Philip Nobel

  • Oscar Niemeyer, Sede do PCF, Paris (Office for the French Comunist Party), 1965-80.

    Oscar Niemeyer

    No season of architectural blockbusters would be complete without a loving look back at the modernist who most presaged today’s bout of hedonistic formalism.

    No season of architectural blockbusters would be complete without a loving look back at the modernist who most presaged today’s bout of hedonistic formalism. Et voilà, a Niemeyer retrospective at the Jeu de Paume. The show, curated by Daniel Abadie with Cecilia Scharlach and Michel Ricard, promises two full rooms of Brasiliana—revel yet again in the synthetic splendors of a Jet Age city in the bush!—and several spaces in which we will discover, through letters and photographs, Niemeyer’s “implications.” For this we need a trip to a gallery? It would be easier to go to a newsstand, where a few

  • Jean Nouvel

    There may be no greater disappointment in Paris than Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe, a small but well-hyped building on the Seine. Images of the institute, splashed far and wide after it opened in 1988, showcased its defining feature: a glass wall sandwiching self-adjusting apertures that form a pattern like a high-tech moucharaby. Get it? The Arab world modernized, in one beau architectural geste! Unfortunately, a visit reveals the devices to be sorry contraptions of loose springs and stamped tin. Better to stick with the pictures. At the Jean Nouvel retrospective curated by Chantal

  • Robert Venturi, United States Pavilion - Expo ’92, Seville, Spain, 1989, competition entry,  airbrush and colored plastic film on foamcore, 30 x 60".

    The Architecture and Design of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates

    Hopes are high that this show, the first major retrospective of Robert Venturi’s career, will answer the prickliest question about pomo architecture’s Patient Zero: Is there anything in his buildings that can match wits with the sharp and influential rhetoric of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) or Learning from Las Vegas (1972)? With free access to the firm’s archives, PMA curator Kathryn Hiesinger, in collaboration with University of Pennsylvania scholars David Brownlee and David DeLong, brings together some 250 drawings, models, photos, videos, and pieces of furniture

  • Thomas Ruff, d.p.b. 01, 1999, color photograph, 20 1/8 x 11 3/8". From “Mies in Berlin.”

    Mies in Berlin, Mies in America

    In appraising its acknowledged masters, architectural history is usually content with a single version: Wright the troubled genius, Le Corbusier the painter in planner’s clothing, Gropius the ideologue who lacked an artist’s chops. Among the twentieth century’s Big Four, only Ludwig Mies van der Rohe persists in multiple. As the architectural historian Joan Ockman observes, “We have proliferated a dizzying array of Mieses—a European Mies, an American Mies; a classicizing Mies, an expressionist Mies; an Adorno-critical Mies, a pragmatic-lyrical Mies—but it often seems that our quarry only becomes