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
175 Episodes
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Charles Phoenix is the ambassador of mid-century Americana. From his wildly popular slideshows and lectures on life in the 1950’s to his sold-out double decker bus tours of Palm Springs, he’s a crowd fave in Palm Springs. Charles sits down with host George Smart poolside at Modernism Week 2020 and later, George visits with the king of the Viewmaster, that iconic plastic toy we love with the circular reels. Martin Knowles spoke at Modernism Week on View-Master: Keeping It Reel in 3-D for 80 Years and launched exciting new reels featuring houses by Midcentury Modern architects like Hugh Kaptur, Bill Krisel, Donald Wexler, and E. Stewart Williams.
Modernism Week attracts reporters and photographers from all over the world. They make the flight or the drive into Palm Springs to cover the architecture, the art, the lectures, the occasional celebrity, and most of all, the lifestyle that we immerse ourselves into all 11 days.  Plus, there’s the huge economic impact of Modernism Week on the economy, making it *rain* on those Palm Springs butterfly roofs.  From Modernism Week 2020, host George Smart talks with Desert Sun business reporter Melissa Daniels, and later he visits with architecture photographer Elizabeth Daniels and CURBED reporter Pauline O’Connor, just after a delicious breakfast of Frittatas, waffles, granola, and bacon at the USModernist compound. 
One of the most revered names in Modernist architecture is Richard Neutra.  From coast to coast, but mostly in California, Neutra’s many Modernist houses set the standard for open, comfortable living – bringing the outside in, reducing clutter, and maximizing every square foot of a house and its usually beautiful site.  Host George Smart talks with Richard Neutra’s son, Raymond Neutra, about architecture, the passing of his brother Dion, and the future of Neutra Institute.  Next, Catherine Meyler bought a rundown Palm Springs Neutra house 20 years ago and brought it back to life after almost losing it to the elements.  Wrapping up, George talks with owner Ken Topper of the famous Lovell Health House in LA, the place that brought Neutra to huge public fame back in 1929.
From Robin Boyd to Harry Seidler to Glenn Murcutt, there’s a lot to love in Australian architecture, and today we talk with Dustin Clare and Camille Keenan, the producers behind a new streaming service and within it a new streaming series on Australian design.  Their new architecture series, Inspired Architecture, premiered recently on their new streaming architecture and design network, shelter.stream. 
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. John Lautner designed some of the most innovative, beautiful, and concrete-intensive residences in the world.  Host George Smart talks with Lautner’s right-hand architect, Helena Arahuete, who continues his legacy over 25 years after his death, restoring Lautner houses and creating new ones for a new generation of appreciative owners.  George also visits with Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge, owners of the Lautner Hotel in Desert Hot Springs, California, a little town only 20 minutes from Palm Springs.  It’s a hotel Lautner designed with only four rooms, each one a masterpiece.  And wrapping up, George talks with a great friend of USModernist, Trina Turk, CEO of the world-famous clothing line and new-ish owner of a vintage Lautner house in Los Angeles.
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. In our second Modernism Week show on interiors, George Smart meets with two experts on what makes the Modernist vibe so wonderfully livable:  Sarah Archer is a contributing editor at American Craft magazine and the author of The Midcentury Kitchen: America’s Favorite Room, from Workspace to Dreamscape.  She spoke at Modernism week on The Kitchen of Tomorrow: Space Age Design in the High Tech Modern Home.  Later on, George talks wth Laura Ackerman-Shaw who established Ackerman Modern and worked with her father, Jerome Ackerman, and Design Within Reach to re-release a collection of iconic Jenev ceramic vessels first produced in 1953, with new pieces produced based on the original plaster molds.
You all remember the 1994 movie Speed, the huge hit with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock?  Ten years later, with the public clamoring for more Keanu and Sandra, they shot another movie but got completely upstaged by a co-star built of glass and steel.  The Lake House was a romantic fantasy film about a magic time-traveling mailbox for a particularly beautiful Modernist house.  Joining us today are the architect and structural engineer for that house, Nathan Crowley and  Fritz Hengge, as we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the birth and death of one of cinema's most amazing homes. Ready to be swept off your feet? Get ready for celebrated jazz singer and Modernist homeowner, the poetic, soulful, unicorn-producing Heather Rigdon, singing from her album Young and Naive.
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.
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