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Dwell on Design 2013

Stephen Schmidt | June 30, 2013 | Architecture, Design, Exhibitions, Interior Design, Landscape design

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This year’s Dwell on Design event offered another great opportunity for designers, architects, modernism fans, and the general public to see new products, hear many good lectures, and tour innovative homes around Los Angeles.

Speaking events and product exhibitions were held at the Los Angeles Convention Center’s West Hall. I visited on Saturday, June 22. As expected there were lots of cool products on display. For anyone involved in a home remodel project, the West Hall was a good place to be last weekend. My favorite product booth was Koncept who design and manufacture LED lighting products. I’ve got my eye on their ‘mr. n’ light scheduled to go on sale this year.

With the 2013 conference Dwell offered attendees the opportunity to sign up for free 30 minute consultations with either a professional architect, interior designer, or landscape architect. Sign up for the consultations was first come, first served. I chose to speak with a landscape architect to get some fresh ideas for my backyard space. I met with Tom Stout of Stout Design Build. It was fun batting around ideas with Tom. I learned some things about plant choices for my climate and sun exposure, and also using existing soil resources to reconfigure a garden space. My only critique regarding the consultations is that it was difficult to locate where they were taking place (hidden in a spot behind a prefab house as it turned out). I had to ask three people to finally figure it out. If Dwell features consultations for the 2014 conference, a mention in the program brochure and some big arrows pointing the way to the consultations location would be helpful.

The following are photo highlights from my day at the Dwell exhibition.

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Entry area

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Emeco seating booth

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The classic Airstream trailer!

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Airstream trailer interior

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Temporary art exhibit

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Architecture, interior design, landscape design consultations area

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Designing for Real People lecture at Design Innovation Stage

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David Trubridge lighting

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Love the color of these chairs!

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Koncept lighting

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‘mr. n’ light, Koncept, 2013

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Gainey Ceramics planters

As I was leaving the exhibit hall I stopped for a look at some student architecture projects on display nearby. One that caught my attention was the fluxHome by Team USC. This innovative home design is being entered into the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathalon. I neglected to take photos of this project, but please click here for information.

The Dwell Home Tours was my primary reason for attending this year’s event, and it didn’t disappoint. I took in the Sunday, June 23 L.A. Canyons + Valley tour, which consisted of five outstanding homes. The tour began at the Blu Dot furniture store on Melrose to obtain tour maps. Modernist fans started lining up early. The tour was self guided, so I got into the car and drove to the first house near Hollywood.

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Blu Dot on Melrose

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Lining up for our tour maps and bag of goodies

House with Five Corners, Los Angeles
Constructed in 2013. Escher GuneWardena, Architects.

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This house was the most recently completed of the tour. Landscaping is still being installed, and I think it will help to soften some of the austerity of the exterior. I was impressed with the architects’ spatial and materials solutions to a residential structure that had to fit on a 45 degree lot. The top level features a dramatic view seen through glazing that elegantly wraps around the space. No photos were allowed inside, but I can tell you that a rich mix of smooth and rough concrete along with oiled plywoods created a minimal, but elegant interior space. The architects were on hand to answer everyone’s questions. I spoke with principal Frank Escher and one of his associates, both of whom were friendly and accomodating with their time and information. The only difficulty in visiting the house was the parking situation. I had to park down on Sunset Boulevard and walk up the steep Larrabee Street to reach the house. This became a theme of the day as dozens of home tour attendees simultaneously migrated from house to house up narrow canyon streets. I soon gave up on the idea of parking anywhere near the houses and took to walking to each residence from down the street.

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View of narrow garage entry and steep slope angle

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Great ‘Schindleresque’ early 20th century modern house on Larrabee Street

Oak Pass Guest House, Beverly Hills
Constructed in 2012. Walter Workshop Design Build, Architects.

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I overheard many tour attendees commenting that this house was their favorite. Looking at the photos of this house and thinking about it again I can see why. The architects have produced a delightful, well executed contemporary space that repurposes part of an existing structure and thoughtfully adds to it. The use of materials, lighting fixtures and color is well considered. The siting is dramatic with gorgeous tree views from every window. It’s a tranquil setting, but slightly remote. The architect related to me that the most challenging part of the project was the logistics of getting materials to the site. Apparently, smaller trucks had to be employed to get up and down the narrow roads. Hard to believe, at 2,600 sq. ft., that this beautiful structure will merely be someone’s guest house. As a great appreciator of modern architecture and design I’m also frustrated by the fact that a lot of it is only accessible to wealthy clientele. Why aren’t there more developers like Joseph Eichler, who embrace modern design for the masses? That’s a whole other topic however. Perhaps for another blog post…

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Master bedroom

Floegel-Shetty Residence, Beverly Hills
Constructed in 2003. Finn Kappe, Architect.

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This multileveled house features a dramatic double height living space with peaceful canyon views. The generously sized lot accommodates a large lawn on one side of the house and a lap pool on the other side, accessible directly from a home office space. How great to be able to take breaks during the work week to step out of the office for a dip in the pool! The interior is elegantly spartan, which helps to showcase a wonderful art collection. The owner was onhand to discuss the project. I found the exterior to be a bit institutional in character—so massive from some perspectives as to be beyond comfortable human scale for a residence. Overall, I think it’s a successful project where the architect and owner took some chances and pushed the design to achieve some interesting results.

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Nice late 60s/early 70s house on Benedict Canyon Drive

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Love the style of this 50′s era house facade, particularly the railing of the split level staircase.

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Stopped for a much needed break at a nice Starbucks on Ventura Blvd.

Mendel Residence, Sherman Oaks
Constructed in 2011. Scrafano Architects & Guss Duffy Architect.

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This is a really nice house. There were strict no photography rules (the home owner is a bass player for a popular rock band) so unfortunately I can’t show you the house in this blog post. I did speak with architect Guss Duffy and he related that the tricky part of the project was dealing with a landslide that occurred prior to building (this was a major remodel project of an existing structure). A large retaining wall did the trick to shore up the backyard space and also provide a long, (I’d say 300 feet wide) inviting garden space that accomodates grassy areas, seating with fire pit, a small decorative orchard and a swimming pool. I was impressed by the way the architects deftly unified the exterior and interior spaces through color and material.

Strimling House, Encino
Constructed in 1964. Ray Kappe, FAIA.

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This classic modern house was the only landmark mid-century house of the tour. Walking through the space was like taking a trip back in time, with its mostly true to original details and mid-century modern furnishings. The house is multileveled with two large decks hanging out the back, looking over a sloped garden setting. I was amazed, standing next to the pool, as to how much unused yard space was left over. The realtor told me the property is over half an acre. It was a nice house to visit last on the tour. I would be interested to see how a talented comtemporary interior designer would reimagine the space with a sensitive remodel—leaving Ray Kappe’s terrific design intact, but updating some of the materials choices, the color palette and definitely the furnishings to bring the space elegantly into the twenty-first century.

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It was an inspiring day of house touring that left me enthusiastic about my interest in modern architecture and design. At the same time, thinking about all of the terrific residential spaces I viewed on the tour, I’m struck by the idea that those homes are financially out of reach for most people. I believe everybody deserves to live in a well designed space. I’m not talking about a 5,000 sq. ft. custom designed home with a pool and stunning canyon views, but simply a space thoughtfully conceived and executed for today’s needs, whether a small single family home, a condo or an apartment. There’s so much poor residential development being produced at the moment. It would be nice to see more of the contemporary design ideas on display at the Dwell Home Tours and exhibition trickle down to the modest housing that most of us inhabit.

Amazing Story App Launches

Stephen Schmidt | January 30, 2013 | Branding, Mobile apps, UI design

Featuring a visual UI design by Duuplex Principal and Creative Director Stephen Schmidt, in collaboration with developer Jot Kailay, the Amazing Story iPhone app has launched.

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Amazing Story provides users with an intuitive, fun interface for capturing not just moments, but entire events and experiences, and sharing them with others.

Whether documenting travel, a family wedding, or a recurring group event—like friends getting together to try out cool neighborhood walks or restaurants—users can take photos, write text, record sound, mark locations and suggest modes of transportation to produce their own unique stories.

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Amazing Story offers users the experience of documenting important and meaningful stories in an ads-free environment.
Click here to visit the App Store and download Amazing Story today!

Audrey Hepburn 1960′s Photo Retrospective Published

Stephen Schmidt | November 6, 2012 | Books, Graphic design, Photography, Pop Culture, Publishing

Audrey: The 60s, a lavish 296 page photography retrospective showcasing images from Audrey Hepburn’s 1960′s films and fashion work has been published by It Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Audrey: The 60s book

Designed by Stephen Schmidt, Creative Director of Duuplex, and author David Wills, the book features rare and unpublished material, photographed during the filming of Breakfast at Tiffany’sThe Children’s HourCharadeParis When It SizzlesMy Fair LadyHow to Steal a MillionTwo for the Road, and Wait Until Dark. Featured photographers include Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Douglas Kirkland, William Klein, Terry O’Neill, Howell Conant, Bob Willoughby, Pierluigi Pratulon, Bud Fraker, and others.

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

Audrey: The 60s

A stunning publishing achievement, Audrey: The 60s also features reflections on Audrey Hepburn by her contemporaries and admirers, and an informative Introduction essay by David Wills to put the book’s content into context.

Click here to purchase Audrey: The 60s, at Amazon.com.
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For additional information and to view more photos from the book, please visit AudreyThe60s.com.

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    European Architecture – 2012

    Stephen Schmidt | September 30, 2012 | Architectural Ornament, Architecture, Design, Landscape design, Urban planning

    On a recent trip to Europe, accompanied by my wife, I had the opportunity to survey a wide variety of architectural styles and observe close up how architecture and design has played a role in shaping European cities. The following is a photographic essay I’d like to share with you which illustrates my perspective of European architecture over a three-week period.

    Eiffel Tower, Paris. 1889. Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier, designers. Stephen Sauvestre, architect.

    Eiffel Tower, Paris. 1889. Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier, designers. Stephen Sauvestre, architect.

    Paris
    Weather throughout the trip was good, so we spent most of our time in Paris outdoors, wandering the streets and alleys in and around the famous sites, as well as some parts of the city that probably aren’t found on tourist maps. As an architecture enthusiast, highlights of visiting Paris included the grand apartment buildings, hotels, civic buildings and churches built in the various styles of classical, baroque, neo-classical, art nouveau, art deco and more. Since Paris has fewer modern buildings than other European cities, it’s a real treat to come across modernism dotted around the city.

    Apartment building facade, Paris.

    Apartment building facade, Paris.

    Cité metro station, Paris.

    Cité metro station, Paris.

    Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

    Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

    Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1977. Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini, architects.

    Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1977. Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini, architects.

    Temporary modern structure, Paris.

    Temporary modern structure, Paris.

    Eiffel Tower, Paris. 1889. Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, designers. Stephen Sauvestre, architect.

    Eiffel Tower, Paris. 1889. Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, designers. Stephen Sauvestre, architect.

    Châtelet metro station, Paris.

    Châtelet metro station, Paris.

    Musée du Louvre, Paris.

    Musée du Louvre, Paris.

    Cafe, Montmarte area of Paris.

    Cafe, Montmarte area of Paris.

    Facade of Paris Opera

    Facade of Paris Opera

    Metro and contemporary building, Paris.

    Metro and contemporary building, Paris.

    Mid-century modern residential building and sculpture, near Maison la Roche.

    Mid-century modern residential building and sculpture, near Maison la Roche.

    One of the best examples of 20th century modernism in Paris is the work of famed architect Le Corbusier. Situated on a quiet side street in an upper middle class neighborhood of Auteuil on the outskirts of Paris, is Foundation Le Corbusier. The foundation occupies residential structures designed by Le Corbusier and built between 1923 – 1925. One of the structures – Maison la Roche – can be toured Mon-Sat for a fee of €5. Le Corbusier’s design was novel architecture for the era, featuring generous amounts of glass, open interior space planning, a grand curved wall, a white exterior palette and a lack of ornamental details.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Maison la Roche, 1925. Le Corbusier, architect.

    Another architectural highlight of Paris was a visit to the Promenade Plantée, a 2.9 mi pedestrian pathway built on the former Vincennes railway line. Much of the Promenade is situated above street level, offering spectacular views of majestic Parisian residential boulevards and apartment buildings. The pathway contains beautiful gardens planted nearly throughout. Construction was completed in 1993. Until the opening of NYC’s High Line park in 2010, the Promenade Plantée was for years the world’s only elevated park. I find the High Line to be more dynamic as a design, and thus easier to photograph. That said, we thoroughly enjoyed our walk along the Promenade Plantée and highly recommend it to any visitors to Paris who wish to get away from the tourist sites for a few hours.

    Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    View from Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    View from Promenade Plantée, Paris.

    La Grande Arche de la Défense, 1989, Paris. Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, architect.

    La Grande Arche de la Défense, 1989, Paris. Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, architect.

    la Défense

    La Grande Arche de la Défense, 1989, Paris. Johann Otto von Spreckelsen, architect.

    Office buildings, La Défense, Paris.

    Office buildings, La Défense, Paris.

    Parc André Citroën, 1992, Paris.

    Parc André Citroën, 1992, Paris.

    Parc André Citroën, 1992, Paris.

    Parc André Citroën, 1992, Paris.

    Cimetière Montparnasse, Paris.

    Cimetière Montparnasse, Paris.

    Liège
    The highlight of our visit to Liège, and for me, THE modern architecture highlight of the trip, by a country mile, was arriving via train from Paris to the new Liège-Guillemins train station designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava’s fourth built train station in Europe, following his efforts in Zurich, Lyon and Lisbon, the Liège-Guillemins is a modern masterpiece. The station is constructed of steel, glass and white concrete. We were fortunate to arrive on a sunny day and to experience the play of sunlight and shadow that is created throughout the interior of the station from Calatrava’s intricate, swooping structure. As a passenger, the station was an absolute joy to arrive and depart from. Nearby, Calatrava also contributed an auto/pedestrian bridge design that would normally be a major sensation itself in the context of most urban landscapes, but in this context, the bridge is a nice addition that plays a supporting role to the magnificent station structure.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège-Guillemins train station, Liège, 2009. Santiago Calatrava, architect.

    Liège city center

    Civic building at Liège city center

    View of Liège from top of Montagne de Bueren

    View of Liège from top of Montagne de Bueren

    View of Liège from top of Montagne de Bueren

    View of Liège from top of Montagne de Bueren

    Meuse River, Liège

    Meuse River, Liège

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Médiacité, Liège, 2010. Ron Arad, architect.

    Garden at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Liège.

    Garden at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Liège.

    The Cave Bar, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liège.

    "La Cave" bar, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liège.

    Frankfurt
    One of Europe’s financial capitals, Frankfurt was largely destroyed during WWII. As a result the city is architecturally contemporary overall, with gleaming new skyscrapers and elegant modern shopping malls that mix with some beautiful older structures of great character. My uncle and aunt reside in Frankfurt, and they took us on some wonderful walking and driving tours in and around the city. Highlights of our visit included the nearby Rhine region where castles dot the landscape, comingling with gorgeous hillside vineyards, St. Stephen’s church in nearby Mainz (featuring beautiful stained glass windows by renowned artist Marc Chagall), and an evening walk along Frankfurt’s Main river.

    My Zeil shopping center, Frankfurt.

    My Zeil shopping center, Frankfurt.

    My Zeil shopping center, Frankfurt.

    My Zeil shopping center, Frankfurt.

    Frankfurt

    Frankfurt

    Anne Frank memorial, The Ancient Jewish Cemetery - Batton Street, Frankfurt.

    Anne Frank memorial, The Ancient Jewish Cemetery - Batton Street, Frankfurt.

    The Römerberg, Frankfurt.

    The Römerberg, Frankfurt.

    Der Eiserne Steg, Frankfurt.

    Der Eiserne Steg, Frankfurt.

    Main River, Frankfurt.

    Main River, Frankfurt.

    Stained glass windows, St. Stephen's Church, Mainz. Marc Chagall, artist.

    Stained glass windows, St. Stephen's Church, Mainz. Marc Chagall, artist.

    St. Stephen's Church, Mainz.

    St. Stephen's Church, Mainz.

    Mainz

    Mainz

    Die Augustinerkirche, Mainz

    Die Augustinerkirche, Mainz

    Castle, Rhine region.

    Castle, Rhine region.

    Castle and church, Rhine region.

    Castle and church, Rhine region.

    Shopping center, Koblenz.

    Shopping center, Koblenz.

    Shopping center, Koblenz.

    Shopping center, Koblenz.

    Church, Koblenz.

    Church, Koblenz.

    Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof

    Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof

    Prague
    I had heard for years about the beautiful city of Prague and being skeptical, wondered if it would live up to expectations. We were quite impressed. With the combination of preserved ornamental old buildings, set amidst the Vltava river with beautiful, architecturally rich city districts and hillsides as a backdrop, Prague is a real treat for the eyes. Our good Czech friend Peter, a Prague resident, took us on some wonderful tours by car and by foot to areas of the city little known to visitors. Architectural highlights included the Charles Bridge and the St. Vitus cathedral, which I believe is the biggest cathedral I’ve visited in Europe. The light shining that day through the cathedral windows was otherworldly.

    Prague

    Prague

    Apartments near Vltava River, Prague.

    Apartments near Vltava River, Prague.

    Nationale-Nederlanden building (also know as "The Dancing House"), 1996, Prague. Vlado Milunić, Frank Gehry, architects.

    Nationale-Nederlanden building (also known as "The Dancing House"), 1996, Prague. Vlado Milunić, Frank Gehry, architects.

    Charles Bridge, Prague.

    Charles Bridge, Prague.

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.

    St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.

    St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.

    St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Prague

    Nationale-Nederlanden building (also known as "The Dancing House"), 1996, Prague. Vlado Milunić, Frank Gehry, architects.

    Apartments, Prague.

    Apartments, Prague.

    Berlin
    Monumental city. There was too much to see in the short time we had, so a return visit is necessary. That said, we did enjoy quite a thorough survey of Berlin sights. Architectural highlights include the Reichstag building, with innovative steel and glass cupola by architect Sir Norman Foster, The Jewish Museum Berlin by architect Daniel Libeskind, and the Neue Nationalgalerie by the legendary architect Mies van der Rohe. Touring the Reichstag building was a wonderful, unique experience. The free tour includes a very good audio program that explains to visitors what one is viewing as they advance up the spiral and look out over Berlin at many of the important sights.

    Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

    Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

    Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

    Commercial building near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

    Commercial building near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

    Commercial building near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

    Brandenburg Gate, Berlin.

    Brandenburg Gate, Berlin.

    Reichstag building, Berlin.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Reichstag building dome, 1999, Berlin. Sir Norman Foster, architect.

    Klosterstraße U-Bahn station, Berlin.

    Klosterstraße U-Bahn station, Berlin.

    Botschaft der Niederlande (Netherlands Embassy), 2003, Berlin. Rem Koohaas/OMA, architects.

    Botschaft der Niederlande (Netherlands Embassy), 2003, Berlin. Rem Koohaas/OMA, architects.

    Berlinische Galerie, 2004, Berlin. Jörg Fricke, architect.

    Berlinische Galerie, 2004, Berlin. Jörg Fricke, architect.

    The Jewish Museum Berlin, with addition by Daniel Libeskind completed in 2001, is an impressive structure that invites museum goers to meander and explore the exhibits. The angular design is energetic and at times unsettling. Highlights of the museum structure are the contemplative Holocaust Tower and Memory Void, which contains an installation of strikingly originality. Titled Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves) Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman has created an installation from 10,000 faces punched out of steel that lay on the floor. Visitors are allowed to walk across the faces, which produces an eerie, cacophonous clanking sound unlike anything I’ve ever heard.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Memory Void, Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Memory Void, Jewish Museum Berlin, 2001, Berlin. Daniel Libeskind, architect.

    Forum Factory, Berlin.

    FORUM Factory, Berlin.

    Commercial building, Berlin.

    Commercial building, Berlin.

    Boxers, 1988, Berlin. Keith Haring, artist.

    Boxers, 1988, Berlin. Keith Haring, artist.

    The Neue Nationalgalerie (1968) designed by architect Mies van der Rohe, at age 82, was his final project, and may be the last mid-century modern structure built at such scale. The Neue Nationalgalerie houses a very good contemporary art collection. The bulk of the museum is located below street level. A massive, iconic steel and glass pavilion rests on top of the gallery spaces, a few feet above street level. There are many outstanding photos taken of this pavilion over the years and I tried my best to replicate these. For modern architecture enthusiasts such as myself, the Neue Nationalgalerie represents a revered time in architectural practice when designing structures of elegant minimalism was the pinnacle of achievement. Mies van der Rohe certainly went out in style by leaving us with this last building. It puts the exclamation point on a remarkable career and body of work that continues to influence architects the world over.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, view of plaza and garden, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, view of plaza and garden, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, pavilion interior, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, main staircase, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Neue Nationalgalerie, central gallery space, 1968, Berlin. Mies van der Rohe, architect.

    Shell-Haus, 1932, Berlin. Emil Fahrenkamp, architect.

    Shell-Haus, 1932, Berlin. Emil Fahrenkamp, architect.

    Shell-Haus, 1932, Berlin. Emil Fahrenkamp, architect.

    Shell-Haus, 1932, Berlin. Emil Fahrenkamp, architect.

    Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station), 2006, Berlin. Gerkan, Marg and Partners, architects.

    Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station), 2006, Berlin. Gerkan, Marg and Partners, architects.

    Commercial building, Berlin.

    Commercial building, Berlin.

    Berliner Dom and Fernsehturm (television tower), 1969, Berlin.

    Berliner Dom and Fernsehturm (television tower), 1969, Berlin.

    Art installation near Berliner Dom, Berlin.

    Art installation near Berliner Dom, Berlin.

    St. Mary's Church and Park Inn, Berlin.

    St. Mary's Church and Park Inn, Berlin.

    Fernsehturm Pavilion, 1969, Berlin. Hermann Henselmann, architect.

    Fernsehturm Pavilion, 1969, Berlin. Hermann Henselmann, architect.

    Amsterdam
    This is another city that requires more exploration on a return visit. We found the city to be orderly, and extremely bike friendly. It appears that half of the residents make their way around on bicycles. We thought we’d join them one morning, and rented bikes from our hotel to spend the entire day peddling around. Most of the Amsterdam photos that follow were taken at various stops while biking through the city. Architectural highlights included the Museumplein, charming old apartment buildings at the canals, neighborhoods of all mid-century modern houses, and new contemporary structures in the north of the city, including the spectacular EYE Film Institute Netherlands building.

    I Amsterdam letters, Museumplein, Amsterdam.

    I Amsterdam letters, Museumplein, Amsterdam.

    Stedelijk Museum addition, 2012, Amsterdam. Benthem Crouwel, architects.

    Stedelijk Museum addition, 2012, Amsterdam. Benthem Crouwel, architects.

    Amsterdam

    Amsterdam

    Amsterdam

    Amsterdam

    Contemporary residence, Amsterdam.

    Contemporary residence, Amsterdam.

    Mid-century modern residence, Amsterdam.

    Mid-century modern residence, Amsterdam.

    Amsterdam

    Amsterdam

    Contemporary residential building, Amsterdam.

    Contemporary residential building, Amsterdam.

    Contemporary residential buildings, Amsterdam.

    Contemporary residential buildings, Amsterdam.

    EYE Film Institute Netherlands, 2012, North Amsterdam. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.

    EYE Film Institute Netherlands, 2012, North Amsterdam. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.

    EYE Film Institute Netherlands, 2012, North Amsterdam. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.

    EYE Film Institute Netherlands, 2012, North Amsterdam. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.

    This trip to Europe was very inspiring. It has left me and my wife only wanting to see more, which we will. As an architecture enthusiast and photography hobbyist, I felt blessed with having beautiful sights and buildings of character in every direction, down every street and alleyway. It got overwhelming at times, but I’m glad I put in the effort to photograph daily. It was a fun challenge to put together this extensive article. Thank you for spending some time with it.

    —————-
    This article is dedicated to Jan Hochstim (1931 – 2011) architect, professor, author, cherished friend and mentor, who helped to deepen my appreciation and understanding of architecture.

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