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Latest Articles in Preservation

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venice biennale finnish pavilion restoration

Refinishing Alvar Aalto's Finnish Pavilion

Alvar Aalto’s Finnish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, originally designed as a temporary demountable structure, was built in 1956 and stayed solidly in a place for nearly 56 years until last year when a tree fell on the structure. This year, the structure was entirely dismantled, lovingly restored, and reassembled, by Gianni Talamini—a project that has awakened fresh attention to Aalto’s famed structure.
September 12, 2012
First Baptist Church in Columbus, Indiana designed by Harry Weese

Design Destination: Columbus, Indiana

Dwell readers and fans of NPR, unite. Public radio stations have been airing a summer travel series from NPR's Arts Desk called "Destination Art" that explores "off the beaten track" cities across North America, where listeners can tune into the theater culture of Stratford, Ontario (home to Justin Bieber), the art scene in the far-flung Texas town Marfa, and one of our personal must-sees, the architectural legacy of Columbus, Indiana. Dwell sent photographer Leslie Williamson to Columbus in 2011 to shoot the fabled Miller House, an Eero Saarinen–designed home and one of America's foremost modernist residences. Including, but not limited to, the Miller House, here's what else you shouldn't miss in this "Midwestern Mecca for architecture."
August 20, 2012
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
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