DiscoverUS Modernist Radio - Architecture You Love
US Modernist Radio - Architecture You Love

US Modernist Radio - Architecture You Love

Author: USModernist Radio

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Join Mr. Modernism George Smart and crew as they talk and laugh with people who enjoy, own, create, dream about, preserve, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world. USModernist Radio is backed by the nonprofit educational archive USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential architecture in America. www.usmodernist.org
168 Episodes
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Most Americans have not been to Australia, although a surprising number of Australians have traveled to America.  From Sydney to Melbourne to their stunning capital of Canberra, Australian Modernism is just as popular there as in the US.  Today hosts George Smart and Tom Guild talk with four Aussies among the 50 or so that came to Palm Springs last February during Modernism Week: Rachel Jackson, Annie Price, Jamie Paterson, and wrapping up, a great friend of USModernist, Ms. Modernism Annalisa Capurro. 
Today in our second Modernism Week show on architecture movies, George Smart talks with three film industry professionals with connections to architecture.  Valentina Geneva is working on a new documentary about LA architect Rudolph Schindler, and later he sits down with art director Jeannine Oppewall, the genius behind staging the sets of such films as L.A. Confidential (filmed in Richard Neutra’s Lovell House).  Wrapping up, a chat with Paula Benson, expert on the close connection between film and furniture.
Today, we dial into Miami, Florida, home of sun, fun, and some of the most over-the-top new Modernism on Earth.  In the foodchain of Miami culture, a chain which features ceviche, plantains, rum, ropa vieja, and Max Strang, one of the most well-known architects is Kobi Karp, who is not surprisingly CEO of Kobi Karp Architecture and Interior Design with many happy clients. His wife must be super happy too, because Karp recently got rapper flo-Ryda to appear for her birthday.  Later, a few minutes with Frank Harmon, reading from his book Native Places.
Architect Jim Jennings joins us from San Francisco. His Visiting Artists House, recipient of the AIA 2006 Institute Honor Award for Architecture, was named one of the five most influential and inspiring houses of the past decade.  He was awarded the 2019 Maybeck Award by AIA California, and he teaches at Berkeley.  Later on, a few minutes with Frank Harmon, reading from his book Native Places.
Nowhere in the world celebrates Modernism better than Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California.  Every February, they have a huge architecture and design festival and for the last five years, USModernist has been there interviewing nearly all Modernism Week’s keynote speakers plus special guests at the USModernist compound, aka poolside at the hip Hotel Skylark. Almost all the famous names in the pantheon of mid-century modern architecture are, well, male, a function of the widely held but false belief there weren’t many women interested in architecture, plus the sad but true fact that these women were marginalized by the profession, their colleagues, and the media.  Host George Smart meets with MW speakers Libby Otto and Jane Hall, two authors discussing amazing women in architecture we don’t know about – and why we should.
Today we welcome two internationally-known artists whose work focuses on mid-century identity: houses, cars, stores, and the relaxed sunny lifestyle to which we all would like to become  accustomed.  Danny Heller from Desert Hot Springs CA and John Pirman from Sarasota FL create bright and uplifting paintings and prints that make you smile. Their colorful, engaging portrayals of mid-century architecture and lifestyle bring joy to the world through showings in galleries and in thousands of homes.  
There’s a shining star for Robert and Helene Alexander on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars - installed last February during Modernism Week.  Although largely unknown outside of California, the Alexanders were critically important developers and builders to the expansion of Modernism. While other developers were afraid of Modernist design, as a lot still are today, sad to say, the Alexanders went all-in, working with important architects like William Cody and Bill Krisel to create thousands of homes we love around Palm Springs. Host George Smart talks with Jill Alexander Kitnick, daughter of the Alexanders, and Jim Harlan, author of a new book on the Alexanders.  Later in the show, George and Tom chat with special musical guest Colleen Duffy from Devil Doll, singing from her new album plus her biggest hit Bourbon in your Eyes. 
Host George Smart talks with two architects in New York the day before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.  Born in Russia, raised in Canada, and now living in the US, architect Julia Gamolina has been a runaway success as the founder of Madame Architect, publishing over 100 interviews with women who advance the practice of architecture and affiliated fields, celebrating women from different generations, countries, and corners of the industry. Then it’s a subway ride to meet Gene Kaufman, the most successful hotel architect in New York and the head of legendary design firm Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman.
Nowhere in the world celebrates Modernism better than Palm Springs, California. Every February, they have a huge architecture and design festival called Modernism Week which actually lasts 11 days. We were there interviewing nearly all the major speakers and special guests. When we can't go to Modernist houses ourselves, architectural photographers bring them to us, both new and iconic, by waking up at 5am to get the right light, or taking hours to set up a shot only available a few minutes. Hired by architects, magazines, and occasionally clients, architectural photographers ultimately become historians, their body of work becoming a visual timeline to the evolution of design, materials, and photography itself. Darren Bradley travels the world on architecture assignments and runs the wildly successful Instagram feed @modarchitecture. In 1998, he and his wife rented a mid-century modern house in Palm Springs, and he was smitten. He began researching, exploring and appreciating modernist architecture more and more. Darren's work has appeared in large-format art books, academic and professional architecture journals, and lifestyle magazines around the world. He regularly accepts international commissions from architects, builders, developers and homeowners.   Returning guest Andrew Pielage is an architectural and travel photographer based out of Phoenix with 20 years creating photography by capturing the heart and inspiring the imagination. Pielage has photographed some of the best architecture and most beautifully stunning landscapes on the planet and talks about his quest to shoot every Frank Lloyd Wright building in the world.
You don’t typically think of bridges as architecture, not the highway ones, particularly.  There are about 600,000 in the US, with only a few dozen getting anyone excited, and most of those like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge were built nearly 100 years ago.  Today from the UK we welcome Martin Knight, an architect whose heralded bridges worldwide create portals to cities while helping cars, trains, and pedestrian traffic from one place to another. Founded in 2006, his firm won several high-profile international design projects and what soon will be the longest bridge in Helsinki, Finland.  He joins us from just outside of London in a place called Taplow, which is an award-winning 1966 Modernist area designed by Eric Lyons.
In the first of two shows on Modernist interiors and interior designers, host George Smart chats poolside with two organizers of the Alexander Girard exhibition held during Modernism Week at the Palm Springs Museum of Art, Christine Marvin of Marvin Windows and Doors and Michela O’Connor Abrams of MOCA+, and later he talks about interior designers Steve Chase and Arthur Elrod with former Chief Curator of the Museum, Katherine Hough, who worked with them both.
There's a new streaming series on AppleTV+ called Home, nine shows about unusual houses around the world.  George Smart talks with one of Home's Story Producers Loren Gomez about two of those houses, one in Sweden that's totally enclosed by a greenhouse and one in Texas that's pretty much underground.
Today you’ll meet two CEO’s of HOK, one of the most successful architecture firms in the world, past CEO Patrick MacLeamy and current CEO Bill Hellmuth.  Every architecture student knows HOK, and it’s one of the largest design firms in the US with 1800 team members.  Since 1955, HOK has designed hundreds of major projects like the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in DC, Apple’s first major campus in Cupertino, the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas, Orioles Baseball Park in Baltimore, the expansion of Saarinen's Dulles Airport, the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport, DFW Airport in Dallas, and last but not least, the renovation of Joe Biden’s least favorite airport, LaGuardia.  Wrapping up, a few minutes with architect Frank Harmon, reading from his book Native Places.
Nowhere in the world celebrates Modernism better than Palm Springs, California.  Every February, they have a huge architecture and design festival called Modernism Week which actually lasts 11 days.  Today in the first of two shows about architecture-related movies taped at Modernism Week, host George Smart talks with filmmakers Jake and Tracey Gorst of Frey Part 2: The Architectural Interpreter, and later he visits with P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes, directors of the new Pierre Cardin film, House of Cardin.
Today on USModernist Radio it's a full slate of great guests:  art collector, model collector, race car driver, softball player, and architect Ronnette Riley, project lead for the Lipstick Building in New York designed by Philip Johnson. Later on, Virginia Faust talks about the venerable Lustron, the house of the future that didn't make it, plus special musical guest Leonardo with the world's only Lustron song, and a new feature - architect Frank Harmon reading from his new book of sketches and essays, Native Places. 
Other than Frank Sinatra, there are few people who are so tightly woven into the spirit of mid-century culture than 1950's Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe. Sometime later this year, plans call for a nearly 30 foot tall statue of her in the famous blowing white dress to return to Palm Springs as a permanent home.  In her day, Marilyn was as big as any celebrity you could name.  She was involved with some of the most well-known men in the world:  baseball great Joe Dimaggio, playwright Arthur Miller, and generally accepted nowadays, John F. Kennedy. And she has a connection to a very famous architect. Hosts George Smart and Tom Guild talk with three people who keep Marilyn’s legacy alive for the 21st century. First, it’s Sunny Thompson, who has been channeling Marilyn in her live shows and completely brings her back to life. Next, Greg Schreiner, who has one of the worlds largest collections of Marilyn’s costumes and also leads the annual memorial service in Los Angeles, and finally, Joshua Greene, son of photographer Milton Greene, who took some of Marilyn’s most memorable photos. Marilyn was, for a time, Joshua’s babysitter!  
In a mid-century world way before Instagram, people kept up with the latest buildings primarily through architecture magazines.  Although a few titles like Architecture Record are still going, there were many exceptional publications that in their heyday from 1945-1970 reached millions of readers across the US and the World. Today we welcome John Morris Dixon, the last editor of one of those great magazines, Progressive Architecture. Dixon has interviewed and written about just about every Modernist architect we’ve ever mentioned on the show, and his books include Paul Rudolph: Inspiration and Process in Architecture, Urban Spaces 1&2, Progressive Architecture’s Twenty Years of Design Awards, and Pencil Points Reader.
Craig Ellwood was one of the most exciting people in American architecture. He took Los Angeles by storm and no one since has fully captured his personal style or his incredible story - but that's on the way. Although he took structural engineering courses at UCLA, Ellwood was not a licensed architect, but that did not matter to him or to his clients. Ellwood was a true design genius. Ellwood could sell, too.  He had a red Ferrari (among other great cars) and was a perfect fit with the celebrity culture of Los Angeles. He was a master of promotion. Derided by the architecture profession of which he was formally not a part, he rose to public fame when three of his houses were included in the iconic Case Study House series for Arts and Architecture Magazine. His houses are still incredibly prized today.  From poolside at the swanky Hotel Skylark, host George Smart interviews noted Ellwood restorer Barton Jahncke and his client, Ellwood owner Diane Bald, and later on George talks with architects of another Ellwood restoration, Joe Dangaran and Brett Woods.
Skidmore Owings and Merrill, which sounds like a law firm your uncle Mitch might work at, created international airports, stunningly tall skyscrapers, universities, flagship museums, and landmark corporate headquarters since the 1930’s. In its heyday it was the Amazon of design firms, one of the largest in the world, with projects such as the 1973 Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago, the 2010 Burj Khalifa in Dubai, international airport terminals in Chicago and Kansas City, Lever House, the 2013 World Trade Center, the new Penn Station, the Waldorf Astoria restoration, the first net-zero-energy school in New York City, and even the design of Moon Village, a concept for the first permanent lunar settlement. It's a global architectural, urban planning, and engineering firm, founded in Chicago by architects Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings and engineer John O. Merrill.   Today we talk about SOM with Nick Adams, author of Gordon Bunshaft and SOM: Building Corporate Modernism and architect, preservationist, and design writer Kate Reggev.  Later on, George and Tom welcome returning special musical guest, jazz singer Valerie Wood. 
Nowhere in the world celebrates Modernism better than Palm Springs, California.  Every February, they have a huge architecture and design festival called Modernism Week, which actually lasts 11 days. This was the fifth year USModernist has been at Modernism Week, talking poolside at the USModernist Compound, aka the hip Hotel Skylark, with nearly all the keynote speakers, authors, and special guests. When modern-day Dorothy's kick their red ruby slippers together, they don’t go to Kansas, they land next to in Frank Sinatra’s pool in Palm Springs. Modernism Week is a dazzling spectacle of mid-century architecture, martinis, lectures, art galleries, shopping, nonprofit benefit events, architecture documentary premieres, amazing parties at incredible houses, brilliantly curated house tours, detailed art and architecture exhibits, and much more.   Today we kick off 2020 Modernism Week coverage with architect Daniel Libeskind, known for the Jewish Museum in Berlin, Germany, the master plan for the World Trade Center reconstruction and memorial, and the Danish Jewish Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark. He’s one of the world’s most highly regarded architects and someone people can trust to work with projects of great meaning and significance, especially where loss in involved.   Next, host George Smart visits with the Queen of Palm Springs, the woman everyone wants to talk to by the pool, Nelda Linsk.  Later a delightful chat with Alison Martino, producer, writer, reporter, preservationist, and a master chronicler of old Hollywood, in which she grew up as the daughter of singer Al Martino.
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