Sunday April 13, 2008, 7:00 pm
At the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood
Los Angeles Filmforum presents
Heinz Emigholz: Photography and Beyond
Closing Night show of a week-long series
Emigholz presents the buildings of the great American architect Louis Sullivan (1856–1924).
At the age of thirty-five, Sullivan was one of America’s most famous architects. The skyscraper trilogy (“Wainwright Building”, St. Louis 1892, “Guaranty Building”, Buffalo 1896, “Bayard Building”, NYC 1899) that he designed together with Dankmar Adler can be found in every dictionary of architecture. The basis of his creations was the separation of construction and facade made possible by the invention of reinforced concrete. He consistently draped his buildings with facades that no longer had a load-bearing function as a form of free expression. From one building to the next, both inside and outside, he varied and perfected his modular ornamental designs in brick, steel, plaster, terracotta, glass, ceramics, mosaic, marble, light, relief, stencil designs, wood and metal.
We find ourselves in the heart of Americana. Walt Whitman was Sullivan’s role model, and just like him, Sullivan drew upon the sign language of nature rather than historical styles. This language is accessible to all and is therefore the basis of democracy. Democracy must be a vessel for the repetition of human experience. Its sites must preserve human dignity.
“In everything that men do they leave an indelible imprint of their minds. If this suggestion be followed out, it will become surprisingly clear how each and every building reveals itself naked to the eye; how its every aspect, to the smallest detail, to the lightest move of the hand, reveals the workings of the mind of the man who made it, and who is responsible to us for it.”
More on the film can be found here.
A collage of architectural footage taken in the U.S. in April and May 2002 during the filming of Goff in the Desert and in Italy after March 24, 1997 in preparation for the project D’Annunzio’s Cave. MISCELLANEA (III) shows the portal, designed by Louis H. Sullivan, to the Chicago Stock Exchange on Monroe Street in Chicago, which was erected in 1894 and torn down in 1972; ruins of a glass factory in Henryetta, Oklahoma, from which Bruce Goff bought the colorful pieces of glass he often used; a railway bridge over a creek in the desert on Highway 62; the General Patton Memorial Museum on Interstate Highway 10 and an intersection in Twenty Nine Palms, California; “Gateway West” – the Mexican border – and City Hall in El Paso, New Mexico; a study of downtown Oklahoma City and the national memorial designed by Hans Butzer in honor of the people killed in the bombing of the Murrah Building on April 19, 1995; the Community Center designed by William Wesley Peters in 1982 and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower from 1956 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma; the Tower and geodesic Gold Dome that Robert B. Roloff built in 1958 in Oklahoma City from Buckminster Fuller’s plans; the jungle gym Bruce Goff built in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 1963 for children; a Lockheed T-33, the training version of the first twin-jet US fighter plane, built on a German model, exhibited as a sculpture in front of the Center of Commerce in Del Rio, Texas; three buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright from the 1920s, in which Bruce Goff had a hand; the oldest cement fence in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the oldest brick silo near Bartlesville, and a concrete schoolhouse from the 1920s in Dewey, Oklahoma; the burial sites of Louis H. Sullivan and Bruce Goff in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago; the warship “Puglia” built into a mountain slope on the grounds of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s mausoleum, the “Vittoriale” in Gardone on Lake Garda – his body and those of ten loyal followers in sarcophagi on marble steles, high above Lake Garda. More on the film can be found here.
Swiss architect Robert Maillart revolutionized concrete-based construction. By reducing the material to the essential load-bearing elements and redesigning these in his structures, he developed a completely novel world of forms. The film shows fourteen concrete roof constructions and bridges designed and built by Robert Maillart between 1910 and 1935: The warehouse on Zurich’s Giesshübelstrasse (1910), the filter building in Rorschach (1912), the Maggazini Generali warehouse in Chiasso (1924), the aqueduct near Chatelard (1925), the bridge over the Valtschielbach (1925), Salginatobel Bridge (1930), Spital Bridge (1931), the bridges over the Bohlbach and the Rossgraben Bridge (all 1932), the bridge over the Schwandbach and the Thur Bridge near Felsegg (both 1933), the footbridge over the River Toess in Winterthur (1934) and the Arvebrücke near Geneva (1935). Shooting took place in April 1996.
The complex simplicity and elegance of the load-bearing structures set new aesthetic standards the world over. However, his rejection of massive construction methods and his reduction of forms to the essential lines of structural strength provoked mistrust among building authorities and led them to impose absurd conditions. His pioneering experiments can be found in out-of-the-way valleys of small cantons which gave him a free reign for his design. More on the film can be found here.