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Robb College, Michael Dysart
Designed by acclaimed Australian Architect Michael Dysart, Robb College is one of the earlier examples of local Modernist college structures and is notable for its appropriation of the familiar quadrangle plan. To its core, the Dining Hall block (as pictured) shines: a striking low-profile structure with a curvilinear, cloud-like brise-soleil detail that slides into the interior as a massive timber-vaulted ceiling. Controversially withstanding a listing on the State Heritage Register, the majority of the original campus has since been demolished – with only the Dining Hall left standing.
The Wave Building, Pierre Doucet
An expansive, bladed multi-residential structure reflecting French late-Modernism at its peak, Pierre Doucet's L’immeuble en Vague (The Wave Building) sits to West of France in the seaside commune of La Baule. Much like other inventive, forward-thinking architects operating in the region at the time, Doucet's work shies away from conventional forms and building techniques, leaning more heavily on a sci-fi ideal of what future living should look like.
Modular Furniture System, Verner Panton
A line devised for an experimental interiors exhibition that heralded new-age, optimistic design, Verner Panton's Modular Furniture extruded his iconically stark, tessellated geometries into an overtly polygonal seating system. Initially showcased at the 1968 Cologne Furniture Fair for Visiona 0, Panton's work served to highlight the abilities of synthetics in home furnishings (as was the brief), but went further to demonstrate the power of reduced, blocky hues and forms and their impact on space.
Helicak Scooter, Lambretta
The Helicak, one of many odd micro-vehicles to come out of the 1970s, was borne through an Indonesian tax incentive offer to vehicle manufacturers to produce designs that could be locally fabricated. Lambretta, the quintessentially-Italian scooter manufacturer seized this opportunity, heavily modifying their DL 150 scooter by adding a cab of fibreglass and acrylic to the front to transport people through Jakarta's bustling streets. Essentially a helicopter body transplanted onto a common scooter, the Helicak was a failure by any definition, with less than 1000 units sold (and most to the local authorities) before being banned, dumped in a nearby sea and forgotten.
Kodak House, Horace Grifford
A stoic, symmetrical array of four tall volumes rotated around a hearth, Horace Grifford's design derives its name from its formal likeness to then-popular instant cameras. Situated on popular vacation destination Fire Island, New York - Grifford's design (much like many of his other Modernist works in the area) was very much drafted with entertainment in mind. With the central hearth left open for dancing, ancillary towers are dedicated to food, beverage and sleeping spaces and a stark horizontal plenum cut around the forms offers a reduced, painterly ocean view.
National Maritime Building, Albert C. Ledner
Whimsical modernist Albert C. Ledner - who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright - designed a suite of unquestionably idiosyncratic buildings for the National Maritime Union in the 1960s to grace the Manhattan's increasingly conservative skyline. Ledner's building on West 17th street blended bleached, monolithic Modernist cues with nautical notes to arrive at a form dotted with porthole windows and accommodating a facade that leant backwards from the ground plane. Once containing office spaces, a large auditorium and dormitories for seamen, the building has since been converted into a boutique hotel, with unsavoury renovations largely reversed in recent years.
Hotel Neptun, SIAB
Designed and built by a Swedish company for foreigners visiting East Germany during the height of the Cold War, the Hotel Neptun stands 18 storeys tall in the port town of Warnemünde on the Baltic Sea. Though odd in its conception, the Neptun shares much with mid century hotels of the time: a large, rectilinear mass designed to house then-novel luxuries such as nightclubs and spas with rooms punctuated by angled balconies that gesture outwards to the sea. Still a 5-Star resort to this day, Hotel Neptun is a reminder of the kind of design mixed with optimism that facilitated a more primitive world tourism.
Berlin Congress Hall, Hugh Stubbins
An exemplar of forward-thinking mid century architecture, Berlin's Congress Hall is the brainchild of American architect Hugh Stubbins, realised through a gift to West Germany as part of the INTERBAU expo. Serving as a major international architecture exhibition that affirmed Germany's commitment to fast-tracked post-war Modernism, the expo invited a remarkable collection of architects inclusive of Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier with mind to generating concepts for a future-proof 'City of Tomorrow'. Amongst the designs was the Congress Hall, a bold structure with a defining double-curved roof profile (made possible through then-advanced prestressed concrete construction) and sweeping glazed sections to both primary facades. Famously collapsing in 1980 due to inadequate structural rationalisation and consequent corrosion, the building has since been meticulously restored and re-opened as the House of World Culture.
Citroën GS Basalte, Robert Opron
A limited edition of the Robert Opron-penned Citroën GS, the Basalte was an unusual, limited-run variant designed to breathe new life into an almost decade old platform. Largely sharing a silhouette with the GS Club, the Basalte added a sunroof, tinted windows, headlamp wipers and gloss black paint to provide contrast with custom banded horizontal side decals. With bespoke orange upholstery and trim, the Basalte's features were largely inline with Citroën's upper Pallas range and provided an eye-catching - if only momentary - model refresh.
Beachcomber, Nino Sydney
One of the most famous of Australia's project homes, Lendlease's Beachcomber was penned by chief architect Nino Sydney as an elegantly reduced, attractive and affordable residence that sat lightly to the ground. With large glazed portions and open space, gridded slender steel posts push the main rectilinear volume upwards, allowing for sloping terrain, circulation and garaging underneath. With approximately 200 such homes constructed, the Beachcomber had more in common with the code of Le Corbusier than other mass-produced designs which facilitated a broad, suburban introduction of Modernism to many.
Knox Residence, Alexander Knox
Imaginative mid-century residential planning at its finest, Alexander Knox's design for his own family residence orientates itself around a large sun-filled living space which sits adjacent to an entertainment area fully openable to exterior terraces and landscaped surrounds. Sliding panels activate an intuitive, wedge-shaped plan which sees Knox fixated on such geometries both in plan and section, with faceted glass walls of the living space shooting upwards to meet a playfully pleated roof form.
Xerox Alto, Charles P. Thacker (via @nightliquid_retro)
Widely regarded as the first personal computer, Xerox's Alto helped popularise the desktop metaphor, gaining notoriety in Silicon Valley despite untenable unit costs and limited production numbers. Comprising a portrait orientated screen atop a cabinet housing the CPU - an undeniably innovative Xerox failed to comprehend the true worth of their tech in terms of a public product offering. Many of the Alto's features would later be refined, distilled and found within Apple offerings (notably the Macintosh) after then-CEO Steve Jobs toured Xerox in 1979.
Experimental Chalet, Gérard Grandval
French architect, designer and poet Gérard Grandval, best known for his cylindrical buildings that compose the Choux de Créteil complex, often experimented with smaller, similarly modular habitable forms. This included a collection of shell-type polyester alpine chalets that were made available as fully prefabricated units by SERA (Society for Studies and Architectural Achievements) from the 1960s. With soft, curvilinear silhouettes throughout intended to mimic snowy surrounds, the construction of Grandval's chalets owed more to shipbuilding than that of typical residential construction.
La Miniatura, Frank Lloyd Wright
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Zele 1000, Zagato
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Hôtel du Lac Tunis, Raffaele Contigiani
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AMC Pacer, Richard A. Teague
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National Arts Center, Leandro V. Locsin
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