architecture

#architecture

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Maya Lin's winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. began as an assignment for an undergraduate class at Yale. Seniors were given the option of creating a seminar instead of a thesis, provided that a faculty member was willing to teach them. (Eight seniors chose funereal architecture as their topic and professor F. Andrus Burr agreed to teach them.) While visiting the site (Constitution Gardens) with the other students, the solution simply popped into Lin's head: A reflective wall inscribed with the names of those who died in the conflict—in effect, a monumental tombstone. When Lin returned to Yale, she modelled the piece in the dining hall—out of mashed potatoes. [Lin's submission—a pastel drawing, with an essay ...
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When Frank Gehry Addressed His Critics
As a recent graduate of University of Southern California (USC), Frank Gehry gained widespread attention for his "Easy Edges" line of laminated cardboard furniture, a precursor to his 1976 series of designs for "cheapskate architecture," which many of his peers dubbed "junkitecture."   In 1979, Gehry famously renovated a Santa Monica pink-shingled bungalow—by surrounding it with another house made from raw materials like chain-link fencing. (The house won Gehry an American Institute of Architects award—and the threat of lawsuits from several irate neighbors.)  After being named Architect of the Year in 1981, Gehry delivered an unusual lecture in a bid to address some of his critics. It's title? "I'm Not Weird." 
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Frank Lloyd Wrong?
One day during the filming of L.A. Confidential, Kevin Spacey found himself shooting a scene in the courtyard of a sprawling mansion, a grotto-like stone monstrosity the color of canned salmon. At one point, the owner sidled up to Spacey and boasted that his home had in fact been designed by the son of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Spacey slowly glanced around, a curious smile playing upon his face. "Wow," he finally declared, "he must have really hated his father." [In 1979, the American Institute of Architects held its annual conference in Kansas City, home of the Kemper Arena, upon which its members had bestowed a prize, calling it "one of the finest buildings in the nation." On the ...
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Parthenon 1, Shaq 0?
Following a trip to Greece, Shaquille O'Neal was asked whether he had visited the Parthenon. "I can't really remember," Shaq replied, "the names of the clubs that we went to." ["I know I have to get up in the morning and put on my underwear first," Shaq once remarked, "and put my pants on. I don't need people to tell me that."] [In their last attempt at European conquest, the Turks took Crete fromthe Venetians (in 1669) and advanced to the nothwest, arriving on the outskirts of Vienna in 1683. The Venetians and Austrians counterattacked, reaching as far as Athens. Sadly, a Venetian cannonball scored a direct hit on the Parthenon, which the Turks had turned into an armory for ...
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Arc de Triomphe
James Joyce: How Long Will The Eternal Fire Burn?
"Joyce had no patience with monuments. Valery Larbaud said to him as they drove in a taxi in Paris past the Arc de Triomphe with its eternal fire, 'How long do you think that will burn?' Joyce answered, 'Until the Unknown Soldier gets up in disgust and blows it out.'" [The eternal flame was in fact later (briefly) extinguished, when a drunken American soldier urinated on it; and, on another occasion, in 1958, a Parisian named Claude Figus was charged with the violation of a sepulchre—after trying to fry eggs on it.]
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What Monaco's Prince Rainier Thought of the Houston Astrodome
While visiting the Astrodome (a massive stadium covering some nine acres in Houston, Texas) one day, Monaco's Prince Rainier was asked what he thought about building a similar dome in Monaco. "Marvelous," the prince replied. "We could be the world's only indoor country!" [Under a treaty dating back to 1918, if its ruling Grimaldi family ever fails to produce a male heir, Monaco will become a self-governing French protectorate and thereby cease to exist as an indepentent state.]
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John Malkovich: Crysler Building
John Malkovich fancied himself something of an artist. Among his creations? "I designed a 12-foot replica of the Crysler Building with a fireplace inside, made out of soup cans."
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Shortly after Chicago's elegant Avalon Theatre (a faux Persian palace) opened its doors, the building's architect, John Eberson, received a call from its manager asking him to come by as soon as possible. When Eberson arrived, the manager took him up to the balcony overlooking the auditorium and asked him to sit down and observe. The film began and Eberson soon noticed that, while people seated on the right side of the auditorium had their eyes firmly fixed to the screen, those on the left were in a state of turmoil, continually rising, shuffling down the aisle, and disappearing before returning to their seats some time later. Puzzled by the strange phenomenon, Eberson went down to investigate and had soon ...
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Such was the passion of Zhang Yue (the founder of Broad, a maker of "green" air conditioners) for 18th-century French philosophy that he built an imitation Palace of Versailles among his factories.
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Louis XIV Invites An Architect To Wear His Hat
Francois Mansart was walking with Louis XIV in the sun one day when the king, perhaps concerned for the bareheaded architect's comfort, ordered him to wear his hat. Louis's courtiers naturally expressed amazement at the suggested breach of court etiquette. "I can make twenty dukes in fifteen minutes," the king explained, "but it takes centuries to make a Mansart."