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation Headquarters. He has become greatly in demand for international lectures and teaching, which, he says, have provided wonderful ways to learn more himself. In 2002, he became the twenty-fourth winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize and the first Australian to be awarded the prize with the citation that “he has become a living legend, an architect totally focused on shelter and the environment with skills drawn from nature and the most sophisticated design traditions of the Modern movement.”
NASH, JOHN (1752–1835)
British Picturesque movement architect and, like Baron Haussmann in Paris, a brilliant urban designer. He was a master of producing large-scale theatrical effect, as in, for example, the transformation of the little marine pavilion—originally designed by Henry Holland for the future George IV—into the amazing Indian and Chinoiserie Brighton Pavilion (1802–21). He was also the first builder of stucco-fronted houses in London. His best work was probably the layout of Regent Street and Regent’s Park in London (in progress from 1811), the latter considered to be the forerunner of the twentieth-century garden city since the park is dotted with charming villas (including Winfield House, the residence of the Ambassador of the United States) and surrounded by stunning terraces and crescents of graceful stuccoed houses. In the 1820s, in his energetic seventies, he planned Trafalgar Square, Suffolk Street, and Suffolk Place; built Clarence House (formerly the home of the late Queen Mother and now the London home of Prince Charles) and Carlton House Terrace; and began Buckingham Palace (completed by Edward Blore). His career came to an end with the death ofGeorge IV in 1830, but he was already seventy-eight.
NELSON, GEORGE (1908–1986)
Twentieth-century American design catalyst and prolific designer of furniture, interiors, and exhibitions as well as a respected writer on design. Nelson was also an early fellow of the American Academy in Rome in 1934.
NERVI, PIER LUIGI (1891–1979)
An Italian architect and a civil engineer, an entrepreneur as well as an academic, and considered to be the foremost concrete designer of the twentieth century. His first great concrete building was the stadium in Florence (1930–32), with a cantilevered roof about seventy feet deep and an imaginative, flying spiral staircase. He built his first enormous corrugated-concrete exhibition hall in Turin in 1948 (he subsequently built two others in the same city), and was commissioned to help with the structure of the UNESCO building in Paris (1953–56). And it was his designs that were the underpinnings for the spectacular structure of the Pirelli building in Milan for Gio Ponti (1955–58). One of his last great sculptural buildings was the enormous audience hall for the pope in the Vatican (1970–71).
NEUMANN, JOHANN BALTHASAR (1687–1753)
Most famous German Rococo architect, town planner, and designer of churches and palaces all over Germany, which was at that time divided into various competitive principalities. He was particularly treasured for his extraordinary ceremonial staircases, which were masterpieces of engineering and the single most important element in each of the new palaces he designed. These included the Prince Bishop’s new Residenz in Würzburg and the ceremonial staircase leading up to the Kaiseraal (designed 1735, with a ceiling decoration by Giovanni Tiepolo in 1752–53); the staircase at Bruchal (1731–32); and the staircase at Schloss Brühl, near Cologne (1743–48). His masterpiece is considered to be the pilgrimage church of Vierzehnheiligen (designed and worked on from 1742 to 1753, but not actually completed until 1772).
NEUTRA, RICHARD (1892–1970)
American architect, born in Austria, who studied or worked under masters of Modernism like Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, and Erich Mendelsohn before emigrating to Chicago in 1923 and finally moving to Los Angeles in 1925. With his early experience, he was in an excellent position to promote the new European style of Modernism in America, which he did with immediate success in his exciting Philip Lovell House in Los Angeles (1927–29). Other well-known Neutra houses, always stunningly attuned to their landscape, are the Desert House, Colorado (1946); Kaufmann Desert House, Palm Springs (1947); Tremaine House, Santa Barbara, California (1947–48); and his ownhouse at Silverlake, Los Angeles (1933; redone in 1964).
NEW YORK FIVE
Five influential, and, at the time, young American architects—Peter Eisenman, Robert Graves, Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, and Richard Meier—who formed themselves into a New York architectural group. They were also known as the “Whites,” mainly because of various houses designed by Richard Meier, the most prolific and ardently purist of the five. They exhibited their work together in New York City in 1969, published a joint book called Five Architects in 1972, and disbanded themselves in 1980.
NIEMEYER, OSCAR (B. 1907)
Influential and internationally prolific Brazilian architect who, in 1957, became chief architect for Brasilia, the new inland capital of Brazil, which is remarkable for its various extraordinary buildings and their interplay of the fanciful with the serious, expressed in the sculptural shapes of some of the public buildings and the strictly businesslike office blocks and ministerial headquarters. He joined the office of Lucio Costa, and worked with him, and with Le Corbusier as consultant, on the Ministry of Education Building in Rio (1936–43). He worked with Costa again on the Brazilian Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. But then, for his first individual commission, he suddenly exploded with a series of completely new and ebullient forms: parabolic vaults, free-flowing double-curves for a porch canopy and slanting walls for the casino, club, and church of St. Francis at Pampulha, outside Belo Horizonto (1942–43). These dramatically sculptural shapes suited Brazil, with its past of equally dramatic Baroque architecture. His own house built outside Rio ten years later was and is a stunning amalgam of architecture interacting with wilderness. Soon after, Niemeyer was invited to become thearchitectural adviser to Novo Cap, the organization specially started to organize the creation of Brasilia. After he became chief architect for the city (planned by Lucio Costa), on which he lavished a mixture of extreme originality and restraint, he won commissions all around the world, as well as for his landmark Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi, near Rio. In 1988 he was the joint winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture with Gordon Bunshaft. In his nineties, he still continues to work, evolve, and inspire.
Brasilia (1957–60), Brazil, by Oscar Niemeyer
NOGUCHI, ISAMU (1904–1988)
Environmental designer and sculptor, son of a Japanese poet and an American mother, he also designed some classic free-form glass tables, upholstered furniture, and the accordion-pleated Akari paper lanterns that have become classics. He worked for a short while in Constantin Brancusi’s studio in Paris, and on a trip back to Japan was immensely inspired by the monastery gardens at Kyoto, which propelled him into various environmental proposals. In the early 1950s he designed two bridges for Kenzo Tange’s Peace Center in Hiroshima, and then designed the gardens for Marcel Breuer’s UNESCO buildings in Paris, and for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Connecticut General Life Insurance Headquarters in Bloomfield, Connecticut. During the same period he also designed the purist, all-white Marble Gardens (without any plants at all) for the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University. His late works, in which he sought “to create beautiful and disturbing gardens to awaken us to a new awareness of our solitude,” were in California; Long Island, New York; and Japan.
OLBRICH, JOSEPH MARIA (1867–1908)
Austrian early-Modernist architect who worked in Otto Wagner’s office and designed the building (1897–98) for the Secessionists, a group of young progressive Viennese architects and designers who were determined to change the direction of design. The building attracted much attention, as did his later projects. Olbrich’s chief fame is that he, like his compatriot Josef Hoffmann and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott in Scotland, succeeded in taking most of the vegetal out of Art Nouveau and moving on to a more rational plane.
The initials of the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture started by Rem Koolhaas in 1975.
PALLADIO, ANDREA (1508–1580)
One of the greatest and certainly the most influential of Italian architects. He was born Andrea dalla Gondola, and worked as a stonemason before he met Giangiorgio Trissino (1478–1550), his early patron and an intellectual and amateur architect who encouraged him to learn mathematics, music, Latin literature, and to study the works of Vitruvius and the ruins of ancient Rome. Trissino, in fact, also nicknamed him Palladio, an allusion to the goddess of wisdom and to a character in a poem he was then writing. The name adhered as, clearly, did his education, for in 1546 the newly named Palladio won a competition to remodel the early Renaissance Palazzo della Ragione in Vicenza. He surrounded the old building with a two-story airily elegant screen of arches that gave the building such a new and distinctive air that he was inundated with commissions. It is hard to imagine now, but up until the fifteenth century in Europe, the division of a grand villa into rooms, each with its specific function, was quite unknown until the innovations of the Italian Renaissance. In fact, although well-appointed and well-planned villas were commonplace for the rich in ancient Rome and Greece, they became virtually obsolete after the defeat of Rome by the Goths. From then on, at least until the relative prosperity, peace, and calm of the fifthteenth century—when Italy had its fecund rebirth of Classical ideals and interest in all the arts—most dwellings of any size were mainly austere and generally fortified for protection against marauders and warlords looking to increase their properties. Palladio, in the early sixteenth century—at the latter end of the Renaissance period—planned villas with vestibules for receiving visitors; galleries for showing off paintings, sculpture, and the newly fashionable collections of coins and jewels; bedchambers; antechambers; and libraries. Into these interiors he distilled various Renaissance ideas, particularly the revival of ancient Roman symmetrical planning and harmonic proportions, but he was also influenced by predecessors like Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Sansovino, as well as by the Byzantine architecture of Venice. In the 1550s he had evolved a formula for the “ideal” villa, which consisted of a strictly symmetrical central block with a distinctive templelike portico front (which Palladio presumed, as it turned out quite erroneously, to be the normal typical Roman entrance) that was sometimes attached, sometimes inset, and sometimes detached, all of which were usually extended by long wings of farm buildings, stretched either horizontally or curved forward in quadrants. He employed numerous variations on this theme from the more elaborate Villa Capra (known as La Rotonda, 1566–61), with its porticoes on each of its four sides, to the extreme simplicity of La Malcontenta (1559–61), as well as the severity of Villa Poiana (1549–60), where columns are replaced by undecorated shafts. He also designed churches in Venice: the facade of San Francesco della Vigna (1562); San Giorgio Maggiore (1564–80, and its later facade 1607–11); and II Redentore (begun 1576). He published several books, but his most famous was his interesting, unstuffy and unpompous Zuattro Libri dell’Architettura (1570)—a four-volume set of books on architecture that illustrates his work and discusses his various theories that, although only theories, have been handed down through the centuries as if they were the actual golden rules of Classicism. These were translated into English and published, respectively, by Giacomo Leoni, Colen Campbell, and Isaac Ware between 1715 and 1720, 1728, and 1738. Isaac Ware’s 1728 edition remained the standard work until R. Tavenor and R. Schofield publishedtheir new work through the M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1997.
PAXTON, SIR JOSEPH (1803–1865)
Breakthrough designer of the revolutionary Crystal Palace in London (1850–51), notable for being the first really prefabricated, large-scale industrial building and for its glass and metal design. Paxton started off as a gardener for the Duke of Devonshire’s house in Chiswick in 1823. The duke, delighted with Paxton’s obvious talents, promoted him to be superintendent of the gardens of his enormous country house, Chatsworth, Derbyshire, where the two men developed a steady friendship to the point that they traveled together to Asia Minor as well as to much of Europe. Together with Decimus Burton, the architect of Hyde Park Corner in London, Paxton developed special greenhouses for the estate, one of them as long as three hundred feet. He then went on to lay out plans for the estate village of Edensor (1839–41). With this experience, Paxton, apparently uninvited, was emboldened to submit a design for a glass and iron palace to contain the first-ever international exhibition, called and still known as the Great Exhibition. His design for an 1,800-foot-long, beautifully detailed building, which was worked out in such a way that all its parts could be made in a factory and then assembled on site, was built between 1850 and 1851. It was not only revolutionary for its time, but was a most admirable solution for its purpose and possibly, in its way, the precursor for some of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes. Soon afterward, Paxton evidently developed political skills, in addition to his landscaping and clear-headed architectural talents, and ran as a member of the House of Commons as MP for Coventry which he secured in 1854 and maintained until his death. In his spare time, he designed some of the earliest public parks in England, notably in Birkenhead, Lancashire (1843–07), and Halifax, West Yorkshire (1856), and worked on two houses, Mentmore and Ferrières in France, for the Rothschild family.
PEI, IEOH MING (B. 1917)
Known simply as I. M. Pei, this Chinese-born, American architect of deserved world fame who trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University has achieved a remarkable variety of international buildings. He started work with the developer William Zeckendorf, with whom he designed the Mile High Center in Denver, Colorado (1952–56), as well as the Place Ville-Marie complex in Montreal, Canada (1960). He formed his own firm, I. M. Pei & Partners, New York, in 1956 with Henry Cobb, James Freed, and others, and with them has been responsible for a formidable list of urban buildings and complexes, among them the John Hancock Tower in Boston (1966–76); the OCBC Center in Singapore (1976); the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Boston; the National Airlines Terminal at Kennedy International Airport in New York; the Collins Place development in Melbourne, Australia; the extension to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (1968–78); the El Paso Tower, Houston, Texas (1981); the brilliant glass “pyramid” extension and new entrance for the Louvre in Paris (1989); the Miho Museum, near Kyoto, Japan (1990–97); the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong (1982–90); the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio (1993–95); and, with one of his partners, James Freed, the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. (1986–93).
The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts, by I. M. Pei (completed 1979; extension completed 1991)
PELLI, CESAR (B. 1926)
Argentine-born American architect with some of the world’s highest buildings and the changing face of many cities to his credit. He came to America in 1952 to train in Chicago and worked with Eero Saarinen as project manager for the TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport, New York. In 1968 he worked with Gruen Associates and designed the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles (1975) with its blue glazing. The latter was a seminal building for him since it brought him many distinguished commissions, including the residential tower and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1977); the Four Leaf Towers, Houston, Texas (1983–85); the World Financial Center Towers and Winter Garden, New York City (1980–88); Canary Wharf Tower, London (1987–91); the Carnegie HallTower, New York City (1987–91); the 777 Tower, Los Angeles (1991); the NTT Headquarters Building, Tokyo (1991–95); and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (1991–97), presently the tallest buildings in the world.
(See Fontaine, Pierre-François-Leonard.)
PERRAULT, CLAUDE (1613–1688)
French doctor and amateur architect who was mostly responsible for the design of the great east front of the Louvre in Paris, begun in 1667 and chosen by Louis XIV over Bernini’s design, which the king had especially commissioned. Perrault went on to design the Paris Observatoire (1667) and translated into French an edition (1674) of Vitruvius’s De Architectura.
PERRIAND, CHARLOTTE (1903–1999)
Luminary architect and furniture designer who long worked as a collaborator with Le Corbusier—for example, she was just as much the designer of the famous LCI leather-sling chair and the chaise longue and Grand Confort chair as “Corbu”—yet rarely figures in the leading design reference books. Along with Le Corbusier, she founded the progressive Union des Artistes Modernes in 1929. She was invited to advise the Japanese Ministry of Commerce in 1940 on arts and crafts and a year later, after working in Tokyo, edited Contact with Japanese Art: Selection, Tradition, Creation (republished in the United States in 1942 as Contact with Japan). In the early 1950s, Perriand collaborated with Jean Prouvé to design furniture, a collaboration that lasted nearly twenty years, during which time she designed the interiors and furniture for the Air France offices in London and Tokyo. In the last twenty years of her life, during her eighties and nineties, she was honored with the Gold Medal of the Académie d’Architecture (1978), made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor (1983), and given retrospective exhibitions of her furniture designs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (1985) and the Design Museum in London (1997).
PERRET, AUGUSTE (1874–1954)
An early French experimenter in bold concrete designs who employed the young Le Corbusier for a year (1908–09) before the latter went off to work just as briefly with Peter Behrens in Berlin. Perret’s first project was an apartment building with clearly displayed concrete members juxtaposed with Art Nouveau faience infillings (1903–04). His Théâtre de Champs Elysées (1911–14) was originally designed by Henry van de Velde but finalized by Perret, who again took a clear delight in exposing the building’s concrete framework, but this time with Classical rather than Art Nouveau details. His later works veered more toward the Classical but were still unapologetically in concrete, or with bold concrete details.
PESCE, GAETANO (B. 1939)
Leading and often controversial Italian architect and designer who—with brilliant contemporaries such as Gae Aulenti, Mario Bellini, the Castiglioni brothers, Vico Magistretti, Richard Sapper, Ettore Sottsass Jr., and Tobia and Afra Scarpa—produced the vibrant, lively, often joyously colorful and sometimes deliberately flippant furniture, lighting, product designs, and interiors that distinguished Italian design for several decades. He started to make his mark in the mid-1960s with the “anti”-design ideas he argued in his First Manifesto for an Elastic Architecture. He followed up the manifesto with more provocation in an “environment” called Habitat for Two People in an Age of great Contaminations that was included in “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” a 1972 exhibition curated by Emilio Ambasz at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Nevertheless, he ended up by being honored with exhibitions in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Montreal (1983–84); the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1996); in the show “‘Is the Future New?’ Gaetano Pesce: Material Exploration” (1997) at the Material Connextion Gallery in New York City; and a retrospective, again at that acme of distinction, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Montreal (1998). His furniture is produced by B&B Italia (formerly C&B Italia), Castelli, and Cassina.
PHYFE, DUNCAN (1768–1854)
Outstanding American furniture designer, born in Scotland and preeminent in the first three decades of the Federal Republic. The Fife family emigrated to Albany, New York in 1784 but lost two of their children on the voyage. After serving an apprenticeship either with an unknown cabinetmaker or even a coach-builder—it is not clear which—the young Duncan came to New York City about 1790 and changed his name to Phyfe in 1794. His career, thereafter, was meteoric. He became the protégé of Mrs. Langdon, the daughter of John Jacob Astor, then known as the “fur prince” of New York, and by 1797, it seems, any New Yorker of wealth and position felt it only fitting to have Phyfe design all the furniture for his or her home. (Other distinguished patrons included the Rockefellers, Henry du Pont, and Francis Garvan.) In the three decades of his best work he followed the published designs of Hepplewhite and Sheraton but added touches of ornamentation derived from French cabinetmakers of the Directoire and Consulate periods. The resulting synthesis, far from being a jumble, was always uniquely elegant, although interestingly, extant Phyfe drawings and sketches show that he was much more skillful with his cabinetmaking tools than with his pencil. His earlier work is characterized by the use of reeding, acanthus-leaf carving, and ornamental brass hardware. He was particularly well known for his delicate lyre-back chairs, finely proportioned and delicately carved sofas, and tripod-based tables, or tables with reeded legs. His later work was influenced by the much heavier French Empire style witha liberal use of special bands and panels of grained mahogany veneering with brass-tipped claw-foot table legs, as shown by the three-part banquet table in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
PIANO, RENZO (B. 1937)
Italian architect whose work in the 1970s with the British architect Richard Rogers on the dashingly colored, exposed structure and mechanisms of the High-Tech Centre Pompidou in Paris (1971–77) made something of a global stir. It was the apotheosis of High-Tech. Piano’s subsequent buildings have been both diverse and interesting. Among the most innovative are the Menil Collection and the museum’s Cy Twombly addition in Houston, Texas (1980–87); the extraordinary Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay, Japan (1988–94); the Aurora Place building in Sydney, Australia; the Beyeler Museum in Basel, Switzerland; the Museum of Science and Technology in Amsterdam; the Mercedes Benz Design Center in Stuttgart, Germany; the Pirelli Workshop and factories in Milan; and the Harvard University Art Museums. In 2000 he was commissioned to design a new addition to the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1998 he became the twentieth winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
PIRANESI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA (1720–1778)
Not so much an architect—although he was trained as one—as an architectural theorist and exquisite engraver. However, his powerful views of ancient Roman ruins and antiquities, together with his own ideas on the form of ancient Roman architecture, had a profound effect on architects of the Neoclassical and Romantic movements. In the eighteenth-century debate over the superiority of Greek as opposed to Roman antiquity, at least as far as architecture was concerned, he was a fierce protagonist for Rome.
Entrance to Santa Maria del Priorato (1764), Aventine Hill, Rome, a rare building by Giovanni Battista Piranesi
POLSHEK, JAMES STEWART (B. 1930)
American architect who trained under Louis Kahn, although his workin no way bears any resemblance to what is often known as the “Philadelphia School.” One of his most recent buildings, The Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York is extraordinarily beautiful and beautifully planned—confirming the extreme versatility and sensitivity of his range of buildings from the Teijin Research Institutes I and II in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan (1963–71), to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center at the Mashantucket Pequot Reserve, Connecticut (1993–97). With Mario Botta, I. M. Pei, and Fumihiko Maki, he worked on the large-scale Center for the Arts Theater, Yerba Buena Gardens redevelopment in San Francisco. Polshek was also chosen as the architect for the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.
PONTI, GIO (1891–1979)
Italian Architect, painter, and brilliant all-round designer who was another twentieth-century “great.” Although his best-known building is the slender, tapering Pirelli skyscraper in Milan (1955–58) designed with Pier Luigi Nervi, later neo-Expressionist buildings, such as the Taranto Cathedral and the Denver Art Museum in Colorado, have received much praise. But he is also known for some of his furniture, such as the fragile-looking, rush-seated, black-framed Superleggera side chair designed in 1957 for Cassina as well as for his porcelain, light fittings, ships’ interiors, light industrial products, and considerable painting talent. Ponti founded the influential Italian architectural and design magazine Domus, which he edited for many years.
PORTZAMPARC CHRISTIAN DE (B. 1944)
The sixth European architect to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize (in 1994) and in the fine Renaissance tradition was a designer who painted and sculpted before he studied architecture. After qualifying as an architect, he spent nine months enjoying the hippiness of Greenwich Village, New York before deciding he might actually be able to help people with his buildings if he practiced what he had learned. Although he has mostly built in France—wonderfully, showy hip reinterpretations of the timeless elements of architecture with a sure sense of scale and proportion allied with irreverent candy colors—he was a finalist in the competition for Chicago’s New Museum of Contemporary Art and an art museum for Omaha, Nebraska, as well as for designing apartment buildings in Fukuoka, Japan. His first French building was Château d’Eau (1974), a converted water tower for Marne-la-Vallée, based on the Tower of Babel; his most famous is the Cité de la Musique, finished in 1995, on the edge of Pare de la Villette, a suburban park in Paris. Other buildings are the Dance School of the Paris Opéra in Nanterre (1983–87) and the Café Beaubourg and Ungaro boutiques in Paris.
PRITZKER ARCHITECTURE PRIZE
Since the Pritzker Architecture Prize, sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation, is the highest international award for architecture and now the profession’s highest honor, it seems appropriate to explain it in this section on architects and designers. It was started by the Pritzker family in 1979 because of their keen interest in building, due to their involvement with developing the Hyatt Hotels around the world. Architecture was also a creative endeavor not included in the Nobel prizes so the family decided to replicate the Nobel procedures with the final selection being made by an international jury. The purpose of the prize, the foundation says, is to honor annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment that has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.
PUGIN, AUGUSTUS WELBY NORTHMORE (1812–1852)
Nineteenth-century British designer best known for his ardent pursuit of the Gothic and the magnificent detail of his work, not just on the facades of Barry’s Houses of Parliament, but for every detail inside down to the inkstands. His handsome wallpaper designs, done around the same time, are still being reproduced. His father, a Frenchman, came to England in the early 1790s and became first a draftsman in the offices of John Nash, the great Regency architect, then a draftsman and editor of books on Gothic architecture, which the young Pugin absorbed as a child. His talent for design was evident at such an early age that he was receiving quite import commissions in his teens. He was only fifteen when he was asked to design some furniture for Windsor Castle and still only nineteen when he designed sets for a stage production of Sir Walter Scott’s Kenilworth. After his conversion to Catholicism in his early twenties, his naturally fervent nature plunged him into a passion for “the glories of the Catholic past” in the shape of late-thirteenth-century to early-fourteenth-century “Second Pointed” Gothic architecture. No possible building in regular stone or wood could even begin to approach the glory of the designs he drew on paper, and he was as interested in stained glass, metal-work, altars, screens, and general church furnishings as he was in the church buildings he planned. He lost his mind in 1851, having lost two wives within ten years, and died aged only forty.
An easy-to-use, one-stop reference guide for architectural and interior design. Part dictionary, part reference book, Mary Gilliatt’s Dictionary of Architecture and Design is a single comprehensive source of information that will help you navigate all decisions related to home decor.
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Dictionary of Architecture and Interior Design
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Mary Gilliatt is the best-selling author of more than 43 books on varied aspects of decoration and design, including Mary Gilliatt’s Interior Design Course, Mary Gilliatt’s Complete Room by Room Decorating Guide, Mary Gilliatt’s Great Renovations and Restorations and Mary Gilliatt’s Home Comforts With Style: A Decorating Guide for Today’s Living.
An acclaimed international interior designer, she has consulted for companies and individuals worldwide. In 1979 and 1991-92, Mary had the first television series on decoration in the United Kingdom (for ITV) and the United States (for PBS), and was a pioneer of the decorating genre on television.
She divides her time among France, England, and the United States.Find out more