Tag: interior photography

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

Poor President James Madison

MON_0190He was overshadowed by fellow Virginians George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Dolly Madison, White House hostess in daring Empire dresses and savior, from the British burning of the White House, of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington.  But the distinguished historian Gordon S. Wood argues that Madison was really the most impressive of the early (and later) Republic’s political leaders:”Although Madison was shy, short, and soft-spoken, he impressed everyone he met.  He was widely read with a sharp and questioning mind;indeed,he was probably the most intellectually creative political figure America has ever produced.”(page 61, Empire of Liberty)ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Embassy of Austria

Leopold Boeckl, an Austrian-born Washington,D.C. architect, describes his design of the Austrian Embassy, 3524 International Court, N.W., a block west of Connecticut Ave., as based on an Upper Austrian farm complex with the buildings arranged around an open courtyard.  The four corners represent  Austrian castles.  In the Embassy, the open courtyard is reinterpreted as the atrium where approximately 50 concerts plus lectures are given a year.  Along its rear wall are five paintings by Herwig Zens: “The sequence of paintings represents a pictorial journey through Austria from west to east.  Tour guide is the most prominent Austrian in the United States— (apart from Arnold Schwarzenegger)—the film director, Billy Wilder.”{quoted from Embassy brochure.}  The new Embassy building opened in 1991.Austria 45Austria 38 Austria 7 Austria 66 Austria 55 Austria 63 Austria 2Austria 24

Photographing History by Bill Lebovich: Swiss Embassy & Ambassador’s Residence

Not far from the National Cathedral, The Swiss Embassy (1959) by William Lescaze and Ambassador’s Residence (2006) by Steven Holl and Russli Architekten are bold, even invigorating period pieces in the modern architecture movement.  Lescaze did another outstanding building on Connecticut Ave., but a surface facelift has destroyed it.  I find Holl’s body of work as often overdone by pseudo-intellectualism and some of that is present in the Ambassador’s house,ImageImageImageImage but it rises above those quirks to be handsome building with some finely executed details.