July 4, 2012 Mid-Century Modern

Architecture Golf, Kevin Roche at Building Museum

National Building Museum

Looking for a place to beat the heat? Head to the National Building Museum for some architectural mini-golf and an exhibit on the work of Kevin Roche. Kicking off today (July 4) and running through Labor Day, you can play a one-of-a-kind mini-golf course designed by some of the region’s most creative architects, construction firms, urban planners and designers. “Challenge your friends and family to a round of mini-golf in air-conditioned comfort, packed with enough fun to make Augusta National Golf Club green with envy,” the museum says in prescient marketing copy. Cost is $5 per round per person. With purchase of full-price Museum exhibition admission ticket, the price per round is reduced to $3. Museum members play for $3.


Eero Saarinen and Kevin Roche working on a model for the TWA Terminal, c. 1958. Courtesy of Eero Saarinen Collection; Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

After a round of golf, head upstairs to see the exhibit Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment, which highlights the work of modernist and Pritzker Prize-winner Kevin Roche. Originally known as Eero Saarinen’s right-hand man, Roche along with John Dinkeloo took over and expanded Saarinen’s practice after he died unexpectedly at 51. Roche, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, and Dinkeloo finished the iconic projects of the TWA Terminal at Kennedy Airport, the Gateway Arch and Dulles Airport. Roche’s clients ranged from IBM, Union Carbide, and Merck to the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ford Foundation Building

Ford Foundation Headquarters, New York, New York, 1968. ©Ezra Stoller/Esto

“Roche came into his own in the 1960s and quickly established himself as a big-picture thinker,” the museum says in notes on the exhibit, which runs through Dec. 2. “He adopted an expansive definition of architecture that encompassed civic concerns such as transportation, infrastructure, and public space, as well as the broader economic and cultural landscape. His mastery of systems theory applied to architecture was especially appealing to corporate America.” (For a contrarian view of Roche’s work, read this review by the Washington Post‘s Philip Kennicott.)

College Life Insurance Company Headquarters

College Life Insurance Company Headquarters, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1971. Courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates.

You can also see some of Roche’s more recent work in person here in DC, including Station Place 1 near Union Station, Lafayette Tower at 801 17th St. and the Leed Gold-designated office building at 1101 New York Ave. (seen below.)


1101 New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 2007. Three façades of this LEED® Gold office building feature a 20-foot-cantilever and clear glass curtain wall. Courtesy Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates.