Architects know how to party. Seriously! In preparation for our A+ Gala on Thursday, we've looked at some notorious architecture bashes throughout history, and—let's just say we have a lot to live up to! From a country happening with a special performance by the Velvet Underground to a Bauhaus party featuring a tinfoil slide, we wish we could have attended!
Architects dressed up for the 1931 Beaux Arts Ball; photo from the collection of Christopher Gray.
1931 Beaux Arts Ball
The Beaux Arts Architectural Society has put on some pretty lavish parties—a Napoleonic pageant, a Renaissance romp, "Venice Through the Ages"—but none approached the epic quality of its 1931 spectacle. Located at the Hotel Astor in NYC, "Fête Moderne - a Fantasie in Flame and Silver" included a robot puppet show, ballerinas dancing to the blues, and, according to the New York Times, an orchestra consisting of machines, steam pipes, ocean liner whistles, and sledgehammers, conducted by Kenneth Murchison. Most memorable, however, were the revelers' outfits: The architects wore replicas of buildings they had designed on their heads.
Oskar Sclemmer’s Triadic Ballet, 1922
1929 Bauhaus Metallic Festival
For the Bauhaus, partying was an art. But the school's notorious happenings reached their apex with the Metallic Festival. The guests, dressed in tin foil and adorned with silverware, reached the party rooms through a slide covered with tinplate. The walls were also covered in tinplate, to reflect the revelers as they danced, and silver spheres dangled from the ceiling.
Philip Johnson's hip parties included such cultural icons as Andy Warhol and Lou Reed. Warhol kissing Philip Johnson, 1978. Photo: Christopher Makos.
1967 Glass House Country Happening
"Balloons. Ballet. Boogaloo," began Vogue's account of Philip Johnson's benefit for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the architect's famous Glass House. Guests were treated to an outdoor performance by the dance company to a score by John Cage featuring viola, tam-tam, radio, and three cars. (We're noticing a theme here.) Later, the Velvet Underground took the stage as wine-fueled guests danced wildly. The party ended—as any good party should—with the arrival of the cops.
Spot the starchitects! One of Peter Eisenman's Indian dinners, ca. 1974, included such luminaries as Rem Koolhaas. Photo: Suzanne Frank
Peter Eisenman's Indian Dinners
Peter Eisenman, founder of the Institute of Architecture in New York City, threw enormous Indian-dinner parties for his staff. They could be tense—so many egos packed into one table!—but the conversation must have been fascinating. Plus, these architects would get down. "There were parties with lots of dancing," recalled former member Suzanne Frank. "I remember one that Rem attended—he came to all the parties."
1970s Superstudio Weird Picnic Love-in
OK, so Superstudio's photocollages you see of weird hippies in various states of undress lying around drinking wine and barbecuing among the mountains aren't real. But, we'd like to imagine that Italian radical architecture firm really did throw such libertine bacchanales!