The United States Capitol

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Benjamin Henry Latrobe designed the United States Capitol and it was completed 1800. I really like how imposing and dominant the white makes it look. The massive dome I also really like because of the detail and work it takes to pull off. It is located right on Capitol Hill and it is where the United States Congress, and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government are located.

 

Benjamin Henry Latrobe – The father of american architecture

Latrobe was the man who designed the United States Capitol. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1796 and was one of the first professionals architects in America. His other works include the Old Baltimore Cathedral which was the first Roman Catholic Cathedral constructed in the United States. He traveled to several places around the world and moved about in America constructing beautiful buildings. 

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Bell Labs Holmdel Complex- Saarinen

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Bell Labs Holmdel Complex is known as one of the crowning achievements of modern architecture. Similar to the look of the John Deere World Headquarters, the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex uses horizontal lines throughout the interior of the building. The exterior shimmers with mirror-like windows divided by vertical and horizontal lines.

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The outside wall is a glass curtain that allows only 25% of outside light to enter while blocking 75% of the suns heat from entering, for this reason, the building is jokingly termed, the “world’s largest mirror”.  The space is modern in style and the intricate design details are incredibly visually pleasing- themes we have seen in nearly all of Saarinen’s most recognized structures.

Inside the main part of the building you are able to see the balconies that make up the multistory offices and labs. This is a open-concept office space that is symmetrically pleasing and adds to the modern look of the design.

This building is known as a place highly appreciated by both architects and scientists, however it stands completely empty today- unoccupied by Bell Labs.

 

Ingalls Ice Rink- Saarinen

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The Ingalls Ice Rink was built in 1958 and its design resembles that of the previously discussed TWA terminal. Another one of Saarinen’s sweeping designs is noted in the curvature of the roof which is known as the Yale whale- a play off of the fact that Saarinen graduated from Yale. The main structure is composed of solid concrete including the roof which is “hung” from a central point of cable net structures. This innovative architecture leads to the double curved look of the rink’s exterior.  The placement of cables serves to stabilize the extending curves in the face of winds. The center of the dome is only 75ft above the ice but the use of symmetrical slats along the curve of the dome makes it seem much larger.

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The rink is another one of Saarinen’s catenary projects as the dome resembles both the arch and the TWA terminal, a common theme found throughout Saarinen’s projects and designs.

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The beautiful structure was recognized, placing it on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture. Overall, this is another example of how a building that could have been a simple ice rink was turned into a whimsical piece of art by the infamous Saarinen.

 

The Gateway Arch- Saarinen

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This magnificent St. Louis attraction has quite the story. In 1947 the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Association held a competition to determine a monument that would symbolize the westward expansion of the United States. Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch was selected as the winner.

The Arch stands 630ft. tall and 630ft. wide making it the tallest memorial in the United States. Furthermore, it is constructed with stainless steel and represents the tallest stainless steel monument in the world. The cross sections of the legs are made of equilateral triangles that are largest and the base and get incrementally smaller as they move to the crest of the arch.

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There is an enormous amount of history behind the design, planning, construction, and hurdles during construction of the Arch, this post will only highlight a few of them, but for more information you can visit: Gateway Arch. The Arch had to be built upwards from either side until the two legs met at the peak. This obviously required a very strategic plan with incredibly precise mathematics, specifically a hyperbolic cosine function. Technically speaking, the “Arch” is actually an inverted weighted catenary because it supports its own weight, additionally, Saarinen wanted the inverted arch to be weighted so that it appeared more curved and less steep.

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Overall, the Arch is an incredibly unique attraction that is nothing short of artistic and architectural genius.


 

Fun Facts about the Gateway Arch

  • Each leg stands in concrete that is 44ft. thick and 60ft. deep.
  • The Arch is resistant to earthquakes- designed to sway up to 18in. in both directions. It is also able to withstand winds up to 150mph.
  • There are three sets of transportation up the Arch. These modes include: stairs, elevations, and a tram in each leg. images (1)

John Deere World Headquarters- Saarinen

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John Deere World Headquarters resides in Moline, Illinois. In an area with little attractions, the company president at the time wanted to construct a building that was distinctive in all aspects- and that is exactly what he got.

“Hewitt emphasized that, while he wanted a headquarters that was unique, it must reflect the character of the company and its employees.”

As stated on the John Deere website, the building has won various architectural awards including the following:

  • Twenty-Five Year Award, 1993 – American Institute of Architects
  • First Honor Award, 1965 – American Institute of Architects
  • Architectural Award of Excellence, 1965 – American Institute of Steel Construction
  • Silver Medal of Honor, 1965 – The Architectural League of New York
  • Collaborative Medal of Honor, 1965 – The Architectural League of New York
  • “Office of the Year,” 1964 – Silver Plaque Award Administrative Management Magazine
  • National “Plant America” Award, 1964 – American Association of Nurseryman

The design is intended to be elaborate but also down to earth and rugged, to reflect the type of business carried out.  The following quote describes Hewitt’s vision,

“The several buildings should be thoroughly modern in concept but should not give the effect of being especially sophisticated or glossy. Instead, they should be more ‘down-to-earth’ and rugged …”

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The repetitive horizontal lines that cover the exterior of the building are seemingly simplistic, yet they manage to give the building the elegance it needs while remaining a natural landscape. Another way Saarinen accomplished the rugged look was through the use of Cor-ten steel, which is steel coated with iron oxide. The strategic use of this particular material was intended to give the building a more rustic look to reflect the outdoor ideology of the company.

Considering this is a workplace, it sure is a beautiful piece of art. Unfortunately, Saarinen died four days after submitting the design contract and was unable to see the finished product.

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Thanksgiving Square

 

 

 

 

Arch 2.5Thanksgiving square is a complex in Dallas designed by Philip Johnson and constructed in 1976. The complex consists of a garden area, an underground pedestrian area, and a truck terminal. The name of the square generally refers to the garden area, which promotes the recognition of giving thanks as a basic human commonality. It also houses a non-denominational church that promotes the understanding and coexistence of multiple belief systems. It’s in a spiral shape with stained glass panels lining the inside of the spiral structure and below a museum dedicated to the thanksgiving tradition. It’s a beautiful and creative way to help alleviate traffic in the Dallas area.

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Architeam.  (2016). Thanks-Giving Square | ArchiTravel. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.architravel.com/architravel/building/thanks-giving-square/

 

 

 

Sony Tower

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Much like the “Lipstick Building”, Sony Tower building is a postmodern design from Philip Johnson and John Burgee. It was opened in 1984 also with the aim of contrasting the glassy boxes around it. The most iconic feature is the “Chippendale” roofline that stands out in the surrounding New York skyline. It also featured brass marble finishes and many regarded it as an ushering in of a new architectural direction for the area. They were partly influenced by the classic skyscrapers of New York City specifically their distinguished and creative roofs moving away from the modern flat roof. The first level of the building is required by zoning laws to incorporate retail and public space and was influenced by the Galleria in Milan.

McKnight, J. (2015, August 28). Postmodernism in architecture: AT&T Building by Johnson/Burgee. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from https://www.dezeen.com/2015/08/28/postmodernism-architecture-att-building-sony-tower-philip-johnson-john-burgee-new-york/

The Lipstick Building

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This is the “Lipstick Building” or 53rd at Third in New York City. It was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee and was built in 1986. This postmodern office building was built to sharply contrast the surrounding architecture in every way. The red granite exterior introduces color into an otherwise drab skyline and the curvature stands along amongst boxes and rectangles. It was meant to bring high rent tenants to a less desirable neighborhood but has seemingly failed at that task. Burgee and Johnson moved their firm into the building until later selling it to Bernie Madoff who made off with billions from the 17th through 19th floor in which only about 24 people worked.

New York Architecture Images- 885 Third Ave. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://nyc-architecture.com/MID/MID012.htm

Lipstick Building. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2016, from https://en.wikiarquitectura.com/index.php/Lipstick_Building

Trans World Flight Center- Eero Saarinen


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The Trans World Flight Center, or TWA Flight Center, was the original terminal of the JFK Airport in New York City. This terminal, designed by Eero Saarinen,  shows the unique and freely sculptural design  Saarinen was known for.

The design of the TWA terminal represents Saarinen’s continued exploration of “interior-exterior sculptural effects” (1). His motivation went beyond practical architecture and also served to evoke emotional connections and other stimulating states in those populating the building. In this particular case, he used his artistic and architectural abilities to capture the spirit of flight.

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“we must have an emotional reason as well as a logical end for everything we do”

The TWA terminal is designed in a way that resembles a wing. This vision was accomplished through use of a symmetrical design that placed two cantilevered concrete shells that extend outwards. Inside, this exterior design creates an interior environment intended to evoke emotions of movement through the curvature of the ceilings and stairways. The flow of the building give the interior an appearance of the ceilings, walls, and floors all whisking themselves together. In all, the building serves as a symbol of flight and accomplishes its intention to elicit emotions associated with movement and flight as well (1).

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Structural components of the building include:

  • Wing like, reinforced concrete shell structures composed of four parts extending outward from a central point. The four parts then converge back into the wing-like structures that extend outward on the exterior of the building. These concrete structures are reinforced by steel.

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  • Large glass panels angled inwards from the curved ceilings to the floor. This design is also reinforced with steel and intends to give patrons the ability to see the jet travel outside- a innovative aspect of air travel. Furthermore, the angle of these windows attempts to give a sense of looking down onto the earth from the window of an airplane.

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Sources:

1| https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eero-Saarinen

Images: Google