2005

Tuesday, January 11
VEGETARIAN ARCHITECTURE: MODERN DIET AND DESIGN IN LOS ANGELES
Lecture by Victoria Solan, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Richard Neutra’s Lovell Health House (1929) is well known as an icon of modernist architecture in the United States, a harbinger of the doctrine of smooth white walls and the rhetoric of efficiency in domestic design.  Yet, as this lecture will show, the Lovell Health House had more than a formal significance for its original owners.  Leah and Philip Lovell commissioned Richard Neutra to design a house that represented their commitment to the practice of naturopathy, a popular alternative health regime.  Every corner of their Health House, from the sleek sleeping porches to the specially-designed kitchen, was intended as a model of not only modern living, but also vegetarian vigor and good health.  The idea of modern form as metaphor for good health spread throughout the Los Angeles artistic avant-garde in the late 1920s and 1930s, resulting in a distinctive dietary influence on the modern art and architecture of the period.   


Tuesday, February 22
THE ORDERING PORTICOES OF TURIN
Lecture by Henry Millon, Dean Emeritus, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.                      


Saturday, March 5
WASHINGTON BUILDS FOR WAR: DEFENSE, THE HOMEFRONT, AND SECURITY IN THE CAPITAL REGION
Sixth Biennial Symposium on the Historic Development of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
School of Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park

The unique role of the nation’s capital in military affairs has influenced the local scene in times of both active combat and uneasy peace.  Presentations by scholars from a variety of disciplines will analyze the important role war-related construction has played in shaping the built environment of metropolitan Washington, DC.  A special roundtable discussion on security considered the impact of current terrorism concerns on Washington’s historic architecture, infrastructure, and future development.
 
The threat of direct military conflict loomed large over the capital during its first century.  Papers on this period will cover the question of military influences on the L’Enfant Plan, local sites related to the War of 1812, and the landscape of Civil War-era Fort Ethan Allen.  During the twentieth century, tremendous growth and new technologies made the intersection of military and homefront even more complicated.  Speakers discussed the first military aviation school in College Park, Maryland; World War I-era cantonments at Fort Belvoir (then know as Camp Humphreys); construction of the Navy Annex (then FOB 2, a precursor to the Pentagon); and a Nike missile silo in Great Falls, Virginia.  Papers on the World War II legacy of modernism in Maryland, the growth of Tysons Corner through expansion of military contracting, and a case study of Marjorie Merriweather Post’s fallout shelters further illustrated the impact of defense concerns on civilian life after World War II.  The Recent Past Preservation Network hosted a lunchtime discussion about preserving the Lustron Houses at Quantico Marine Base.


Tuesday, May 17
A-FRAME MANIA: THE RISE OF A POSTWAR VACATION HOME STYLE
Lecture by Chad Randl, Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service

One of the most overlooked architectural events of the postwar era was the development of the A-frame vacation home. Fueled by increases in disposable income and free time, inexpensive construction materials, new roads, and a national emphasis on active recreation, the 1950s and 60s saw the democratization of the second home. Log cabins and modern glass boxes suited some, but leisure seekers who wanted a place that was unusual and exciting, modern yet warm, cheap and easy to build, a place well-matched to the informal postwar lifestyle, found the A-frame an appealing alternative.

As the lecture will show, A-frame designs could be contemporary, the embodiment of geometric expression, or traditional, suggesting the wilderness and rustic survival. They were also attention-getters. This broad appeal suggests why A-frames were appropriated for roadside commercial buildings like hot dog stands, cafes, and liquor stores, and was used to sell everything from lumber to doll houses to frozen vegetables. As the A-frame became a cultural phenomenon and symbol of style, it was even used for postwar religious architecture.


Saturday, June 4
BRICKS, STONE AND CRAFT: RESTORING THE SMITHSONIAN CASTLE
Private Tour by Andy Serferlis, Restoration Specialist, The Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Castle (1849), designed by James Renwick as the first building of the institution, is one of Washington’s most beloved landmarks. With its medieval style and picturesque character, its distinctive silhouette is easily recognized by historians and tourists alike. The restoration of this historic monument began twenty years ago when the removal of its then famous creeping ivy revealed that parts of the wall surface were in need of repair. The presenter walked the group through the process of deciding which blocks of sandstone need repair or replacement. This hands-on study tour offered an insider’s view of the complicated process of restoration and a look at many parts of the Castle that are off limits to the public.

Tuesday, September 27
ADOLF CLUSS: FROM GERMANY TO AMERICA - SHAPING A CAPITAL CITY WORTHY OF A REPUBLIC

A reception featuring German cuisine, special exhibition opening of “Adolf Cluss: From Germany to America – Shaping a Capital City Worthy of a Republic,”and viewing of the Sumner School (designed by Cluss) and other exhibits pertaining to the history of Washington, D.C.
The Sumner School Museum and Archives, 1201 17th Street, NW, Washington, D.C


ADOLF CLUSS, GERMAN-AMERICAN ARCHITECT: REDEFINING THE CIVIC ARCHITECTURE AND CITYSCAPE OF OUR NATION'S CAPITAL

Lecture by Cynthia Field, Ph.D., Chairperson, Architectural History and Historic Preservation, The Smithsonian Institution
Co-sponsored by the Sumner School Museum and Archives and The Transatlantic Program of the Federal Republic of Germany (European Recovery Program of the Ministry of Economics and Labor)

The Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, among the most recognized architectural designs in Washington, D.C., is one of the masterpieces of German-born architect Adolf Cluss. This distinguished work, along with 9th Street Masonic Temple, the Sumner School and Calvary Baptist Church, reveals the rich imagination, eclecticism and civic consciousness of its exceptional designer. Cluss’ designs for schools (Sumner School and Franklin School are still extant) bespeak of 19th century reform and a devotion to the education of all young people in the city. His buildings, often constructed in red brick, are known for their unpretentious dignity, craftsmanship and careful detailing. Despite the great success of Cluss in Washington, Baltimore and Alexandria during the late 19th century, much of his achievement has been overlooked and eclipsed by other styles. This lecture closely examined and assessed the historical significance of Cluss’ contribution to American architecture with particular focus on his influence upon the urban fabric of the American capital city, Washington, D.C.


Friday, September 30
AN INSIDER'S TOUR OF ADOLF CLUSS'S ARTS AND INDUSTRIES BUILDING AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE SMITHSONIAN CASTLE
A private, behind-the-scenes study tour with Dr. Cynthia Field, Chairperson, Architectural History and Historic Preservation, The Smithsonian Institution and Mr. Rick Stamm, Keeper, Smithsonian Castle Collections
In celebration of the career of the renowned German-born architect, Adolf Cluss, and coinciding with the events around town sponsored by the Goethe Institute, this special study tour takes a close look at one of the architect’s most famous commissions, the Arts and Industries Building of the Smithsonian Institution. Architectural historian, Cynthia Field, will share her knowledge of this Cluss masterpiece. In addition to his design for the Arts and Industries Building, Cluss also worked on plans to restore the Smithsonian Castle (by James Renwick) after a disastrous mid-19th century fire devastated part of the building. Rick Stamm led us through relatively unknown areas of the building that help to reveal Cluss’contribution.

Saturday, October 15
PRIVATE STUDY TOUR OF THE GEORGETOWN HOME OF ARCHITECT HUGH NEWELL JACOBSEN
with commentary by Hugh Newell Jacobsen

Tuesday, November 8
FREDERICK DUNN: A CREATIVE MODERNIST IN ST. LOUIS, 1936-1964
Lecture by Esley Hamilton, Preservation Historian, St. Louis County Department of Parks & Recreation
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