By Liz Waytkus
Advocacy efforts over Paul Rudolph’s endangered Orange County Government Center had the blogosphere in a tizzy last month in what some would describe as a modern architecture meme. While a number of larger newspaper and magazine blogs carried the story, many smaller personal blogs did too. As we bookmark and follow these blogs, we thought we would share our discoveries of those also working to document and discuss the finer (or more colorful) aspects our modern built heritage.
Brutalism may not be the taste d’jor of the general public, but the style certainly has its fans on the internet. From the photographic inventory of Brutal, Bold and Brilliant to the classic form of Beton Brute, and the clean Architecture of Doom, there are dozens of blogs that document the style’s enormous volumes and its various shades of gray. One interesting blog named Brutalism and Booze involves a meet-up group where a group of people meet at a brutalist building and then discussion ensues at a local pub. While the group is based across the pond in the UK, it does however suggest an appealing idea for a group here in the states. And if color doesn’t come to mind when thinking brutalism, this blog if in name alone, fills that void.
The blog Midcentury Mundane much like its brutalism counterparts is focused on bringing attention to the underappreciated or lesser known structures, specifically in this case to regional modernism. Frampton Tolbert, the NYC-based preservationist who created the blog a few years ago states that “the blog started out simply as a way to document these interesting, truly unappreciated buildings that populate much of our daily lives.” While some of the buildings have been lost since their posting, Frampton goes on to say that he has had great response from the general public including those whom are not in the architecture or preservation fields and “how great the blog is and how they don't know anything about architecture but know they love these types of buildings.”
The Time Tells blog written by Vince Michael, the John H. Bryan Chair in Historic Preservation at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is one of the longest running weblogs we have come across. Time Tells includes anecdotes on travel, discussions on modern as well as traditional buildings and a dizzying array of house museums around the world. An interesting feature is that the stories can take you from Chicago to China to Peru and back to Chicago again all in one post.
Another well-known blog is Jody Brown’s Coffee with an Architect. Jody, who spoke at the recent AIA (renamed on the blog as the American Institute of Awesome) National Convention in Washington DC, writes quite a bit about modernism and postmodernism along with varying critiques on the profession and his own work. His posts including the twelve days of architecture to his CTRL+ANGST+DEL are always full of wit and humor and at times incredibly incisive.
Back across the pond, Manchester Modernists is an elegant site that covers sites at risk, upcoming events and links to their small newspaper called The Modernist. The Manchester Modernist Society that runs the blog calls themselves “a small band of urban enthusiasts, amateurs and latter day dandies, passionate observers of the city and its social cultural and built environment.”
The American Synagogue Architecture blog written by Julian Preisler is an excellent resource documenting the building typology throughout the country. Julian who is a professional genealogist and researcher also maintains his own personal website where additional book and photographic resources can be found.
As we continue to bookmark interesting modern architecture (and of course, brutalism) blogs, we hope to continue to run this as a recurring section. Feel free to share your favorite blogs or your own blog with us through email.