Silly Saturday: Architect Humor Slide Show

Sit back and enjoy this slide show of architect humor compiled by the folks at the Australian firm, BXL Design Architects.

Check out more serious architecture videos, on the  BXL Design Architects’ You Tube channel.

Closed for 25 Years Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre Survives

Nick Carr of takes a fascinatingly beautiful, yet eerie photo tour of Staten Island’s Paramount Theatre. According to Carr, the Paramount, which opened in 1930, was Staten Island’s most elaborate movie theater and even served at one time as a nightclub and concert venue for many of New York City’s rock bands. The building, however, has been closed and has sat vacant for the past twenty-five years.

Several years ago, investors had planned to reopen the Paramount as a restaurant and performance center, but the plans were not realized,

Thanks go out to Kevin Lee Allen and Kathleen McDonough for sharing the post on their Facebook pages. By the way, check out their blog; it’s pretty cool.

Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, (c. 1930), architect unknown.
Photo credit: Nick Carr, © 2014 Source

All Wright Walk 2014: Arthur B. Heurtley House

imageFrank Lloyd Wright, Arthur B. Heurtley House (1902), Oak Park IL.
Photo Credit: Bill Bowen Copyright 2014.

The Arthur B. Huertley House is one of the finest examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie homes. Built, in 1092 for banker Arthur B. Huertley and his family, the home features a “broad chimney, low-hipped roof, deep overhangs, concrete base and tapered walls”1. Wright used two colors of brick in contrasting horizontal bands to emphasize the building’s horizontal lines and convey a sense of hugging the land.

Like Wright’s earlier William G. Fricke House (1901), the Heurtley House features a prow shaped porch pictured in the above photo flanked by two enormous planters.

All Wright Walk 2014: Hills-DeCaro House (1906)

It is difficult to believe that Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hills-DeCaro House (1906) was originally a Stick-style house that Wright was commissioned to remodel by Nathan Moore who the property next door. It is even more difficult to believe that most of the existing structure was rebuilt in the late 1970’s after a devastating fire destroyed all but the first floor of the home. The home is jointly named for the home’s original owners the Hills and for the DeCaros who restored the home close to Wright’s original vision.

Frank Lloyd Wright, Hills-DeCaro House (1906, restored 1977-78), Oak Park, IL.

With steeply pitched roofs and flared eaves, the home is an example of Japanese influence on Wright’s architecture after his 1905 trip there. The Peter A. Beachy House also exhibits this Eastern style.

Hills-DeCaro House exterior detail of roof and eaves.

imageA restored ticket booth from 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition graces the home’s side yard.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.

All Wright Walk 2014: Isabel Roberts House (1908)

This past May, Design and Desire in the Twentieth Century celebrated our fourth anniversary by going on the road to attend the Frank Lloyd Wright Trusts’ All Wright 2014 house walk and fundraiser.

The Trust is also celebrating an important anniversary (although much more significant than ours), the 125th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Home and Studio in Oak Park, Illinois. To mark this occasion, this year’s house walk features all Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes — including one home seldom open to the public, the Isabel Roberts House in neighboring River Forest.

Early in her career Isabel Roberts worked as a draftsman in Wright’s Oak Studio. According to the brochure that accompanied the All Wright Walk, Wright designed the structure a home for Miss Roberts, her mother and an unmarried sister. Miss Roberts later moved to Florida and established her own architectural firm there.

In 1927 new owners made changes to the home’s exterior. They hired as the project’s architect, William Drummond whose own home can be seen in the background of this photo.

The home changed owners again and in 1955 the current owners “persuaded Wright himself to remodel the interior.”1 Wright updated the flooring and woodwork and added a dramatic stepped ceiling consistent with the style of the interiors of architect’s 1950s Usonian buildings.

Left Frank Lloyd Wright, Isabel Roberts House (1908), River Forest, IL.
Right: William E. Drummond House (1909)

Frank Lloyd Wright, Isabel Roberts House (1908), River Forest, IL.

All photos credit: Bill Bowen © 2014.


1. Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, (2014). All Wright Walk [Brochure].

Niagara Mohawk Building

Recently our friends at Art Deco Architecture posted this stunning image of the Niagara Mohawk Building is located in my hometown, Syracuse, NY. I used to pass this building every day on my way to work at another, although less impressive, Art Deco structure, the State Tower Building.


Melvin L. King, Niagara Mohawk Building (1932). Photographer unknown.

As soon as the snow melts (if it ever does), I’ll get out and take more photos of this Art Deco masterwork to add to Design and Desire. And to our friends at Art Deco Architecture, if you do get the opportunity to visit Syracuse, NY, please don’t hesitate to look me up!

Read the orignal post on Art Deco Architecture.

Possible New Life for Julia Morgan’s Pasadena YWCA

Very interesting news has come to us via Pasadena Weekly. California architect Julia Morgan’s 1921 YWCA Building in Pasadena, CA is under consideration for adaptive reuse. According to the article on the Pasadena Weekly Web site, “[T]he Pasadena City Council reviewed development plans for the long-vacant YWCA building, which is expected to be converted into a boutique hotel.”

The structure, vacant since 1997, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read the article on Pasadena Weekly.

Read more on architect Julia Morgan.

Julia MorganJulia Morgan, Pasadena YWCA Building (1921). Photographer unknown.


Art Deco Buildings in Greenbelt, Maryland

Our friend David Thompson of the Art Deco Buildings blog shared some terrific photos of his trip to Greenbelt, Maryland earlier this year. According to Thompson:

In 1936, Greenbelt … was built in Maryland between Washington DC and Baltimore. It was a bold experiment in co-operative living with all the town’s businesses and even the newspaper co-cooperatively owned by the residents. The homogeneous houses and flats where built around a city center that included shops, a theater and an elementary school.

Read more about Greenbelt, Maryland on Art Deco Buildings, and also read Thompson’s post on The Greenbelt Community Center.

For more on the community of Greenbelt, Maryland visit the city’s Web site.

Greenbelt, Maryland
Greenbelt Theatre and Supermarket, Greenbelt, Maryland (1937).

Silly Saturday: How Architects Sleep

Design and Desire found this image on Katie Umenthum's Architecture Humor Pinterest Board, which is a send-off of the universal communication symbols. Notice how architects sleep - if they get the opportunity - at the bottom of the graphic.

Visit Katie’s Pinterest Board for more humorous and unusual images.


Unknown Artist. How Architects Sleep.

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal at MOMA

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is currently running Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal, an exhibition that explores the architect’s philosophy regarding the development of the American City during the period between the two World Wars. Wright’s iconic large-scale model for “Broadacre City" is the centerpiece of the show, which features drawings, architectural models and films that were included in the recent joint acquisition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s extensive archive by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library.

For details visit MoMA’s web site. The show runs now through June 1, 2014.


Frank Lloyd Wright. Drawings for Broadacre City Project, (1932).