Architecture

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A Hundred Windows on Your Wall
This beautiful monochromatic wallpaper is an excellent example of mid-nineteenth century stylistic eclecticism. The window, surrounded by fan vaults and Gothic tracery, is a typical Gothic Revival image. However, the bunches of flowers and swirling acanthus leaves that frame the Gothic interior are Rococo Revival motifs, pointing to the enormous  influence of French culture on...
The Wright Chair
Echoing the larger artistic vision of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, this chair was designed for the hotel’s Peacock banquet room in the early 1920s. Amongst the 700 drawings that exist for the hotel, most are for its interior, showing how significant its design was.[1] The chair’s hexagonal back and square seat reflect...
A Forgotten Architect with Ethereal Solutions
For her first assignment as an architecture student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mary Ann Crawford was given a sheet of paper, twelve hours, and a problem: design an entrance to an architectural school. Crawford’s submission was well-received by her professor, but he gave her a cautionary warning. “You want to be careful...
Making Waves in the Windy City
Though it is frequently lauded as the tallest skyscraper designed by a woman in the world, Chicago’s Aqua Tower is worthy of praise beyond the gender of its architect, Jeanne Gang, a MacArthur fellow and winner of the 2013 National Design Award in Architecture. The key aspects of Gang’s LEED certified design, which explores the...
Stitching Architecture
Polly Turner’s sampler, worked in 1786, is one of the earliest known examples made at Mary Balch’s school in Providence, Rhode Island. According to tradition, the sampler’s five-bay house represents the residence of the president of Rhode Island College. Polly’s is the first known needlework depiction of the house, which appears on at least six...
Imagining Restorative Justice
In 2013, architectural designer Deanna Van Buren and social scientist Barb Toews established Designing Justice+Designing Spaces (DJ+DS) to facilitate the design of more restorative and healing criminal-justice environments through community engagement in jails and prisons. Their work is featured in the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, curated by Cynthia Smith, Curator of...
Image features a rough sketch in black, gray, tan, and blue, showing a long corridor that terminates in a view through a window onto a central stone garden. The view highlights the mirrored surface on the opposite side of the garden, which reflects the colors of the sky and landscape, here suggestive of a colorful sunset. Please scroll down to read the blog about this object.
An Infinite Reflecting Vista
In the late 1990s, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) in Tacoma, Washington announced its plan to relocate from the bank building that it had occupied since 1935 to a new site on the waterfront with views of Mt. Rainier.  National Design Award-winning architect Antoine Predock was selected to design a building that more than doubled...
By the People: Housing for All
Cynthia Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design speaks with architects Rosanne Haggerty and David Baker about community building through innovative affordable housing design.
Louie Louie
Louis Sullivan’s ornament can be appreciated on both a large scale—think Chicago’s Carson Pirie Scott building—and a small one—this cast iron doorplate. Having been removed from its original location during the mid-twentieth century, this doorplate is from Adler & Sullivan’s last commission, the Guaranty Building (now called the Prudential Building). The building became a National...