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MICHAEL H. MARSH - APPLICATION FOR THE POST GRADUATE WILLIAM KINNE FELLOWS TRAVELLING PRIZE 2012

‘TOO MUCH IS NEVER ENOUGH’ REDISCOVERING MORRIS LAPIDUS AND THE ‘WEIGHTLESSNESS OF DELIGHT’

“If you like ice cream, why stop at one scoop? Have two, have three. Too much is never enough.” -Morris Lapidus

‘THE WEIGHTLESSNESS OF DELIGHT’ The three images below beautifully illustrate Morris Lapidus‘s progression from an overwrought graduate of Columbia University’s School of Architecture, employed by the Beaux Arts firm of Warren and Wetmore in 1926 to his seemingly opposing extreme as the ‘father’ of Miami’s playfully buoyant Mid Century Modernism in the 1950s and ‘60s. As Deborah Desilets describes in her recent monograph, Lapidus “enthusiastically embraced modernism’s formal freedom and sensuality while rejecting its more rigid principles, producing a unique style that seamlessly blends baroque fantasia with modernism’s clean lines and flowing spaces.”[A] As the post-war American public entered their ‘age

FIGURE 1

1: 1926: LAPIDUS’S FIRST PROFESSIONAL SKETCH DEPICTING A CARVED GARAGE ORNAMENT FOR THE WILLIAM K. VANDERBILT MANSION ON LONG ISLAND. THE SPANISH STYLE DESIGN PLAYFULLY INCORPORATED THE RADIATOR GRILL FROM A PACKARD AUTOMOBILE. Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996. p.67.

of exuberance’ Lapidus’s resorts and hotels throughout Miami Beach and the surrounding area became a symbol of the new American optimism. Automobiles had became increasingly affordable for the middle class and gasoline was plentiful. Many veterans who had trained as recruits in Miami Beach decided to return to vacation with their new brides. In 1959 the Cuban Revolution ended, prompting a mass immigration to the United States, predominantly to Miami. If Miami’s carefree visitors had declared a ‘ground zero’ in the ‘50s and ’60s it would surely have been Lapidus’s Fontainebleau Resort. Marilyn Monroe, JFK, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley all frequently vacationed here. In 1964 the new James Bond movie “Goldfinger” opened with an aerial fly through into the pool of the Fontainebleau. But Lapidus‘s effervescent disregard for much of what his profession held sacred (as evidenced by his irreverent take on the famous Mies-ism quoted above) was not without cost. After having ignored

FIGURE 2

FIGURE 3

2: 1948: LAPIDUS’S DESIGN FOR BOND CLOTHING STORE, CHICAGO. Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996. p.139. 3: 1953: LAPIDUS’S DILIDO HOTEL, MIAMI BEACH. Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010. [A]: Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010.

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FIGURE 5a

his contributions for several years, the architectural establishment began to wage increasingly aggressive attacks on Lapidus for his blatant disregard of the doctine of International Modernism. The New York Times dismissed his work as “superschlock,” Art in America called it “pornography of comfort.”[B] As Gwendolyn Wright has described: “he was a pariah... seen as unworthy to be called an architect.”

posterity?”.. And I had all of my drawings, 50 years of drawings, dumped into a truck, and I sent them to the incinerator and said, “I’m done with the profession.”” In recent years Miami Mid Century Modernism (now dubbed ‘MiMo’) has had tremendous resurgence. While preservationists are working hard to preserve the five remaining Lapidus resorts in Miami

The culmination of these attacks was undoubtedly the 1963 AIA national convention. During the opening session the four panelists repeatedly insulted Lapidus and his Americana Hotel, where the event was being held. Robert Anschon threw the final blow when he called the resort “incompentent, uncomfortable, and a monument to vulgarity.” Lapidus mustered the strength to argue for the value of emotional satisfaction, human comfort and a sense of joy, asking “...isn’t that a part of quality architecture also?”[C] Unfortunately for architects and historians alike, this public humiliation would soon prove to be more than Lapidus could take: “They couldn’t think of enough bad things to say about me... The deep hurt I felt being rejected by my own profession made me feel, ”Why save it for FIGURE 5b

4: (OPPOSITE) 1955: LAPIDUS’S EDEN ROC HOTEL, MIAMI BEACH. Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010. 5a: A PRESENT-DAY AERIAL VIEW OF MIAMI BEACH AND TWO OF LAPIDUS’S MOST FAMOUS RESORTS. THE ARROW IN THE CENTER INDICATES HIS FONTAINEBLEAU HOTEL OF 1954, AND THE ARROW ON THE RIGHT INDCATES THE NEIGHBORING EDEN ROC HOTEL OF 1955. THE SMALL ARROW ON THE LEFT INDICATES THE APPROXIMATE LOCATION OF THE 1953 DILIDO HOTEL.

Aerial Miami Beach. Photograph. Diamonde.de. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.diamonde.de/hotel_images/Fontainebleau_Miami_Beach/inde x.php?directory=Pictures>. 5b: A MAP INDICATING BOUNDARIES OF PROPOSED MORRIS LAPIDUS MID 20th C HISTORIC DISTRICT, Courtesy of the City of Miami Beach Planning Department. <http://www.mimoonthebeach.com/distric_morris.html>.

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unfortunately, this important part of modernism’s legacy is often overlooked by students and historians of architecture, largely because the ma jority of original drawings and archive materials were lost. Which leads to my reseach proposal... THE RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL This research proposal seeks to add a crucial new analytical methodology to the growing but still largely inadequate body of material available to researchers on one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. To date, the revival of interest in ‘MiMo’ architecture has struggled to capture a level of passion and dedication similar to that of its contemporaneous California Modernism - as embodied in Elizabeth A.T. Smith‘s ‘tour de force’ Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program. Surveys conducted to date of these important structures are cursory at best. While Desilets new monograph beautifully reveals the essence a handful

of Lapidus’s 1200 buildings (which included 250 hotels worldwide) through archival photography, no architectural drawings are shown to illustrate the complexity and novelty of the designs. While the bulk of Lapidus’s drawings and archives were destroyed by his own hand in 1984, he retained a core collection of photographs, conceptual drawings, and manuscript drafts, which after his death in 2001 were acquired by Syracuse Library and are now housed in their Special Collections. Basic plans and elevations of his structures surely exist, as many of the remaining resorts have recently undergone extensive restorations. Using the latest 3D modelling and analysis software and working alongside Miami architects, preservationists and planning department representatives, I propose to ‘set the bar’ for future documentation of Miami Modernist buildings through careful sectional analyses of three of Lapidus‘s remaining resorts: the 1953 Dilido Hotel, the 1954 Fontainebleu Hotel, and the 1955 Eden Roc Hotel.

FIGURE 6

[B]: Josephson, Mary, “Lapidus’ Pornography of Comfort,” Art in America, 59, March 1979, 108-109. [C]: Shulman, Allan. "Miami Grows Up." Architectural Record (2010). <http:// archrecord.construction.com/features/miami/1006Miami_grows_up-1.asp> 6:

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A

DRAMATIC

STAIRCASE

AT

LAPIDUS’

FONTAINEBLEAU

HOTEL

TEMPORARILY EMPOWERS GUESTS AS ‘THE LEADING ACTOR’ IN THE DRAMA OF THE RESPORT. PHOTO COURTESY OF LIFE MAGAZINE, JANUARY 17, 1955 7: (OPPOSITE PAGE) LAPIDUS’S AMERICANA HOTEL OF 1956 - DEMOLISHED IN 2007. Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010.


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“More than anyone else, he was the pioneer for theatrical architecture. What was important, he realized, was how architecture made you feel, rather than just the way it looked. By rejecting the banal “box,” he changed the face of design and had a profound effect on architecture, impacting both avant-garde and populst architecture of today as found in places such as Las Vegas and Disney, and creating spaces that people can truly enjoy.” - Ian Schrager in the Foreword to The Architecture of Joy

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FIGURE 9

FIGURE 10

Examples of my previous sectional perspective analysis work for a range of building typologies are shown on the following spread. These work samples include an investigation of the varying deterioration rates of assembly components in a circa 1800s Bank Barn in northern Virginia, a warehouse building converted to a youth hostel in Long Island City, and existing and proposed conditions for a hutong presently slated for demolition in Shenzhen, China. These images offer the researcher and layman alike a more comprehensive understanding of the complex relationships of plan to section; exterior skin to

interior sequencing; and the building occupant’s relationship to the larger site and context.

8: (OPPOSITE PAGE) A PORTRAIT OF MORRIS LAPIDUS TAKEN IN FRONT OF A CONSTRUCTION SITE FOR ONE OF HIS ‘MIMO’ RESORTS. Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010.

9: LAPIDUS’S PROPOSAL FOR THE OLYMPIC TOWER. Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996. p260.

My research findings would be presented in book format, combining my archival and documentation research from a visit to the Lapidus Collection in Syracuse and various archives and resources in Miami, with several 3D visual analyses that reveal important sequences through these three resorts. I feel strongly that such a presentation will shed valuable ‘new light’ on the contributions of a crucial figure of American modernism.

10: LAPIDUS’S AERIAL PERSPECTIVE RENDERING OF HIS PROPOSAL FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE UPPER WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN. Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996. p260.

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RED PAINTED SURFACE |± 3 YEAR LIFESPAN|

CLAPBOARD WOOD EXTERIOR SKIN |± 30 YEAR LIFESPAN|

STANDING-SEAM METAL ROOFING |± 50 YEAR LIFESPAN|

LUMBER-FRAMED ROOF RAFTERS |± 50 YEAR LIFESPAN|

MORTISE AND TENON TIMBER BENTS |± 100 YEAR LIFESPAN|

TIMBER POSTS AND FLOOR JOISTS |± 80 YEAR LIFESPAN|

LUMBER-FRAMED CLAPBOARD SUPPORT |± 70 YEAR LIFESPAN|

STONE FOUNDATION AND RETAINING WALL |± 200 YEAR LIFESPAN|

FIGURE 11

11: A CUT-AWAY SECTIONAL PERSPECTIVE OF A BANK BARN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA - SUBMITED AS A SAMPLE OF PREVIOUS 3D ANALYSIS WORK BY MICHAEL H. MARSH

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PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE MAY 22: -DEPART NEW YORK CITY TO SYRACUSE MAY 23: -VISIT SYRACUSE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS MAY 24: -DEPART SYRACUSE FOR NEW YORK CITY MAY 26: -DEPART NEW YORK CITY -ARRIVE IN MIAMI -RENT CAR -CHECK INTO HOTEL MAY 27: -MEET WITH LOCAL PRESERVATION LEAGUE MEMBERS TO DISCUSS PROJECT -MEET WITH M.B. DEPT OF PLANNING REPRESENTATIVE TO DISCUSS PROJECT MAY 28: -REVIEW EXISTING DOCUMENTATION AND ARCHIVE MAT’L (PLANS, SECTIONS, ETC.) MAY 29: -DAY 1 OF PHYSICAL SURVEY OF LAPIDUS’S 1953 DILIDO HOTEL MAY 30: -DAY 2 OF DILIDO HOTEL SURVEY JUNE 1: -DAY 1 OF PHYSICAL SURVEY OF LAPIDUS’S 1954 FONTAINEBLEAU HOTEL JUNE 2: -DAY 2 OF FONTAINEBLEAU SURVEY JUNE 3: -DAY 1 OF PHYSICAL SURVEY OF LAPIDUS’S 1955 EDEN ROC HOTEL JUNE 4: -DAY 2 OF EDEN ROC HOTEL SURVEY JUNE 5: -CHECK INTO FONTAINEBLEAU (OPTIONAL) -SURVEY INTERIORS OF FONTAINEBLEAU -WORK ON RESEARCH FINDINGS LAYOUT -(IF POSSIBLE) MEET WITH NBWW ARCHITECTS - (RESPONSIBLE FOR $1.5 BILLION FONTAINEBLEAU RENOVATION OF 2008)

JUNE 6:

-CHECK OUT OF HOTEL -RETURN CAR -DEPART MIAMI -ARRIVE NEW YORK CITY

+/-JUNE 30:

-FINAL ANALYSIS PRODUCT PRESENTED TO GSAPP

BUDGET TRAVEL BY AIR: $140 SYRACUSE + $240 MIAMI = CAR RENTALS: $120 SYRACUSE + $271 MIAMI = LODGING FOR 11 NIGHTS @ $61/NIGHT: OPTIONAL SINGLE NIGHT @ FONTAINEBLEAU: TOTAL:

FIGURE 12

$ 380 $ 391 $ 671 $ 329 $1,771

(LESS $329 WITHOUT FONTAINEBLEAU NIGHT)

CONTACTS -SEAN QUIMBY, DIRECTOR SYRACUSE SPECIAL COLLECTIONS -MIAMI BEACH DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING/ZONING -TERI D’AMICO, CO-FOUNDER ‘MIMO’ PRESERVATION MOVEMENT -NICHOLS, BROSCH, WURST, WOLFE + ASSOC. ARCHITECTS -DEBORAH DESILETS, AUTHOR OF THE ARCHITECTURE OF JOY & BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE LATE MORRIS LAPIDUS FIGURE 13

12: A SECTIONAL PERSPECTIVE OF A FORMER WAREHOUSE CONVERTED TO A YOUTH HOSTEL IN LONG ISLAND CITY - SUBMITED AS A SAMPLE OF PREVIOUS 3D ANALYSIS WORK BY MICHAEL H. MARSH

13: A SECTIONAL PERSPECTIVE AND CONCEPTUAL DIAGRAM OF BOTH AN EXISTING CONDITION AND A POTENTIAL ADAPTIVE REUSE FOR A HUTONG IN SHENZHEN, CHINA - SUBMITED AS A SAMPLE OF PREVIOUS 3D ANALYSIS WORK BY MICHAEL H. MARSH

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BIBLIOGRAPHY City of Miami Beach Planning Department. Morris Lapidus / Mid 20th Century Designation Report. Miami Beach, 2009. Desilets, Deborah. Morris Lapidus: The Architecture of Joy. New York: Rizzoli, 2010. Josephson, Mary, “Lapidus’ Pornography of Comfort,” Art in America, 59, March 1979, 108-109. Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996. Shulman, Allan. "Miami Grows Up." Architectural Record (2010). Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://archrecord.construction.com/features/miami/1006Miami_grows_up-1.asp>

FIGURE 14

FIGURE 15

14: A GROUND-LEVEL VIEW OF THE REFURBISHED FONTAINEBLEAU RESORT. THE PROPERTY REOPENED NOVEMBER 21, 2008 AFTER A $1.5 BILLION RENOVATION. 3480. 2008. Photograph. Miami Beach, FL. Fontainebleau Resort. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.fontainebleau.com/>

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15: A PRESENT-DAY ‘FISHEYE LENS’ VIEW FROM THE BALCONY A ROOM IN THE FONTAINEBLEAU RESORT. Johnson, David S. Sunrise from the Fountainebleau. 2008. Photograph. Miami Beach, FL. Web. 10 Apr. 2012. <http://www.tawbaware.com/forum2/viewtopic.php?t=5296>.


'Too Much Is Never Enough:' Rediscovering Morris Lapidus and the 'Weightlessness of Delight'