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Where Architecture Is Fun

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex Nº 10: The Garden of Nations

In 1933 Ralph Hancock was approached to design roof gardens for Nelson and John D. Rockefeller at the RCA Building (Rockefeller Center) in New York City. Also in that year he was asked to create two lower-level roof gardens on the British Empire Building and La Maison Française, and to design the planting for the fashionable Channel Gardens on Fifth Avenue. Hancock’s Gardens of the Nations, on the 11th floor of the RCA Building, emulated the style of gardens from Holland, France, Spain, Italy and Japan. The Gardens of the Nations were opened on 15 April 1935. The event was attended by 400 guests, including the ambassadors of the countries represented by the gardens which Ralph had created. Also in attendance were prominent horticulturists and the guest of honour, Nelson Rockefeller. In their first seven months the gardens attracted over 87,000 visitors, each paying $1. The gardens closed at the end of 1935 and over the winter were planted with 50,000 bulbs. The following year the entrance fee was reduced to 40 cents. Letters of the period in the Rockefeller family archive show that, despite Hancock’s best efforts, the American gardeners employed by the buildings management, were not looking after Ralph’s creations with the care that he demanded. In response to a complaint from Ralph, a letter from the buildings manager, William J. Hoffman, suggests that Hancock should quite literally, ‘pack his bags!’
WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N9: 
The GE Building is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is most famous for housing the NBC television network headquarters. At 850 feet (259 m) high, the 70-story building is the 10th tallest in New York City and the 33rd tallest in the United States. Some of the building’s nicknames include The Slab and 30 Rock. The latter is derived from its address at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N9: 

The GE Building is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, United States. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is most famous for housing the NBC television network headquarters. At 850 feet (259 m) high, the 70-story building is the 10th tallest in New York City and the 33rd tallest in the United States. Some of the building’s nicknames include The Slab and 30 Rock. The latter is derived from its address at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N8: Backstage
Radio City Music Hall sculptures before installation in theater.Left to right: William Zorach, Sprit of the dance; Robert Laurent, Girl with Goose; Gwen Lux, Eve. Photographed 1932

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N8: Backstage

Radio City Music Hall sculptures before installation in theater.Left to right: William Zorach, Sprit of the dance; Robert Laurent, Girl with Goose; Gwen Lux, Eve. Photographed 1932

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N7: Difference of opinion
The publicity referred to a city within a city wich would tipify American progress in city planning and be a center for the best type of entertainment and musical culture. The critics saw instead a model of a frankly commercial development with a huge central building and, on the side streets, two forty-eight story office buildings wich would cast shadows over the developement. The office building seemed to dwarf the open plaza wich the public had expected to be more spacious.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N7: Difference of opinion

The publicity referred to a city within a city wich would tipify American progress in city planning and be a center for the best type of entertainment and musical culture. The critics saw instead a model of a frankly commercial development with a huge central building and, on the side streets, two forty-eight story office buildings wich would cast shadows over the developement. The office building seemed to dwarf the open plaza wich the public had expected to be more spacious.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N6: Thin and thick
There had been thin and proportionately thin skycrapers earlier, but American architects had not commonly exploited the aesthetics of slenderness, or of thin planes that seem to slide along a building surface.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N6: Thin and thick

There had been thin and proportionately thin skycrapers earlier, but American architects had not commonly exploited the aesthetics of slenderness, or of thin planes that seem to slide along a building surface.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N5: Construction Workers Line up for Pay Beside the First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
The first Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center was a spindly balsam erected on the construction site in December, 1931. Two years later, the first “official” tree- a handsome specimen standing 50 feet tall- was unveiled in its famous spot in Rockefeller Plaza, and the lighting ceremony was broadcast nationwide over NBC Radio. The largest of Rockefeller Center’s trees was the 100-year-old, 100-foot-tall, ten-ton Norway Spruce erected in 1999.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N5: Construction Workers Line up for Pay Beside the First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The first Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center was a spindly balsam erected on the construction site in December, 1931. Two years later, the first “official” tree- a handsome specimen standing 50 feet tall- was unveiled in its famous spot in Rockefeller Plaza, and the lighting ceremony was broadcast nationwide over NBC Radio. The largest of Rockefeller Center’s trees was the 100-year-old, 100-foot-tall, ten-ton Norway Spruce erected in 1999.

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N4: Metropolitan Opera House proposal. Joseph Urban
Rockefeller initially planned a syndicate to build an opera house for the Metropolitan Opera on the site, but changed plans after the stock market crash of 1929 and the Metropolitan’s continual delays to hold out for a more favorable lease, causing Rockefeller to move forward without them. Rockefeller stated, “It was clear that there were only two courses open to me. One was to abandon the entire development. The other to go forward with it in the definite knowledge that I myself would have to build it and finance it alone.”

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N4: Metropolitan Opera House proposal. Joseph Urban

Rockefeller initially planned a syndicate to build an opera house for the Metropolitan Opera on the site, but changed plans after the stock market crash of 1929 and the Metropolitan’s continual delays to hold out for a more favorable lease, causing Rockefeller to move forward without them. Rockefeller stated, “It was clear that there were only two courses open to me. One was to abandon the entire development. The other to go forward with it in the definite knowledge that I myself would have to build it and finance it alone.”

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N2: Art Works for hard times
Wisdom (Lee Lawrie. 1933). An Art Deco icon, Wisdom famously looms over the entrance to the main building of Rockefeller Center and can be seen from Fifth Avenue. Created by Lee Lawrie, one of the America’s foremost architectural sculptors, it is an  impressive and imposing focal point. Wisdom is considered the creative power of the universe, and the figure’s commanding slant, intimidating expression and biblical quote help convey his strength, impact and control over man. It is flanked by two other important Works by Lawrie: Sound and Light.
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WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N2: Art Works for hard times

Wisdom (Lee Lawrie. 1933). An Art Deco icon, Wisdom famously looms over the entrance to the main building of Rockefeller Center and can be seen from Fifth Avenue. Created by Lee Lawrie, one of the America’s foremost architectural sculptors, it is an  impressive and imposing focal point. Wisdom is considered the creative power of the universe, and the figure’s commanding slant, intimidating expression and biblical quote help convey his strength, impact and control over man. It is flanked by two other important Works by Lawrie: Sound and Light.

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WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center Complex N3: Art Works for hard times 
(What could have been…)
Man at the Crossroads (Diego Rivera. 1934).By 1930, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera has gained international favor for his lush and passionate murals. Inspired by Communist ideals and an intense devotion to his cultural heritage, Rivera creates boldly hued masterpieces of public art that adorn the municipal buildings of Mexico City. His outgoing personality puts him at the center of a circle of left-wing painters and poets, and his talent attracts wealthy patrons, including Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. In 1932, she convinces her husband, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to commission a Rivera mural for the lobby of the soon-to-be-completed Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Flush from successes in San Francisco and Detroit, Rivera proposes a 63-foot-long portrait of workers facing symbolic crossroads of industry, science, socialism, and capitalism. The painter believes that his friendship with the Rockefeller family will allow him to insert an unapproved representation of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin into a section portraying a May Day parade. The real decision-making power lies with the Center’s building managers, who abhor Rivera’s propagandistic approach. Horrified by newspaper articles attacking the mural’s anti-capitalist ideology, they order Rivera to remove the offending image. When Rivera refuses, offering to balance the work with a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the opposing side, the managers pay his full fee, bar him from the site, and hide the mural behind a massive drape. Despite negotiations to transfer the work to the Museum of Modern Art and demonstrations by Rivera supporters, near midnight, on February 10th, 1934, Rockefeller Center workmen, carrying axes, demolish the mural. Later, Rivera recreates the frescoes in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, adding a portrait of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in a nightclub. Rivera never works in the United States again, but continues to be active, both politically and artistically, until his death in 1957.
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WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N3: Art Works for hard times

(What could have been…)

Man at the Crossroads (Diego Rivera. 1934).By 1930, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera has gained international favor for his lush and passionate murals. Inspired by Communist ideals and an intense devotion to his cultural heritage, Rivera creates boldly hued masterpieces of public art that adorn the municipal buildings of Mexico City. His outgoing personality puts him at the center of a circle of left-wing painters and poets, and his talent attracts wealthy patrons, including Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. In 1932, she convinces her husband, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., to commission a Rivera mural for the lobby of the soon-to-be-completed Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Flush from successes in San Francisco and Detroit, Rivera proposes a 63-foot-long portrait of workers facing symbolic crossroads of industry, science, socialism, and capitalism. The painter believes that his friendship with the Rockefeller family will allow him to insert an unapproved representation of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin into a section portraying a May Day parade. The real decision-making power lies with the Center’s building managers, who abhor Rivera’s propagandistic approach. Horrified by newspaper articles attacking the mural’s anti-capitalist ideology, they order Rivera to remove the offending image. When Rivera refuses, offering to balance the work with a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the opposing side, the managers pay his full fee, bar him from the site, and hide the mural behind a massive drape. Despite negotiations to transfer the work to the Museum of Modern Art and demonstrations by Rivera supporters, near midnight, on February 10th, 1934, Rockefeller Center workmen, carrying axes, demolish the mural. Later, Rivera recreates the frescoes in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, adding a portrait of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in a nightclub. Rivera never works in the United States again, but continues to be active, both politically and artistically, until his death in 1957.

Source


WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N1: Art Works for hard times

The Atlas (Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan. 1937). Atlas is a successful collaboration between two talented artists, Lee Lawrie, who conceived the idea and designed the figure and Rene Paul Chambellan, who modeled the heroic-sized statue from his sketch. A famous figure from Greek mythology, Atlas was half-man, half-god giant known as Titan, who helped lead a war against the Olympic gods. After the Titan’s defeat, Atlas was condemned  to carry the world on his shoulders as punishment. Atlas is one of Rockefeller’s greatest Art Deco icon and has even been used on U.S. postage stamps.

Photograph from the book “The Last Rivet” (Photographs by Berenice Abbott & Margaret Bourke-White)

WAÏF: Where architecture ïs Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Complex N1: Art Works for hard times

The Atlas (Lee Lawrie and Rene Paul Chambellan. 1937). Atlas is a successful collaboration between two talented artists, Lee Lawrie, who conceived the idea and designed the figure and Rene Paul Chambellan, who modeled the heroic-sized statue from his sketch. A famous figure from Greek mythology, Atlas was half-man, half-god giant known as Titan, who helped lead a war against the Olympic gods. After the Titan’s defeat, Atlas was condemned  to carry the world on his shoulders as punishment. Atlas is one of Rockefeller’s greatest Art Deco icon and has even been used on U.S. postage stamps.

Photograph from the book “The Last Rivet” (Photographs by Berenice Abbott & Margaret Bourke-White)

WAÏF: Where nothing is what it seems.

The reflecting pool by Bill Viola

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WAÏF: When architecture is a magic login
Hard to say if it’s the beginning or the end of an era, in a unique act of self-reference, yesterday Tumblr displayed us an image originally published by WAÏF. 

When people run in circles it’s a very very 
Mad World, mad world….

WAÏF: When architecture is a magic login

Hard to say if it’s the beginning or the end of an era, in a unique act of self-reference, yesterday Tumblr displayed us an image originally published by WAÏF. 

When people run in circles it’s a very very 

Mad World, mad world….

WAÏF: where architects have fun
Frank O. Gehry in performance… Il Corso del Coltello
 Arsenale, Venice, Italy. September 1985
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WAÏF: where architects have fun

Frank O. Gehry in performance… Il Corso del Coltello

Arsenale, Venice, Italy. September 1985

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