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Latest Articles in Preservation

modern valet chair by furniture designer hans wegner

This Way, Gentlemen

A killer bachelor pad in Hollywood, the manliest chair of the 20th century, and expert advice from a king of interiors: This is our guide to the best in masculine design. Men, you now have no excuse for living with chintz.
June 30, 2012
John Lautner Chemosphere modern architecture restoration

Featured Panel: Historic Restorations

On Saturday, June 23, join our conversation at Dwell on Design about what goes into refreshing icons of mid-century design. Architects Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena of Los Angeles firm Escher GuneWardena will be on stage to divulge the sometimes grueling conservation undertakings involved with historic homes: identifying historical relevance, sourcing materials, and restoring damaged areas while maintaining fidelity to the original. Case studies include John Lautner's Chemosphere and the Eames House. We're really thrilled to have them present their work (Escher GuneWardena designed the Pearson Trent residence, one of my personal favorite Dwell features and spearheaded the A. Quincy Jones Restoration on the sold-out West Side Home Tour) and hope to see you at the Design Innovation Stage at 1:00 p.m..
June 20, 2012
Facade of Hotel Lautner in Desert Hot Springs, California

A John Lautner-Designed Hotel

A major perk of reporting the story "John Lautner's Desert Rose" for our June 2012 issue? Actually spending a night at the Hotel Lautner in Desert Hot Springs, California, which has been resurrected and reimagined by the uber-talented designers Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge. I brought along a camera and snapped some photos while the duo toured me around the four-room inn, which the legendary architect John Lautner designed in 1947 as a model for a master-planned desert community that never came to be. Click through the slideshow to see highlights of a little-known mid-century icon that has been lovingly brought back to life. And if you like what you see and want to hear more about the renovation process, come see Beckmann and Trowbridge talk at Dwell on Design on Sunday, June 24.
May 31, 2012
Photo by <a href="http://www.tycole.com/">Ty Cole</a>.

Anti-Demolition Petition in Goshen

It's been well-documented that architect Paul Rudolph's brutalist yet expressive aesthetic hasn't held up well to the whims of fashion. Popular in the 1960s, Rudolph completed a spate of residential and institutional works in the northeast, then expanded abroad, followed by a period of declining reputation until his death in 1997. His poured concrete shapes boggle the mind, and at this point, buildings like his 1971 Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York, are so extreme that it seems outlandish and short-sighted to consider complete demolition. And yet that is precisely what the Orange County Legislature in upstate New York is voting on this May 3rd. 
March 30, 2012
ralph walker architect hats

Ralph Walker Renaissance

To Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Walker was “the only other honest architect in America,” and to The New York Times, he was the “architect of the century.”* Throughout his lifetime, his art deco style redefined the notion of a skyscraper thanks to his innovative detailing and ornamentation that finessed the building’s rigid structure. The 1920s and 30s witnessed Walker’s heyday—as a principal at Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker, he contributed to Manhattan’s skyline with the Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building (1926) and the Irving Trust Building at 1 Wall Street (1931). Walker was a true advocate for a new modernist architectural vision in New York and America; and starting today, an exhibition celebrating his oeuvre opens at one of the architect’s overlooked buildings at 212 West 18th Street.
March 27, 2012
villa tugendhat Exterior

Restoring Mies's Villa Tugendhat

Most home renovations don’t require trips to New York’s MoMA to look at original construction plans. But when you are working on one of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s best preserved buildings no stone is left unturned. In March, his Tugendhat Villa in Brno, Czech Republic, reopened after an $8.8 million, two-year reconstruction. Using family photographs, archival material, visiting Mies’ other buildings in the U.S. and Europe, the Tugendhat redesign team focused on, as Villa Director Iveta Cerna said “identifying authenticity.” The Villa, built in 1930, was the family home of the Tugendhats only until 1938 when they fled the country due to World War II. Fritz and Greta Tugendhat worked closely with Mies, who designed the site-specific building to make excellent use of steel, glass and concrete, and flowing spatial srrangement. The building was not well maintained under communism. Many of the original furnishings and other elements went missing and structural work needed to be done. Work included removing things added in the years after the Tugendhats had left, as well as hunting down original furniture, and when those couldn’t be found painstakingly making exact copies. The result is a renewed near-perfect example of one of Mies’s “space must be felt” creations.
March 26, 2012
LED lighting technology in the Morgan Library New York

Illuminated Texts

Personally wired by Thomas Edison, J. Pierpont Morgan’s home was the first electrified residence in New York. A recent LED retrofit delivers the library into a new age.
March 10, 2012
The Union Depot in Keokuk, Iowa

And the Winner of Rethinking Preservation Is...

We received 132 total entries that featured 118 individual landmarks deserving of preserving. We posted the entries for popular vote and watched the votes roll in. With 71,000 total votes it was a close race. However, there can be only one winner and voters and judges agreed that the Sub-Zero and Dwell Rethinking Preservation Contest grand prize winner is...
March 8, 2012
borst residence marina del rey

Living in Marina del Rey

When Joe Borst saw an affordable bungalow in a Marina del Ray neighborhood filled with either condos or mansions, he knew he found a perfect place for him and his girlfriend Maria Torres to live in. The home was rundown due to poor maintenance on the part of its previous owners with unfinished additions and obviously haphazard renovations to boot. Borst enlisted longtime friend Robert Sweet to re-imagine the space within a tight budget. “I just wanted good, open space, easy floor plan,” says Borst. “I gave him a lot of autonomy because I am very busy and I knew he would do fantastic work. He had free reign on style and creativeness.”  Sweet gave the home a modern, eco-friendly makeover and enlarged the feel of the home without adding to the footprint by renovating the home with an open floor plan and designing outdoor “rooms.” Here’s a look at what Sweet dealt with and how it all turned out.
March 8, 2012
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