More on your responses to '10 Buildings That Changed America'

April 13, 2013 |
Rob Cassidy

Thanks for your thoughtful responses to the post about the upcoming PBS special, ’10 Buildings That Changed America,’ hosted by Geoffrey Baer, in which I took exception (unfairly, I admit, not having see the show) to some of his choices, to wit:

1. Virginia State Capitol, Richmond. Thomas Jefferson, 1788. 2. Trinity Church, Boston. H.H. Richardson, 1877. 3. Wainwright Building, St. Louis. Louis Sullivan, 1891. 4. Robie House, Chicago. Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910. 5. Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, Michigan. Albert Kahn, 1910. 6. Southdale Center, Edina, Minnesota. Victor Gruen, 1956. 7. Seagram Building, New York. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1958. 8. Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, Virginia. Eero Saarinen, 1962. 9. Vanna Venturi House, Philadelphia. Robert Venturi, 1964. 10. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles. Frank Gehry, 2003.

A number of you posted online, but here are some others that came directly to me via email ([email protected]):

I'd leave off Robie House, Chicago. I wouldn't include any Frank Lloyd Wright work but that’s just me. I'd replace it with Greene & Greene's Gamble House (Pasadena, Calif.): it had a much bigger influence on residential architecture. Terry Turney Pacific Post & Beam San Luis Obispo, Calif.

For me, Fallingwater is a no-brainer for the list, surely the best-known residential building in the U.S. … and one that changed people’s perception of contemporary architecture. Did Seagram change things more than Lever House? I don’t think so. I would argue that Monticello is more worthy than the Virginia State Capitol, but I’m quibbling. Daniel B. Barnum, FAIA HBL Architects Houston

I am getting sick of lists, period. Enough already! There could be an unquantified list of buildings that changed America. Jerry Kler, AIA Jerry Kler Architects Sausalito, Calif.

Not sure how a building changes America, but there is certainly more at work than just the building itself: how a building is used or an event that transpires at a particular location certainly can have a major effect. What about 1 and 2 World Trade Center? Or the Alamo? Or Ellis Island? Or the [Pearl Harbor] Navy Base in Honolulu, not to mention the nuclear research facilities at Los Alamos, N.M., or Hanford, Wash. And Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Theodore Smith CCS, NCARB Moser Pilon Nelson Architects Weathersfield, Conn.

Wright's Larkin Administration Building (Buffalo, N.Y.) significantly changed office workspaces. I'm not a Frank Lloyd Wright worshipper, but I was quite impressed with the Larkin building, more so than with most of his other work. The Larkin Building made a significant contribution to improvement of the office. I find that more important than the Venturi house, which is just another example of architecture for architects that has no relevance for anyone else. Sheldon Wolfe RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC BWBR St Paul, Minn.

Like music, a building can result as a "one-hit wonder," whereas an artist with longevity might have provided greater influence. My list would include FLW's Larkin Building and whatever was the first tall elevator building [editor’s note: arguably 488 Broadway, New York, 1857]. Robert W. Carr Robert W. Carr, Architects Durham, N.C.

Good topic for an argument. Couple of contenders: Farnsworth House (Philip Johnson), Houston Astrodome. Don Marquardt Black Dog Architects Abington, Pa.

I would definitely list the World Trade Center, not so much for the architecture, but as the symbol of American strength and wealth that was targeted and became the catalyst for a war. Robert Miller, AIA, PQP, LEED AP BD+C HKS Northville, Mich.

How about the Geodesic Dome by Bucky Fuller? Jacob A. Plicque This program is basically misnamed. These are buildings that changed architecture, not necessarily America. [How about] early 20th-century hospital planning, California platform framing, the Cape Cod house (American model becomes Levittown), the motel, the White House, the soddy, the Conestoga wagon, the train station? And the list goes on. Chris Fasoldt

The show airs May 12 on PBS, and if it is like Geoffrey Baer’s past work on Chicago architecture, it will be entertaining, enlightening, and – as we’ve seen – controversial.

Rob Cassidy | Building Team Blog

Robert Cassidy is Executive Editor of Building Design+Construction. A city planner, he is the author of several books, including “Livable Cities,” and was a co-founder of the Friends of the Chicago River.

Related Blogs

Lexus RX 450h self-driving car. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

May 09, 2016 | AEC Tech | Building Team Blog

Despite popular belief, the country is not in a great age of technological and digital innovation, at least...

Deep Learning + AI: How machines are becoming master problem solvers

The world’s top Go player Lee Sedol puts the first stone against Google’s artificial intelligence program AlphaGo during the third match of the Google DeepMind Challenge match in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Reuters/Google/Yonhap

March 31, 2016 | AEC Tech | Building Team Blog

Besides revolutionary changes to the world’s workforce, artificial intelligence could have a profound impac...

Yotel, New York City. Photo: JasonParis, flickr creative commons

March 09, 2016 | Hotel Facilities | Building Team BlogRobert Cassidy, Executive Editor

Hotels are going for a new minimalist look to attract younger guests, but some older business travelers don...

Is the booming freelance economy a threat to AEC firms?

Photo: Pixabay

February 24, 2016 | Architects | Building Team Blog

By shifting the work (and revenue) to freelancers, “platform capitalism” startups have taken considerable m...

How the Fourth Industrial Revolution will alter the globe’s workforce

Photo: Pixabay

January 26, 2016 | BIM and Information Technology | Building Team Blog

The next great technological metamorphosis will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before, due to...

Potential vs. credential: How men and women differ in career progress

Courtesy Pixabay

January 05, 2016 | Architects | Building Team BlogDavid Barista, Editorial Director

Recent research suggests that women face yet another career impediment: the confidence gap.

Meet the world’s next great construction superpower

Photo: Wili Hybrid via Wikimedia Commons 

December 23, 2015 | Industry Research | Building Team Blog

There’s a new world construction hotbed coming down the pike (more specifically, the Mumbai Nashik Expressw...

Photo: Deskmag via Wikimedia Commons

December 02, 2015 | Building Team Blog

Researchers at Harvard, SUNY-Upstate Medical Center, and Syracuse University conduct a controlled experimen...

Leadership or limbo: Moving to building green’s next level

3 PNC Plaza. Photo: John Marino via flickr Creative Commons

November 29, 2015 | Green | Building Team Blog

After interviewing more than 50 AEC firms for our Greenbuild Report in the November issue, I wonder if the...

Benjamin Kasdan, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, Design Director/Senior Designer with KTGY Architecture + Planning, Irvine, Calif. (Class of 2015 40 Under 40 winner)

October 26, 2015 | Building Team Blog

Are you an AEC superstar? The 2016 "40 Under 40" competition is now open for entries. Here are some helpful...

Add new comment

Your Information
Your Comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.
Overlay Init