le corbusier : maison la roche

This is Maison La Roche and Maison Jeanneret in Paris designed by one of the most well-known pioneers of modernist architecture, Le Corbusier. I took these photos during my (amazing) month-long stay in Paris in 2005. It was established as a museum in 1968 but is currently closed for renovations. The La Roche-Jeanneret house is actually a pair of semi-detached houses built in 1923(!). The houses are also holds the world's largest collection of Le Corbusier's drawings, paintings, studies and plans.

recovery : the farm spa (philippines)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Philippines in light of the recent flooding and devastation there. It's a country that doesn't have the means to recover or rebuild after so much loss. The suffering continues there and the media has all but moved on. It saddens me to think how the storms will affect tourism there as well.

I visited a place a couple of hours outside of Manila back in 2006. It's called The Farm Spa. One of my photos was recently featured on Amala's blog. I was inspired to share more. The Farm is a 48-hectare spa situated on a former coconut plantation. All the amazing food served is raw, organic, vegetarian and grown on-premises. They also produce their own coconut oil-based aromatherapy massage oils (which were yummy). It's such a beautiful place to get away, detox and relax. There are several options for accommodations. My favorite were the Sulu huts that we stayed in (below). I wish I could be there right now. I wish for those who lost their homes to take shelter and recover there.

My mom and I stayed in this hut below on the right :)

Daybeds by swimming pools are the best!

A beautiful, ancient mango tree is lit up by lanterns by night

A mini-pool and waterfall, I hung out here for a while... could have stayed forever!

philip johnson's glass house

My interest in architecture began long before design school. It was only appropriate that I end up being taught Design History by an architect. It was back then that learned about Philip Johnson's Glass House – one of the most well known examples of modernist architecture.

I was thrilled to get an (unexpected) chance to see it this weekend in New Canaan, CT. The tours are so popular that appointments sell out very quickly each season. But I was lucky enough to acquire tickets from my cousin who wasn't able to go herself. She had tickets booked for a whole year!

It was an interesting and very informative 90 minute tour of the house and the other buildings on the property. The house was completed in 1949 and was Philip Johnson's private residence (and where he later died). Below are my photos (and annotations) from the tour. I highly recommend taking the trip up if you live/visit the NY area. It was beautiful.

The window at the visitor's center

The front gate to the property was designed by Johnson (225 sailing cables are utilized to raise and lower the large bar).

Da Monsta was originally intended to be the visitor's center. Now not being used.

window from inside Da Monsta

Eames Bertoia chairs inside the presentation room inside Da Monsta

The Glass House

A view from the exterior back

Mies van de Rohe Barcelona chairs in the living room

A view from the kitchen area

A view from the dining area

The small bed in the very open bedroom

The bathroom on the other side of the fireplace

The view of the pool from the bedroom area

I loved the cone shaped (bottom/inside) swimming pool.

A view of the Lake Pavilion from the back of the house

The entrance to the Painting Gallery

The Painting Gallery had a combined bathroom/winebar area

The rotating walls in the painting gallery allowed for changing views as needed
Frank Stella painting

Julian Schnabel painting

A fabulous silk-screen portrait of Johnson by Andy Warhol

The entrance of the Sculpture Gallery

Gorgeous light and space in the Sculpture Gallery

an oasis in buenos aires : the sticotti house

I just adore this wood and iron house by furniture designer/architect Alejandro Sticotti in Buenos Aires. He describes it as "a house floating in the garden", which I love. Every room in the building overlooks the garden. This house is a perfect example of when lines between interior and exterior are blurred. It's also an example of warm modernist design that is my favourite type of architecture. They've used both local and recycled materials to build. So the house pays respects to Argentina despite the stark architectural contrast to the primarily ornate European baroque and tudor of the city. Love. love. love this.

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the beach life

I don't know how I will drag myself (and Lexie) back into the city after life on the Fire Island for the past couple of days! It's been so lovely and relaxing. The cottage is adorable, there's nice architecture around, we made great food on the grill and the beach is immense and exhilarating. A reminder of just how summer/beach oriented I truly am. Many thanks to my friend Sparrow Hall for the invite!

Sun. Savor. Swim. Repeat.

The ferry boat out to the island
Just in case you get lost...
I love the cottage. This is the back deck with the beautiful shade contraption...
The front of the cottage complete with the outdoor shower and dead horseshoe crabs on the wall...

Twilight on the deck
Grilled fig and gorgonzola on ciabatta bread
Grilled asparagus and bacon-wrapped sea scallops
Lexie loves sunbathing here
Newly re-planted grass...they look like hair plugs.

I love the series of wood-plank pathways throughout the island

for the love of neutra

Richard Neutra is definitely at the top of my list of all time favourite architect/designers. He even worked briefly under Frank Lloyd Wright (also at the top of my list) before starting his own studio. He was a proponent of "warm" modernism, proving that modernist architecture did not have to be sterile. He was also known for extending architectural space into the landscape outside. I love that about his work. I am particularly in love with his design of the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs (which apparently was auctioned off by Christies last year for nearly $20 million). I would model my own ideal home design after this house...and I would include the swimming pool, of course. This may require that I move to a warmer climate...

I'm also a huge fan of the boomerang chair design. It's gorgeous in that mid-century way. What's not to love about it?

And if I may truly geek-out here, his design of the NeutraFace Typeface is yet another reason I'm such a great admirer. It happens to also be of my favourite fonts. I also love that House Industries came out with the new Slab version too. It absolutely makes sense to me that architects design typefaces well. The clean, modern aesthetic of his mid-century modern architectural work is nicely translated into this font. I was so excited when another "warm" modernist, Ray Kappe, used Neutra as the font for the house number of pre-fab design of Living Homes. How perfect.

Kaufmann House photo from The Los Angeles Times

Kaufmann House photo from Architectural Digest

Kaufmann House photo from The Los Angeles Times

Kaufmann House photo from

Boomerang chair photo and typeface samples from House Industries

amazing artist + architect: maya lin

I can't express enough the respect, amazement and admiration for the work of my favorite contemporary artist and architect, Maya Lin. She designed the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, DC very early on in her career. She's designed many others since. What I'm most impressed by is her architecture and art. Her commitment to the environment as well as to history is evident in her work. I love seeing the immense intelligence and beauty in her (large) body of work. The important role that light plays in her work is also something I really enjoy and appreciate. I am truly in awe.

Some of my favorite works are below. There are numerous projects that are really worth checking out on her site. Do check it out.

The Box House in Telluride, CO: (I LOVE this house. Speechless.)

The Langston Hughes Library in Clinton, TN

Here she maintained the structure of the old barn outside and then re-imaging and modernizing the space inside. The old and new co-existing. I love the way the light comes through the logs, through the glass, when seeing the space from inside. This building is amazing!

Storm King Wavefield in Mountainville, NY (dying to go see it in person!)

Systematic Landscapes at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, WA (once again, speechless.)
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