Thursday, October 15, 2009

prairie avenue bookshop closes in chicago

Some sad news today, as this was one of our own favorite architectural bookstores:

PAB Header

We have closed the doors of THE PRAIRIE AVENUE BOOKSHOP after a glorious era in the history of architecture. The Bookshop is a proud accomplishment and made many other things possible.

We published a magazine on a seminal movement, THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL REVIEW, which defined a period in Midwestern architectural history, published books on Sullivan, Wright and Griffin, wrote a Student Guide leveling the playing field for students in Idaho, wrote a history of the 19C leap of Chicago to the forefront of world architecture, and opened this mecca ("the best architectural bookshop in the world", LONDON FINANCIAL TIMES) for architects from all over the world. All this while Bill was planning and supervising the restoration of Wright's Dana House and Sullivan's Cedar Rapids Bank, among others. The master plan for the Robie House with Getty funding was also part of the mix with too many others to list.

Granted we rode a revival in preservation and historical studies, and a publishing revolution as well: facsimile printing and President Johnson's junior college program in the 60's, the duotone and color technology by the Italians and Japanese in the 60's and 70's, instantaneous ordering by fax and then by the web, the photolithography process for printing THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL REVIEW in the 60's, and self publishing on the computer, all while several new movements in design came to the fore. Why, a couple of my Prairie Avenue Bookshop catalogs with contemporary architectural bibliography were even offered online in England for 15 pounds.

Then of course came the debacle of Amazon and its destruction of 1000's of independent bookstores and the Senate Committee disallowing sales tax on the internet sales which punished brick and mortar businesses, ours included, (which in turn hikes your state's budget shortfalls and local real estate taxes). The unnoticed present and future destruction of publishers is in progress. And critical editing in general will disappear as foretold in the Graham Foundation's seminar several years ago. In Chicago, Cook County's 10.25% sales tax was the final nail in the coffin.

But that's another story.

Bill's book THE CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL CLUB, Prelude to the Modern, chronicles the change in architectural historiography itself: a club, letters, drawings, blueprints, magazines documenting ideas and design, as opposed to the 20C telephone, e-mail in lieu of letters, the death of magazines, and CAD--the death of drawing. Such a book will not be written on 20C architecture. No one writes or keeps that kind of record today. Alas!! Artistic works such as Sullivan's A SYSTEM OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT and Wright's WASMUTH PORTFOLIO will not be produced. We donated a "carload" of documentation from THE PRAIRIE SCHOOL REVIEW and later nineteen boxes of research (including too many drafts) for the CAC book to the Art Institute of Chicago, which in turn has skipped nearly all of the 20C of Chicago architecture and cuts Jack Brown's Ryerson /Burnham Library budget first in every financial crisis. Should records we donated be catalogued, at least historians in the future can see how it was done.

But--it's been a great ride. We enjoyed talking for 48 years to visiting architects, architectural historians, architectural critics, students and architectural buffs. We will miss you all, and especially our incredibly loyal staff, particularly Beth, Karl and Emily, known to all of you, who stayed with us to the end.

Now it's time to retire. Marilyn's two new knees and Bill's ubiquitous cane spell the end of exciting professional lives. Bill will be finishing his new book on Dwight Perkins--the man he considers the third in the triumvirate of turn-of-the-century architects, Sullivan, Wright and Perkins--and Marilyn is delving into literary criticism again.

Thank you for your conversations and support.

Marilyn & Bill Hasbrouck

Prairie Avenue Bookshop

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pecha Kucha Night Denver: Volume VII

In my box this morning:

Tuesday, October 20, will be Denver's 7th volume of PechaKucha Night!

Ten local architects, designers and artists will share their creative projects, each showing 20 images timed for 20 seconds each. Volume 7 includes a line-up of incredible presenters with diverse topics; from alley houses to robots, cocktails to dive bars, come to be entertained and inspired by the creative talent in our city. More information about the event is on our website:

PKND7 | 10/20 at 20:20
Buntport Theater
Doors open at 8, show starts at 8:20
FREE or a suggested $5 donation

Reserve yourself a seat! Chairs are limited; floor and standing room is available the day of the show.

We'll start leaking the presenter line-up on twitter this week:

We hope that you can come! Please forward this email and the attached flier to family, friends, and colleagues. If you have any questions let us know.

Your hosts,

PechaKucha Night Denver team

PechaKucha FAQ:
What is PechaKucha Night? check out the PKN global website:
What's it doing in Denver?
Who has presented in the past? we name-drop for each volume here:
What about online social networking? totally: flickr / twitter / facebook
Can I reserve a seat? yes, otherwise floor and standing room is available.

PechaKucha Night was conceived by Klein Dytham architecture as a place for architects, designers and artists to share their creative work easily, informally, and succinctly. Each presenter shows 20 images of their work timed for 20 seconds each, adding up to 6 minutes and 40 seconds of fame before the next person takes the stage. The phenomenon of PechaKucha, which is Japanese for the sound of conversation, has spread virally to 246 cities around the world since its inception in Tokyo in 2003.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Rodinný dům - ateliér [Family house Kojetin]

Family House Kojetin - photo by: Studio TOAST

stumbling onto this czech architecture newsletter site...
...has been one of the best sources of architectural reference that we have found in years. granted most of the site is in the czech language, but that is besides the point and nothing a little free translation can't take care of...

modern intervention shares a common roof - photo by: Studio TOAST

this particular project immediately caught our attention, due to it's unique site and existing conditions. after breaking some language barriers, we can gather that this residence is located near the eastern border of the czech republic, about 35 kilometers from slovakia. the pre-existing conditions included working around the ruins of an old sandstone barn, first erected in 1862 perched at the top of a rolling hill.

building site context - photo by: Studio TOAST

ruins of a sandstone barn from 1862 - photo by: Studio TOAST

KAMIL MRVA ARCHITECTS were responsible for delicately inserting a modern box within the confines of the barn ruins. the description notes the main design elements were a summer sitting porch, light framed roof, and floor to ceiling glass to allow for the uninterrupted view of the countryside.

archaic exterior shell; modern interior amenities - photo by: Studio TOAST

new interior space - photo by: Studio TOAST

exterior stone walls anchor the interior spaces - photo by: Studio TOAST

experiencing the sun deck - photo by: Studio TOAST

in order to retain the character and function of the existing stone pillars, they were given shape and capped with a concrete lintel, and served as structural bearing points for the new shed roof. once a protective shell now becomes an irregular colonnade which helps frame views and ambiguously define the out door terrace.

a well laid plan--drawing by: kamil mrva architects

exterior elevations--drawing by: kamil mrva architects

like a rural interpretation of the defunct downtown warehouse transformed into lofts [re: lodo denver], this obsolete building program has been given new life.


Monday, October 05, 2009

build llc: the modern list

a recent blog post called "the modern list: colorado" from some guys we really admire [build llc] has gotten our attention after their somewhat whirlwind tour of this great state.

on behalf of everyone here, let me say to the BUILD BLOG guys we were happy to have you!

Thursday, October 01, 2009