The Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture



High School seniors are heading back to school, many beginning their search in earnest for their college of choice. There are many considerations when selecting a school, academics, location, size… and yes, Architecture.  The built environment has a profound effect on us all, creating a vibe and resultant culture.

Architectural Digest highlighted the ten US Campuses with the best architecture. Very interesting indeed. Before you read the list, do you recognize any of these structures?  Many of these prestigious campus’ are home to more than a single noteworthy building. If you want to learn a bit more about the building and architecture of each campus, click on an image to visit Architectural Digest’s article.

1.  University of Virginia, Architect Stanford White  2.  Harvard University, Le Corbusier  3.  Yale University, Gordon Brnshaft  4.  Brown University, Diller Scofidio + Renfro  5.  Florida Southern College, Frank Lloyd Wright  6. Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Mies van der Rohe  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Frank Gehry  8. Pratt Institute, Steven Holl  9.  Cornell University, Rem Koolhaas  10. Bennington College, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

Images and excerpts sourced at Architectural Digest

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Long Island Modernism

Image Source

Long Island has a rich history of modern architectural gems. Who knew? When I lived  in NY, I would make a Sunday afternoon of it; hunting down a modernist classic tucked away in a unsuspecting neighborhood. A few historic structures remain, but sadly many have been torn down, or fundamentally altered.

In her new book Long Island Modernism: 1930–1980, author Caroline Rob Zaleski has thoughtfully explored and documented the modern architecture of this region. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the author explains the source of her intrigue: ‘Numerous architecture stars used parts of Long Island as a sort of laboratory. Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe all built there, and even contemplated a plan to re-establish their Bauhaus school on Long Island after relocating to the U.S. from Nazi Germany. Many other notable homes and buildings conceived for corporate and public use were conceived by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Richard Meier and I.M. Pei, among many others.

Image:  Philip Johnson’s Robert and Mary Leonhardt House, Lloyd Neck, 1954-56

Image:  1969 – The Renny B. and Ellin Saltzman House, East Hampton, NY.

Ms. Zaleski has created a treasure worthy of the sleuthing it took to make it. This compilation of design by some of the most well known architects of our time is a gift of history, and provides the reference and foundation for design innovation to come.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Villa Tugendhat Restoration

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Villa Tugendhat in February 1931, photograph: Fritz Tugendhat

Nestled into a hilltop on the outskirts of the medieval Czech market town of Brno, is Mies van der Rohe’s 1929 Villa Tugendhat, an icon of modernist architecture. The streamlined, glass-fronted house is one of the earliest and most important the architect designed.

On the 1st of January 2010 Villa Tugendhat closed to the public. The Villa is undergoing thorough restoration work with the aim of preserving and conserving the original building. Scheduled to reoopen in March of 2012, there is much to celebrate. The process of renewal will include not only repairs to the building, but also all of the interiors and the gardens.  ”Tugendhat Villa, the house that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe built for Grete and Fritz Tugendhat on a hill in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1930, is famous for its open, flowing plan, its retractable window wall and its plush modern materials.” Fortunately, this historic home  will now live on for years to come, preserving history, and providing opportunity to experience the work of this modern master in all of its original glory.

Given the history of this structure, it is incredible that it still stands. “History and also historic preservation have nearly destroyed the building. In 1930 the Tugendhats, a Jewish family with woolen factories in Brno, moved into the house. Eight years later, they moved out, fleeing the Nazis. The Gestapo confiscated the house in 1939, and various Nazi functionaries took up residence there. In April 1945 the house was looted for its furniture and for its famous interior fittings. (Mies designed everything from the hardware on the doors to the plumbing fixtures and the floor vents, part of his radical air-conditioning system.)”

Main living area, 1930s

This finish work in this home is being painstakingly restored. The simplicity of the space is balanced by luxe finishes, and exquisite detailing. “The main floor has an open plan, broken up only with free-floating screen-like walls of ebony and onyx and eight free-standing chromium-clad columns. One wall is a sliding sheet of plate glass that descends to the basement the way an automobile window does. When it is retracted, nothing stands between the house and the open air. Travertine steps lead to a garden in the back, which plunges down a hill.” “The most prominent feature of the ‘flowing’ living area was the grand seating arrangement in front of the onyx wall and the dining room demarcated by the half-cylinder from Makassar ebony. The interior could be connected up with the garden through suspension of the two large window panes. The office with the library and the adjoining winter garden was behind the onyx wall. Behind the ebony curved wall was a seating area next to a wall from milk glass which could be lit up. ” Every moment of experience was considered in the design, and carefully executed. Everything was custom. From the doorknobs, to the light fixtures, and of course the iconic Mies furniture, visiting Villa Tugendhat restored, will provide a most unique opportunity to take a step back in time. What a privilege.

To learn more about this important restoration, and see images of each step of this historic project visit

Images and excerpts found at
Quotes sourced at

Tags: , , , ,

Mies van der Rohe McCormick House Film Premiere

Please consider yourself personally invited.

Join the Elmhurst Art Museum for a Movie Premiere and Martini’s.
On November 4, 2011, the Elmhurst Art Museum is hosting Soiree and the Silver Screen, a premiere screening event, to share a new documentary film titled Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House, directed by Karen Carter Lynch. There will be a silent auction of mid-century modern collectibles, lively music and plenty of food and drink. All proceeds of the event directly benefit the restoration of the Mies van der Rohe McCormick House.

Take a look at the film trailer to get a sneak peek.



The Elmhurst Art Museum is fortunate to have the McCormick House as part of its permanent collection. Built in 1952, the McCormick house is one of only three residences in the United States by Mies van der Rohe. In 1994 the home was relocated from its original location in Elmhurst, and incorporated into the new art museum by DeStefano + Partners, adjacent to the Elmhurst Public Library by Dirk Lohan, Mies’ grandson. The McCormick house is right at home among this architecturally important campus of buildings. The McCormick house was designed for Robert McCormick, the developer of the stunning 850 -880 Lakeshore high-rises in Chicago, and borrows many of the same details. For more information about the McCormick house visit here.

I hope to see you at the event. If you are unable to attend, there is opportunity to donate to the care of the McCormick house online.


Tags: , , , ,

Silver Clouds

Click here to view a beautiful Video of Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds in Crown Hall at the Illinois Insitute of Technology. The exhibition was sponsored, approved and supported by The Mies van der Rohe Society, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the visual arts and Visual Arts and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image: The Andy Warhol Foundation.

In 1966, the Leo Castelli Gallery hosted a collaborative exhibit between artist Andy Warhol and engineer Billy Kluver. It created an ethereal, joyful atmosphere and challenged traditional expectations of art by mingling with and touching the viewer. Kluver’s knowledge of technology helped bring Warhol’s vision to life. The clouds, filled with helium and oxygen, floated through the gallery on air currents, bumping into each other and into viewers in the space.


Tags: , , , , ,