|A conceptual drawing by Frank Lloyd Wright for an opera house in Baghdad, Iraq, 1957.
Curated by William J. Dane
Second Floor Gallery
April 20 through September 2001
An exhibition entitled "Architecture Observed" is on view in at The Newark Public Library through September 2001. The dual purposes of this project
were to illustrate some of the world's more memorable buildings crossing over
time periods and national borders while calling attention to some of The Library's
superb materials relating to the history of "the mother of all the fine arts",
as architecture is frequently termed in academic art circles.
| The books, prints
and large posters in the total gathering include several hundred items edited
to show their visual brilliance, such as Garnier's Paris Opera House, the nostalgic
appeal of the work of architects from earlier eras, such as the villas of Palladio
or imaginative prints of ruins by Piranesi, and the importance of building projects
in the world of today as exemplified in the restoration of New York City's Tweed
Courthouse or Newark's Performing Arts Center of contemporary times.
|An interior sketch of the
New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Designed by Barton Myers, completed in 1996.
Palace of Fontainebleau, France.
|The eternal appeal of the French royal palaces of Versailles
and Fontainebleau, which are models of extravagance and glitter, is noted
in color views of both amazing complexes. In 1808, Napoleon I ordered the
readornment of royal rooms at Fontainebleau so that his imposing court could
celebrate his military victories and house 12,000 people.
Notice is also made of the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Florida, which is
now reassessed for its trendy features on the occasion of the death in February
of the architect, Morris Lapidus. His work, once scorned as "over the top kitsch"
is now considered as pioneering efforts accepted and copied in spirit for resort
buildings in the 21st century.
Of particular interest are groupings of architectural drawings in color by
Frank Lloyd Wright. These superb facsimiles show Wright's great skill as a
draftsman and his unique and highly original building concepts. These stunning,
fascinating drawings include building projects, which were actually constructed,
as well as many that exist only as drawings. These truly memorable records of
America's leading 20th century architect are copyrighted by The Frank Lloyd
Wright Foundation which gives them the stamp of authenticity.
| Frank Lloyd Wright
drawing for the prototype of an
urban townhouse for The Richards Company, Milwaukee,
| Manhattan's Guggenheim
Museum by Wright is saluted along with the tremendously successful Guggenheim
Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the amazing new Guggenheim to be built out over
New York's East River in lower Manhattan. Both of these projects are by the
contemporary Canadian-born architect, Frank Gehry whose use of new materials,
such as titanium, puts the "new" in contemporary designs.
Guggenheim Museum in New York's East
River. By Frank O. Gehry and Associates.
view of Frank Lloyd Wright's celebrated "Fallingwater."
The Library's extensive display takes on a world-view and features the amazing
building and city planning activity in Berlin, Germany which is once again a
capitol city and thus, the center for myriad governmental departments and agencies
plus the embassies of other nations. Billions of dollars are currently being
spent on new construction and these developments are covered in visual and book
formats. Great works from other times and far-away places include Art Nouveau
details by Belgian architect, Victor Horta; the legendary Spanish architect,
Antoni Gaudi, whose greatest work, the Sacrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona,
is an on-going project of absorbing international interest; and the Italian
architect, Andrea Palladio, from Vincenza in the Veneto Region. His concept
of central villas with connecting outbuildings influenced architects for centuries
including America's Thomas Jefferson and the ultimate disposition of Mount Vernon,
the beloved home of George Washington in Virginia.
|Towers on the facade
of the Cathedral Sacrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi in
As all the materials are from The Library's collections, notable books are
featured throughout the gallery spaces. These include plates from Diderot's
"Encyclopedia" published in France in the late 18th century. It is regarded
as the most important publication of the century in which it appeared. The Library's
immaculate copy was purchased from a Swiss monastery that fortunately owned
two copies of the multi-volume set and the illustrations under "Architecture"
were influential in their time and are notable even today. Of great value to
preservationists and architectural historians are mid-19th century American
books such as "Woodward's National Architect with 1,000 Original Designs, Plans
and Details, (N.Y., 1869); "Cottage Residences" by A.J. Downing (New York, 1873);
and Palliser's "New Cottage Homes and Details", (New York, 1887). These liberally
illustrated books and others of proven vintage value are on display along with
essential dictionaries and legendary reference books in the discipline such
as Sir Banister Fletcher's "A History of Architecture" replete with clear, detailed
plans and scale drawings and now in its much admired 19th edition which appeared
|A Victorian cottage, from
"Cottage Residences" by A. J. Downing,
|Design for a $4,000 cottage
from "Woodward's National Architect,"
The exhibit is curated by William J. Dane, Supervising Librarian of Special
Collections at The Newark Public Library, and has been carefully gathered and
presented in response to a dramatic rise in interest in old buildings due in
part to the jet age travel industry and to current building trends as regularly
covered by the media and especially by "The New York Times" and local construction
interests all across the U.S.A. plus architectural preservationists and students
and faculty of architectural schools such as the highly respected School of
Architecture at The New Jersey Institute of Technology in the heart of Newark's
expanding academic community. Pop-ups featuring buildings and books for children
covering architectural appreciation were especially included to appeal to young
visitors. Rockefeller Center, the development of skyscrapers and the remarkable
development of interest in the preservation of old buildings are noted in some
depth in this lively, colorful and eclectic coverage of the endlessly fascinating
growth of everybody's built environment.
|The Hudson Terminal
Building, Manhattan, by Clinton & Russell,
completed in 1896.
|Office, retail, and
residential buildings for Daimler-Benz,
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin Germany. Designed
by The Rogers Partnership, London.
The exhibition is open to the public completely free of charge during regular
Newark Public Library hours which are Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.
to 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed
on Sundays. For additional details or general questions, please call the curator
at (973) 733-7745. The Central Library Building is located at 5 Washington Street
just off Broad Street on the west side of Washington Park in downtown Newark.