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National Archives

The 1949 Renovation of the White House

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National Archives

While we will never get an accurate view of what the White House looked like when it was originally under construction in the 1800s, we can at least get a good look at the building while it was undergoing renovations in 1949.

It's easy to assume that such an important national landmark would always be well taken care of, but after it was burned by the British in 1814, and received small adaptions to incorporate indoor plumbing, electricity, and heating ducts as technology improved, the 150-year-old White House had seriously deteriorated by the time Harry Truman took office.

According to the New York Times, the building was in pretty bad shape:

"The ceiling of the East Room ... weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging six inches on Oct. 26, and now is being held in place by scaffolding and supports. ...But it took the $50,000 survey authorized by Congress to disclose the fact that the marble grand staircase is in imminent danger. Supporting bricks, bought second hand in 1880, are disintegrating."

The third floor of the White House was considered a fire trap and many parts of the building were at risk of collapsing, so all social events scheduled for the 1948 holiday season were cancelled. Meanwhile, those living in the building had to deal with the building's makeshift plumbing system.

Things were so bad that Congress was discussing building an entirely new structure and destroying the existing White House. Fortunately, Truman pushed hard to have the building restored instead. “It perhaps would be more economical from a purely financial standpoint to raze the building and to rebuild completely,” he testified to Congress in February 1949. “In doing so, however, there would be destroyed a building of tremendous historical significance in the growth of the nation.” 

Finally, those involved agreed to restore the building, but the process was not easy. Every piece of the interior structure, including the walls, had to be removed and put in storage while the exterior structure was reinforced with new concrete columns.

All photos from the National Archives via the Truman Library and NationalJournal.com.

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iStock
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architecture
One Photographer's Quest to Document Every Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in the World
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iStock

From California’s Marin County Civic Center to the Yokodo Guest House in Ashiya City, Japan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence spans countries and continents. Today, 532 of the architect’s original designs remain worldwide—and one photographer is racking up the miles in an attempt to photograph each and every one of them, according to Architectural Digest.

Andrew Pielage is the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s unofficial photographer. The Phoenix-based shutterbug got his gig after friends introduced him to officials at Taliesin West, the late designer’s onetime winter home and studio that today houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Higher-ups at Taliesin West allowed Pielage to photograph the property in 2011, and they liked his work so much that they commissioned him for other projects. Since then, Pielage has shot around 50 Wright buildings, ranging from Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, to the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.

Pielage takes vertical panoramas to “get more of Wright in one image,” and he also prefers to work with natural light to emphasize the way the architect integrated his structures to correspond with nature’s rhythms. While Pielage still has over 400 more FLW projects to go until he's done capturing the icon’s breadth of work, you can check out some of his initial shots below.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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