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Article

Göran Schildt

(Henrik)

(b Kuortane, Feb 3, 1898; d Helsinki, May 11, 1976).

Finnish architect and designer, active also in America. His success as an architect lay in the individual nature of his buildings, which were always designed with their surrounding environment in mind and with great attention to their practical demands. He never used forms that were merely aesthetic or conditioned by technical factors but looked to the more permanent models of nature and natural forms. He was not anti-technology but believed that technology could be humanized to become the servant of human beings and the promoter of cultural values. One of his important maxims was that architects have an absolutely clear mission: to humanize mechanical forms.

His father was a government surveyor working in the lake district of central Finland and became a counterforce to his son’s strong artistic calling. Instead of becoming a painter, which tempted him for a long time, Alvar chose the career of architect as a possible compromise. He never became a planner dominated by technological thinking, however, but always gave his creations an artistic, humanistic character. He studied at the Technical College in Helsinki (...

Article

Sandra L. Tatman

(Francis)

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 29, 1881; d Philadelphia, PA, April 23, 1950).

African American architect. Born and educated in Philadelphia, Abele was the chief designer in the firm of Horace Trumbauer. Unknown for most of his life, Julian Abele has become renowned as a pioneer African American architect.

Abele attended the Institute for Colored Youth and Brown Preparatory School before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, where in 1898 he earned his Certificate in Architectural Drawing and the Frederick Graff Prize for work in Architectural Design, Evening Class Students. Abele then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. Again he distinguished himself in the architectural program, and at his 1902 graduation he was awarded the prestigious Arthur Spayd Brooke Memorial Prize. Abele’s work was also exhibited in the Toronto Architectural Club (1901), the T-Square Club Annual Exhibition (1901–2), and the Pittsburgh Architectural Club annual exhibition of 1903.

As an undergraduate Abele worked for Louis C. Hickman (...

Article

Ludovico C. Koppmann

[Konstantinovsky, Wladimir ]

(b Odessa, Russia, June 23, 1900; d Buenos Aires, July 11, 1967).

Argentine architect.. He studied architecture at the Istituto di Belle Arti in Rome, graduating in 1919. From 1922 he worked in Germany, gaining experience in building engineering and urban design, before moving to Argentina in 1928. He worked in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Guatemala and, from 1954 to 1957, in the USA, where he taught (1956) at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. On his return to Argentina he was appointed Professor of Architectural Composition (1957–66) at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Acosta was an early exponent of an approach to architecture through environmental design and engineering, which he promoted through his book Vivienda y clima (1937) and his ‘Helios’ buildings. These were based upon correct orientation, cross-ventilation, and the control of solar radiation by means of brises-soleil, with minimal mechanical intervention. Like the architects of the Modern Movement in Europe, he saw architecture as a social phenomenon and became dedicated to the provision of mass housing for rapidly growing urban populations. His early work included individual houses in Buenos Aires, for example the Casa Stern, Ramos Mejía (...

Article

Canadian architectural partnership established in 1934 in Toronto by Gordon Sinclair Adamson (1904–86), who practised in the city for 20 years. The firm has been prominent internationally for many decades, and responsible for major, multi-complex modern building projects in Canada, North America and England. In 1949 Adamson Associates was the first architectural group in Ontario to establish an in-house consultancy for the interior design and furnishing of their buildings. In 1962 the company expanded into large-scale structural and site planning. By the 1970s the firm was recognized for its expertise in curtain-wall and cladding techniques, and for state-of-the-art, energy-saving heating and cooling systems. The company’s notable projects include the North York Municipal Building (1974–8), Toronto, Gulf Canada Square (1977–9; now Canada Crescent Corporation; associate architects), Calgary, Alta, and North American Life Centre (1986–8), North York, Ont. Adamson Associates was the architectural company responsible for coordinating all the buildings that comprise New York’s World Financial Center, and architects for the pyramidal-roofed Three World building (...

Article

Rochelle Berger Elstein

(b Stadtlengsfeld, nr Eisenach, July 3, 1844; d Chicago, April 16, 1900).

American architect and engineer of German birth. His family moved to the USA in 1854, and he trained in Detroit, in the architectural offices of John Schaefer, E. Willard Smith and others. After his family moved from Detroit to Chicago, Adler worked under a German émigré architect, Augustus Bauer (1827–94), and gained valuable training in an engineering company during his military service in the American Civil War. After the war, he worked with O. S. Kinney (d 1868), and later Ashley Kinney, building educational and civic structures in the Midwest. Adler’s ability soon brought him to the attention of an established practitioner, Edward Burling (1818–92), who needed assistance in the aftermath of the Chicago fire of 1871. Burling & Adler’s many buildings include the First National Bank (1871) and Mercantile (1873) buildings and the Methodist Church Block (1872), all designed in Chicago by Adler and all demolished. In ...

Article

Term used to describe a movement of the 1870s and 1880s that manifested itself in the fine and decorative arts and architecture in Britain and subsequently in the USA. Reacting to what was seen as evidence of philistinism in art and design, it was characterized by the cult of the beautiful and an emphasis on the sheer pleasure to be derived from it. In painting there was a belief in the autonomy of art, the concept of Art for Art’s Sake, which originated in France as a literary movement and was introduced into Britain around 1860.

The Aesthetic Movement was championed by the writers and critics Walter Pater, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. In keeping with Pater’s theories, the artists associated with it painted pictures without narrative or significant subject-matter. Dante Gabriel Rossetti took his inspiration from Venetian art because of its emphasis on colour and the decorative. This resulted in a number of half-length paintings of female figures, such as the ...

Article

(b Penticton, BC, Nov 20, 1922; d Montreal, March 16, 1989).

Canadian architect. He graduated in architecture from McGill University, Montreal, and began post-graduate studies at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich. Between 1949 and 1953 he worked for various Montreal-based architectural firms before setting up his own practice in the city in 1953; it later became Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold, Sise (1955–69). The group worked with I. M. Pei and Partners on Place Ville Marie (1958–63), then, with Affleck as principal designer, on the Stephen Leacock Building (1961–5) and the Place Bonaventure (1964–8), all in Montreal. Another notable work was the National Arts Centre complex, Ottawa (completed 1969), in which Affleck and company devised a handsome, low-rise group of buildings, including a 2300-seat opera house, an 800-seat theatre and a 300-seat studio workshop. Affleck also taught for many years at the School of Architecture, McGill University (1954–8; Visiting Professor from ...

Article

Walter Smith

(b Buenos Aires, 1945).

American architect and theorist of Argentine birth. She received her Diploma of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires in 1967 and studied further in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Centre du Recherche d’Urbanisme (1967–9). She moved to New York in 1971. From 1976 Agrest taught at Cooper Union, New York, and at Columbia, Princeton and Yale universities. In 1980 she went into partnership with her husband, Mario Gandelsonas (b 1938), in the firm A & G Development Consultants Inc., in New York. She also formed her own firm, Diana Agrest, Architect, in New York. Agrest was deeply involved in theoretical research, and was a Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, from 1972 to 1984. She was strongly influenced by semiotics and developed the idea that architecture can refer beyond itself, discussed particularly in her essay on architecture and film (...

Article

Richard Guy Wilson

American architectural award. Established in 1907 the Gold Medal’s purposes were several: to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), to recognize individuals for their accomplishments and to increase public awareness of architecture. Modeled on European medals such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal (established in 1848), Charles McKim (Gold Medal awarded 1909), a leading New York architect and the instigator of the America medal, wanted to demonstrate that the United States and its architecture had come of age.

From the very first presentation to Sir Aston Webb (1907) the medal was intended to be international in its recognition of architects, although those who have practiced in the United States dominate the list. About 20 of the Gold Medalists, such as Alvar Aalto (1963), Kenzō Tange (1966), Tadao Andō (2002...

Article

Isabelle Gournay

(b Mexico City, Jan 18, 1902; d Paris, Dec 29, 1988).

French architect. He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and worked for a time in the office of André Ventre (1874–1951). In the late 1930s, when he was unable to obtain larger commissions in Depression-stricken France, his activity was limited to ceremonial decorations and exhibition displays such as the Pavillon de l’Elégance at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, Paris (1937), and the Salle de la Haute Couture in the French pavilion at the World’s Fair, New York (1939), which gave him a taste for theatrical settings. In 1945 he was appointed Chief Architect of the Houillères de Lorraine, a coal-mining conglomerate in a drab area where reconstruction and industrial modernization was urgently needed; as well as industrial structures, he also designed some single-family workers’ housing such as the Cité Bellevue (1945–7) in Creutzwald, and this marked the beginning of his dedication to the improvement of low-cost housing....

Article

Leland M. Roth

(b Pittsburgh, PA, March 28, 1908; d 1988).

American architect. He received his architectural training at the School of Architecture (1927–8), University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He worked with Rudolph Schindler (1932) and Richard Neutra (1932–5) who both influenced his development greatly. In 1936 he opened his own office in Los Angeles. His principal early work consisted of private houses in the Los Angeles area, but like both Schindler and Neutra, Ain had a marked interest in low-cost housing. One example is his Dunsmuir Flats (1937–9), 1281 South Dunsmuir Avenue, Los Angeles. In 1940 Ain received a Guggenheim Fellowship to explore a system of panel design for such housing. In collaboration with landscape architect Garrett Eckbo (b 1910) Ain produced setback housing units in garden settings for various locations in the Los Angeles area; most notable were Park Planned Homes (1946), Altadena, CA, and two groups in Los Angeles, the Mar Vista Housing complex and the Avenel Housing complex, ...

Article

Airport  

Valerie A. Clack

revised by Guillaume de Syon

Complex of buildings, runways, and service facilities for handling the arrival and departure of aircraft and their passengers and freight. Early airports amounted to little more than an open field, where the only architectural features were spectator boxes, some inspired by horse racetracks. Right after World War I, however, the jump-start of air transport activities, notably in major European capital cities, prompted operators to devise new ways of making flight attractive. Well-to-do passengers required better amenities than a waiting room next to a fuel depot, and the easing of wartime rationing on construction supplies meant that steel and cement could replace wood and allow for full-scale airfield design.

In Europe, where the world’s first international air service (London–Paris) was inaugurated in 1919, air transport was embraced as a prestigious form of travel, and the design of airports for capital cities was considered an expression of national pride. Several European airports can claim pioneering status as full architectural works. At Le Bourget, north of Paris, a set of buildings went up in ...

Article

Pamela H. Simpson

From the time of the Wright brothers’ first efforts at Kitty Hawk to the wide-body jets of the 21st century, aviation technology has developed rapidly, and along with it has come a demand for a new architectural form, the airport. It is a distinctly 20th century building type. Soon after World War I, the American government began using planes for mail delivery, but it was not until 1925 that private contractors were allowed to bid on these routes. Once they did, they began to add passenger service as a means to further income. Before this, early airports were called airfields because that is largely what they were—grassy fields with a gas tank and a hangar. The presence of passengers meant the need for spaces to accommodate them: ticket counters, waiting lounges, and baggage handling areas. At first these were modest since the normal seating capacity of the planes was limited to about a dozen or so people, but the history of airports, like the history of planes, is one of rapid growth and quickly changing technologies....

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Federal, Entre Ríos, Aug 22, 1928; d Buenos Aires, Feb 19, 1996).

Argentine painter, draughtsman and collagist. He studied under Juan Batlle Planas from 1950 to 1953 and quickly established the terms of his work, rooted ideologically in Surrealism and indebted in particular to the work of René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. All the elements of his mature art are evident in an early painting, Burning of the Hasidic School in Minsk in 1713 (1954; artist’s col.): architecture, space, light and ordered series. He developed an essentially intellectual approach, working in a variety of media (paintings, drawings, gouaches and collages) in rigorous sequences and picturing objects in cold impersonal light that confers on them a sense of distant majesty. The most common motif is that of a geometric, almost abstract structure, often in the form of a tower pierced by rows of large plain windows. Aizenberg’s work, while far removed from the Surrealist presumption of achieving a synthesis of wakefulness and dream, acquires its strength through the ordering of the unreal and the strange in the search for a transcendent essence capable of perturbing and jolting the viewer by bringing into play the archetypes of silence and solitude....

Article

Monica E. Kupfer

(b Panama City, Sept 5, 1949).

Panamian painter. A graduate of the University of Panama’s Architecture School, he became a full time painter following his first solo exhibition in 1979. From 1980 to 1983 he studied at the Art Students League in New York, his only formal training as an artist. Alfaro is best known for his beautifully rendered oil paintings but has also produced drawings, pastels and three-dimensional pieces. His first images were portraits of young women surrounded by surreal elements or in dream settings. From 1983 he painted humorous images of traditional or religious subjects such as church processions, as well as portraits of imaginary ecclesiastical figures and war heroes; capitalizing on Panama’s strong Catholic tradition. Alfaro even invented his own saints, including the Virgin of All Secrets (1986; see colour pl. I, fig.). By 1990, his compositions became increasingly baroque, crowded with human figures in often menacing natural environments that suggest abundant iconographic, literary and historical interpretations. Towards the end of the decade, Alfaro began to isolate and increasingly distort his models, achieving an expressive deformation characteristic of his disturbing view of humanity and personal vision of surrealism....

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Jan 25, 1923; d July 31, 1993).

Argentine draughtsman, painter and printmaker. He was self-taught and in 1943 began to illustrate publications throughout Latin America, continuing to do so for more than 20 years. His early work consisted of highly emotive ink drawings marked by an intricacy of design and lack of idealization, for example The Vacuum II (1976). He later worked in both pastels and oils to create spectral images of love, death, eroticism and the obscure world of nightmares, fears and terrors. Critics sometimes spoke of these in terms of Magic Realism, although he did not subscribe to any specific stylistic tendency. He often treated human heads and figures in fragmentary form, as if they were the victims of violent torture, and with a veiled but sarcastic humour.

With time Alonso gradually simplified his drawings and replaced his invented characters with fictional objects and childhood memories, moving towards more intimate and abstract work, for example in the pastel ...

Article

Nicola Coleby

(b Mexico City, Aug 29, 1892; d Mexico City, April 4, 1985).

Mexican painter and draughtsman. He studied at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City from 1910. In 1917 he was employed as a draughtsman by the Ministry of Agriculture and began to attend the Escuela de Pintura al Aire Libre de Santa Anita under Alfredo Ramos Martínez, his palette gradually lightening. In 1920 he was appointed assistant draughtsman in the Ministry of Education and then tutor at the Academia de San Carlos. In 1922 he was commissioned by the Ministry of Education to paint a mural, the Landing of the Cross (fresco, 7×8 m; Mexico City, Escuela N. Prep.), an allegorical depiction of the implantation of Catholicism in New Spain in the 16th century, with large classical figures set in a steeply inclined composition. Over the next 40 years, Alva de la Canal painted six public murals with allegorical and historical themes, such as the Life of Morelos (encaustic and fresco, ...

Article

Architectural partnership in Bogotá, Colombia, established in 1972 by Cecilia Alvarez Pereira (b Manizales, Jul 23, 1934) and Emese Ijjasz de Murcia (b Budapest, May 18, 1936). Alvarez studied at the University of Javeriana School of Architecture in Colombia from 1953 to 1958. Before establishing her own firm she worked with the firms Guillermo González Zueleta and Pizano Pradilla & Caro between 1957 and 1964. Between 1964 and 1979 she worked in the Department of Works, Special Projects, and Urban Politics at the Instituto Crédito Territorial. De Murcia studied at the National University of Argentina from 1956 to 1958, Catholic University, Santiago, Chile, from 1958 to 1961, and the National University of Colombia at Medellín in 1962. De Murcia also worked for the Instituto Crédito Territorial from 1964 to 1971 and designed more than 17,000 dwellings during this time. From 1970 she taught at the University of the Andes, Bogotá, becoming Vice-Dean in ...

Article

Xavier Moyssén

(b Mérida, Dec 24, 1914; d Mexico City, Nov 29, 1995).

Mexican architect. He graduated from the Universidad Nacional de México, Mexico City, in 1939. In his early works he was influenced by the theories of José Villagrán García and later by those of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Gropius. He is notable in Mexican architecture for his adherence to Rationalism throughout his long career. In construction he used steel and concrete, prefabricated units and glass, and there is an evident unity in his works, especially in the high quality of his finishes. A notable example of his buildings is a small bank branch (1958; destr.), Mexico City, in which the International Style is clearly visible in the cleverly composed structure and in the neon illumination of the exterior, recalling Mondrian. The Jaysour Building (1961), Mexico City, is the clearest example of his assimilation of the International Style, evident in the ground-plan, structure and even the glass cladding. Also in Mexico City are the IBM Building (...

Article

Ludovico C. Koppmann

(b Buenos Aires, Nov 14, 1913; d Nov 5, 2011).

Argentine architect. He studied architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, graduating in 1937 with two gold medals and the Ader Scholarship, which enabled him to spend a year studying architecture in Europe. He joined the Ministry of Public Works and then became Municipal Architect at Avellaneda (1942–1947); he established his own office in Buenos Aires in 1947. Alvarez became one of the most prolific and successful architects in Latin America, winning first prize in a large number of competitions and building a great number of works. His designs were based on a rationalist approach, developing consciously simple structural form in the manner of Mies van der Rohe; his goal was to produce functional buildings utilizing modern technology and efficient workmanship, allowing for flexibility and change and contributing to the quality of the environment. Important works include the Medical Centre (1936–1937) at San Martín; the Roncatti Restaurant (...