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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Favorite Design Books of 2013: The Bold

Becky

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Last week we showed you some of our favorite design books released in 2013, a group of five that focused on the beautiful – European antiques, flowers, gardens, marble floors, homes in the Hamptons, idyllic lakeside spots. Now we’d like to share some that feature the bold – international style, modern and contemporary, minimal and downright sublime  … here are five of our favorites from the past year. Note, these make great gifts for the architecture fans in your life; I’ve included the Amazon links for each book in case you’re interested in ordering.

Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert. I’m not going to lie, ever since I took Richard Guy Wilson’s architectural history course, this has remained one of my top five favorite buildings. Lambert was there every step of the way, spearheaded the search for an architect that resulted in finding Mies, and her amazing tale will surprise you.

Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscape, published by MoMA. This is an absolute MUST HAVE for any architectural library, you cannot begin to understand the roots of International Style without understanding Corb, and this may just be the most comprehensive tome on the market. Plus, more shallowly, it’s got a really cool spine that will pop on your shelves.

The Houses of Louis Kahn by George H. Marcus and William Whitaker. You may know all about the library at Exeter or the Salk Institute, but this book is a collection of Kahn’s lesser-known work, his residential homes. Again, I must declare this an architecture library must-have.

Tadao Ando: Houses by Philip Jodidio. Ando took concrete, known primarily for heavy brutalist architecture, and created thoughtful and ethereal buildings with it. A master of proportion and light, these qualities can best be seen (IMHO) in his residential designs, which are the focus of this beautiful book.

Nelson Byrd Woltz: Garden, Park, Community, Farm by Warren T. Bird Jr., Thomas Woltz and Elizabeth Meyer. Full disclosure: I used to know all of these people ten years ago. Warren made us chase him on four hour plant walks with his long fast stride, while we furiously scribbled down Latin names for plants and tried to sketch them at the same time (sometimes while climbing up the Blue Ridge Mountains; the class was a better workout than Barry’s Boot Camp), I knew Thomas Woltz socially and Beth Meyer was a horrible person to have to turn in a paper to, because she’s probably the best at writing about landscape architecture and landscape theory (she doesn’t get mired down in all that nonsensical archi-speak that plagues so many academic design writers). Anyway, now that that’s out of the way — the work of this firm is wide-ranging and puts into practice all the elements you dream about putting into practice back when you’re a wide-eyed idealistic student.

Any books you’d recommend for 2013? Please share any that caught your attention in the comments section.

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Gertrude Jekyll Gardens

Becky

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Sorry for the very late start to inspiring you today – I cannot seem to get anything right this morning/afternoon! I’m going to brush that off and get started with a little inspiration. For some of us, spring has been teasing. Here in Atlanta, all of the daffodils and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, but there were teeny tiny snow flurries this morning. Perhaps we could all use “The Secret” and start planning our gardens to speed things up again. O.K. I’m kidding, I think “The Secret” is really cheesy, but I’ll roll with it.

Gertrude Jekyll was a brilliant English garden designer. She was a master at applying color theory to the composition of gardens. I have this book by Richard Bisgrove, where he has combed through thousands of her plans (there are very few remaining Jekyll gardens as she passed away in 1932) and reinterpreted them. Here are just a few examples of how you can plan out beautiful color combinations in your garden. Oh, and here’s a link to the book, The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll by Richard Bisgrove. If you like to have a few garden tomes to flip through for inspiration around your home, this one is a must-buy for your library.

all images from the above-mentioned book; photography by Andrew Lawson.

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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In Memorium: Lawrence Halprin Dies at 93

Becky

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I was sad to hear of Lawrence Halprin’s passing on Sunday night. He was one of my favorite landscape architects. For eleven years, I lived in Charlottesville Virginia and was able to enjoy the Halprin-designed Downtown Mall. I could go on about his best-known projects, like Ghiradelli Square or the FDR Memorial, but my very favorite design of his is Lovejoy Plaza in Portland, OR, and a glance at his sketchbook pages tell you all you need to know about why his designs work so well. Without weighing us down with a bunch of archispeak gibberish, we can follow the idea from it’s initial contextual inspirations to the final product:


I should have known when I went to find a picture of Lovejoy Plaza on flickr that my favorite one would have been taken by Ken McCowen. To see more beautiful images of Halprin’s work taken by Ken, click here.

Halprin was that perfect combination of conscientious urban problem solver who understood natural processes. He did such an artful job of understanding the greater context of a place and bringing his interpretations of ecology into cities in an artful way. Lovejoy Park is a perfect example of this. He contributed so much to the American landscape; whether helping to heal the gash a freeway cut through a neighborhood in Seattle or protecting the land by leaving a soft footprint at Sea Ranch. He will be missed.

For more information on the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, click here.

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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Have you been on The High Line Yet?

Becky

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I haven’t, but I’m dying to! What did you think?

I’m a huge fan of Bill Cunningham, and he has a charming video here about the fashions he’s seeing on The High Line.

Speaking of fashion, check out the High Line Merch here. I love the Trina Turk green and white print hat:

Keep up with High Line news over at The High Line Blog and the ever-growing Friends of The High Line flickr group pool. This shot is from flickr member ljpsf.

top two photos from thehighline.org

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