Architecture

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Image features a French Romanesque church, drawn in graphite, with touches of watercolor to indicate the colors of rooftops, trees, etc. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Legacy of Beauty
Stanford White’s architectural legacy of beauty and sophistication is celebrated throughout New York City. Inspired by European architecture, White was a founder of the City Beautiful movement that spread across the country at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1878, as a young artist, White had traveled throughout Normandy and Belgium by train in...
Drawing of a long, symmetrical house, dominated by rows of columns. Rendered in black and white with areas of bright green foliage.
A 1920s-1930s Architect Lives on Today
This preliminary drawing for the Lake Bluff, IL country home of investment banker William McCormick Blair reveals the early thought process of the architect David Adler. Trained at the Technische Universität, Munich and at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, Adler built his Chicago-based practice in the 1920s and ’30s designing gracious, sprawling country homes rooted in...
Image features a design for an undersea lounge seen in elevation. Drawing mounted on presentation board with wide margin at right, superimposed by text label. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Swimmin’ Sixties: Donald Deskey Associates’ Undersea Lounge
In the early twentieth century, designers often put their work out to sea. Le Corbusier, Swiss-French pioneer of modern architecture, wrote in his seminal 1931 treatise Towards A New Architecture that “a seriously-minded architect (…) will find in a steamship his freedom from an age-long but contemptible enslavement to the past.”[1] The next year, American...
Image features: Dress-weight plain weave cotton fabric printed in blue on a white ground. The overall pattern layout is an even horizontal stripe. In each band a suburban street is depicted, with houses in three different styles of architecture, one very modern. The pattern appears in positive (blue on white) and negative (white on blue) to form the stripe effect. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Suburban Living
This charming cotton dress fabric was anonymously donated and remains anonymous itself, as there are no designer or manufacturer markings in the selvedges. It was probably intended for the home-sewing market, for which many so-called “conversational” prints were produced and made into women’s full, gathered shirts or men’s casual shirts. This piece satirizes the postwar...
Image features an aerial perspective of a of the Palace of Versailles and a rectangular housing at the upper left, adjacent to the Palace Grounds. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Monumentality in Social Housing
Ricardo Bofill’s architectural design, Aerial Perspective of the Lake, the Arcades, the Viaduct, and the Temple Housing Complex for St. Quentin-en-Yvelines (1981) displays the architect’s concept sketch for a monumental housing project to be constructed in the outskirts of Paris.[1] While the idea of constructing mass social housing in suburban Paris dates back to the...
The Architecture of Deafness: On the Subversive and Dignified Architecture of the Deaf School
Written by Jeffrey Mansfield Set in picturesque Casco Bay in southeastern Maine, Mackworth Island is a peculiar knob of land. It is a place I have known since I was a child: to the Deaf community it is known for The Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, to the locals for its hiking trails and...
This image features one of the designs for the palanquin requested by a Pencil Points editor for his soon-to-be-removed wisdom tooth. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Pencil Points Design
Design is for public consumption. Its process is collaborative and frequently involves many iterations of an idea before the best solution is found. This is why contests in design come about so naturally. Design competitions date all the way back to 448 BCE when the city of Athens decided to construct a war memorial on...
This image features an Axonometric view of living room/bedroom with studio bed and built-in cabinet in upper corner; a square table with retractable shelves and two arm chairs on either side of table; horizontal strip lighting hangs high on wall above cabinet and bed; and glass shelves for plants hang right of the bed; black and white rectangular carpet/linoleum beneath table and chairs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Room of One’s Own
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection. Today’s blog post was written by Caitlin Condell and originally published September 30, 2015. German-born Margarethe (Grete) Fröhlich was a young artist when she moved to Frankfurt, Germany in 1929.  In the early 1920s Frankfurt had experienced a...
Renaissance Style from a Renaissance Man: An architectural staircase model
One of a group of staircase models, many of which are masterworks from a guild-like system of design instruction and apprenticeship called Compagnonnage, this model was part of a significant gift, the most significant outside of France, from Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw. The donors, who both recently died, Clare in June, 2017, and...