In the early 20th Century, the sprawling, 29-building Public Health Service hospital on the south shore of Ellis IslandÂ was the biggest federal hospital in the countryâ€”and possibly its most state-of-the-art. The comprehensive medical institution treated over one million newly-arrived immigrants ill with diseases like tuberculosis, measles, trachoma, and scarlet fever.
In 1948,Â Paul Rudolph was residing at the American Academy in Rome. He had traveled there to study classical architecture, but was instead spending his days designing modern houses for Sarasota, Florida. In fact, Sarasota, according to Timothy Rohan who has recently published a monograph on Rudolph, made a huge impression on the architect and defined his work for the rest of his career. He had moved there to apprentice and work for the local architect Ralph Twitchell, who inÂ the 1940s helped create a style of modern house that eventually became known as the Sarasota school.
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Slate-clad addition to the American Swedish Institute evokes contemporary Scandinavian design.
Minneapolis-based architecture, engineering, and planning firm HGA faced a tall order when the American Swedish Institute asked them to design an addition to the building known locally as “The Castle.” The turreted Turnblad Mansion, constructed in Minneapolis’ Phillips West neighborhood in 1908 and home of ASI since 1929, lacked the kinds of multi-purpose spaces required by ASI’s cultural and educational programmingâ€”and was suffering wear and tear from a steady stream of visitors. “The project was about creating a front door that was more welcoming and inviting than the existing building, that can help protect the mansion and allow it to be used as a house museum,” said project architect Andy Weyenberg. At the same time,Â “the mansion remained the focal point,” he explained. “It will always be the identity of ASI. Everything we did, we wanted to respect the mansion and keep it as a centerpiece.” HGA’s intervention honors the primacy of the Turnblad Mansion while updating ASI’s image with a contemporary facade inspired by Swedish building methods and materials.
Another symbol of downtown Los Angeles’Â transformation is the ongoingÂ renovation and rebranding of the Spring Arcade Building. Modeled after the great Beaux Arts arcades of Europe, the space hasÂ long been a grubby home for non-distinctÂ shops. The Arcadeâ€”actually two 12-story towers connected by the skylit, glass roofed, three-level arcadeâ€”was built in 1924 by architects Kenneth McDonald and Maurice Couchot. With its Spanish Baroque entryway, it originally contained 61 shops, and later added a Venetian-style bridge across its center. It now contains space for 21 shops and restaurants and still contains the landmark KRKD radio towers on its roof.
One of Morphosisâ€™ earliest projects, the Beverly Hills restaurant Kate Mantilini (1986), is now up for landmarking by the city of Beverly Hills. We hear that Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse is obsessed with getting this done, but ironically the restaurantâ€™s owners are not so happy about it. The rumor mill says theyâ€™re afraid of being locked into a design forever. Especially one from the 80s. Imagine if someone told you that you had to keep your 80s hair for the rest of your life?
Detroitâ€™s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it soÂ during its early 20thÂ century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroitâ€™s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the cityâ€™s resilience?