Antonio Gaudi, Architect
Spain is being talked up in my art workshop. A trip is planned in September to visit Madrid and Toledo. It will include a visit to the El Greco Museum and exploration of the works of El Greco that adorn so many sites in Toledo. The old Town is also a treasure of churches, museums, synagogues and mosques set in a labyrinth of narrow streets and plazas in a lofty setting above the River Tajo. There will be opportunity to paint and go on photography walks, engage in lectures and excursions to Toledo venues within walking distance from the 4-star Hotel. Included is a mid-week coach to Madrid to tour the famous Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums. The trip sounds magical. My memories were jostled of my travels to Barcelona a couple of years ago and the fascination I experienced with Gaudi’s work. From 1915 Gaudí devoted himself almost exclusively to his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família, a synthesis of his architectural evolution.
Sagrada Familia exterior
After completion of the crypt and the apse, still in Gothic style, the rest of the church is conceived in an organic style, imitating natural shapes with their abundance of ruled surfaces.
Sagrada Familia nave roof detail, notice the columns projecting forward
He intended the interior to resemble a forest, with inclined columns like branching trees, helicoidal in form, creating a simple but sturdy structure. Gaudí applied all of his previous experimental findings in this project, from works such as the Park Güell and the crypt of the Colònia Güell, creating a church that is at once structurally perfect, harmonious and aesthetically satisfying.
Reptil Parc Guell, Barcelona
The Sagrada Família has a cruciform plan, with a five-aisled nave, a transept of three aisles, and an apse with seven chapels. It has three facades dedicated to the birth, passion and glory of Jesus, and when completed it will have eighteen towers: four at each side making a total of twelve for the apostles, four on the transept invoking the evangelists and one on the apse dedicated to the Virgin, plus the central tower in honor of Jesus, which will reach 560 ft in height.
Details exterior Sagrada
The church will have two sacristies adjacent to the apse, and three large chapels: one for the Assumption in the apse, and the Baptism and Penitence chapels at the west end; also, it will be surrounded by a cloister designed for processions and to isolate the building from the exterior. Gaudí used highly symbolic content in the Sagrada Família, both in architecture and sculpture, dedicating each part of the church to a religious theme.
One of Gaudi’s drawings of Sagrada Familia
During Gaudí’s life only the crypt, apse and part of the Nativity facade were completed. Upon his death his assistant Domènec Sugrañes took over the construction; thereafter it was directed by various architects. Jordi Bonet i Armengol assumed responsibility in 1987 and continued as of 2011. Artists such as Llorenç and Joan Matamala, Carles Mani, Jaume Busquets, Joaquim Ros i Bofarull, Etsuro Sotoo and Josep Maria Subirachs (creator of the Passion facade) have worked on the sculptural decoration. Completion is not expected until at least 2027.
The idea of this historic blog writing began in 2010 with the encouragement of my writer colleagues in CTRWA. These writings and descriptions are meant to be an aid in the development of settings.
Daniel Libeskind Designs Milan Expo Pavilion for Chinese Developer Vanke
New York-based architect Daniel Libeskind has proposed a twisted reptilian structure for the first ever expo pavilion for a stand-alone Chinese company.
Ancient Chinese teachings and Renaissance art are cited as some of the inspirations for the building, whose twisted shape is intended to create a “continuous flow” between inside and outside spaces. A staircase will also curve around the exterior, leading up to a rooftop terrace.
Responding to the Expo theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, New York exhibition designer Ralph Appelbaum and Chinese graphic designer Han Jiaying will work with Libeskind to create an interior described by Vanke as a “virtual forest”. This will feature 300 multimedia screens, offering a look at the role of the dinner table in Chinese communities.
Designed for Vanke, China’s largest property developer, the Shitang pavilion is already under construction at the Milan Expo 2015 site, and was conceived by Daniel Libeskind as a sinuous volume with a scaly outer skin.
“In keeping with the theme of Expo Milano, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, we proposed the concept ‘Shitang’ for the Vanke Pavilion,” said Vanke chairman Wang Shi.
“Shitang in Chinese means ‘table’. We thus want to express our idea of urbanisation and community through the experience of food. Indeed, food is one of the most effective ways to understand a culture: the ritual of eating and talking together is important in every community because by eating together it is possible to get to know each other better,” he said.
Libeskind has previously said that he would not work in China on ethical grounds and urged architects to “think twice” about building in the country. Later that same year it was revealed by UK architecture newspaper BD that his practice was working on a 25,000-square-metre public building in Hong Kong.
“This is not a dogmatic idea for Daniel,” Nina Libeskind told BD in 2008. “Its a personal thing for him. We’ve seen what has happened in Tibet, but there is a rule of law in Hong Kong that Daniel is comfortable with.”
I was thrilled to find this pavillion through architectural news on Twitter and written up in de zeen magazine. I went exploring. This edifice is a fascinating structure with its twists and turns and will be available for all to experience in 2015 in Milan. Plan to go now.
Should we all go together?
The Rod Laver Tennis Stadium has nothing to do with the Sydney Opera House, except while watching the players at this important tennis event this week in Melbourne, I thought about how dedicated Australia is to sports, architecture and the arts. I was reminded of a spectacular edifice in the architectural world 550 miles away in Sydney.
The Sydney Opera House.
Jørn Oberg Utzon, (9 April 1918 – 29 November 2008) was a Danish architect, most notable for designing the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
In 1957, Utzon unexpectedly won the competition to design the Sydney Opera House. His submission was one of 233 designs from 32 countries, many of them from the most famous architects of the day. Although he had won six other architectural competitions previously, the Opera House was his first non-domestic project. One of the judges, Eero Saarinen, described it as “genius” and declared he could not endorse any other choice. When it was declared a World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007, Utzon became only the second person to have received such recognition for one of his works during his lifetime.
The Sydney Opera House Photo by Biarte Sorensen
Looking like wind-filled sails,12 white cement shells up to nearly 200 feet (160 meters) high stand on a deck of natural stone at the tip of a tongue of land extending into Sydney harbor, irrational and without any direct function but to arouse emotion. Yet they have become the symbol not just for Sidney but for the whole fifth continent. They stand in two rows on top of the “experience zone,” the concert hall, opera theatre, stage theatre, two foyers and main restaurant. The horizontally layered building underneath contains several stones of servicing departments for all the “experiences.” Utzon’s 1956 design for the Opera House won him the international competition and the contract to build it. Utzon’s designs puts him in the company of the organic tradition of architects, Wright, Scharoun, Asplund and Aalto.
Opera House interior view
The new Minister for Public Works, Davis Hughes, was not enthusiastic about the project. Elizabeth Farrelly, Australian architecture critic, has written that at an election night dinner party, Hughes’s daughter, Sue Burgoyne, boasted that her father would soon sack Utzon. Hughes had no interest in art, architecture or aesthetics. A fraud, as well as a philistine, he had been exposed before Parliament and dumped as Country Party leader for falsely claiming a university degree. The Opera House gave Hughes a second chance. For him, as for Utzon, it was all about control, about the triumph of homegrown mediocrity over foreign genius.
Utzon soon found himself in conflict with the new Minister. Attempting to rein in the escalating cost of the project, Hughes began questioning Utzon’s capability, his designs, schedules and cost estimates, refusing to pay running costs. In 1966, after a final request from Utzon that plywood manufacturer Ralph Symonds should be one of the suppliers for the roof structure was refused, he resigned from the job, closed his Sydney office and vowed never to return to Australia. When Utzon left, the shells were almost complete, and costs amounted to only $22.9 million. Following major changes to the original plans for the interiors, costs finally rose to $103 million.However, the Opera House was finally completed, and was opened in 1973 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. The architect was not invited to the ceremony, nor was his name even mentioned during any of the speeches. He was, however, to be recognized later when he was asked to design updates to the interior of the opera house. The Utzon Room, overlooking Sydney Harbor, was officially dedicated in October 2004. In a statement at the time Utzon wrote: “The fact that I’m mentioned in such a marvellous way, gives me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. I don’t think you can give me more joy as the architect. It supersedes any medal of any kind that I could get and have gotten.” Furthermore, Frank Gehry, one of the Pritzker Prize judges, commented: “Utzon made a building well ahead of its time, far ahead of available technology, and he persevered through extraordinarily malicious publicity and negative criticism to build a building that changed the image of an entire country.”
What do you love most, architecture, the arts, tennis or something else? If you had to pick, which would it be? If something else, what is it?
Frank Owen Gehry, CC (born Frank Owen Goldberg; February 28, 1929) is a Canadian-American Pritzker Prize-winning architect based in Los Angeles.
His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. His works are cited as being among the most important works of contemporary architecture in the 2010 World Architecture Survey, which led Vanity Fair to label him as “the most important architect of our age”.
The tower at 8 Spruce Street in lower Manhattan which was completed in February 2011 has a stainless steel and glass exterior and is 76 stories high.
Gehry’s best-known works include the titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, photo above; MIT Ray and Maria Stata Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Experience Music Project in Seattle; Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis; Dancing House in Prague; the Vitra Design Museum and the museum MARTa Herford in Germany; the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; the Cinémathèque française in Paris; and 8 Spruce Street in New York City. But it was his private residence in Santa Monica, California, that jump-started his career, lifting it from the status of “paper architecture”—a phenomenon that many famous architects have experienced in their formative decades through experimentation almost exclusively on paper before receiving their first major commission in later years. Gehry is also the designer of the future Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial.
Casa Danzante, Prague–Inspiration dancing couple Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Much of Gehry’s work falls within the style of Deconstructivism, which is often referred to as post-structuralist in nature for its ability to go beyond current modalities of structural definition. In architecture, its application tends to depart from modernism in its inherent criticism of culturally inherited givens such as societal goals and functional necessity. Because of this, unlike early modernist structures, Deconstructivist structures are not required to reflect specific social or universal ideas, such as speed or universality of form, and they do not reflect a belief that form follows function. Gehry’s own Santa Monica residence is a commonly cited example of deconstructivist architecture, as it was so drastically divorced from its original context, and in such a manner as to subvert its original spatial intention.
Reception of Gehry’s work is not always positive. Art historian Hal Foster reads Gehry’s architecture as, primarily, in the service of corporate branding. Criticism of his work includes complaints that the buildings waste structural resources by creating functionless forms, do not seem to belong in their surroundings and are apparently designed without accounting for the local climate.
Reasoning has it his work is about possibilities… Form follows function is one of the long-standing slogans of modern architecture. Its use was pioneered by turn-of-the-century skyscraper architect Louis Sullivan, complemented by Adolf Loos’s 1908 assertion that ‘Ornament is crime’, adapted by Frank Lloyd Wright and adopted by Modernists and Bauhaus desginers such as Mies van der Rohe (‘Less is more’), Walter Groupius, etc. Originally meant to be defiantly honest – let the form of a building or product result from its function and no more – and anti-style, it eventually evolved into yet another set of un-interrogated conventions, and is now being both challenged and re-worked. Clearly seen in Gehry’s work.
Marques de Riscal Winery
Marques de Riscal winery is the oldest and most traditional of the Rioja.
Architecture students the world over are inspired by Gehry’s work. His work is think-out-of-the-box philosophy.
Does Gehry’s work inspire your thoughts to change the world in some way? Think also of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, so many others. How will you change the way we think, make the world a better place? Are you a mover, a shaker?
Parts cited from: Frank Gehry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Karnak is an ancient Egyptian temple precinct located on the east bank of the Nile River in Thebes (modern-day Luxor). It covers more than 100 hectares, an area larger than some ancient cities.
Egypt’s history spans some five millenniums, and encompasses the origin of civilization, the rise of the Greeks and Romans, the establishment of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions, the colonial era when first France and then the English ruled the country, and finally, a return to independence. Egypt has played an important role through all of these eras, and today one can find monuments that evidence Egypt’s role in most of the world’s historic events.
“Cleopatra and Caesar” by Jean Leon Gerome
In Egypt, we find the earliest detailed records of warfare recorded thousands of years ago, but we also find the cemeteries and monuments of the world’s last global war, World War II. In Egypt, we find some of the first written words of civilization, but we also find great thinkers and writers throughout the Greek period, into the Christian era, the archaic Islamic period and even modern Nobel Literates. We find ancient pyramids and giant columns supporting massive temples; now we can find these architectural elements spread throughout the world. Along with the first monumental buildings made of stone, we find the first paved roads, the first wines and beer and even the first peace treaties between organized governments. We also find the world’s first scientists, doctors, architects and mathematicians.
Art of belly dancing
Egypt is our window to humanity’s distant past and in understanding its history, we find both mankind’s greatest glories and achievements, as well as his often-repeated mistakes. We can follow along with the building of empires, only to see them collapse again and again. We find great men and rulers renowned, but we often also see their ultimate demise. And here, we learn about religion, its evolution and, as the world grows older, its replacement with newer religions.
Please, take the time to understand ancient Egyptian history for you will find, within this knowledge, a better understanding of this modern world in which we live.
This article is Gail Ingis’s writing from her text book and lectures: History of Architecture & Interior Design. (unpublished).
Have you been to Egypt? Any favorite sites? Did you ride a camel . . . in Egypt? Can you belly dance?
Mr. Wright strolling the campus with his cane but without his cape. Frank Lloyd Wright spent the last two decades of his life overseeing the largest single-site collection of his designs.
I remembered my architectural studies of Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW) and his unusual life, when I read colleague and author PJ Sharon’s post about the windy city, Chicago. The windy city, changed by the impact of FLW, and where Paula attended Romantic Times Booklovers convention, has a collection of FLW designs, the likes of which are unsurpassed. (Look for Paula’s convention link at the end If you want to read about her experience.)
Paula’s post reminded me of FLW and his dedication to architecture. FLW, King of architecture, influenced the architectural community with his daring, his technology, his attitude. There was an irresistible charm about him. Women adored him, men admired him, architects envied him. He spoke to women’s groups telling them how to live, how to decorate, how to get out of the rut of loving dead things, things with no form. He managed to open up a new way for these women to see form. What is form? In order for form to resonate, make you feel good, it needs to have soul. Houses of the times were rigid boxes with no soul, until FLW opened them up. Victoriana had no soul, just lots and lots and lots of collections. His openness was a fresh new way to live. In his gentle way of talking to the women who listened with a passion, he said “Ornament is not about prettying the outside of something, but rather it should have balance, proportion, harmony.” All of which creates what FLW called the natural house. A house that blends with the land, a house that is designed with views to let the outside in.
Built in 1934 for Malcolm and Nancy WIlley, this Minneapolis home was restored in 2007 using cypress, plaster and regional brick.
Photo by Terrence Moore
It was abandoned for seven years, and totally disheveled, but here it is restored to its natural house form.
FLW never earned a degree. He left engineering school to apprentice in Chicago in the office of Adler and Sullivan. He learned on the job, then his opened his own practice. His belief in the natural, organic architecture, evolved from his exposure to Japanese architecture, his belief in simplicity, the nature of materials and influence of England’s Arts and Crafts Movement. He integrated these ideas of his time as he would the parts of a house, composing a symphonic whole that transcended the parts.
FLW not only did lots of buildings, but also did many wives. Frank at 69 with one of his many wives.
FLW home and studio with great gift shop
Here’s a FLW gift shop link: http://www.shopwright.org/
Do you have a FLW house or wish you had one?
Paula’s convention link: http://secretsof7scribes.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/rt-recap.
“Inspiration is fifty percent dedication and fifty percent discipline. Together they equal progress.”