June 29, 2006 – September 24, 2006

SUMMER STUDIO (for Antonin and Noémi Raymond)
Karuizawa, Japan
1933; built
The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

Antonin and Noémi Raymond—pioneers of modern architecture and design in Japan—are the subject of a retrospective exhibit debuting at The Meyerson Galleries of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Organized by the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, Crafting a Modern World: the Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond is on view at Penn from June 29th through September 24th, 2006, before traveling to venues in California and Japan.

With unprecedented access to archival collections in Japan, Europe, and the United States, the exhibition contains some 200 works, many of which are on display for the first time, including drawings, models, photographs, videos, furniture, and other objects. Designed and installed by the Architectural Archives with Paul Prince, a Santa Barbara based exhibition designer, the exhibition traces the Raymonds’ extraordinary forty-year interaction with Japanese culture (1920-37; 1950-73), and the intervening years when they lived and worked in the Northeastern United States, from their earliest commissions to their major projects including: the Tokyo Golf Club (1931-32), the Raymond Farm in New Hope, Pennsylvania (1939-40), the Reader’s Digest Building, Tokyo (1948-51)—a landmark structure which included a garden designed in collaboration with Isamu Noguchi, and the Gunma Music Center in Takasaki, Japan (1955-61).

Among the exhibition highlights is a vibrant series of printed textile and rug designs by Noémi Raymond, presented in a coordinated display with examples of her furniture from the elegant Akaboshi Tetsuma House in Tokyo (1933-34) as well as examples from the postwar period. The furniture and furnishings are exhibited in large-scale settings intended to give a sense of the form and, in some cases, material reality of the Raymonds’ built work. 

Antonin Raymond (1888-1976) and Noémi Raymond (née Pernessin, 1889-1980) were married in 1914 and worked as partners in design for over sixty years. Through their works, the Raymonds were able to forge a meaningful connection with the ancient traditions of Japan that widened the visual and, perhaps more importantly, the non-visual possibilities of modern design. They also used these connections to bring new life to the role of the architect as a master-builder—where simplicity and truth were found in the beauty of natural materials and in craft of fine workmanship. Dissatisfied with the dehumanizing effects of industrialization that they saw in much of the architecture of their day, the Raymonds sought to reinvest architecture with “an atmosphere of calm and serenity, life and joy.” In so doing they brought about an architecture of quiet elegance which drew from the principles of the past as well as the technologies of the present to create a way of living for the modern world.

The Raymonds’ singular and independent vision links their work to that of other distinguished architects who practiced in the Philadelphia region whose work the Architectural Archives has previously celebrated and documented in exhibitions:  Louis I. Kahn (1901-74)—in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates—in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  As the center of the Raymonds’ practice in America, the Delaware Valley region is home to some of their most acclaimed work, including the Raymond Farm in New Hope (1938-40).  Among their closest collaborators were two individuals central to the shaping of mid-century modernism in the United States: George Nakashima (1905-1990) the Japanese-American woodworker and craftsman and Junzo Yoshimura (1908-1997), designer of Philadelphia’s Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park (1953-54), who each worked in the Raymonds’ office from 1934-40 and 1928-41 respectively. 

The exhibition and book are supported by a generous grant from the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia.  Planning and research support was provided by the Getty Research Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

William Whitaker, Curator of the Architectural Archives with Kurt Helfrich, Curator, Architecture and Design Collection, University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with Ken Oshima, Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Mari Nakahara, Assistant Collections Manager, The Octagon Museum, Washington, DC, and Christine Vendredi-Auzanneau, Assistant Professor, École Polytechnique Fédérale, Lausanne, Switzerland.

University of Pennsylvania School of Design
Meyerson Hall
210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 

Wednesday – Sunday, 11-5pm

Admission is free

The Meyerson Galleries, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
June 28 – September 24, 2006

University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, California
January 17 – April 8, 2007

Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Japan
Fall 2007

Gunma Music Center, Takasaki, Japan, 1955-61
Section perspective
Collection Raymond Sekki Jimusho

Raymond New Studio, Karuizawa, Japan, 1960-63
Collection Kitazawa Koichi

"Strip Fields" for Schumacher's, 1948
Collection William Whitaker and Shilpa Mehta

Raymond New Studio, Karuizawa, Japan, 1960-63
Collection Kitazawa Koichi