(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 (...
(b Budapest, March 15, 1894; d Budapest, Sept 29, 1941).
Hungarian painter, draughtsman and etcher. He trained as a drawing teacher at the College of Fine Arts, Budapest (1912–14). In 1913 he worked at the Szolnok colony and he served in World War I. He taught drawing for a while at the Technical University, Budapest. In 1922 he learnt etching from Viktor Olgyay at the College of Fine Arts. His early works show an affinity with the Group of Eight; later he moved closer to the work of the Activists, especially József Nemes Lampérth and Béla Uitz. He instinctively sought a dynamic and powerful form of expression. His pen-drawings and etchings are frequently based on biblical subjects and are characterized by a heroic conception, an illusory atmosphere and romantic associations. The etching Savonarola (1925; Budapest, N.G.) reveals his extraordinary compositional abilities, especially in the rendering of crowds, and his use of strong chiaroscuro. His landscapes are dominated by carefully composed, naturalist details and the exploitation of the dramatic effect of reflections. In his drawings, Cubist arrangements gradually gave way to a more diffuse composition. His nudes in the landscape (e.g. ...
Sandra L. Tatman
(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 (...
(b Ashton-upon-Mersey, June 6, 1879; d Aston Tirrold, Oxon, March 23, 1957).
English urban planner, architect and writer. He was educated at Uppingham, Leics, and was an apprentice in architectural offices, first in Manchester and then in Liverpool. In 1907 Charles H. Reilly appointed him to the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, and in 1909, following the foundation of the School of Civic Design, the first urban planning school in Britain, he became deputy to its professor, S. D. Adshead. He helped found its publication, the Town Planning Review, and became a major contributor; he wrote a series of articles on American and European cities, giving a detailed account of his conception of history, architectural styles and the analysis of urban planning. In 1915 he became Professor of Civic Design and was nominated Librarian for the Town Planning Institute. He was active as an editor and conference organizer as well as a teacher and practising architect, involved in work stimulated by the Housing and Town Planning Act of ...
Daniel Le Couédic
(b Nantes, March 19, 1891; d Paris, Jan 20, 1966).
French architect and teacher. A student of Alfred-Henri Recoura (1864–1939), he graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, in 1920. He settled in Paris, and his first works were influenced by Art Deco. In 1923 he became one of the two architects of the new seaside resort of Sables-d’Or-les-Pins (Côtes-du-Nord). There, and in the nearby village of Val-André, Abraham began his analysis and rejection of the picturesque in such buildings as Villa Miramar (1928) and Villa Ramona (1929). In 1929, in partnership with Henry-Jacques Le Même (b 1897), he made his first design for a sanatorium, later executing three examples at Passy (Haute-Savoie), which are among his best works: Roc-de-Fiz (1931), Guébriant (1933) and Geoffroy de Martel de Janville (1939). Two blocks of flats built in Paris in 1931 (at 28 Boulevard Raspail and Square Albinoni) characterize the peak of his production in their precision and sobriety of composition, moderate use of the modernist vocabulary and use of new techniques and materials....
(b Tel Aviv, Dec 26, 1964; d Paris, Oct 10, 1993).
Israeli sculptor. He adopted the name Absalon on his arrival in Paris in the late 1980s. During his short career he achieved widespread recognition for the 1:1 scale architectural models that he constructed of idealized living units. These wooden models, painted white, demonstrate an obsession with order, arrangement and containment, and have associations both of protective shelters and monastic cells. They were designed to be placed in several cities and to function as living-pods for the artist as he travelled. Exhibiting a series of six ‘cellules’ in Paris in 1993, he described how they were fitted both to his body and to his mental space, but were also able to condition the movements of his body in line with their idealized architecture. Although he denied their apparent utopianism, the sculptures can be viewed as the reduction of the utopian aims of early modern architecture (as seen in the work of the Constructivists, de Stijl and Le Corbusier) to the level of individual subjectivity. This suggests both the failure of architectural social engineering and its inevitable basis in subjective, anti-social vision. Absalon’s habitational units also have an element of protest. In an interview for the ...
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 (...
(b Bologna, March 17, 1935).
Italian painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was given a rigorous training as a draughtsman between 1951 and 1954 in Achille Funi’s studio at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, which provided the basis for his mature work. Before developing his characteristic contour line and flat surfaces, he experimented briefly with an expressionistic style that combined violent and humorous imagery inspired by the explosive forms in space favoured by Roberto Matta and by strip cartoons; typical of this phase is one of his earliest large canvases, L’ora del sandwiche (1963; Camilla Adami priv. col., see Damisch and Martin, pl. 42). He settled in Paris in 1957 but divided his time between France and Italy. In such paintings as Stanze a cannocchiale (‘Telescoped rooms’, 1965; Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Mus. A.) he began to develop a highly decorative idiom of stylized images outlined in black on a surface of interlocking areas of intense, unmodulated colour. His usual starting-point was a photograph or several associated images, which he reworked, fragmented and presented in a schematic form. This remained Adami’s system of working in later years, although his subject-matter changed....
T. Affleck Greeves
(b Burgess Hill, Sussex, 1849; d London, Aug 17, 1933).
English architect, editor and draughtsman. After completing his articles with H. N. Goulty of Brighton, he became assistant to William Ralph Emerson, and Architect to Brighton Council. Between 1872 and 1923 he was Editor of Building News. He instituted the Building News Designing Club, which enabled young architects to submit designs for his criticism. He contributed largely to the paper’s illustrations, redrawing designs for lithographic reproduction, and covered a wide range of subjects in a skilful and accurate, if somewhat dull, linear style. He also published several architectural books. Through the owner of Building News he obtained his major architectural commissions, notably Camberwell Polytechnic and Art Gallery (1902). He also designed country houses near London, for example Queensmead Cottage, Kings Road, Windsor, Berks (1883), for Reginald Talbot, as well as in Australia (e.g. Bellevue Hill, Double Bay, for Charles B. Fairfax in the mid-1880s) and America, where he designed timber houses in New Jersey for E. S. Wilde in ...
(b Northampton, Oct 5, 1917; d Gt Maplestead, Essex, April 5, 1984).
English sculptor and painter. He studied at the Northampton School of Art from 1933 to 1944. During World War II he was employed as an engineer, and after the war he spent two years teaching himself to sculpt in wood. Though he had participated in various group exhibitions during the war, it was not until 1947 that he had his first one-man show, of sculpture, at the Gimpel Fils Gallery in London. He also produced abstract paintings, but soon came to specialize in sculpture. His early sculpture of this period, such as Figure (1949–51; London, Tate), showed the influence of Henry Moore, whose works he knew from photographs. These comprised forms abstracted from natural objects, executed in wood, plaster and stone. After his one-man show he made several extended trips to Paris, where he became interested in the work of Brancusi and Julio González. In 1950 he received a Rockefeller award from the Institute of International Education to visit the USA. Having by then an established reputation, he was also commissioned to produce a 3-m high carving for the Festival of Britain in ...
(b Holywood, County Down, Ireland, Jan 26, 1922).
Australian painter, printmaker, book designer, lecturer, collector, gallery director and publisher of limited edition artists’ books, of Irish decent. He worked as a draughtsman before entering war service in the British Admiralty from 1940 to 1949, including five years in Colombo, where he made sketching trips to jungle temples with the Buddhist monk and artist Manjsiro Thero. Between 1949 and 1951 Adams worked as an exhibition designer in London and studied wood-engraving with Gertrude Hermes in her evening class at the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design). In 1951, after moving to Melbourne, Adams began a 30-year teaching commitment at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), where he instructed many of the younger generation of Australian printmakers, including George Baldessin and Jan Senbergs. A brief return to Britain and Ireland in 1957–8 provided experience with Dolmen Press, Dublin, which published his first book of engravings, ...
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 (...
(b Dar es Salaam, Sept 22, 1966).
British architect of Tanzanian birth and Ghanaian descent. David Adjaye’s projects span a wide range of architectural categories including residential buildings, retail spaces, civic buildings, and art installations. After establishing his own practice in 2000, Adjaye’s work inspired critics and historians to consider his buildings in terms of their carefully considered spatial relationships to their sites, the intense multi-sensory experiences they offer users, and their interrogation of architecture’s ability to communicate ideas concerning place, identity, and symbolic value.
David Adjaye was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1966. As the son of a Ghanaian diplomat, Adjaye was already well travelled by the age of 13, having resided in the Middle East and Africa before moving to London. In 1986 Adjaye received his diploma in art and design from Middlesex College. Two years later he secured a job with the offices of Chassay Architects in London while concurrently studying for his architecture BA at Southbank University. The programme at Southbank structured Adjaye’s studies to prepare him for the three-part Royal Institute of British Architects Examinations, the successful completion of which officially deemed Adjaye a fully qualified architect in ...
(b Berlin, Oct 15, 1827; d Berlin, Sept 15, 1908).
German architect, archaeologist and writer. He was one of the leading figures of Berlin’s architectural establishment in the latter half of the 19th century. On completion of his studies in 1852, he was given the prestigious post of Bauleiter at the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by Friedrich August Stüler. He subsequently became a lecturer and in 1861 a professor of architectural history at the Bauakademie in Berlin. Many of his church buildings used medieval motifs and elements, for example the Christuskirche (1862–8) in Berlin and the Elisabethkirche (1869–72) in Wilhelmshafen. He followed Karl Bötticher in his attempts to merge medieval and classical elements, best illustrated in his design for the Thomaskirche (competition 1862; built 1865–70), Berlin. There, Adler used Gothic structural devices embellished with rich Renaissance detail, a tendency that was also present in many of the entries for the Berlin Cathedral competition (...
(b Bowdon, Cheshire, 1868; d London, April 11, 1946).
English architect and urban planner. The son of a landscape painter, he was apprenticed to an architect in Manchester in 1885. He went to London in 1890, where he built up experience in well-known architectural offices, notably with George Sherrin (d 1909) and William Flockhart (d 1913). His brief and shrewd recollections of these years are a valuable record of prosperous London practice in the 1890s. He gradually gained a reputation as a perspectivist but his architectural career was slow to develop. The library and assembly rooms at Ramsgate, Kent (1904), and offices for the Bennett Steamship Co., Southwark, London (1908), show his preference for an individual, refined Georgian-revival style.
In 1909 Adshead became Professor of Town Planning at Liverpool University and inaugurated the Department of Civic Design, the first town-planning school in Britain, with Patrick Abercrombie as his deputy. In 1910...
[Società Cooperativa Aemilia Ars]
Workshop founded in Bologna in 1898 by the architect Alfonso Rubbiani (1848–1913), modelled on the English Arts and Crafts Movement; its formal name was Società Cooperativa Aemilia Ars. At first the workshop produced a wide range of products, including glass and pottery, but from 1902 to 1914 its principal products were textiles, especially lace....
(b Zurich, Jan 18, 1906; d Russikon, Zurich, Jan 27, 1980).
Swiss sculptor, painter and draughtsman. He was self-taught as a draughtsman and only turned to sculpture in 1936. His early sculptural work (1936–45) mainly comprises heads and torsos in addition to heavy, life-size female nudes. These works, mainly in marble and bronze, emphasize volume and were influenced by Aristide Maillol, Charles Despiau and Wilhelm Lehmbruck. During the 1940s Aeschbacher gradually subordinated the human form to a study of the stone’s own biomorphic structure. A series of amorphous Bumps heralded the final departure from naturalism. In 1952–3 Aeschbacher started to produce Stelae, a series of colossal but slender vertical structures that were influenced by the tectonic quality of Archaic Greek masonry. This new emphasis on verticality led after 1960 to the production of lighter, more airy works. Notable examples of work from this period are Figure IV (granite, h. 3.92 m, 1967; Bregenz, Kultzent. Schendlingen); Figure I (granite, h. 3.05 m, ...
(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 ...