In celebration of the 34th Annual Arthur Ross Awards, the ICAA presented a special symposium and cocktail reception on Sunday, May 3rd featuring the winners of this year’s Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition.
The evening included a round table discussion and fascinating question and answer session with Robert Adam of ADAM Architecture (winner of the Architecture category); Elizabeth Moule and Stefanos Polyzoides of Moule & Polyzoides (winner of the Community Design/Civic Design/City Planning category); James Ivory (winner of the Fine Arts category); Samuel and Elizabeth White (winners of the Writing/Editing category); and Leon Krier (winner of the Board of Director’s Honor).
The discussion and reception took place at the offices of Robert A.M Stern Architects, who generously hosted the symposium in their stunning offices on West 34th Street. With an inspirational view of the sunset over the Hudson River as a backdrop, guests enjoyed cocktails and conversation as they discussed the creative work of the following evening’s honorees.
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art was pleased to host a class visit from Tuskegee University’s Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science. Professor Thomas Kaufmann, ICAA Fellow Emeritus and recipient of a Certificate in Classical Architecture, brought eleven of his students to the ICAA as part of a tour of New York and its prominent traditional architecture firms. The students received a tour of the Henry Hope Reed Library and the new Cast Hall. The ICAA is honored to be part of the students’ trip to New York and would like to extend a special thank you to Professor Thomas Kaufmann for bringing his students.
To arrange a class visit to the ICAA please contact email@example.com.
Peter’s Reflections A monthly column by ICAA President, Peter Lyden
As ICAA Board Member Gary Brewer stated at our recent Roman & Williams lecture, “I look to movies for inspiration in architecture and interiors as much as I look to architects.” This intersection between film and architecture is a fascinating subject, which the ICAA will be exploring in the upcoming year.
As you may know, James Ivory and Merchant & Ivory Productions will be receiving an Arthur Ross Award at our May 4th ceremony. James’s work has had an immense impact on me and many of our own ICAA family members as you will see below. Also this coming fall, we are excited by the prospect of creating a new lecture series about film and architecture. Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer of Roman and Williams, with their incredible experience with set and production design, will partner with James Ivory to help develop this series.
The best part of my job is working with the amazing talent from the ICAA community. Therefore, when thinking about this topic, I turned to some of our members for their insight. For some, one film stood out as their greatest source of cinematic inspiration, while others had a roster of wide-ranging films that have influenced them in various ways, and for many, these films have directly impacted their own design work.
Interestingly, Gary Brewer referenced Jacques Tati’s Playtime as helping confirm his commitment to classicism by “underscoring his initial sense that modernism was devoid of cultural meaning, and sometimes bordered on the absurd.”
Not surprisingly, our members also pay close attention to historical accuracy. David Hathcock noted that in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, “Lyme Park is used as the Pemberley exteriors while Sudbury Hall is used for the Pemberley interiors. This is interesting to me. Many of these period films swap the exteriors and interiors willy nilly. As an architect this bothers me. But, I can understand the filmmakers wanting to reveal the more palatial look of Lyme Park’s exterior, while the interiors of Sudbury Hall are dripping in heavy plaster and wood carvings, very Grinling Gibbons-esque.”
Leslie-Jon Vickery was deeply inspired by Out of Africa, in which production designer Stephen Grimes took great pains to maintain the historical accuracy of the sets. As Leslie described, “the interiors for Blixen’s residence were re-created from photographs and drawings of the original home, with set designers researching and reclaiming many of the original pieces from the farm that were sold off when the writer left Africa in the early 1930’s.”
When asked about whether a project had been influenced by a specific film, Board Member Alexa Hampton replied, “The rooms on film to which people seem most attached aren’t in the great magnificent houses which display grand design gestures; but, rather, the quieter, more attainable interiors…In this respect, no one has had more of an impact on design through the medium of film than Nancy Meyers. It’s Complicated, The Holiday, and Something’s Gotta Give are the films most referenced by my clients.” She also added, “some of the worst interiors have had a great impact, too. If someone wants me to reference Miss Havisham’s dining room from the perfect 1940’s David Lean adaptation of Great Expectations or if they ask me to copy a detail from Tony Montana’s Miami house in Scarface, I know this: I need to RUN!”
Still from the film Persuasion
ICAA Board Member Andrew Skurman explained, “Roger Michell’s 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1817 novel Persuasion sparked my interest in Regency interiors and the work of the architect, art collector, and world traveler Thomas Hope … Around the time the film was released, I was commissioned to design an apartment high above Nob Hill. Inspired by the Thomas Hope room in Bath, that I was swept away by in the film, I decided to use white lacquered walls and white glass floors, for their ethereal qualities, to give the apartment a sense of calm, serenity, and elegance. Every surface and finish was precise yet luxurious and superbly crafted.”
The Pendersleigh House from the Merchant & Ivory film Maurice (filmed at Wilbury Park)
While I wish I could share all of the fascinating replies that our members shared, as they are a testament to the broad-ranging perspectives and boundless creativity that exist in our community, I will finish with a list of all the films that were mentioned as having provided inspiration. I hope this list will inspire you to watch some new films, be swept away by their beauty, and perhaps even have an impact on your future work. And please, in the comments below, share the films that have influenced your work or your love of architecture, gardens, or interiors. For me, the house Pendersleigh in the Merchant & Ivory film Maurice (filmed at Wilbury Park) is my absolute favorite and served as a model for my own interiors, and I look forward to hearing (and watching) your favorites!
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast
The Holy Innocents
The Royal Tenenbaums
Castle in the Sky
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Sense and Sensibility
Matthew Enquist Amadeus Sense and Sensibility
White Collar (TV show) The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
I am Love
Gods and Monsters
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Elizabeth Graziolo Beneath the Hagia Sophia
Life is Beautiful
Something’s Gotta Give
It Started in Naples
Pride and Prejudice
The Talented Mr. Ripley
I Am Love
Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Merchant & Ivory films
It’s Complicated The Holiday
Something’s Gotta Give
Pride and Prejudice (1995) (This version is better, let’s face it)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Out of Africa
Suddenly Last Summer
The Last Emperor
A Room With a View
La Grande Bellezza
Tous Les Matins du Monde
Hannah and Her Sisters The Third Man
Touch of Evil
Roger Michell’s 1995 film adaptation of Persuasion
Andrew Tullis Barry Lyndon
A Passage to India
The Last Emperor
The films of Peter Greenaway
The films of Merchant & Ivory
The great Thirties designer Cedric Gibbons
The Greek Revival townhouse in the West Village, home to luxury builder, Nicholas S.G. Stern and interior designer Courtney Stern, was the setting for a cocktail event on Thursday, April 9, 2015. The evening celebrated the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s newly formed President’s Council. Recently featured in Architectural Digest, the landmark townhouse designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, renovated by Nick’s firm, Stern Projects, with interiors by Courtney Stern, seemed a perfect venue for the ICAA to celebrate its mission as the nation’s premier organization dedicated to advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts.
The President’s Council is the driving force to raise funds and direct strategy for the ICAA’s multifaceted education programs, which include training the next generation in classical architecture and the allied arts; launching art and architecture programs for public and private high school students; partnering with colleges and universities nationwide to enhance the classical element of their art and architecture programs; and providing valuable training opportunities for students that are not available elsewhere.
During the evening, attendees enjoyed conversation with ICAA President Peter Lyden, Chairman Mark Ferguson, and Board Member Suzanne Santry. Long-time ICAA stalwarts Elizabeth and Sam White were also in attendance.
Guests included Denise Lefrak Calicchio, Judith DiMaio, Christopher Hyland, Christina and Richard Davis, Elizabeth and Jon Kurpis, Julian Peploe, David Sprouls, Carol and Dan Strone, Felicia Taylor, and Harriet Weintraub.
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, in collaboration with the Mississippi State University School of Architecture, presented the Dan and Gemma Camp Workshop in Classical Design on Friday and Saturday March 20–21, 2015. Over eighty architecture students and regional professionals participated.
The Workshop included presentations on the practice of classical design and a tour of Starkville’s Cotton District by its founder and developer Dan Camp.
Michael Mesko and Marty Brandwein gave an overview of the classical language and guided participants through the drawing of a classical order. Dan Osborne, of Historical Concepts, and Clay Hayles, of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, presented on the use of historical precedent in contemporary design through a series of project case studies. Mike Watkins extended the discussion to the scale of the city, introducing concepts and components of traditional urbanism and their application in the design of new places. The walking tour of the Cotton District neighborhood provided an opportunity to see many of these elements and design strategies adapted to a unique local context.
The program was made possible by an endowed gift from Dan and Gemma Camp as well as generous gifts from Briar and Michelle Jones and Duncan-Williams Inc. Investment Bankers. The ICAA is deeply grateful to Tracy Ward, Mississippi Committee Chairman (ICAA Southeast Chapter), Michael Berk, Director of the MSU School of Architecture, and Dan Camp for their commitment and support of this initiative. News of the program may be found on the MSU website.
For many millennia, Italy has served an epicenter of inspiration. Italy is a vital creative and educational resource, especially for the ICAA community. When ICAA Chicago-Midwest Chapter Board members Gary Ainge, Chris Derrick, and Elizabeth McNicholas were asked about their favorite places and spaces, it’s no surprise that all three favored Italian sites.
Gary Ainge: On a recent trip to Italy my wife and I had the opportunity to take in the sun setting over Florence from the terrace adjacent to San Miniato and from Piazzale Michelangiolo. Although ever-changing and fleeting, the sunlight accentuated all the beautiful aspects of the city in an awe-inspiring performance that left us both with indelible memories of the time and place.
Sun setting over Florence
Sun setting over Florence
Chris Derrick: The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa – This sculpture by Lorenzo Bernini is the most beautiful work of art I have ever seen. The sculpture’s setting in the aedicule of the Santa Maria della Vittoria is a wonderful stage for what I consider to be the pinnacle of the Classical Arts. Not only are the figures flawless, but Bernini has breathed life into them. His choice of subject has made this masterpiece all the more inspiring. It is as if Bernini has caught St. Theresa of Avila at the very point where the bitter pain of God’s love is piercing her heart and she realizes nothing less will ever satisfy her. This composition speaks to me of beauty, hope, and virtue and characterizes all that art and architecture has the potential to become.
The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa
Elizabeth McNicholas: To explore Milan’s Cimitero Monumentale for an afternoon is to take just about as stimulating a “Grand Tour” as one could ever hope to orchestrate. While it’s easy – particularly for an architect – to be overwhelmed by the beauty and whimsy of the monuments’ designs, one also finds oneself powerless against the purposeful efforts of past sculptural masters to manipulate your emotions through their art. Whatever inner balance (or imbalance) there is of sorrow and delight will be re-calibrated at every turn: a truly sublime experience.