Writer: Nicholas Olsberg

Wright & Lautner: The Divorce

Wright & Lautner: The Divorce

By Nicholas Olsberg

Wright’s Eaglefeather (1941) – hilltop Malibu extravaganza for the filmmaker Arch Oboler – was running into trouble. Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, oversaw construction drawings and supervision, but Lloyd was fired by Oboler in March 1941. Wright came to Los Angeles and arranged for Lautner to complete the project… Read More

Halsey Ricardo

Halsey Ricardo

By Nicholas Olsberg

Early in 1916, RIBA president Halsey Ricardo reported on an acquisition that, when added to the works of Bibiena, Palladio, Jones and Wren, would begin to build a more continuous corpus of the drawn history of architecture. [1] This was a large set of sketchbooks and project drawings ‘from a… Read More

Commonplace

Commonplace

By Nicholas Olsberg

In 1877, London’s Building News reprinted – as the ‘work of two eminent architects, though it cannot be said to be their joint production’ – an elevation, plan, and partial section published by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc as a model town house, noting that this supposed ‘London Residence’ had been adapted – with due… Read More

Bruce Goff

Bruce Goff

By Nicholas Olsberg

This is an unbuilt house and studio project for two artists in the dry country of west Texas. It comes from a happy moment when architects could see no equation between the unreasonable and the unbuildable. Bruce Goff christened it APARTURE, perhaps a play on the words ‘apartness’, for its… Read More

Richard J. Neutra

Richard J. Neutra

By Nicholas Olsberg

‘Richard J. Neutra has carried on the Wagner tradition of experimentation in new forms, materials and methods of construction… an impetus to the intelligent solution of new problems.’  Ernestine M. Fantl on the Corona Avenue School, ‘Modern Architecture in California’ (Typescript Mimeograph, MoMA Archives, 1935) Just before 6 o’clock on… Read More

A Fragment of Wright’s Great City

A Fragment of Wright’s Great City

By Nicholas Olsberg

Wright, Wagner and the Idea of the Great City We become greater in service to the general effect, more harmonious as part of the whole.– Frank Lloyd Wright, ‘To my European Co-Workers’, 1925 ‘I came upon the Secession during the winter of 1910,’ Wright wrote in An Autobiography, noting with great… Read More

William Butterfield

William Butterfield

By Nicholas Olsberg

Nothing Permitted But What Has Been Foreseen William Butterfield eschewed the illustrative perspective, preferring instead to develop even his studies as contract drawings that would serve three tasks: as presentations through which a project could be comprehended, as instructions from which his contractors and clients could not swerve, and as… Read More

Herbert Matter

Herbert Matter

By Nicholas Olsberg

This is the work of the Swiss photographer and designer Herbert Matter, who after a short career in New York had moved to California in 1943 with his wife, the American painter and art critic Mercedes Carles. Both were friends and associates of Fernand Leger, with whom Herbert had been… Read More

Olsberg: Gordon Matta-Clark

Olsberg: Gordon Matta-Clark

By Nicholas Olsberg

During a poetry reading at St Mark’s Church in the East Village of New York in 1973 Gordon Matta-Clark announced that he would draw on a roll of butcher paper an account of the history of architecture with a single long stroke of the pen. At the conclusion he would… Read More

Louis Bricard

Louis Bricard

By Nicholas Olsberg

The Dominican monastery in the centre of the city of Laval on the Loire was seized during the first year of the Revolution, while an expansion was in construction, and then acquired by the regional government as its seat of administration. In 1803 the medieval cloister and chapel were demolished… Read More

Nicholas Olsberg: Some Thoughts on Sheds

Nicholas Olsberg: Some Thoughts on Sheds

By Nicholas Olsberg

Some Thoughts on Sheds In architectural terms I take ‘shed’ as a neutral word, meaning a structure at any scale open at one or two ends, devoted to storage, display or industrial activity, in which the roof providing shelter is its primary element – in effect a cover with minimum… Read More

Richard J. Neutra: Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Park

Richard J. Neutra: Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Park

By Nicholas Olsberg

In 1941, the US National Park Service acquired one of numerous versions of a 360-degree cyclorama, an in-the-round painting of the turning point in the great rebellion against the American union at Gettysburg in July 1863. First painted 20 years after the battle, the panels filled a drum 80 feet… Read More