AUSSIE DEDICATION

AUSSIE DEDICATION

tennis australian_open_logo_04The 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

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.tennis access to opera housesydney1 tennis front view sydney oh lit tennis front view sydney-opera-house-05

Opera House interior view

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.tennis Sydney_Opera_House_Close_up_HDR_Sydney_AustraliaHowever, 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?

BILBAO GUGGENHEIM

BILBAO GUGGENHEIM

Bilboa, Spain

Bilbao, Spain

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.

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--dancing couple Fred Estaire and Ginger Rogers

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.

Criticism

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

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
FRANK’S FISH

FRANK’S FISH

Colorcore fish lamp by Frank Gehry

Colorcore fish lamp by Frank Gehry

Take a bite out of this fish. No one before or since Frank Gehry has tried this one, as far as I know. As we all know, Frank Gehry likes fish. In 1986 he made a glass fish for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; and between 1989 and 1992 he produced stainless steel fish for Barcelona’s waterfront to celebrate the city’s hosting of the Olympics. Then there are his buildings themselves that so often resemble the scales and fins of marine life.

The show has passed, but it should come as no surprise that The Gagosian galleries in Beverly Hills (January 11 – February 14, 2013) and Paris (January 24 – March 9, 2013) showed a collection of his fish lamps. Gehry first produced these back in 1984, when he accidentally smashed a piece of the then pioneering new Formica material Colorcore. The plastic shards reminded the architect of fish scales, and so he set about creating a series of lights from the mess.

Detail from one of Gehry's new fish lamps

Detail from one of Gehry’s new fish lamps

So, why the new show? Well, as a statement issued by the gallery explains, “In 2012 Gehry decided to revisit his earlier ideas, and began working on an entirely new group of Fish Lamps. The resulting works, which will be divided between Gagosians Los Angeles and Paris, range in scale from lifesize to outsize, and the use of ColorCore is bolder, incorporating larger and more jagged elements.”

While this new school of Gehry fish may differ a little from its predecessors, they are still built around a metal core and set on a wooden frame, and still look as naturalistic, considered and charming as any of his buildings.

You can see other work of Gehry on my blog last week. It included Gehry’s cardboard collection like Easy Edges (1969 – 73) and Experimental Edges (1979 – 82) of chairs and tables carved from blocks of industrial corrugated cardboard.

Every year in July,  Romance Writer’s of America call author’s of romance to attend their conference. Workshops all day, wine and dine all night, ice cream socials… and lots and lots and lots of old and new fabulous friends. This is where you’ll find me for the week, so be patient for answers to your questions and queries. Come back next week for Frank’s think-out-of-the-box buildings.

 

 

UNDULATING

UNDULATING

Cardboard wiggle chair

Cardboard wiggle side chair

FURNITURE DESIGNS
1969–92

Frank Gehry’s wiggle side chair was the beginning of his most pervasive innovative ideas. While I was working in the interior design department at Bloomingdale’s, New York, Mr. Gehry came in to demonstrate the strength and comfort of his side chair. He climbed up onto the seat and jumped up and down. All of us, interior designers and furniture salespeople, watched in horror, but he knew something we all didn’t know, because he was smiling the whole time. This most amazing chair was impervious to the tests.

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CLOUD GATE CHICAGO

CLOUD GATE CHICAGO

ArtistAnish Kapoor YearBuilt 2004–2006 TypeStainless steel Dimensions10 m × 13 m × 20 m (33 ft × 42 ft × 66 ft) LocationMillennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Artist: Anish Kapoor
Year Built: 2004–2006
Type Stainless steel
Dimensions 10 m × 13 m × 20 m (33 ft × 42 ft × 66 ft)
Location Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States. The sculpture and AT&T Plaza are located on top of Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed “The Bean” because of its bean-like shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).

Gail's photo upshot from inside the Beane

Gail’s photo upshot from inside the Bean

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CHAIRS. WHAT ABOUT THEM?

CHAIRS. WHAT ABOUT THEM?

Heaven. Are there any chairs in heaven? Wait a minute. I heard we get to bring our favorite chairs with us. Do you have a favorite chair? Oh, I know … an Archie Bunker

Archie Bunker’s Chair from “All In the Family”

chair, right smack in the middle of heaven. The one that was right smack in the middle of his family room. I bet Archie is up there sitting around in his easy chair with its winged back, wide seat, arms and comfy soft cushions, poo pooing everyone looking his way. “You’re jealous, you want it, you can’t have it! It’s mine.”

Do you really want Archie’s chair? Wait, you haven’t seen anything yet. Reality is, way back when, chairs were only for royalty and the privileged. The rest of the crowd, if allowed to sit in the presence of a sovereign, sat on their buttocks … on the ground. I would have grabbed the first rock. The first sitting device had to be a rock. Then someone figured out how to shape natural material, like clay, like bamboo, like wood, and later even cardboard into a place to seat oneself.

Clay Chair

King Tut, XVIII dynasty, circa 2630 B.C. A golden throne made of sheet gold worked around a wooden base and inlaid with faience, colored glass, lapis, lazuli, and calcite.

Frank Gehry's cardboard Wiggle Chair 1972

Did you know if you remained seated while others stand, you considered yourself superior? Chairs have changed dramatically since the first rock and so has our philosophy. I don’t know about you, but if someone is standing addressing me while I am seated, I will invite them to join me, or I will stand. This facilitates eye contact and offers equality.

Egyptian chairs were thrones, hard and stiff, the lesser folk serving the one on the throne, got to sit on stools. That’s a seat with no back. I love a good stool, how about you? You can place yourself wholly on it or part way on the edge, either way it is easy to get up and out.

Chairs are a different species. Did you read in my blog last week, about the stocky stockbroker and the White Castle table and bench? He couldn’t get in, imagine if he did, how would he get out?

Chairs change styles, sizes and scope of designs depending on the country and culture.

The famous Frank Gehry‘s layers of cardboard chair is here in this blog, namely “Wiggle Chair.” It was innovative then, and still today is most unusual. Gehry is an out-of-the-box thinker.

Yoda Easy Chair by Kenneth Cobonpue

The bamboo easy chair is an innovative, trendy 21st century design, reminiscent of Frank Gehry’s cardboard chair of the 70’s above. Mr. Gehry visited New York Bloomies when I was a young designer working in the design department. He demonstrated the strength of the chair by standing on it and jumping several times. The chair was impervious to the test.

More to come.

Do you have a favorite chair? Would you take it to heaven or perhaps to the beach?

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