In yesterday's Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin reported on the new American architecture postage stamps due out this year. The 12 featured buildings are:
- The Guggenheim Museum in New York City by Frank Lloyd Wright
- The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by Frank Gehry
- The Yale Art and Architecture Building in New Haven, CT by Paul Rudolph
- The Chrysler Building in New York City by William Van Alen
- The Lake Shore Apartments in Chicago by Mies van der Rohe
- The High Museum of Art in Atlanta by Richard Meier
- The Vanna Venturi house in Philadelphia by Robert Venturi
- The East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. by I.M. Pei
- The Library at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire by Louis I. Kahn
- The TWA Terminal at the Kennedy Airport in New York City by Eero Saarinen
- The glass and steel house in New Canaan, CT by Philip Johnson
- The John Hancock Center in Chicago by architect Bruce Graham and engineer Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill
I'm glad Kamin pointed out the east-coast bias of the choices, and I share his disappointment that Chicago got only two stamps. But, like Kamin, I agree that the series is, generally, all good.
I have one small quibble with Kamin's disappointment about the inclusion of Venturi's mother's house. I can't argue for its importance, but I was pleased to see something of this small scale (1800 square feet) included next to Johnson's glass house and among the giants.
The public face of "Architecture" sometimes overwhelms. I frequently find it easier, as an armchair critic, to engage with smaller works in order to realize ideas about larger ones. If one benefit of the stamps is to increase the public's appreciation of architecture, then including a small second work was worthwhile -- even if a better choice could be found.