Photo: The Old Post Office, originally designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, has been remade as the Trump International Hotel (Frances Anderton)
FROM THIS EPISODE
The lobby of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in the Watergate Office Building
Photo by Frances Anderton
Buildings can be architecturally significant, and politically important. What about when they are both? DnA visits the Watergate Office Building, famed for the June 1972 burglary of the DNC offices on its sixth floor. Now it is home to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We learn about the fascist architect who designed it, the Mad-Men-era architectural styling that is now making a comeback, and its unforgettable role in a scandal that finds echoes right now.
The Atrium of the Old Post Office
Then we visit the Trump International Hotel in the former Old Post Office. Ethics watchdogs say that the hotel violates the terms of its lease with the General Services Administration, now that Donald J. Trump is president. The GSA begs to differ. What no one disputes is the restored building is still a wonder in decoratively carved stone, tile and woodwork with a soaring atrium that has not been tarnished by the addition of lots of gilt and over-sized chandeliers.
Photos by Frances Anderton
New York Times reports in 2014 on Trump's acquisition of the Old Post Office
Washington Post argues that when Trump became president he needed to give up his lease
Preservationists are impressed by the Trump makeover (item #8)
GSA approves Trump's lease with Old Post Office, on grounds he won't accept profits while president
NYT argues GSA's rationale doesn't hold, ethics problems still surround Old Post Office lease
National Trust for Historic Preservation moves to Watergate
Washington TV reports on Watergate Office building makeover
In 2011, Vogue magazine published a profile of the first lady of Syria, Asma al-Assad, wife of Bashar al-Assad. It was headlined "A Rose in the Desert." The flattering article's author was Joan Juliet Buck, it went viral and prompted a huge backlash. This was one calamitous episode in a life of extreme ups and downs, in which Buck has been by turns child of Hollywood, jewelry designer, writer, actress, storyteller on The Moth Radio Hour, and former editor-in-chief of French Vogue. She counts actor Donald Sutherland among past lovers and Governor Jerry Brown among close friends. Now Buck has written a very readable memoir called The Price of Illusion; it opens with another shattering experience: her shocking firing after seven years as editor-in-chief at French Vogue.
DnA talks with Buck about the book, her love for her father and her destructive "addiction" to fashion. She also shares lessons for other writers that she learned from the Vogue firing and the Al-Assad article furore, and why she calls her book The Price of Illusion.
Joan Juliet Buck
More From Design and Architecture
Silicon Valley disrupts cities, Stacy Michelson Apple has rebranded its stores as "town squares;" a vending machine startup called Bodega caused outrage; cities are lining up to woo Amazon's HQ2. DnA looks at tech's impact on cities. Plus, artist Stacy Michelson (creator of KCRW's Good Food tote bag and picnic blanket) tells us how Japanese snack food packaging inspired her goofy illustrations.
Stormy connections, Amazon seeks city, 'Found in Translation' As Apple marks the iPhone's ten year anniversary with the launch of the iPhone X, thousands of people in hurricane-struck areas cannot make a phone call. And Amazon seeks a bride: North American cities are a-courting to house the tech behemoth's HQ2. Plus, LACMA's Found In Translation explores decades of cross-pollination in art and design between California and Mexico.
The crosswalks of Bunker Hill are alive with color Four crosswalks in front of the Broad in downtown Los Angeles got a colorful paint job this weekend. Local high school students helped paint intersecting diagonal stripes in a design created by 94-year-old Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. The Broad invited him to re-imagine the crosswalks as part of the city-wide Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.
Berggruen Institute, 'Condemned to Be Modern' Nicolas Berggruen, the billionaire investor and philanthropist, has likened his planned research center in the Santa Monica Mountains to a secular monastery. Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is designing it. What is the Berggruen Institute, and will the building please the neighbors? And we visit Condemned to Be Modern at LA Municipal Art Gallery, in which Cuban, Brazilian and Mexican artists examine the rhetoric and legacy of modernism.
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