By Jean-Francois Lejeune
Beginning in the 1930s in Southern Europe and spreading later in Latin America, a series of sport facilities were built in which the plastic and structural qualities of poured-in-place concrete were exploited to great visual and functional effect by architects like Pier Luigi Nervi (Florence Stadium, 1929-32; Palazzo dello Sport in Rome, 1958-59), Eduardo Torroja (Hippodrome of the Zarzuela, Madrid, 1932-33), or Carlos Raúl Villanueva (University Stadium, Caracas, 1949-52). All these buildings were part of a heroic period in the development of a Latin/Mediterranean approach and plastic understanding of concrete, which contrasted with the rationalist canons of the International Style. Pier Luigi Nervi’s affirmation that every concrete structure constitutes “an organism within which all internal constraints are propagated and transmitted from a nervure to another” (1) is not without paralleling the overall structure of the human body. Many of the structures mentioned above were indeed characterized by long-span cantilevered roofs whose expression of internal forces cannot be dissociated from the athlete’s muscles in tension.
"The Sarasota Architectural Foundation is pleased to announce SarasotaMOD Week[end], from October 9-12. This four-day architectural festival takes place in Sarasota, a culturally sophisticated community located on the gleaming Gulf of Mexico. The event includes lectures and presentations by leading modernist architects, including Lawrence Scarpa, Tim Seibert, and Carl Abbott. Presenters also include architect John Howey, author of The Sarasota School of Architecture: 1941-1966; and architect Joe King, the co-author of Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses. Author, critic and filmmaker Alastair Gordon, journalist Harold Bubil, and Ringling College of Art+Design professor Christopher Wilson will also lend their insights. Guided bus, boat and walking tours will explore Sarasota’s mid-century legacy by land and sea. Many festival gatherings will take place in acclaimed modernist structures.
Text and Images by Jessica Baldwin
Today preservation efforts in the United States and all over the world are more and more focused on post-war architecture. In Japan, rapid development and the ever rising cost of real estate leaves much of post war architecture at risk. The Nakagin Capsule Tower, arguably one of the most iconic and acknowledged pieces of architecture in the World, stands as a statement to post-war architecture and urban development.
Docomomo US has another chapter to add to its fold, this time it’s Michigan! The architectural historians, preservationists, and modern enthusiasts of Michigan have been talking about starting a chapter for years. However, it appears that moving slow and steady has been the best method in getting to the end of the race to a brand new beginning for advocacy, education, and outreach of modern design across the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.