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The Reel Lapidus: Movie Culture, Kitsch and the American Dream

By Michael-Paul James (M2 student) |Abstract: This case study looks at the effects of cinema on trends in postwar architecture, tracing the translation of illusions from the silver screen to a tectonic implementation in the built environment as translated in the work of Morris Lapidus. His architectural style represents an architectural trend away from the elite in favor of a rising middle class who offered a unique palate foreign to academia. A keen observer of pop culture, Lapidus incorporates set design and theatrical styles into his architectural paradigm.  His study of architecture first transparently followed his artistic endeavor in the pursuit of theatre. The idea that less is more was ridiculed by Lapidus. “Less is nothing” he writes in his book Too Much is Never Enough. A self-described architect of the American Dream, his embracement of excess defined a new era in opposition to the modernist movement and embracement of the middle class. The critics rallied against his designs ridiculing his work as “Boarding house baroque,” “emblems of tail-fin chic,” “the nation’s grossest national product,” “Superschlock,” and “pornography of architecture.”

Lapidus developed an architectural canon composed of eliminating corners, sweeping lines, unusual use of light, excess of colors, drama, and changing floor levels. Ultimately Lapidus fought the idea that form follows function but believed architecture should be fun. For Lapidus, the essence of architecture must emphasize not just the physical functions, aiding efficient circulation, but the emotional functions, engaging the human spirit. The Fontainebleau in Miami, built in 1954, epitomizes the birth of these principles, boasting 27 colors of paint, a terrarium with live alligators, a stairway to nowhere, and designed the uniforms of its staff as an integral part of the architectural parti. His fascination with procession, drama, and illusion was rejected by the critics, but the commissions poured in. After the establishment of the postmodern movement in the 70s, his work has been celebrated through the writings of Venturi and Koolhaus. In the words of Lapidus, “People are looking for illusions; they don’t want… realities. Where do I find … [these] illusions? Only one place-the movies. The hell with everything else.”

Introduction

Morris Lapidus responds to his critics at the end of his life with an autobiography entitled “Too Much is Never Enough.”[1] At the end of his highly controversial career, his title succinctly sums his life’s work. Lapidus’ unique career path led him to a unique architectural language based on his observations of human behavior. Lapidus states, “I was designing to please people, not architects… we must find our way in our quest for an emotional architecture that will soother our spirits in our troubles world.”[2] One writer notes that Lapidus watched people not walls.[3] Although his work is not without precedent, Lapidus often blended and mixed styles so vigorously the precedent was unrecognizable in the end.

Much of Lapidus style was developed during his time as a scenic and storefront designer. The temporary nature of these two applications allowed Lapidus to experiment. He states, “I could experiment with a shop and it might be torn down five years later, but no architect would experiment with a building.”[4] The rapid evolution of spaces, natural to retail and theatrical design, provided a fertile ground for experimentation with immediate results. If mistakes were made, the temporary nature of retail resulted in little consequence. In his words concerning hotel design, “Now I wanted to be a set designer. I’m going back to designing settings. This is a play. These people are here and they think they’re going to have a grand vacation. They want to feel like millionaires. They want to feel that this is just one of the greatest experiences in life. So I put them on stage at all points.”[5] He believed that his client base, the middle class, wanted the theatrical experience so they could act out their fantasies while on vacation. His extravagant and eclectic ornamentation facilitated an experience so “people can do one thing only – get on stage and act.”[6]

During an interview with John Margolies, Lapidus offered the philosophy that connected theatre to architecture. He stated, “People are looking for illusions; they don’t want the world’s realities. And, I asked, where do I find this world of illusion? Where are their taste formulated? Do they study it in school? Do they go to museums? Do they travel in Europe? Only one place- the movies. They go to the movies. The hell with everything else.”[7] Lapidus believed that the new reality was the one experienced in the movie theatre. Modern culture longed for the Hollywood experience, and was disengaged with the modernism. The middle class didn’t want reality they wanted an experience. They wanted an emotional architecture not the rational one advocated by the modernist. Lapidus pulls the guest into the space, “Then they walk in, they do feel. ‘This is what we’ve dreamed of, this is what we say in the movies, this is what we imagined it might be.’”[8] The real time Hollywood imagery garnered an eager client base whose desires were previously ignored and ridiculed by the architectural elite.

Lapidus was intrigued with the international style advocated during his time but he felt it was wanting. The trends in efficiency advocated by the rise in technology ignored base human desires. When reflecting on the international style, Lapidus states, “As you go through history, at no stage have people divested themselves of this original seventh sense or initial desire for adornment. I’m afraid that contemporary architecture got off into a tributary which is running dry- when we reached the 20th century and asked, well, what the hell do we need it for? This is absolutely meaningless.”[9] The rise in modernism stripped the meaningless adornment from what was considered unnecessary for function. That loss of adornment stripped the emotion from the architectural experience leaving the viewer empty and barren. Lapidus continues, “We’re Jiving in the machine age. It doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t produce anything. It costs money to turn out. Get rid of it. And at that time, at first I thought it was great, but little by little I began to feel this emptiness, this barrenness – and I knew I hadn’t lost my love of adornment.”9

Although Lapidus argued against the epitaph “Less is more” in the modernist sense. He believed that the modernism ignored the humanity in architecture. He pointed out, “If the modernists stop at the skeletal stage, 99 percent of the human race is going to be unhappy. You can’t create a steel-and-glass grid and expect people to be happy in it.”[10] Raw efficiency lost the connection with the human spirit. If form follows function, the difference was in the definition of function. Does function include human desire or simply the speed of completion? According to Lapidus, Lapidus believed he was a modernist, stating “I am doing what Louis Sullivan advocated- my forms follow the functions.”[11] The function of storefronts and hotels is to sell something. In order to sell something, the client must be engaged and excited about the product being purchased. Lapidus used the theatrical language evident in pop culture to develop architecture vis-à-vis a vernacular language of his time. One historian points out that “This aesthetic of excess also shares characteristics with the post decorator mode of Elsie de Wolfe and the knowing surrealism of Dorothy Draper… midway between the Golden Age Hollywood movie sets of Cedric Gibbons at Metro/Goldwyn/Meyer (MGM) and Van Nest Polglase at Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) and the whimsical interiors of Alexander Girard.”[12] By referencing the visual cues of the silver screen, Lapidus offered an experience that captured the imagination of his architectures patrons.

The rejection of modernism wasn’t without consequence. The backlash from the architectural community to his brazen style frustrated Lapidus. For the early part of his career, Lapidus didn’t consider himself an architect. He didn’t engage in architectural discourse but “exiled [himself] from the field of architecture.”[13] His success and accolades for his storefront designs in the 30s and 40s were quickly forgotten when he stepped into the architectural landscape. His separation from the architectural dialogue allowed him to develop independently, sanctioning a unique style and design philosophy. Lapidus architectural style translated the aesthetic conventions of theater set and retail design into an architectural language that engaged the middle class’s unique palate which idealized cinematic imagery.

A young Morris Lapidus graduated with a degree in Architecture from Columbia University in 1927.  After four years of dating Beatrice, his soon to be wife, he needed a steady job in order to marry. He set aside his theatrical ambition as a scenic designer and began to look for a steady job. After several short lived jobs, Lapidus landed a job with Ross-Frankel, a contractor specializing in retail. During his time at Ross-Frankel, Lapidus developed his unique style of design. Precedents for storefront design were scarce in the states. “At that time, there were practically no architects engaged in designing stores and shops… Lapidus tried, without much success, to find published material on store buildings…For source material he had to depend largely on what he could learn of actual store operation in the field.”[14] Much of what Lapidus would implement was based on observation. He explains, “My designs had to draw customers into the stores. So began my studies, not of design, but of people: how to find the design elements that would stop people on the street and entice them into the store.”[15] Without a mentor nor much in the realm of precedent, Lapidus incidentally became an architect primarily influenced by his own interpretations of human nature.

His experience as a scenic designer and observations of the retail experience led to architectural conventions implemented throughout his career. The destruction of the rectangular constraints was among his first defining characteristics. Although Lapidus often criticized the work of Mies, he greatly admired his early work. He acknowledges that Mies “influenced [him] more than anyone else… [Because of] the destruction of closed rectangular spaces”[16] in the Barcelona Pavilion. Through his travels to Europe, he acquired a taste for the meandering streets. Lapidus declares, “It’s such a visual delight to have a sweeping surface that from then on I said people don’t like rectilinear living or walking. It’s only because our real estate was laid out in rectangles. But if you look at the old cities – London, Paris – people meander. And so I started experimenting with that in my stores. Do people like straight aisles, or shall I make them meander? And I found that they love to meander.”[17] His store fronts were designed with curves. His entrances curved in off the street enticing clientele to venture inside. He replaced rectangular design with sweeping lines in order to create interest and enjoyment catering to the innate desire to wander.

The moth effect as he liked to call it was a play on light. Much like moths, people are naturally attracted to bright lights. Lapidus “experimented by placing a bright light over one showcase and an ordinary light over another.”[18] He noticed that more people examined the brightly lit than in the dimly lit ones. Extending beyond merchandise, Lapidus began to use the moth effect to create circulation in his architecture. When he progressed into hotel design, he provoked the interest of the guest with unusual lighting placements. He explains, “I taught the guests to walk upstairs, downstairs- I forced them to walk around curves and created a sense of interest. I would place brilliantly lighted things around, which meant nothing. And as people came into a hotel for the first time, they were exposed to a show… You couldn’t see it all with one walk through.”[19] The manipulation of human nature further advocated the theatrics of his architectural design. It was not just an experience of facades and paths but a playful display of lighting guiding guest, encouraging them to meander.

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Figure 1: Staircase to nowhere at Fontainebleau

In the image of the staircase to nowhere at Fontainebleau (Figure 1), the cove lighting around the circular drop ceiling accentuates its form, drawing the eyes upwards and suggesting the circulation of the space. The brightly lit area on the back wall of the second floor pricks curiosity and beckons exploration. The monochromatic staircase nestling next to the mural wall clearly marks the path. Recessed lighting fills the room with enough functional lighting without drawing excess attention to itself. However at the stop of the staircase, Lapidus uses hanging lamps. The lamps create a lighting hot spot on the ceiling, visible from the floor below to further execute the draw upwards. The combination of circulation motivators makes the trip to the top impulsively unconscious, and ultimately unavoidable.

Searching for emotion in architecture, Lapidus experimented with color ultimately leading him to use excessive amounts of color. Lapidus explains, “In my search for emotion in architecture, I went back through human history in my quest for the origin of peoples’ reactions to color and adornment.”[20] The stained glass windows of historic churches intrigued him. The splash of color pervading the interior was a spectacle lost in modern architecture. In his first solo architectural work, the Fontainebleau, Lapidus is said to have used 28 unique colors.[21] Lapidus states, “People love color. I would purposefully do the damndest things in my stores, and I found where I put a real splotch of color, they’d walk towards it for no apparent reason.”[22] The playful displays of color further perpetuated his notion that people desire to wander. He simply facilitated that desire by providing destinations within his architectural design.

The desire for color appealed to the natural state of man. The heightened desire for color was also a culture milieu. The number of televisions in the home increased from 7.8% in 1950 to 56.1% in 1954[23].  Advertising pushed its way into the intimacy of the household. Americans began to see moving pictures of other places and new possibilities not just at the movies but every day in the home. The television was no longer a luxury but a symbol of middle class America.  In 1950, CBS announced a color television debut.[24] Advertisements began to flood the market announcing color televisions.[25] The middle class was talking about color. The all-electric color television officially entered the market place in 1953.[26] On January 1th 1954, the Tournament of the Roses Parade was the first national broadcast in color. The minimalist dogma of the modernist went out of focus as the world longed to see color.

Engaging the natural inclinations of people was developed during his time in retail. His knack for drama didn’t come to fruition until he began his work in hotels. When describing the staircase leading to the dining room in the Fontainebleau, he points to drama. “To get into the dining room you walk up three steps, open a pair of doors and walk on a platform, and then walk down three steps. Now the dining room is at exactly the same level as my lobby, but as they walk up they reach the platform. I’ve got soft light lighting this thing up, and before they’re seated, they are on stage as if they had been cast for the part. Everybody’s looking at them; they’re looking at everybody else.”[27] The drama of architecture is the Hollywood fantasy. The scene in the movie when the couple enters the restaurant and everyone wonders who they are. The procession into the dining room is elevated, heightening the emotional thrill of the restaurant experience. The meaningless adornment of a pointless staircase is functionally devoid of purpose from a rational sense. However, the emotional function of the procession creates the illusion of importance and purpose. But this is not the beginning of the evening’s drama it began in the elevators.

Lapidus doesn’t make drama a cheap parlor trick but an entire event. He makes sure the illusion is never lost. He carries the illusions through his design. Mirrors were not common in elevators during his time. Lapidus felt that to create the stage effect he needed the off stage experience as well. “The first thing a man does before he walks ‘on stage’ is to check his fly. And the woman checks her hair, the length of her dress, sees if the hem is straight. There’s always a mirror there. I’m thinking of coming and going.”[28] The elevator offered a nature pause in the evening’s events. Without hindering natural progression, Lapidus uses the elevators moment of repose for setting the scene with the off stage wardrobe check.

For Lapidus, drama in architecture was not acting but the stage. In the right light with the right props and provocations, everyone could play their unique part. But in order to get people to act, he needed to make them believe. They could live out a fantasy and imagine how life could be. “The stage was what I wanted, but not acting. I loved the stage; it was a world of illusions, of dreams, a mirror of all human emotions… I wanted to create a world of illusion by designing the settings against which these emotions were portrayed. I resolved to become a scenic designer.”[29] Just like a great book or magic show, the key to engaging the audience is to create a world around them and breaking the fourth wall. Like a cinematic director, Lapidus creates a fantastic scenes, sets the lighting just right, and metaphorically roles the camera.

The sense of anticipation in his design is much like being an extra in a movie but not knowing who the lead actors are. The architectural cues of color, of light, and of precession suggest an event and employ curiosity about what will happen next. Guest are not just watching the grandeur around them, they are immersed in its dialogue. Lapidus didn’t believe vacationers want a home away from home. They want illusion. He states, “The greatest mistake hotel designers make… is thinking a hotel is a home away from home. I’ve given these people something to gape at; you might call it a tasteful three-ring circus.”[30] Lapidus pursued an “architecture of emotion.”[31] He often erred on the side of excess. His architecture might be disliked but never ignored. It always activated his clientele. He wanted people to look and to feel something. When he designed he only had “only one thing in mind, ‘By God, don’t walk by me, I’m an architect. I’m trying to show you something. Look at it.’ And that may have led me into all kinds of errors, architectural errors.”[32] Coming from a retail world of constant change, Lapidus was not afraid of mistakes. Mistakes were a close companion to scenic and retail design. Mistakes offer understanding and precedent for future design applications. Far from conservative, Lapidus continued to experiment and chose to err on the side of excess not absence in search of emotion in architecture.

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Figure 2: Busby Berkeley Ziegfeld Girl (1941)

When most architects discuss with procession, they refer to the path to a destination. The procession sets the tone as one approaches the desired location. Lapidus mocks functional procession and creates procession for the sake of procession. In his staircase to nowhere located in the Fontainebleau, he simply provides an opportunity for a dazzling ascent and descent. Much grander than the procession to the dining room, the circular staircase ascend two floors with little to offer upon arrival. Lapidus explains, “There’s a card room up there- that’s all. All people ever do is walk halfway up, turn around and walk back down again. But they love that stairway. And they’ve seen it in the movies- princess walks down the stairway.”[33] Lapidus incited the notions of celebrity, of extravagance, and of excess. He created a movie set and fostered meandering. I nurtured the illusions of the middle class. He let them feel like Grace Kelly walking up the stair case with Prince Rainer.

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Figure 3: Gold Diggers of 1933

He recreated the theatrical staircases propagated by Busby Berkeley in such moves as Gold Diggers if 1933 (Figure 3), Dames, and Ziegfeld Girl (Figure 2). In 1954, the scene from Disney’s Cinderella as she walks down the grand staircase in her dazzling glass slippers epitomizes the princess fantasy (Figure 4).  The procession down the staircase became a frequent reenactment as one wide-eyed girls imagined meeting their prince charming. The uselessness of the staircase aided this fantasy allowing the guest to stroll, to practice, and to pause without interruption. A rationally functional staircase would be utilized by those who would be irritated at the frequent reenactments and photographs of those on vacation. Both in the dining room staircase and the staircase to nowhere, Lapidus argues that procession doesn’t need to be rationally functional if it is emotionally functional.

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Figure 4: Disney’s Cinderella (1950)

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Figure 5: Fontainebleau, The Staircase to Nowhere.

The final ideal stems from the postmodern debate over ornament. Postmodernism yearns for what was lost. However, Lapidus was simply looking for anchors in design. Much of his stylist approach was pluralistic. When the Fontainebleau wanted French and Eden Roc wanted Italian, he manipulated the genre to the point of novelty. His particular style of abstraction began with historicism and exploded it. Lapidus argues, “No one ever accused me of making a poor copy of any period because you can’t identify my periods. They’re so confusing that you just give up and say, well I don’t know what it is. That was done by design.”[34] During his time at Columbia University, his teachers were not receptive of modernism. On his first day of class, Lapidus reports that his teacher defined architecture with the words of Vitruvius, “Buildings should be designed to embody three principles: firmness, commodity, and delight… and by delight, he meant… a thing of joy.”[35] The exploration and quest for delight became the primary focus of Lapidus’ career. He explores architectural styles and popular culture to create an atmosphere of wonder in architecture.

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Figure 6: Bean poles, cheese holes, and woggles

His taste in ornamentation developed a series of repetitive themes noted by his critics. The “bean poles,” “cheese holes,” and “woggles” both carried the weight of character and criticism. The bean poles referred to the slender forms protruding from his interior design. The cheese holes refers to his frequent circular insertions into facades. The cheese holes at times were used for lighting but often existed simply for interest sake. The woggles or wobbles refer to the meandering curvature of his form making. Philip Johnson commented on Lapidus hotel design, “What the hell is this? … I like it. It’s crazy, but I like it.”[36] The logic of Lapidus’ ornamentation and design often wasn’t tangible without the consideration of human behavior during his time. The space itself was littered with architectural paradoxes but capitalized on popular culture. Lapidus states, “I have always contended that our buildings and their interiors should reflect the age we live in.”[37] Post war America had turned to the movies and idolized its imagery. Public taste longed for the architectural styles of old. Modernism lacked empathy. Hollywood offered an escape from the realities of war and the economic issues of post war America. Lapidus translated this desire into an architectural language which understood that a meaningless adornment can serve an emotional function. “I had to adorn my shops” explains Lapidus, because if they say some décor that was meaningless, absolutely meaningless, it just pulled people in. So dress it up. And that’s where I left Mr. Bauhaus completely.”[38] What is the purpose of ornament if not to provide an emotional function? It does not make walls stronger. It does not make the structure more functional. Lapidus took the ideas of ornament and delight to its natural extreme engrossing the populous ideals of his day.

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Figure 7: Tony Rome (1967)

The people loved Lapidus’ style. His idea to bring the scenic outdoors into the automotive show room “as a proper background for their wares”[39] was celebrated in Interiors Magazine. After designing a private office in a home, a critic declared that “the only trouble with the design is that it’s much too successful… he has difficulty shooing the family out.”[40] The Fontainebleau not only satisfied present fantasy but became the scene for future fantasies. Numerous movies used its architecture as the backdrop perpetuating its reputation. A Hole in the Head (1959), The Bellboy (1960), Surfside 6 (1960-2), Goldfinger (1964), Tony Rome (1967), Bananas (1971), Scarface (1983), The Body Guard (1992), The Specialist (1994), these are just the most recognizable films utilizing the hotel. Both Elvis and Sinatra filmed television specials on sight. The hotel continues to be used by modern film makers. For his clients, “Lapidus is an innovator of the possible.”[41] He acknowledges that although his hotels may not be “serious pieces of architecture”, but they are “serious financial adventures.”[42] Lapidus was not enslaved by convictions nor ideals nor precedents. He listened and pushed the possible, accessing and satisfying the fantasies craved by the middle class.

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Figure 8: Bellboy (1960)

By 1970, Lapidus had “more work to offer than Mies, Gropius, and Corbusier.”[43] It wasn’t until 1954 with the completion of the Fontainebleau hotel that the tune of the critics turned dissonant. After decades of praise for his store fronts and interiors, his architecture although employing the same themes was not well received. The critics called his work “boarding house baroque,”[44] “the epitome of the apogee,” “emblems of tail-fin chic,” “superschlock,” “pornography of architecture.” [45]  Lapidus in good form responds, “If 90 percent of the people have bad taste… then I’m going to design in bad taste. There’s an old Russian saying: if three people say you’re drunk, lay down and go to sleep because you’re drunk – don’t argue. And so if 90 percent tell me that I’m right and 10 percent have damned the hell out of me, I’m going to continue to do what the 90 percent want.”[46] Architectural culture promoted efficiency and efficacy without ornament. Lapidus far removed the architectural discourse for decades listened to the family man, the house wife, and the businessman. He became a student of popular culture and delivered culturally relevant architectural designs. But his style was reckless, it seemingly ignored scientific innovation and cultural advancement. One critic states, “Lapidus shares with Warhol the ability to stimulate mountainous issues out of molehills, a kind of creativity by proxy… the bastardization of styles becomes a medium for visceral and tactile fulfillment, for what might be called a “pornography of comfort.”[47] The rise in pop art in the 60s offered some consolation to Lapidus but the celebration of nothing and the destination to nowhere remained unacceptable. Pornography is a cheap sexual fulfilment, implying Lapidus work was not to be taken seriously because it was nothing more than an ephemeral thrill.

Lapidus was the emblem perpetuating the idea that architecture was a result of capitalist ambition. To some, satisfying the public’s craving for fantasy is equivocated to drug dealing. One critic exclaimed, “In the capitalist society movies are the opium of the suburbs, and Lapidus encourages this role-playing and self-dramatization… Lapidus simply aims to please, and if the ambition is modest, the results are immodest.”[48] Many blamed Lapidus for “publicizing bad taste.”[49] But, Lapidus offered financial sound architecture and a creative whimsy. In a Disneyesque fashion, he created a fantasy but then proceeded to put it in the real world. A critic observed, “[Lapidus] has joined together what is artistically acceptable and economically feasible today… a mobpsycologist through experience…a sound financial return for the investor.” [50] It wasn’t about high art but a practical one. His only crime would be “giving the public what they want.”[51]

By 1970, Lapidus’ work was so massive and so prolific that it was impossible to ignore. When the Architectural League of New York featured a show featuring Lapidus, it should have been an honor. But historian Tom Wolf points out it was hard to say if it was an honor or not.[52] As protest, famed architectural critic Sibyl Mohly-Nagy was so insulted that the work of Lapidus was even considered that she threatened to resign if the show was approved.[53] The debate expanded into the architectural community including letters from famed architects Eisenman and Johnson. John Johansen defends Lapidus. “He [Lapidus] is the only man who has directly and perhaps artlessly dealt with popular taste in this country. His work may be considered a new aspect of ‘formative’ art in America that is of native common experience rather than ‘fine art.’”[54] Maybe Lapidus isn’t the role model they aspire to promote, but Lapidus represented a cultural phenomenon that was forming a new American vernacular. Architects had nearly always represented the powerful and the intellectual. Lapidus signaled a change in whom architects should serve.

The architectural elite were advocates of education. One should help the public to refine their taste. Lapidus served the people not in the role as teacher but as advocate. When ask why he seems to promote poor taste, Lapidus responds, “The answer is that I don’t think I have the special talent to pull them up. I go halfway and realize that I’m over their heads, already. And, Although Mies van der Rohe says it is the architects’ function to educate, I have talked to people who lived in Miesian apartment houses, and all I hear is, ‘[This is the worst apartment house; this is a ridiculous place to live. There are too many windows. We hate it.’ And so I say let Mies do the educating. And in the short span that I have, I will have fun by saying, ‘At least people liked what I did.’”[55] Mies served higher ideals. He served the modern world. Lapidus served the people. He didn’t promote what they should do but expanded on their request. Lacking in pretention towards the public, Lapidus frustrated those trying to bring the public to a better place. The role of the architect was losing ground to engineering and the definition was growing vaguer. Architects rising from the contractors of Greece and Rome had established themselves as educators and renaissance men. Educating the public on proper design and function was the responsibility of the architect. Instead of leading, Lapidus took notes from the public and the public walked “through [his] foyers of delight and corridors of laughter.”[56] Lapidus was not concerned with changing human nature but advocated the best version of itself. The one filled with wonder and joy. Lapidus promoted architecture “as a populist phenomenon [not] an elitist fantasy.”[57]

Lapidus disrupted architecture and fine art. He introduced a new vernacular of architecture emphasizing emotional experience. He represented a bourgeois fantasy and exacerbated their illusions of cinematic recreations. The criticisms were harsh but Lapidus refused to wear the mantle of educator to the public instead he ultimately became an educator to the elite.  In Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi uses the philosophies to point to the beginning of a new architectural error.[58] Tom Wolfe in From Bauhaus to Our House points out the controversy over Lapidus and the failures of Modernism to acknowledge the change in architectural desires.[59] Modernism lost sight of the people it served and became cold, framed, and exposed. Lapidus could not accept the value in separating emotion from architecture. He states, “The emotional dimension (of the interiors) – the most difficult to describe and at the same time the most easily recognized. It is a place for looking in, a place for looking out. It is a place for the observer, and a place to be observed. It is a place for being alone, it is a place for crowds. It should be a place for people – in short, it is a living space.”[60] Translating human emotion through the pop imagery on the silver screen, Lapidus developed an architectural style of human intervention that delights its inhabitants. Playful provoking natural human tendencies, Lapidus combined scenic and retail design into an architectural language that visually expressed the luxurious fantasies of middle class life.

ENDNOTES

[1] Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996.

[2] Wood, Robert. “In Praise (and Castigation) of ‘the Folly of Modern Architecture.’” The Atlantic Monthly 234, no. 4 (1971): 69-76.

[3] Hickey, Dave. Lapidus Fontainebleau. Las Vegas: Brightcitybooks, 2008: 23.

[4] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 150. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[5] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 174. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[9] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[10] Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996: 196.

[11] Millstein, Gilbert. “Architect De Luxe of Miami Beach.” The New York Times, January 13, 1957, Magazine Section sec.

[12] Esperdy, Gabrielle. “I Am a Modernist: Morris Lapidus & His Critics.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 66, no. 4 (2007): 494-517.

[13] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown, 149. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[14] “The Offices and Work of Morris Lapidus, Architect.” National Architect 5, no. 7 (1949): 1-2.

[15] Hickey, Dave. Lapidus Fontainebleau. Las Vegas: Brightcitybooks, 2008: 45.

[16] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 149. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[17] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[18] Ibid

[19] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 152. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[20] Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996: (98)

[21] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 153. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[22] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[23] “US Television Households by Season.” TVbytheNumbers. August 28, 2007. Accessed May 9, 2015. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2007/08/28/us-television-households-by-season/273/.

[24] “CBS Color Television To Make Public Debut In N.Y. Next Week”, The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1950, p. 18.

[25] “Para-TV Color Sets To Go On Sale Soon.” Billboard, October 6, 1951.

[26] Butler, Jeremy G. Television Critical Methods and Applications. 3rd ed. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum, 2006. 290.

[27] Ibid

[28] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[29] Hickey, Dave. Lapidus Fontainebleau. Las Vegas: Brightcitybooks, 2008: 3.

[30] “What One Man Did with $13,000,000: “put It Where It Shows”” Interiors 114 (1955): 88-95.

[31] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[32] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown, 153. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[33] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[34] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[35] Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996: 60.

[36] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown, 153. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[37] Esperdy, Gabrielle. “I Am a Modernist: Morris Lapidus & His Critics.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 66, no. 4 (2007): 501.

[38] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[39] “Brick, Stone and Wood for Automobile Showroom.” Interiors 106 (1947): 107.

[40] “A Room That Was Too Successful.” Interiors 105 (1947): 70-71.

[41] Freundlich, A. L. “Plaudits for Mr. Lapidus.” Architectural & Engineering News 9 (1967): 116.

[42] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 153. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[43] Esperdy, Gabrielle. ““Marvels of Roadside and Main Street America”.” Expanded Version of a Talk Presented at the Symposium at the Library of Congress in March 2011 and at the Architectural League of New York in July 2011. July 1, 2011. Accessed April 11, 2015. http://aliciapatterson.org/sites/default/files/gab_article.txt.

[44] Millstein, Gilbert. “Architect De Luxe of Miami Beach.” The New York Times, January 13, 1957, Magazine Section sec.

[45] Hickey, Dave. Lapidus Fontainebleau. Las Vegas: Brightcitybooks, 2008.

[46] Margolies, John S. “Now, Once and for All, Know Why I Did It: Morris Lapidus.” Progressive Architecture 51 (1970): 118-23.

[47] Mary Josephson, “Lapidus’ Pornography of Comfort,” Art in America, 59, 2, March 1970, 108-109.

[48] Ibid

[49] Freundlich, A. L. “Plaudits for Mr. Lapidus.” Architectural & Engineering News 9 (1967): 116.

[50] Ibid

[51] Ibid

[52] Wolfe, Tom. From Bauhaus to Our House. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1981. 72-74.

[53] Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996: 254.

[54] Lapidus, Morris. Too Much Is Never Enough. New York: Rizzoli, 1996.: 257.

[55] Cook, John Wesley, and Heinrich Klotz. “Morris Lapidus Alan Lapidus.” In Conversations with Architects: Philip Johnson, Kevin Roche, Paul Rudolph, Bertrand Goldberg, Morris Lapidus, Louis Kahn, Charles Moore, Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown,, 159. New York: Praeger, 1973.

[56] Mary Josephson, “Lapidus’ Pornography of Comfort,” Art in America, 59, 2, March 1970, 108-109.
[57] Esperdy, Gabrielle. ““Marvels of Roadside and Main Street America”.” Expanded Version of a Talk Presented at the Symposium at the Library of Congress in March 2011 and at the Architectural League of New York in July 2011. July 1, 2011. Accessed April 11, 2015. http://aliciapatterson.org/sites/default/files/gab_article.txt.

[58] Venturi, Robert, and Denise Brown. Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form. Rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1977.

[59] Wolfe, Tom. From Bauhaus to Our House. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1981. 72-74.

[60] Morris Lapidus, “A Quest for Emotion in Architecture,” AIA Journal, 36, November 1961, 55-58.

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