midMOD monday: Paul Rudolph
It’s Monday again, and for your viewing pleasure I offer you a real treat -
PAUL RUDOLPH and his Walker Guest House (Sanibel Island, Florida, 1952).
For those of you not as obsessed with Rudolph as I am, here’s a quick rundown.
The Kentucky-born architect, often considered America’s greatest Late Modernist (or at the very least one of them), gained prominence while working in Sarasota, Florida. Yes, that Sarasota, a place not usually associated with landmark architecture and renowned architects. But it was the Florida coast where Rudolph ingeniously experimented with modern design principles in ways that suited the region's warm, tropical climate. To make a long story short, Rudolph’s approach proved (very) successful, and he went on to greatness- becoming the Dean of Yale’s School of Architecture, designing this building, and practicing in New York for thirty or so years. Oh yeah, and he trained the next generation of celebrated architects (Foster, Rogers, Gwathemy), on his way to his own iconic status.
Even though Rudolph’s buildings have been controversial in terms of preservation during the last decade or so, the Walker guest house (below) remains widely beloved by designers and the public alike.
Sitting among the white sand dunes, the residence is iconic in its use of Bauhaus-type modernism in ways that solve the problems of the local environment (i.e. it’s hot in Florida) and adapt regional forms. With the Walker guest house, Paul Rudolph gave Modernism a sense of place, and it remains a visually striking example of minimal design constructed in a thoughtful, sustainable way.
Yes, that’s right. Sustainable Modernism. In 1952. I told you this guy was great.
So go ahead and click through the images below, skim an article or two, and if you are still interested, you can book a flight to Florida to check out the Sarasota Architectural Foundation’s replica of the Walker guest house, which is on display until next month.
I hope this brightens your Monday. Thinking of Rudolph’s architecture and the sunny Florida weather sure brightened mine.
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This architectural historian cannot stop thinking about buildings, food, and that vintage rug she found online.