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Greater Refuge Temple, Costas Machlouzarides, 1968, New York, New York, USA. Image © Darren Bradley

Guide for the Ultimate Mid-Century Modern Architecture Road Trip


下文摘选自Sam Lubell所著的《Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: East Coast USA》,文中图片的摄影师为Darren Bradley,这本书介绍了世纪中叶美国东海岸的现代建筑。其中包括至少250个项目,同时也是美国最为重要的建筑运动的记录之一。

很少有《the Great American Road Trip》这样震慑人们的心灵的旅程,这是由亚历克西斯·德·托克维尔(Alexis de Tocqueville)和杰克·凯鲁亚克(Jack Kerouac)的杰出人物记录下来的仪式。而《The Great American Mid-Century Modern Architecture Road Trip》并不出名,但这也是它如此吸引人的众多原因之一。在当前的数字化信息时代,世界的许多神秘角落已经被逐一挖掘,而美国东海岸的探索则是在这种背景下的又一胜利品。

The following excerpt from Sam Lubell's Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: East Coast USA—with excellent photos by Darren Bradley—provides an introduction to the revelatory and inspiring charm of the East Coast's Mid-Century Modern masterpieces. The book includes over 250 unique projects and serves as record of one of the USA’s most important architectural movements.
Few experiences are as wedged into our psyches as the Great American Road Trip—a rite of passage chronicled by luminaries from Alexis de Tocqueville to Jack Kerouac. The Great American Mid-Century Modern Architecture Road Trip? Not famous. But that’s one of the many reasons it’s so appealing. Discovery, in this global, digital age, when few corners are mysterious, has become a rare commodity. And discovery on the East Coast of America—in the context of one of the finest collections of Modern design in the world—is that much sweeter.


Phillips Exeter Academy Library, Louis Kahn, 1965, Exeter, New Hampshire, USA. Image © Darren Bradley


This place, then and now the economic, political, social, and media center of the country (much to the chagrin of those in other regions), became the world’s hub for Modern design after World War II, when the United States was achieving seemingly boundless ascendancy. Up and down this stretch of states Modernism presented itself in every possible building type, from private homes to city halls, and in every possible setting, from the woods of Georgia to Midtown Manhattan. While the roots of the Modern movement were in a unifying, machine-inspired aesthetic, the expression of Modernism along the East Coast varies emphatically as you move from one place to the next, and even from one project to the next.


Mortgage Corporation of America Building, Carson Bennett Wright, 1971, Miami, Florida, USA. Image © Darren Bradley

Sam Lubell和摄影师Darren Bradley在这条公路上进行了多次旅行,不断地挖掘其中的作品。在这一路上,建筑的经典形式和特征让人们惊叹其技术水准,看到了这些结构的美丽和技术实力。并且更清楚地理解了什么是伟大的建筑。建筑的探索会为人们带来前所未有的感受。世纪中叶的现代建筑也让人怀旧,同时也更加期待未来。人们会对眼前所见感到兴奋,并渴望纠正过去的错误。通过政治、科学、医学、工程、建筑来一个没有先前灾祸的更美好的世界,在这里人们会重新思考空间、光线、材料、经验、意义等一切内容。

Photographer Darren Bradley and I hit the road for several trips to make this endeavor possible. Along the way, from the icons of the architectural canon to the superlative surprises, we took in the beauty and technical prowess of these structures, gaining a clearer understanding of what makes great architecture. This architectural adventure proved for us—and will for you—an unambiguously inspiring experience. Mid-Century Modern architecture of course delivers a nostalgic journey into the past. But it also brings us into a time that valued the future above all else. Americans were thrilled by what was ahead of them and eager to right the wrongs of the past. Through politics, science, medicine, engineering, and, yes, architecture, they would build a better world free of its prior scourges. They would rethink space, light, materials, experience, meaning, everything.


Unitarian Meeting House, Victor Lundy, 1962, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Image © Darren Bradley


The Glass House Philip Johnson, 1949, New Canaan, Connecticut, USA. Image © Darren Bradley


Of course, not all worked out as envisioned. Nothing ever does. The Modern movement failed almost as much as it succeeded. What started as a visionary, socially concerned undertaking became, to many, a symbol of the arrogant, insensitive status quo. But that sense of bold optimism, and the earnest demand to construct well for everyone, delivers something we are sorely lacking in this cynical, timid, divided, distracted time. You begin to spot the best Mid-Century buildings not just because of their materials or forms, but also because of their audacity, energy, and heart, and their ability to stir and transport. You’ll realize just how unambitious and deeply uninspired much of what we build today is, and you’ll start thinking about how to change that.


TWA Flight Center, Eero Saarinen, 1962, Queens, New York, USA. Image © Darren Bradley


A tour of Mid-Century Modern architecture is about much more than discovering new buildings. Discovery goes beyond chalking up miles and checking items off a list. It’s also about traveling into ourselves and, if we’re lucky, being inspired to change things for the better.


United Church of Rowayton, Joseph P. Salerno, 1967, Norwalk, Connecticut, USA. Image © Darren Bradley


Smithfield Liberty Garage, Altenhof and Bown, (year unknown), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Image © Darren Bradley


Decatur High School, Bothwell and Nash, 1965, Decatur, Georgia, USA. Image © Darren Bradley




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