Architecture Student Exhibition Essay

The Focus and the Magic of Creativity

One cannot not know history so said architect Philip Johnson. History is part and parcel of architectural design, from Classical, Gothic, Neo-classical, High-modern, Post-modern to, even what many feel, is the anti-historical De-constructivism of Frank Gehry, or Zaha Hadid.

The students in Architecture 121 (Design II) in the spring of 2019 were asked to pick an historically important building from a given list. They were to write an essay and do a model of the particular building they decided to research.

Johnson’s famous Glass House of 1949 in New Canaan, CT, which the Architecture Club visits every May was one such choice.

The Mies van der Rohe weekend country house for Dr. Edith Farnsworth (a kidney surgeon in Chicago) is considered to be a 20th Century masterpiece. It’s a little Greek temple on the prairie.

I.M. Pei’s Louvre Pyramid in Paris was, of course, detested initially, as are all new works designed to change an existing cityscape. Piano & Rogers Centre Pompidou, and the famous Eiffel Tower were among the most hated, and are now the most beloved by Parisians.

Two of the works shown here are students original designs, which may one day evolve into classics fitting into the pantheon of architecture masterworks.

The show includes a few documentaries.

Architectural aficionados may watch and learn more about Erich Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower, an homage built for Einstein in Potsdam, Germany in the 1920s.

The G. Rietveld Schroeder House in Utrecht, Holland is an ultra-modern Bauhausian design, done in part by the owner, Ms. Truus Schroeder in 1924.

Antonio Gaudi is a unique designer of Barcelona, Spain. His Sagrada Familia is still being built, though the architect passed on almost a century ago.

Mies van der Rohe (along with Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Swiss-born, French adopted, Le Corbusier) is one of the 3 Master-builders of the 20th Century. He designed NYC’s Seagram Building in 1958.

The possibilities for beauty are endless, and the examples we see in this exhibit are but a modest few.

The renowned American architect, John Lautner observed:

The Creative process its a sweat. The thing is to be able to hold, and try to pull together all the possible emotional, physical, structural elements and Nature, and try to pull that into one grand idea.

This exhibition is coordinated by Craig R. Weber, an Associate Professor at the Engineering Technology Department. He is a RA (Registered architect), a member of AIA (American Institute of Architects), and SAH (Society of Architectural Historians). Mr. Weber holds BA degree from Wagner College, a BArch. From Arizona State U., a Masters in Architecture & Urban Design from Columbia U., and a Masters in Art History from Brooklyn College. He is still extremely enthusiastic about teaching, as he was 42 years ago when he started. He hopes to do his usual dozen field trips around town with the Architecture Club.

Craig R. Weber