Month: June 2013

Newseum by James Stewart Polshek

Far and away the most modern building on Pennsylvania,yet it acknowledges the earlier National Gallery of Art, the National Archives (both by John Russell Pope) and the other FDR period federal buildings.  And it pays homage to LeCorbu and the Bauhaus.  But most notably, it respectsImage and enhances Pennsylvania Ave as the ceremonial avenue of this country and integrates it with the less ambitious streets, with their office buildings and interesting new residential buildings.

(c) Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved, 2013.

Jan Karski sculpture, East 37th St., outside Polish Consulate

Polish Consulate 2Story of a Secret State
My Report to the World
Jan Karski
Foreword by Madeleine Albright
Jan Karski’s Story of a Secret State stands as one of the most poignant and inspiring memoirs of World War II and the Holocaust. With elements of a spy thriller, documenting his experiences in the Polish Underground, and as one of the first accounts of the systematic slaughter of the Jews by the German Nazis, this volume is a remarkable testimony of one man’s courage and a nation’s struggle for resistance against overwhelming oppression.Karski was a brilliant young diplomat when war broke out in 1939 with Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Taken prisoner by the Soviet Red Army, which had simultaneously invaded from the East, Karski narrowly escaped the subsequent Katyn Forest Massacre. He became a member of the Polish Underground, the most significant resistance movement in occupied Europe, acting as a liaison and courier between the Underground and the Polish government-in-exile. He was twice smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto, and entered the Nazi’s Izbica transit camp disguised as a guard, witnessing first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust.

Karski’s courage and testimony, conveyed in a breathtaking manner in Story of a Secret State, offer the narrative of one of the world’s greatest eyewitnesses and an inspiration for all of humanity, emboldening each of us to rise to the challenge of standing up against evil and for human rights. This definitive edition—which includes a foreword by Madeleine Albright, a biographical essay by Yale historian Timothy Snyder, an afterword by Zbigniew Brzezinski, previously unpublished photos, notes, further reading, and a glossary—is an apt legacy for this hero of conscience during the most fraught and fragile moment in modern history.

Jan Karski was born in Lódz, Poland, in 1914. He received a degree in Law and Diplomatic Science in 1935 and served as a liaison officer of the Polish Underground during World War II. He carried the first eyewitness report of the Holocaust to a mostly unbelieving West, meeting with President Roosevelt in 1943 to plead for Allied intervention. Story of a Secret State was originally published in 1944, becoming a bestseller and Book of the Month Club selection. After the war, Karski earned his PhD at Georgetown University, where he served as a distinguished professor in the School of Foreign Service for forty years. He died in Washington, DC, in 2000. Karski has been recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. In 2012, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

– See more at:

Above quoted from Georgetwon Un. Press website.

Sculpture by Karol Badyna.

Photograph (c) Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved, 2013.

National Museum of Marine Corps, Triangle, VA

National Museum of Marine Corps, Triangle, VA

“The Museum encloses approximately 118,000 square feet, with an eventual expansion to nearly 181,000 square feet. The Museum´s signature 210 foot stainless steel spire soars over the tree line and is clearly visible, day or night from I-95 and the surrounding area. Designed by the award-winning firm of Fentress Bradburn Architects, the National Museum of the Marine Corps emulates the iconic image of the raising of the American flag over Iwo Jima. Additionally, the spire also evokes notions of swords at salute, aircraft climbing in to the heavens or a howitzer at the ready. The dramatic composition of structural lines embodies the spirit of the Marine Corps, a poised balance of strength and stability. The building will be an architectural treasure to be cherished by all Americans.” (quote from museum’s website)

Photographs (c) Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved, 2013.ImageImageImage

Two more masterpieces by Eero Saarinen

The MIT Chapel, “made possible by the generosity of the Kresge Foundation”, was dedicated in 1955.  It sits close to busy and noisy Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge so the textured brick wall forms an attractive, visual and spiritual barrier between the circular chapel and the major street running from Boston through Cambridge to the more distinct suburbs.

The hanging metal screen behind the altar was designed by Harry Bertoia, a long time collaborator and friend of Saarinen.

(c)Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved,2013.

Behind the Chapel is Kresge Auditorium, dedicated the same year and funded by Kresge.ImageImageImageImage

Sir Norman Foster’s dazzling modifications of Historic Buildings

British architect Foster has an international practice and reputation because of his innovative buildings such as “The Gerkin” in London and his glass top for the Reichstag, Berlin.  His handsome, modern designs are too numerous to enumerate.

In the United States he has extended his concept of the glass ceiling over the courtyard of the British Museum to the glass and steel canopy over the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery/Museum of American Art (photo 1,originally the 19th century Patent Building).  Even more compelling is his multifaceted glass and steel tower on top of the 1930s Hearst Building in New York City(photo 2). At the Hearst Tower, he gutted the original building interior turning it into a multi-story atrium, with an angled escalator cutting through a sloping water garden, drenched in light pouring in the windows (photos 3 and 4).

(c)Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved, 2013.ImageImageImageImage