May 27, 2006

Miami Beach Memories

Book Review

MEMOIRS OF A BEACH

Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden, Lives Seen Through the Prism of Family and Place
Michele Oka Doner and Mitchell Wolfson, Jr.
Introduction by Alastair Gordon
288 pages, over 450 images
$95

Miami Beach is a product of the 20th century. Back in 1918, scrub covered the land adjacent to Indian Creek, an image that is today hard to fathom, but is nonetheless documented in a beautiful new book produced by two prominent figures whose roots are thoroughly local. Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden, Lives Seen Through the Prism of Family and Place is a feast of sepia-tone photographs, drawings and documents that tell the tale of Miami Beach's rise from such raw landscape to a sophisticated environment filled with the titans of business, entertainment and politics, all in less than a half-century.

May 1, 2006

Spain at MoMA

Book Review
ON-SITE: New Architecture in Spain
Terence Riley
The Museum of Modern Art
280 pages; 514 illustrations (313 in color)

The final show launched by Terence Riley at The Museum of Modern Art before he departs for his new duties as Director of the Miami Art Museum is an exciting, large-scale exhibition of new Spanish architecture. This exhibition presents architectural projects recently built or planned for the Iberian Peninsula (not a full multi-century architectural history) which is appropriate since so many notable projects are now underway.

March 1, 2006

Arch Ideas

MODERNITY AND MONUMENTS
Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch Turns 40

The history of Eero Saarinen's renowned Gateway Arch is actually far older than the current celebrations for its 40th birthday would indicate. The site for this parabolic structure along the St. Louis riverfront was first earmarked as the spot for a commemoration of 19th-century westward American expansion all the way back in 1935. It was in 1947 that Saarinen entered the competition for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial -- a move that allowed the young architect (then in his 30s) to distinguish himself from his well-known father, Finnish-born architect, Eliel Saarinen. Eighteen years later the soaring 630 foot symbol of St. Louis would become a reality in 1965.