2014年10月22日 星期三

Seagram Building Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe and the Poetry of Purpose

Frank Scherschel—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe peers between two large models of ultra-modern apartment buildings he designed for Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, 1956.
Poets, Shelley famously wrote, “are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” Of course, as a poet himself, the great Romantic might have been slightly biased in his own, and in his fellow bards’, favor.
Self-serving or not, his point is worth examining: in a world where the acknowledged legislators, i.e., politicians of all stripes, scramble for power while yammering about what’s best for all of us, there’s something deeply heartening about the idea that, when all is said and done, it is the artist — the writer, the musician, the creative spirit, and not the lawmaker — who truly shapes the future. In fact, one could take the argument further and propose that a single, specific artistic pursuit has always managed to shape the future with more authority than any other: namely, the practice and the process of architecture.
From the Parthenon to the Taj Mahal to Fallingwater to the Empire State Building, consciously designed structures — temples, mausoleums, private dwellings and public edifices— are often the most eloquent messengers from one generation, and from one culture, to another. Architecture, when done right, embodies a civilization’s values and aspirations: it shows what mattered to a given group of people at a given time in history, and translates an artist’s vision into tangible, lasting form.
One such artist, whose work so defined his time that it’s impossible to imagine certain decades and cityscapes without his influence, was the German master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969). Like his contemporaries Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, Mies (pronounced “mees,” like “peace”) championed simplicity in the cause of a truly Modern architecture, eschewing decorative elements in favor of clarity and emphasizing functionality as absolutely central to any structure’s aesthetic appeal.
Mies loved the George Washington Bridge, for example, not only because he so admired the at-once muscular and elegant proportions of the vast steel span above the Hudson River, but because one can see virtually every critical element of the bridge’s construction simply by glancing at it. The GWB does not hide or attempt to divert one’s attention from its underlying structure; instead—for Mies and for those who share his sensibility—the genuinely dramatic appeal of the bridge is its structure: the spare, gorgeous sinews that delineate its function.
Photographer Frank Scherschel, 1947
Here, LIFE.com republishes a series of photographs by photographer Frank Scherschel (at left) from a feature that ran in the March 1, 1957 issue of LIFE, at the same time that the architect’s signature achievement—the 38-story Seagram Building on Park Avenue in New York—was nearing completion.
Titled “Emergence of a Master Architect,” the LIFE article made clear from the outset that until the mid-1950s, “Mies was renowned chiefly among fellow architects and his revolutionary ideas were known chiefly through models, a few buildings in Europe and the work of disciples.
“But today at 70, after living inconspicuously in the U.S. for 20 years, Mies is bursting into full, spectacular view … [A sudden surge of high-profile commissions] is accepted by Mies as vindication of his lifelong principle that architecture must be true to its time. His own severely geometric, unembellished buildings have been designed to express in purest forms a technological concept of our technological age. They also … express the simplicity and sturdy nobility of Mies himself.”
“Romanticists don’t like my buildings,” Mies told LIFE, speaking with the sort of simple, unadorned directness that one would expect from the visionary behind the Seagram Building, the Farnsworth House and other Modernist architectural touchstones. “They say [my designs] are cold and rigid. But we do not build for fun. We build for a purpose.”

 Facebook:曾成德這個 禮拜即將出版的新書: Building Seagram
加拿大建築中心 CCA 創辦人, 紐約 Seagram 大樓 - Mies 傑作的幕後推手, Phyllis Lambert 女士的新書終於出版.

今天刊出於紐約時報的建築評論家 Mark Lamster 的書介:
這個禮拜即將出版的新書: Building Seagram 
加拿大建築中心 CCA 創辦人, 紐約 Seagram 大樓 - Mies 傑作的幕後推手, @[100000445418742:2048:Phyllis Lambert] 女士的新書終於出版.

今天刊出於紐約時報的建築評論家 @[659168736:2048:Mark Lamster] 的書介:

2008/2/17 在bbc看到所謂環遊世界80景
1957年蓋好的摩天大樓 Seagram Building

Seagram Building
(U.S. National Register of Historic Places)
The Seagram Building
The Seagram Building
Location: New York, NY
Coordinates: 40°45′30.44″N, 73°58′21.94″W
Built/Founded: 1957
Architect: Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig; Johnson, Philip
Architectural style(s): International Style
Added to NRHP: February 24, 2006
NRHP Reference#: 06000056 [1]
Governing body: Private

The Seagram Building is a skyscraper in New York City, located at 375 Park Avenue, between 52nd Street and 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan. It was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with the American Philip Johnson and was completed in 1958 . It is 156.9 meters tall with 38 stories. It stands as one of the finest examples of the functionalist aesthetic and a masterpiece of corporate modernism. It was designed as the headquarters for the Canadian distillers Joseph E. Seagram's & Sons, thanks to the foresight of Phyllis Lambert, the daughter of Samuel Bronfman, Seagram's CEO.



[edit] Architecture

This structure, and the International Style in which it was built, had enormous influences on American architecture. One of the style's characteristic traits was to express or articulate the structure of buildings externally.[2] A building's structural elements should be visible, Mies thought. The Seagram building (like virtually all large buildings of the time) was built of a steel frame, from which non-structural glass walls were hung. Mies would have preferred the steel frame to be visible to all; however, American building codes required that all structural steel be covered in a fireproof material, usually concrete, because improperly protected steel columns or beams may soften and fail in confined fires.[3] Concrete hid the structure of the building — something Mies wanted to avoid at all costs — so Mies used non-structural bronze-toned I-beams to suggest structure instead. These are visible from the outside of the building, and run vertically, like mullions, surrounding the large glass windows. Now, observers look up and see a "fake and tinted-bronze" structure covering a real steel structure. This method of construction using an interior reinforced concrete shell to support a larger non-structural edifice has since become commonplace. As designed, the building used 3.2 million pounds of bronze in its construction.[4]
On completion, the construction costs of Seagram made it the world's most expensive skyscraper at the time, due to the use of expensive quality materials and lavish interior decoration including bronze, travertine, and marble. The interior was designed to assure cohesion with the external features, repeated in the glass and bronze furnishings and decorative scheme.
Another interesting aspect of the Seagram building regards the window blinds. As was common with International Style architects, Mies wanted the building to have a uniform appearance. One aspect of a façade which Mies disliked, was the disordered irregularity when window blinds are drawn. Inevitably, people using different windows will draw blinds to different heights, making the building appear disorganized. To reduce this disproportionate appearance, Mies specified window blinds which only operated in three positions - fully open, halfway open/closed, or fully closed.

[edit] The plaza

Ordinary by Alexander Calder, Seagram Building Plaza
Ordinary by Alexander Calder, Seagram Building Plaza
The Seagram Building and Lever House, which sits just across Park Avenue, set the architectural style for skyscrapers in New York for several decades. It appears as a simple bronze box, set back from Park Avenue by a large, open granite plaza. Mies did not intend the open space in front of the building to become a gathering area, but it developed as such, and became very popular as a result. In 1961, when New York City enacted a major revision to its 1916 Zoning Resolution, which was the nation's first comprehensive Zoning Resolution, it offered incentives for developers to install "privately owned public spaces" which were meant to emulate that of the Seagram's Building; the following 40 years of development in Manhattan did so with relatively little success.[citation needed]

[edit] The Four Seasons

The building is the location of The Four Seasons Restaurant, also designed by Mies van der Rohe and Johnson. Its interiors have been maintained as they were when it opened in 1959. The artist Mark Rothko was famously engaged to paint a series of works for the restaurant in 1958. Accepting the commission, he secretly resolved to create "something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room". Observing the restaurant's pretentious atmosphere upon his return from a trip to Europe, Rothko abandoned the project altogether, returned his advance and kept the paintings for himself. The final series was dispersed and now hangs in three locations: London’s Tate Gallery, Japan’s Kawamura Memorial Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..

James Breslin 著《羅斯科傳》張心龍 冷步梅 合譯,台北:遠流出版社,1997
James Breslin, Mark Rothko, A Biography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

[edit] References in popular culture

  • In the first episode of 1960s television series That Girl, Ann Marie works at the magazine stand in the lobby, which is also the location of the offices of Newsview Magazine, where her boyfriend Don Hollinger works. The opening credits of the first season show Ann walking north on Park Avenue and walking into the building.
  • The building and fountain form a backdrop to a scene in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
  • In Company, a Stephen Sondheim musical, the protagonist, Bobby, is compared to the building.
  • Novelist James Phelan places his fictional Global Syndicate of Reporters (GSR) headquarters in the building. Phelan, once an architecture student at RMIT, cites Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson as two of his favorite designers. Several scenes of the second Lachlan Fox thriller, PATRIOT ACT, are set in The Four Seasons Restaurant.

[edit] External links

[edit] Sources

  • Wolfe, Tom. From Bauhaus to Our House. Bantam Books, 1981.

[edit] References

  1. ^ National Register Information System. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service (2006-03-15).
  2. ^ The Architectural Project - Define "high tech detailing". Retrieved on 2008-01-06.
  3. ^ Hool & Johnson (1920). Handbook of Building Construction. McGraw Hill, 338 of 802.
  4. ^ "New Skyscraper on Park Avenue To Be First Sheathed in Bronze; 38-Story House of Seagram Will Use 3,200,000 Pounds of Alloy in Outer Walls Colored for Weathering", The New York Times, March 2, 1956. p. 25