contemporary architecture

So where is the architecture?

Believe it or not there is architecture everywhere.

It is likely you will not need to travel across an ocean to get to see beautiful buildings and design.  I read book many years ago called Outside Lies Magic by John R. Stilgoe, I thought the book was only semi-interesting but I loved its premise.  In short Stilgoe was suggesting that there is inspiration everywhere when you become acutely aware of everyday places and observe the ordinary elements around you.  The book covered some mundane stuff but what I took from it was the idea that there is design and architecture everywhere as long as you are looking for it.

Apartment Building  Herzog de Mueron inspiration

Apartment Building, Basel in Switzerland by Herzog and De Mueron, did inspiration come from the road sewer grate?
 

So I suggest that architecture is not far, it could be in your backyard.

Next time you are out on a walk or taking a bike ride – observe the buildings around you.  Most people take their everyday environments for granted and no longer see beauty and design right in front of them.  I sometimes bringing a camera which helps me focus and pay extra attention to the magical moments and minute details.

Iconic architecture can be a short road trip away.  There are many wonderful projects that are not in a city centre but a bit off the beaten track – they could be a day trip or weekend excursions.  These projects are great excuses to just get away for a day or two.

These are some of my architecture road trips:

Fallingwater

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pennsylvania, a spectacular building and a memorable experience (6 hour road trip from Toronto).

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre by Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden architects in Osoyoos, British Columbia, I had read about the rammed earth wall and wanted to see it in person (5 hour road trip from Vancouver)

Ronchamp

La Chapelle de Ronchamp Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier in Ronchamp France, had been on my bucket list since architecture school (a couple hour drive from Basel)

La Tourette Church by Le Corbusier

Sainte Marie de La Tourette by Le Corbusier outside Lyon, this spiritual convent was inspirational and spiritual (less than an hour outside Lyon, France)

Felsen Therma Vals

Therme Vals by Peter Zumthor in Vals, Switzerland, I was lucky to get into this thermal spa, architecture which touches all the senses (about 2.5 hours from Zurich)

The Bauhaus in Dessau Germany by Walter Groupius

The Bauhaus in Dessau Germany by Walter Groupius

The Bauhaus Dessau by Walter Gropius, Dessau Germany, any modernist would love to visit the school where modern architecture was born (1.5 hours outside Berlin)

ChurchOfLight

Church of Light by Tadao Ando in Ibaraki, Japan, I missed this project because I got very turned around a lost so it is still on my bucket list (just over an hour from Kyoto)

Suprising architecture

Vitra Design Museum, projects by Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, SANAA and more Weil am Rhein Germany, a campus of architecture (less than 30min from Basel)

a happy groupie is an architecture GROUPIE

visit www.archgroupie.com the architecture directory

tips for visiting modern architecture

are you an architecture groupie?

Years ago I realized…

I am an architecture GROUPIE

thinking, planning, researching and traveling to different cities all over the world visiting modern and contemporary architecture.

The architecture varied in age, size, use, materials and often left me speechless.  There is so much beauty and inspiration in Architecture and I just wanted to see it all.  I still do.

Krematorium - Berlin Architecture   Concilliation Chapel - Berlin   Bundestrag im Reichstag - Berlin Architecture

While I was in Berlin, a Studies Abroad during Grad school, I sought great architecture out.  The old stuff was easy to find but it was the modern and contemporary projects that were the real challenge to find and that was what I was most interested in – I was determined.  So with my detective skills found these buildings and visited dozens upon dozens of amazing projects.  Soon my tours and architectural visits caught on and friends (mostly architecture students) asked me for my modern and contemporary architecture address book.  Because I love architecture and love to share it I not only gave them the address book but advised which where ‘must sees’ and when to go and how to get there.

This went on for years…

Finally I realized I am not the only architecture groupie so I decided this information needed to be shared with all the architecture groupies of the world.

architecture groupie logo for blog

Architecture GROUPIE.com was officially launched in July 2012.  The website’s goal is simple: to locate modern and contemporary architecture for you so you can get to it.  I have carefully edited the information to include an image, the architect, the year it was completed, a weblink and of course the address and closest transit station.

ar·chi·tec·ture:  is the product of planning, designing and constructing buildings which are often perceived as cultural symbols and works of art.
group·ie:  is an ardent fan of a celebrity who follows these celebrities to have sexual relations with them.
ar·chi·tec·ture·group·ie:  is an ardent fan of the celebrity starchitect** who seeks orgasmic pleasure from beautifully planned, designed and constructed buildings, traveling the globe visiting these works of art.
** used to describe architects whose celebrity and critical acclaim have transformed them into idols of the architecture world and may even have given them some degree of fame amongst the general public. (thanks Wikipedia)

So what building’s make the list?  I have tried to be as impartial as I can, including only completed modern and contemporary architecture.  Private residence or projects with sensitive programs have been excluded to respect the privacy of those who inhabit them.  Buildings which are difficult to get to are also limited because going on a wild goose chase for one project is not always the best use of one’s time as well as any projects I could not confidently locate.  There are exceptions to these guidelines but this is the fundamental parameters of the archGROUPIE modern and contemporary architecture directory.

for ADs 2 for ADs 1Currently the directory includes the following cities:  London, Basel, Weil Am Rhein, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin, Rotterdam, and Toronto.

but the directory is continuing to grow and now includes maps of selected cities.

A Guie to Modern ArchitectureThis blog has been added to offer helpful tips and information which has come from my experiences and research.  My hope is that this website will help other people see these projects and give more popularity to modern and contemporary architecture amongst the general population.also check out architecture GROUPIE stuff & things  stuff & things

travel guides - blog check out these digital inexpensive architecture travel guides

Computer Modeling changed the path of architecture

guggenheim_bilbao Gehry_Technologies“the computer is a tool, not a partner – an instrument for catching the curve, not for inventing it”  Frank Gehry

Computers are changing architecture – some believe it is for the worst, other for the better, either way the transformation is unfolding and modern and contemporary architecture is made of different materials, formed into new shapes and much more experimental than it has ever been.  This is an exciting time to be visiting new architecture; current architects are pushing the envelope – literally.

So how does computer software actually change the face of architecture?

The computer software that has allowed for these architectural opportunities is called Building Information Modeling more commonly referred to simply as BIM.  BIM is intelligent model-based digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of building elements.  The digital model becomes a shared wholistic and comprehensive information resource of the facility throughout its entire lifecycle – Yikes!  In short architects are now building complex building forms in 3-dimensions rather than only working in plan, section and elevation (essentially flattening the building like a cubist painting). The benefit is that the complexity is computed and rationalized by the computer and the complicated information can be sent directly to manufacturers and contractors for production.

Many people believe that this type of technology is very new however this technology dates back almost 30 years.  A Hungarian company, Graphisoft, launched a 3D CAD program for Mac in 1984, eventually recognized globally in 1987 under Graphisoft’s ‘Virtual Building’ concept, now known as ArchiCAD, almost simultaneously Autodesk released 2D AutoCAD, unfortunately the popularity of computer drafting grew – until now.  The term BIM was used loosely until Autodesk popularized it in more recent years.

We are reaching a tipping point in architecture similar to the renaissance when drawing perspective altered the way architecture was designed, created and perceived.  The future of architecture is entering a new chapter, an exciting chapter defying normal architectural rules and conventions are questioned re-examined and pushed to its limits.  BIM connects architects and projects from opposite sides of the world allowing amazingly complex projects to be built within a fraction of the time pre-computer architecture.  Think back not too long ago to the Sydney Opera House, the project was awarded to Jorn Utzon in 1957, the first of three back to back phases began in 1959 and finished in 1973.  The iconic architectural landmark took 16 years from conception to completion.  Compared to Bilbao Guggenheim which was awarded to Frank Gehry in 1992 began construction in 1993 and was complete in 1997 – 5 years later.

NRS12706, 2/8645A   Sydney Opera House Detail Drawing   Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House above, Bilbao Guggenheim below

Gehry Sketch - Guggenheim  Guggenheim Bilbao by Frank Gehry  guggenheim computer model

Have you ever wondered what the drawings for Bilbao Guggenheim by Frank Gehry look like?  In fact Gehry has invented his own software to accomplish his designs to get his projects realized

Complex connection, organic shapes, and playful forms are all possible architects have more freedom and we have more to be astonished by.  Some examples of contemporary architecture taking full advantage of what computer modeling can achieve.

The Beijing National Stadium (aka the bird’s nest) by Herzog & de Meuron was completed in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics, below.  A complex façade constructed of a double-curved roof of woven steel box beams sized at 1meter squared.  The geometries where multifaceted – an impossible design to achieve and construct within the five year time frame they had.

National Stadium  Bird's Nest

Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi in Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE is still in construction however computer generated design was pivotal in creating the effect Nouvel was looking for, below.  The most notable architectural feature is the perforated dome roof with a pattern of shadows – more than 1000 tender drawings and datasheets were required to describe and analyze the lattice dome.  More than one hundred thousand structural and architectural members were rationalized and assembled using the computer model.

Louvre Museum Abi Dhabi

Riverside Museum in Glasgow by Zaha Hadid is a Museum of Transport.  The complex form was created, studied, and fabricated with the computer model. Most of Hadid’s work, if not all, uses the computer to achieve organic and unusual forms.  Her architecture is unlike any others and the experience within each building is unique and memorable.

Zaha Hadid Computer modeling      BIM zaha-hadid Riverside Museum Riverside Museum in Glasgow Riverside Museum in Glasgow Diagram Riverside Museum in Glasgow Construction

The discussion of computer modeling and its effect of contemporary architecture is overwhelming however the opportunities that have been created for more exciting and intriguing architecture is yet to be created.

Vote on the Best Modern Architecture City in the WORLD

architecture world map

There is so much amazing architecture in the world and so many cities to choose from.

architecture GROUPIE is trying to determine which cities are missing from our architecture directory and travel maps.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

VOTE for your TOP 3 modern and contemporary architecture cities OR add another city we missed.

Forward on to all your architecture groupie friends.

Thanks for your help.

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Modern and Contemporary Architecture Bucket List

Well this was no easy task – putting together a Modern and Contemporary Architecture bucket list has made me pretty choosy. The essence of any good architecture bucket list consists of visiting projects which exemplifying design to near perfection, is beyond the norm and embodies amazing ideas.

Here is the architecture GROUPIE Modern and Contemporary Architecture Bucket List consisting of 25 architectural projects I have made a point to visit or have yet to see in my life.

Yes some are pretty obvious cliche projects but nonetheless they are famous for a reason.

without further ado, in no particular order…

1. The Therme Vals Spa, 1996, Graubunden Canton, Switzerland, Peter Zumpthor

Therme Vals

2. Bilbao – Guggenheim, 1997, Bilbao, Spain, Frank Gehry

Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

3. Sydney Opera House, 1973, Sydney, Australia, Jørn Utzon

Sydney Opera House

4. The Reichstag Building, 1992, Berlin, Germany, Norman Foster

Bundestrag im Reichstag - Berlin Architecture

5. CCTV Headquarters, 1982, Beijing, China, Office of Metropolitan Architects

CCTV - 1

6. Fallingwater (Kaufmann Residence), 1935, Pennsylvania, USA, Frank Lloyd Wright

Fallingwater

7. Oslo Opera House, 2007, Oslo, Norway, Snohetta

oslo opera house

8. Burj al Arab Hotel Dubai, 1999, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tom Wright

Burj-al-arab-hotel

9. Church of Light, 1989, Ibaraki, Japan, Tadao Ando

ChurchOfLight

10. The Louvre Pyramid, 1988, Paris, France, I.M. Pei

louvre-museum

11. Barcelona Pavilion, 1929, rebuilt 1986, Barcelona, Spain, by Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona Pavillion

12. Canova Plaster Cast Museum, 1957, Treviso, Italy, Carlo Scarpa

Canova Plaster Cast Museum

13. Soumaya Museum, 2011, Polanco, Mexico, LAR / Fernando Romero y Mauricio Ceballos

Soumaya Museum

14. London Aquatics Centre, 2012, London, England, Zaha Hadid

London Aquatics Centre

15. City of Arts and Sciences, 2002, Valencia, Spain, Santiago Calatrava

Arts and Sciences

16. Notre Dame du Haut, 1954, Ronchamp, France, Le Corbusier

IMG_0702a

17. Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2010, Metz, France, Shigeru Ban

Centre Pompidou-Metz

18. Prada, 2003, Tokyo, Japan, Herzog & de Meuron

Prada - Tokyo

19. Sendai Mediathèque, 2000, Sendai, Japan, Toyo Ito

Sendai Mediathèque

20. Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 1960s, San Diego, California, Louis Kahn

Salk Institute

21. Louvre-Lens, 2012, Lens, France, SANAA

Louvre Lens

22. Case Study House #8, 1949, California, USA, Ray and Charles Eames

Case Study House 8

23. HSBC Main Building, 1985, Hong Kong, China, Norman Foster

HSBC Main Building

HSBC Main Building

24. Lotus Temple, 1986, New Delhi, India, Fariborz Sahba

Lotus Temple

25. Louvre, Abu Dhabi, 2013, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Jean Nouvel

Louvre Museum Abi Dhabi

Let me know which architectural projects have made your Bucket List!

12 awesome ARCHITECTURE websites

architecture websites copy

There are so many great architecture resources online I thought I would share my favorite architecture websites.  These websites feature modern and contemporary architecture and include great photos and information on new projects around the world.

I love to look at these websites and now you can too.

These are not inclusive of all architecture websites – just some of my favorites.  listed in alphabetical order. 

12 awesome ARCHITECTURE websites architecture groupie’s will love:

archdaily.com

archgroupie.com

archidose.blogspot.ca

archinect.com

architonic.com/nttre/architecture

contemporist.com

designboom.com/architecture

detail-online.com/architecture

fastcodesign.com

inhabitat.com/architecture

mocoloco.com/fresh2/architecture

thecoolhunter.net/architecture

wallpaper.com/architecture

AND don’t forget to check out:

 ebook image-reducedArchitecture Travel: a how to guide

Modern Architecture vs. Contemporary Architecture

Often Modern architecture and Contemporary architecture are used interchangeably, however they really aren’t the same.

Here is a quick and easy way to understand what the difference is so when you are on your architectural travels you know which type of architecture you are looking at.

Modern Architecture

Contemporary Architecture

Timeline
  • Began at the turn of the 20thcentury
  • Became popular post WW2
  • The present day
  • An evolution of modern architecture
Characteristic
  • Simplified form & Clean Lines
  • Visual expression of structure
  • Emphasis on Function
  • Vary greatly
  • No specific unifying features
Themes
  • “Form Follows Function” (Louis Sullivan & Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Simplified form
  • Removal of unnecessary details
  • Truth to materials
  • Machine aesthetics
  • Sustainable design
  • Natural materials
  • Eco-friendly / Green design
  • Equality
  • Landmark
  • Globalization of architecture
Architects
  • Walter Gropius
  • Le Corbusier
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
Associated With
  • Bauhaus
  • International Style
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling)
Examples

Modern Architecture:
The Bauhaus in Dessau Germany by Walter Gropius

Contemporary Architecture:
Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) by Daniel Libeskind

Modern Architecture:
Notre Dame de Ronchamp by Le Corbusier

Contemporary Architecture:
Simmons Hall MIT by Steven Holl

Modern Architecture:
S.R. Crown Hal by Mie van der Rohe

Contemporary Architecture:
Walt Disney by Frank Gehry

ebook image-reduced

Architecture Travel: a how to guide provides methodology for before, during and after architectural travel to help you minimize the research time and maximize the architecture you will visit.  This guide offers tips on research and organizing information, photography and sketching, as well as post-production work and suggestions on how to share your experiences.

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Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

5 TIPS FOR VISITING MODERN ARCHITECTURE ON A BUDGET

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Traveling can be expensive but visiting modern architecture isn’t always as expensive as you may think.  Here are a few ways to visit architecture on a budget.

 
 
This is Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten in Tokyo in 2008. 
As long as you don’t shop this architecture is free. 

1.  MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

Lots of great new Modern Architecture are Museums and Art galleries which typically have high admission prices which can get pretty expensive particularly in cities that are full of them.  However, many museums and gallery’s have days/evenings that are free or by donation, look for this before your trip. If you are not there that particular day of the month or it is not available you can often see the majority of the interior with just general admission rather than paying a premium for the special exhibits.  If you are interested in the exhibit as well the architecture it is really is a two for one deal in my opinion.  To save a bit of money I would recommend eating before or after because the museum cafe can be a bit pricey.

2.  GO SHOPPING

There is a lot of modern architecture that are shopping malls / flagship stores / religious venues / libraries and so forth and are free!  I found many of the buildings I wanted to see in Tokyo were the stores, expensive ones such as the Prada store so I didn’t spend any money and I got to see a tone of great modern architecture for free.

3.  PRIORITIZE

If you are really strapped for cash prioritize the architecture on your “must see” list (see blog: 5 Tips for Visiting Architecture) so you know which building’s are worth splurging on.  the projects lower on the list can be admired from the outside and the lobby, not quiet the same but will give you a sense of the design and building materials.

4.  MAKE IT PART OF THE EXPERIENCE

Some modern architecture such as theatre’s and performance venues are not open to public without a tour, these tours vary but generally can be 60min to 90min.  instead of taking the tour try to buy tickets for a show some venues sell tickets cheap on the day of which may cost a bit more than the day tour but you will get hours of entertainment and see the architecture as it was meant to be.  I like to try to do this for each city I visit, they are often more memorable than the day tour.

5. ASK

If you are a student, particularly architecture student, always ask if there are student admission prices even if it is not posted. when I was an architecture student I carried a letter from my school stating I was traveling for school and some architectural venues let me in for free, that was sometime ago but it is worth a try.  Seniors should also ask for discounted rates.  if you are visiting a project that is by donation don’t skip out on the donation. The buildings often need this money to operate and maintain the building and we want to help preserve these architectural works for future generations.

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide