2 0 1 9 S P E A K E R S


The Reinanzaka House & Antonin Raymond

Pioneering Concrete Modern Architecture in Japan

In 1924, in Tokyo, Antonin and Noémi Raymond constructed their home/studio, the Reinanzaka House, the first concrete modern house in Japan. It would be the first of many extraordinary concrete structures they built during the interwar-period in Asia— leading up to their remarkable proto-Brutalist work, Golconde, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry (1936-45). With the help of George Nakashima, they designed and built the first modernist, reinforced concrete building in India. Over the next fifty years, Antonin and Noémi Raymond would pioneer modern architecture in Japan. Today, their legacy of concrete construction is reflected in the work of Kenzo Tange, Junzo Yoshimura, Kazuo Shinohara, Toyo Ito, Tadao Ando, and other notable architects.


John DeFazio is an architect and teacher. He lives and practices architecture, urban planning, and design in Sunnyside Gardens, New York City. DeFazio is a graduate of New York Institute of Technology where he currently teaches graduate architectural design studio. At NYIT he has also taught ecological site design, and integrative architectural design, and urban design undergraduate studios. He is currently a thesis advisor at Drexel University and Westphal College, where he also teaches Modern Architecture and Contemporary Art theories in art and architecture, and in the study-abroad program, traveling most recently in Japan, and formally in the Netherlands and Barcelona. John has been teaching at Drexel University for over 25 years. He is a writer on contemporary art, architecture, and planning and a contributor to Art in America and Residential Design Magazine. In addition to his practice, John DeFazio is also a co-founder and the executive director of the Raymond Farm Center of Living Arts & Design, a regional art and design forum, located in New Hope PA.



Shodhan Villa — Concept to Creation

A Walk Through of Le Corbusier’s Last Residential Project

In 1950, Le Corbusier changed his philosophy of purism to something more sculptural, rough, colourful and bold. With a new culture and climate, Le Corbusier worked to reflect on and reinvent his design process in India. The presentation explores how a concrete cube of 20 columns - with a spatial organic composition - resulted into a brilliant, playful piece of residence in Ahmedabad, India called Shodhan Villa. It is a fine example of where contemporary Indian cultural concepts in architecture and western aesthetics meet. Leaving Ahmedabad, he told Mr. Doshi, “I feel now that I am an architect. This villa can be said to be my architecture.”

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Manisha Shodhan Basu is a practicing architect, urban planner and designer from Ahmedabad, India. She is interested in the interplay of people and the physical spaces in which they live, work, and dream. Her work in the past 40 years has focused on architecture that is minimal, sustainable, and connected to local culture and climate. 

An exhibition of her work “Odes to Happiness” was held at Ahmedabad Mill Owner’s Association building of Le Corbusier in January of 2019. She is currently visiting faculty at the School of Architecture at Nirma University. She has held faculty positions at CEPT University, the National Institute of Design, and the Indian Institute of Management amongst others. Her book Le Corbusier’s Shodhan Villa was published by Kunstakademiets, Copenhagen in 2008 with a second edition in 2018.



Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner

John Lautner was an American architect who apprenticed in the mid-1930s under Frank Lloyd Wright at the Taliesin Fellowship. Lautner opened his practice in 1938 and practiced in California primarily in residential design. Lautner's work is noted for its radical expansion residential architecture in both the technical and spatial vocabulary. He utilized the latest building technologies and materials, especially the structural and expressive potentials of reinforced and prestressed concrete. John Lautner designed over 200 architectural projects during his career, which including such masterworks as the Malin House, Sheats/Goldstein House, and Arango House.

It is difficult to imagine John Lautner's work outside the context of twentieth-century structural engineering. Escher will present an overview of Lautner's ideas of space and site, form and construction, and focus on Lautner's concrete structures after 1960. Lautner's work in concrete evolves from simple symmetrical structures and flat beams and slabs to sensuous shapes of asymmetrical forms of geometrical complexity.

Frank Escher is a principal with the Los Angeles firm Escher GuneWardena Architecture, whose work ranges from small, conceptually rigorous projects to ecologically and socially innovative urban design proposals. Frank Escher and partner Ravi GuneWardena’s interest in contemporary art has led to collaborations with artists, such as Sharon Lockhart, Mike Kelley, Olafur Eliasson, and Stephen Prina, and the installation design of dozens of exhibitions in American and European museums. Escher GuneWardena's work on historic structures includes the restoration of John Lautner’s Chemosphere, Phase 1 restoration of the Eames House (in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute), as well as houses by A.Q. Jones, Richard Neutra, Paul Williams, and Gregory Ain. 

Escher is the editor of the monograph
John Lautner, Architect, the first book on this architect's work (Artemis, 1994 and Birkhäuser 1998), is co-author of Between Earth and Heaven: The Architecture of John Lautner (Rizzoli, 2008). Escher was the administrator for the John Lautner Archive (1995-2007), serves on the board of the John Lautner Foundation, the Advisory Boards of the Julius Shulman Institute, and of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. Escher, trained at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zürich, Switzerland), has taught at the University of Southern California. He and GuneWardena have been visiting professors at Cal Poly Pomona, the University of Oregon, and the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland). In June of 2017, Clocks and Clouds, a monograph on Escher GuneWardena was released by Birkhäuser.



Conflicting Influences on Japanese Modernism

“Although Frank Lloyd Wright seems to have been perfectly positioned to have played a major role in the formation of a Modernist lexicon in the formative years of the movement in Japan, many in the post-World War II generation claim that Antonin Raymond had a more profound influence on them.”

From the onset of the Meiji Restoration until today, the emergence of Modern architecture in Japan, presents somewhat of a conundrum— ticking off many of the boxes that have come to identify an ideologically driven movement in the public consciousness, while also presenting many anomalies. James Steele will unravel the various strands that have now been inextricably woven together to create the predominant reality of contemporary Japanese architecture. Well known, and some lesser-known precedents, from the work of high profile architects such as Tadao Ando and Kazuyo Sejima, will be used to trace this trajectory.

James Steele is an architect who received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California. After receiving his Master’s degree under the direction of Louis I. Kahn, he practiced in Pennsylvania for 12 years before accepting a teaching position at King Faisal (now Dammam) University in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, remaining there for a decade. After subsequent teaching positions at the Prince of Wales’s Institute for Architecture at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, he was offered a full-time position at the School of Architecture University of Southern California, in Los Angeles and has remained there, as a Tenured Full Professor, ever since. During this time, he founded and directed two Foreign Studies Programs in Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur and South America, in Sao Paulo. Since releasing his first book on the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy while in Saudi Arabia, he has authored or edited more than fifty others, on topics related to either vernacular or contemporary architecture. His most recent effort is Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Tracing the Next Generation, published by Routledge,Kegan Paul in 2017.




Stuart Narofsky, FAIA, is the principal of Narofsky Architecture, a multi-discipline design firm founded in 1983. Narofsky Architecture is highly recognized through design awards, national and international publications, videos, and exhibitions. Stuart is a recipient of the AIA Long Island “Lifetime Achievement Award.” He has taught and serves on juries at New York Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and Drexel University. Dedicated to pro bono service in South America and has lectured and overseen workshops in Bolivia and Argentina. He is a past president of AIA Long Island and served as 2018 Chair of AIA CRAN. In 2016 Stuart was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.