Understandably, architects are more famous for their construction facades than due to their own faces. Celebrity architects today are exceptions to the principle, provided the ubiquity of images online and also the way “starchitects” are utilized to brand buildings and generate revenue for their clients. But if we look back in history, just the most die-hard lovers of architecture will comprehend architects, even those whose names are well known. To put the emphasis on the architects themselves, this Ideabook presents a few architect portraits and examines how they relate to the homes they designed.
We start with husband and wife Charles and Ray Eames, that are influencing designers to this day. Together they designed and made furniture, films, toys and their own house and studio, among a number of other things. Unsurprisingly, practicing at the middle of the 20th century, Charles often overshadowed Ray (not physically with his elevation). But as pointed out at an Ideabook about the film Eames: The Architect and the Painter, “the producers made certain to provide Ray her fair share of credit in the film.” This photograph of these picks up about the collaborative nature of the work.
Together the Eameses designed just 1 part of architecture, their own house and studio at Pacific Palisades, California. Like their furniture and other design work, the design expresses a concern at all levels, in addition to a means of turning the standard (in this case a prefab kit of components) to the arty.
What comes across in some of these portraits of the couple is not just how they collaborate, but also how they enabled each other’s imagination. This view of these apparently pinned down by the bottoms of the famous chairs also picks up in their sense of humor, even as their combined hands indicate their love for one another.
Among the most lasting visages of contemporary architecture is Le Corbusier (center in the photograph), born in 1887 as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret. Much of his face recognition comes from the signature black-framed glasses that he wore during his life, inspiring many that followed him to perform the same.
The most famous home designed by Le Corbusier is the Villa Savoye (1931) near Paris. When the eyes are the opinion from the soul, and so windows are a view in the mind of a home (ever see how homes with punched windows seem face-like?) , then Corbusier confused matters with his ribbon windows that are flat.
Jody Brown Architecture, pllc
Frank Lloyd Wright also had a very distinctive look, but none replicated because, given how it harkened back into the 19th century over anything contemporary. Architect and contributor Jody Brown summed it up fairly well with this particular question for Mr. Wright.
Wright’s anachronistic look gives a strong hint at how his contemporary architecture (it may appear quaint today, but it surely broke with the past through shape and comparatively open interiors) exuded a warmth that architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius didn’t achieve through their “International Style” modernism.
Watch more of Wright’s biggest Prairie-style Residence
Walter Gropius is a common name, often lumped with Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, but his face is barely as familiar as theirs. He is known more for beginning the Bauhaus in Germany and transforming the design program at Harvard after immigrating into the United States of America.
This pose — palms on temple — seems geared to express that academic stance.
And, like Corbusier’s eyeglasses, bow ties could become another stereotype of architects, primarily academic ones.
After Gropius’s proceed to the United States he built his own home, his most famous work outside the Bauhaus in Germany.
An architect that took Le Corbusier’s eyeglasses to heart was Philip Johnson, pictured here in his 50s and in his 90s. Johnson moved from 1 way to another (modern to postmodern to deconstructivism) very fluidly, and his style paralleled that.
The Philip Johnson Glass House
Johnson’s own glass house has been designed about 15 years prior to the left preceding photograph. The architect could add about 10 structures into the property from New Canaan, Connecticut, running the gamut from historical postmodernism into Darth Vader-like deconstructivism. His estate (well worth a trip) is certainly an embodiment of the person.
Know more about this house
Alvar Aalto, the fantastic Finnish architect, is just another name often uttered alongside Wright, Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Mies. Often considered a proponent of this humanist side of modernism (rather than as a fashion), the relative informality of his designs comes across in his laid appearance look.
Aalto’s designs (including the world-famous Villa Mairea) were born from an appreciation of the Finnish landscape, and although they are contemporary they seem to belong to the landscape.
Paul Rudolph was a late-modern architect (approaching a generation or so after Le Corbusier and the rest) famous for “brutalist” architecture, like the Art and Architecture Building (pictured) at Yale University that now bears his name. Rudolph’s military-looking haircut can be credited to the three years he spent in the Navy at the middle of his graduate education at Harvard.
The Umbrella House is among his most famous residential commissions; it had been lovingly restored by Ciulla Design after all but discarding the eponymous sunshade. Many of Rudolph’s designs, residential and otherwise, have come under threat of demolition in recent decades.
Much of this comes from the fact that midcentury modern buildings are now old, and with no maintenance they need extensive preservation. Given that a general dislike of Brutalist architecture, too a number of these threats have led to destruction.
Watch more of the recovery project
Among the most recognizable faces of design today is Frank Gehry. This is not surprising, given his superstar status since realizing the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. And just how many architects can say they seemed on The Simpsons?
Perhaps stemming from his Canadian roots, Gehry is fairly small when it has to do with his appearance. His design could seem showy and (like his own home here) out of place, but that stems from performing his own thing rather than creating a stylish statement. Nevertheless, since Bilbao, cities and institutions have exploited the architect to make signature Gehry buildings.
We started with a married couple, and we finish with one, as well. Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (both in their 80s) have been in the news a lot lately, particularly the latter for calling out the Pritzer Architecture Prize for not recognizing her contributions at Venturi’s 1991 award. Service from other architects is pressuring the Pritzker for a retroactive prize, so far unsuccessfully.
Among the duo’s most famous projects is the Vanna Venturi House (1964) for Robert Venturi’s mom) It’s regarded as a historical example of postmodern architecture, but also as designed solely by Venturi. However with the recent attention to the decades which Denise Scott Brown was overshadowed by her husband and spouse, her effect on the design is being correctly credited.