American architects

Hildreth Meière (American; 1892–1961)
Design for Sand-Blasted Glass Mural: Mercury Gathering Air Waves Amidst Planets and Stars
Brush and white gouache, black wash, graphite on tan paper
Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York

Executed for A Century of Progress (1933 World’s Fair, Chicago, Illinois)


Thorncrown Chapel 35th Anniversary | Randall Connaughton

Thorncrown Chapel, remotely located in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, USA, was designed by E. Fay Jones, a protégé of the pioneering architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It is internationally acclaimed for its innovative design, respect for natural materials, and sensitivity to its surroundings. Winner of the American Institute of Architects’ Design of the Year Award for 1981 and the AIA’s prestigious 25 Year Award, Thorncrown Chapel is ranked by the American Institute of Architects as the fourth most important building of the twentieth century. 

This series has been created to commemorate Thorncrown Chapel’s 35th anniversary in June 2015. Views of the landmark chapel and its forested mountain locale were captured through the seasons in 2014-15. These are the first professionally produced photographs created for use by Thorncrown Chapel since 1980, when a single image was created that garnered its acclaim. Unfettered access to a restrictive site has permitted views previously unseen by the general public that are vital to a complete understanding of its architecture and relationship to its environment.


   Transamerica by Ball-Nogues Studio

The Nevada Museum of Art commissioned Ball-Nogues to create an interpretation of the Transamerica building for the exhibition Modernist Maverick: The Architecture of William L. Pereira

This exhibition surveys the architecture, urban planning, and design work of American architect William L. Pereira through images, models, drawings, and plans. The exhibition re-examines the modest spaces he created.

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Joseph Urban (American; 1872–1933), architect
Roof Garden, Hotel Gibson, Cincinnati, Ohio Ÿ
Pen and black ink, watercolor, white gouache, gold paint, over graphite on paper, lined, 1928
Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York

ca. 1860s, [carte de visite, outdoor view of Methodist church, Denver, Colorado]

Albumen print, Carte-de-visite, mid 1860s With “Methodist Church / Denver, Colorado” written in pencil in a later hand, mount verso.

The first Methodist Episcopal Church was built in Denver in 1860. With the coming of the Civil War the church was left almost empty, and the property was sold in 1862. Sometime after that, a neighbor church, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, then called “St. John’s Church in the Wilderness”, was erected at 14th and Lawrence. The image here probably shows that church.

via KaufmaNelson Vintage Photographs

You say to a brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ And brick says to you, 'I like an arch.’ And you say to brick, 'Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.’ And then you say: 'What do you think of that, brick?’ Brick says: 'I like an arch.’

The Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) is now open in Shanghai!

Located along Shanghai’s West Bund corridor, SCôP was founded by Hong Kong-born photographer Liu Heung Shing and was conceived as a space dedicated to showcasing and educating the public on the art of contemporary and archival photography, both local and international.

Designed by the American architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee for the 2013 West Bund Architecture and Contemporary Art Biennale, SCôP’s new space consists of elliptically shaped exhibition halls with gently curving interior walls, high ceilings, and crescent-shaped skylights that allow for soft, natural light to enter the building.

SCôP’s first exhibition Photography from the 20th Century: The Private Collection of Jin Hongwei was curated from a private collection totaling 1600 works and features who’s who of subjects in photography from around the world.

Take a look at some of photos taken from the new museum-gallery hybrid and check out an interview about SCôP’s opening with Liu Heung Shing in the New York Times!

Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP)

2555 Longteng Avenue (near Fenggu Road), Xuhui District, Shanghai

Until July 22, 2015


Rural Studio receives the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award at the AIA National Convention

This year, it was in Atlanta that thousands of architects and professionals gathered to attend the 2015 American Institute of Architects National Convention, the theme of which was Impact - examining how architects impact their communities, both global and local. It was also a notable year for Auburn University Rural Studio, who was involved in various activities throughout the convention.

Foremost among these, Rural Studio was honored with the 2015 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. Since 1972, the award has been given to recognize firms and architects that have advanced social justice in their field through such areas as inclusiveness, affordable housing, and universal access. The award is named after American Civil Rights activist Whitney Moore Young Jr., who, during its 1968 National Convention, famously challenged the AIA’s lack of socially progressive advocacy. Previous recipients include Habitat for Humanity in 1988, National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) in 2007, and, most recently, Ivenue Love-Stantley, FAIA in 2014. Rural Studio is the first academic program to receive this award.

Andrew Freear, director of Rural Studio, accepted the award from AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA in front of a packed exhibition hall, where just the previous morning Bill Clinton had given his keynote address. In his acceptance speech, Freear stated that “Rural Studio is pure unadulterated joy in designing and making,” and he emphasized the close relationship that Rural Studio has built with its Hale County neighbors over the past 21 years. Good design is for everyone, and in Hale County “that desire comes from within. Rural Studio is just a vehicle for that desire.” Freear shared his joy and pride in knowing that for our annual Pig Roast celebration 27 local businesses supported the event, which is significant for such a small community. The speech was heartfelt and invigorating and undoubtedly inspired many of those who heard it.

In addition to the award, Freear also took part in a seminar, hosted by Frank Harmon, titled, “Regionalism in a Global Environment,” with Marlon Blackwell and Roberto de Leon, Jr.. Freear stressed the importance of learning from the local community to inform design.

Following the seminar, Freear and Timothy Hursley signed copies of their book, Rural Studio at Twenty. 

The CADC also hosted an outstanding Alumni & Friends Reception at the Marriott Marquis, sponsored by Regions Bank. During the beautiful reception, Rural Studio debuted Timothy Hursley and Dave Anderson’s short film, Rural Studio Love Stories, which was filmed during Rural Studio’s 20th anniversary year. The film was sponsored in part by an award from the National Endowment of the Arts Art Works.


The Albanian Islamic Center in Harper Woods, Michigan, USA by Frank Beymer [1963]. The Albanian Islamic Center was founded by Imam Vehbi Ismail in 1962 and celebrated its grand opening on November 3, 1963. The mosque served as the first permanent home of the Albanian American Muslim Society, which had been founded by Imam Ismail in 1949 and had previously met at the International Institute of Detroit, briefly with the American Muslim Society in Dearborn, and in an Armenian church on Hamilton Avenue. Today, the mosque serves the Albanian community that has been well established in the Detroit area since the 1940s, as well as new Muslim immigrants from the Balkans and other regions of the Islamic world.
The mosque was designed by the American architect Frank Beymer, with a distinctly Balkan Ottoman-style minaret, dome, arches, and color scheme. The building is a long, low rectangle faced in brick, with a copper-colored dome over the entrance and the minaret to its left. The facade was not completed until 1975, and the minaret was also added at that time. Inside, there is a relatively small prayer hall, a large multipurpose social hall, a kitchen, classrooms, and office space. It is an example of what Omar Khalidi, the photographer, called “imported” mosque design, embodying a traditional design imported from the Islamic world.

On June 2, 1935, the Duke Chapel was dedicated in Durham.

The chapel’s iconic design was the work of Julian Abele, a prominent African American architect from Philadelphia who designed much of Duke’s West Campus, and since Duke University is rooted in the Methodist tradition, Abele planned the chapel for the campus’s center.

Construction began on the building in October 1930 after university leaders fitted a strongbox of photos and publications inside its cornerstone.  It ultimately took five years and cost $2.3 million, which would be more than $39.4 million today.  The bluestone of the building’s exterior was quarried near Hillsborough.

Though not officially dedicated until June 1935, the chapel’s first major use was for Duke’s 1932 commencement ceremony.  At that point, many of the windows had not been installed and the interior was largely unfinished.

Today, Duke Chapel stands at a majestic 210 feet at the center of Duke’s west campus.  A 5,200-pipe Flentrop organ and 50-bell carillon, both added since the first round of construction was completed, are two of the building’s most distinctive features.

This Day in NC History: Barad-dûr Duke Chapel.

90 Pittsburgh Neighborhoods are now being exhibited at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The exhibition runs until August 9th. There has been nice media coverage. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette writer Diana Nelson Jones did an excellent job, Dave Crawley from KDKA did a TV report and Becky Spevak wrote for the American Institute of Architects, Pittsburgh Chapter.

And a special thanks to Dan Rothschild, Architect and Urban planner, for writing to the editor of the Post Gazette today! Their firm just won an AIA National  Honor Award.

“It’s really about dealing with our current conditions of contemporary slavery and how that actually is something we need to be fighting today,” he said. “It’s about acknowledging that condition and thinking about future generations and educating future generations so this tragedy doesn’t happen again in the future.” 

And perhaps now true healing can begin…..And may the ancestors in NY be in attendance to give honor to those who came before and gave their last breaths.