A Podcast Before Podcasting
In 1956, the Reynolds Metals company created the ultimate promotional material: a phonograph record on modern architecture, or more specifically, "Conversations Regarding the Future of Architecture". Devoid of humour, it was originally made as an object of pure knowledge. The recording features Ernest Kump, Gordon Bunshaft, Eero Saarinen, Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and one of our favourites, Richard Neutra.
It’s easier to think of it as a podcast before podcasting.
The spoken word will strike a person with a natural aptness that makes it understood and remembered beyond all the others
Whilst this record has previously been digitised, the journey of this particular recording - taken from a vinyl pressing of the original run and lent to us via mutual correspondence in Sydney - speaks to the ways in which knowledge can be transmitted.
Now of course, everything is digital, just like this recording.
The text below is taken from the record sleeve:
With architecture, the best thing is to experience it. Next best is to see and read about it. Perhaps the least thing is to hear about it. Sometimes though, the spoken word will strike a person with a natural aptness that makes it understood and remembered beyond all the others. Here are some parts of informal conversations tape recorded over the period of the last year in the offices and homes of seven U.S. architects. They were made separately but have been brought together on two sides of this standard 33 1/3 RPM phonograph record.
SIDE I (runtime 16 minutes): Speaking first about the future of architecture: ERNEST KUMP who heads one of the most active and awarded architectural offices on the Pacific Coast. GORDON BUNSHAFT partner and chief designer with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, one of the largest architectural firms in the country. And talking about the three great architects of our times: EERO SAARINEN internationally famed architect with a reputation for large-scale planning and careful detail, of which General Motors Technical Centre is a most celebrated example. PHILIP JOHNSON important architectural historian and Architectural Chairman of New York Museum of Modern Art who is famed for his glass and steel residences.
SIDE II (runtime 17 minutes): Speaking both about their own roots in the past at the same time offering some thoughts for the future, are these leading architects: MIES VAN DER ROHE generally acknowledged one of the world’s great architects whose work in Europe and America shaped the architectural style of our times. WALTER GROPIUS founder of the Bauhaus in Germany and retired dean of Architecture at Harvard University; known both for his trailblazing modern architecture and his important educational efforts. RICHARD J. NEUTRA early pioneer of modern architecture in Europe and the most renowned architect on the West Coast.