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US Modernist Radio - Architecture You Love

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Join Mr. Modernism George Smart and crew as they talk and laugh with people who enjoy, own, create, dream about, preserve, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world. USModernist Radio is backed by the nonprofit educational archive USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential architecture in America.

Join Mr. Modernism George Smart and crew as they talk and laugh with people who enjoy, own, create, dream about, preserve, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world. USModernist Radio is backed by the nonprofit educational archive USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential architecture in America.


United States


Join Mr. Modernism George Smart and crew as they talk and laugh with people who enjoy, own, create, dream about, preserve, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world. USModernist Radio is backed by the nonprofit educational archive USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential architecture in America.




#179/Canberra's Parliament House: Architect Hal Guida + Secret City's Felicity Abbott

In 1978, Australia decided to replace their old Congress, or Parliament House, in the capitol of Canberra. The competition drew 329 entries from 29 countries. The winner was a Modernist design from the Philadelphia firm of Mitchell/Giurgola. Today we meet project architect Hal Guida, plus Felicity Abbott, the production designer for Secret City, a Australian TV political thriller starring Anna Torv filmed extensively at Parliament House.


#178/No More Federal Modernism: Classicist Catesby Leigh + Musical Guest Lucy Woodward

Some Classicists are so passionate about Modernist architecture they create a well-financed, highly effective organization to point out the flaws of Modernist buildings and actively discourage new Modernist projects. Every Classicist we talk to mentions today’s guest, Catesby Leigh, who has written about architecture for over 30 years. He co-founded the National Classical Art Society, headed by past podcast guest Justin Shubow, which advocates the classical tradition in Federal buildings and...


#177/Mies, Edith, and the Farnsworth House: Alex Beam + Scott Mehaffey + A Few Minutes with Frank Harmon

Architect Maria Ludwig Michael Mies changed his name. He added his mother's maiden name Rohe and the Dutch “van der” to become, drum roll please, Mies van der Rohe. Most of his fans just refer to him as Mies – like Cher or Moby or Beyonce, he’s still one of the most famous architects in the world some 50 years after his death. Today we talk about his greatest house – the Farnsworth House – with Alex Beam, author of the new book Broken Glass: Mies Van Der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth, and the Fight...


#176/Where No Furniture Has Gone Before: Dan Chavkin + Brian McGuire plus Special Musical Guest Jennifer Warnes

In 1966 the first episode of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek launched a franchise still going strong over fifty years later. Sequels, movies, toys, fan films - there’s just no end to Star Trek’s bright, progressive, optimistic future where Earth has transcended national and international politics. Something architecture fans may have missed, and we certainly did, is that Star Trek adapted midcentury Modern furniture for the set design, from the Bridge to the Conference Room, to the alien...


#175/Festivus and Gene Leedy: Celebrating with Saffie Leedy Farris + Max Strang + Co-host Erin Sterling Lewis plus Musical Guest Laura Ridgeway

Ho Ho Ho, get out the Festivus Pole, it’s our holiday show spectacular celebrating with returning guest co-host Erin Sterling Lewis. If your world is Florida, Gene Leedy was one of the masters of Modernism in the 20th century, bursting on the scene as one of Architectural Record's most successful young architects of 1965. With us is his daughter Saffie Leedy Ferris and architect Max Strang of Miami, who grew up in a Gene Leedy house, and worked for Gene Leedy. Later on, special musical guest...


#174/New Modernist Developers + Holiday Gifts + Frank Harmon

Mack Paul is a Raleigh real estate attorney who focuses on land use and public policy. He owns a sweet Modernist house designed by Brian Shawcroft, and he's an investor in several new Raleigh Modernist projects. Charlie Miller is a real estate broker in Charlotte who expanded to building exciting new Modernist houses – lots of them. We’ll also check in with Matt Bliss and Greg Kelly for unique Modernist gifts to think about for the holidays, Later on a few minutes with Frank Harmon, reading...


#173/Triangle Modern Architecture: Victoria Ballard Bell

Victoria Ballard Bell's new book, Triangle Modern Architecture, documents the rich history and unique cultural significance of the Triangle region in North Carolina, one of the most important on the national map of modern design. Over the last 75 years, the Modernist architecture in this area has grown to creatively combine innovation and technology with the area’s history, culture, unique landscape, and built context. Includes profiles on midcentury architects including Harwell Hamilton...


#172/Grandpa Walter Gropius: Erika Pfammatter + Music by Tom Lehrer

Along with Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, LeCorbusier, and Marcel Breuer, architect Walter Gropius was one of the most influential Modernist architects of the 20th century. Gropius founded the heralded Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, but the rise of Hitler in the 1930's drove Gropius first to London working for Maxwell Fry, and later to Cambridge MA where he taught at Harvard and MIT. His post-war houses with Marcel Breuer were a distinctive combination of unusual geometries that people...


#171/Sumptuous Modernist Buffet: Jane King Hession

For your audible dining pleasure, today is a sumptuous Modernist buffet featuring Ralph Rapson, Elizabeth Schue Close, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Howe, and save room for dessert, a hazelnut Bjarke Ingels topped with marscapone. Yum! Jane King Hession is a Minneapolis-based architectural writer and historian specializing in midcentury modernism. With degrees in English and Art History and architecture, she is past president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the Minneapolis...


#170/Battling Wichita City Hall: Preservationist Celeste Racette + ADFF's Kyle Bergman

If your world is Wichita, Kansas, the birthplace of Pizza Hut, White Castle and Kirstie Alley, there’s no more controversial building right now than Century II, a performing arts space built by John Hickman, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, that’s under siege from new development. Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center was built to commemorate Wichita’s 1970 centennial. Designed by architect John Hickman, the very Modernist Century II was built provide a large and attractive civic...


#169/Black Architects Matter: Danita Brown + Janna Ireland

Architecture in America has been a white-dominated profession and that has been changing slowly. Very slowly. Guess what year the first Black woman got an architecture license in our fine state of North Carolina. 1950? 1970? It was 1990. Today we welcome author and photographer Janna Ireland with a new book out on the most famous Black architect of the 20th century, Paul Williams, plus that pioneering architect from 1990, Danita Brown.


#168/Calling Dr. Downtown: Classicist David Brussat + Musical Guests Peter Lamb and the Wolves

Like the Dos Equis commercials, we don’t always feature Classicists, but when we do, we go for the best. Today we welcome one of America’s foremost classical architecture advocates, the Dr. Downtown of Providence Rhode Island, journalist David Brussat. Such a cool nickname. David runs the blog Architecture Here and There and wrote for 30 years for the Providence Journal. He has received the Oscar of Classicism, the Arthur Ross Award from the Institute for Classical Architecture. That’s a big...


#167/Modernism Week Wrapup: Architect Takashi Yanai + Car Culture Expert Gabrielle Esperdy

Sniff, sniff! Where's the Kleenex? It is such a day of mourning, because from our wonderful trip to 2020’s Modernism Week, today we share the last two interviews. What an amazing run: 18 shows, over 50 brilliant, interesting guests, all the frittatas and bacon we could eat every morning, and all the martinis we could responsibly drink in the evenings. We've saved some of the best for last: our special closing guests are architect Takashi Yanai and car culture expert, author Gabrielle Esperdy.


#166/Architecture Podcast Hosts Della Hansmann + Catherine Meng

In our ongoing quest to seek out and visit other architecture podcasts, we’ve had wonderful conversations with hosts Frances Anderton, Donna Sink, Steve Chung, Josh Cooperman, David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, Bob Borson, and Debbie Millman. And hey, Roman Mars, you're next - so how about getting 99% visible with us? Today on the show, two talented architect podcasters from different ends of the country: Della Hansmann of the Mid Mod Remodel Podcast in Wisconsin and Catherine Meng of the...


#165/Making it Happen at Modernism Week: Board Members Maureen Erbe + Anne Rowe + Alan Hess, plus Sunnyland's Janice Lyle

Modernism Week in Palm Springs is no weekend tabletop show at the Elks lodge. It takes a huge village, a rather attractive Modernist village with perfect weather, to create an event that sells over 120,000 tickets across 11 days in February. There are hundreds of volunteers, and the week after it closes down, they start planning for the next year. George Smart talks some of the people who make it happen – Modernism Week board members Maureen Erbe, Anne Rowe, and Alan Hess, plus Janice Lyle,...


#164/Birth of the Cool: Elizabeth Armstrong + Michael Boyd + Brad Dunning + Trevor O’Donnell + Hilary Lewis

One of the most popular lectures at Modernism Week 2020 was Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury, looking at what influenced architecture, design, art, film, and West Coast jazz in the 1950s. These forms became shorthand for beauty, sophistication, and confident urban living. Today host George Smart interviews three of the five panelists from Birth of the Cool: Elizabeth Armstrong, former Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum and co-author of the book Birth...


#163/The Architect's Daughter: Elizabeth Garber, Author of Implosion

Woodward “Woodie” Garber was a Modernist architect whose name you would know if you lived in Cincinnati. Garber was called “a controversial visionary whose advocacy of an uncluttered openness in design grows more influential every year.” He was a brilliant independent Modernist who wanted things his own way, daring even to refer to Frank Lloyd Wright as Frank Lloyd Wrong. Architecture was not the only controversy in his life. Being married to him, or being his child, was to experience the...


#162/Modernist Fun: Charles Phoenix + Martin Knowles

Charles Phoenix is the ambassador of mid-century Americana. From his wildly popular slideshows and lectures on life in the 1950’s to his sold-out double decker bus tours of Palm Springs, he’s a crowd fave in Palm Springs. Charles sits down with host George Smart poolside at Modernism Week 2020 and later, George visits with the king of the Viewmaster, that iconic plastic toy we love with the circular reels. Martin Knowles spoke at Modernism Week on View-Master: Keeping It Reel in 3-D for 80...


#161/Modernism Media: Melissa Daniels + Elizabeth Daniels + Pauline O'Connor

Modernism Week attracts reporters and photographers from all over the world. They make the flight or the drive into Palm Springs to cover the architecture, the art, the lectures, the occasional celebrity, and most of all, the lifestyle that we immerse ourselves into all 11 days. Plus, there’s the huge economic impact of Modernism Week on the economy, making it *rain* on those Palm Springs butterfly roofs. From Modernism Week 2020, host George Smart talks with Desert Sun business reporter...


#160/Richard Neutra: Raymond Neutra + Catherine Meyler + Ken Topper

One of the most revered names in Modernist architecture is Richard Neutra. From coast to coast, but mostly in California, Neutra’s many Modernist houses set the standard for open, comfortable living – bringing the outside in, reducing clutter, and maximizing every square foot of a house and its usually beautiful site. Host George Smart talks with Richard Neutra’s son, Raymond Neutra, about architecture, the passing of his brother Dion, and the future of Neutra Institute. Next, Catherine...