Avery’s Architectural Novelties

Decks of Cards > Play Architecture

Produced by the Finnish Building Center in 1990, Play Architecture is a deck of cards with a twentieth-century architectural theme. As the title card explains, each of the four suits represents a different stylistic era: diamonds for Pre-Modernism, spades for Modernism, hearts for Post-Modernism, and clubs for De-Structuralism. Within each suit, the number cards have illustrations of buildings, and the Jack, Queen, and King cards have portraits of architects from these eras.


For Pre-Modernism, for example, the architects pictured on the diamond cards include Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Eliel Saarinen; J.M. Olbrich's Secession Building in Vienna and Erich Mendelsohn's Einstein Tower in Potsdam are among the featured buildings. Le Corbusier (King), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (Queen), and Walter Gropius (Jack) are the spades of Modernism, followed by Michael Graves (King), Robert Venturi (Queen), and Charles Jencks (Jack) as the hearts of Post-Modernism. Frank Gehry's Aerospace Museum in Los Angeles and Bernard Tschumi's Parc de la Villette appear on the clubs of De-Structuralism.

According to the title card, the aces summarize "the concept and suit-style in an independent way." Thus the ace of spades of Pre-Modernism has a detail of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, and the ace of spades of Modernism illustrates an experiment in laminated wood by Alvar Aalto.

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