Modern Architecture

modern architecture is not just for architects

Greatbatch Pavilion by Toshiko MoriIt is a misconception that only architects or those educated in design can appreciated, understand and have an opinion on modern and contemporary architecture.

Left, The Eleanore and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, Visitor Center for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House by Toshiko Mori Architect

Architecture is created for everyone.

to be used, lived in, visited, loved, hated, talked about, create a mood, guide us, challenge us, move us, protect us.

Architecture is all around us and can be appreciated at many levels and in a multitude of ways.  Let me use wine as an analogy.  IMG_0767Wine connoisseurs know a lot about wine, they know about the different grape varieties, where they grow, what each plant and grape looks like.  They understand the process of converting those grapes to wine, all the science and technique required, how many people are involved how many years it takes.  A wine connoisseur will know to look and smell the wine before tasting and be able to notice and articulate the subtle differences and undertones in a glass of wine using vocabulary such as robust and angular.

Does all this mean that anyone cannot enjoy a glass of wine?  Absolutely Not

It just means that the wine connoisseur will experience the wine differently have more background and likely read more from the experience but it is not a requirement to enjoy the wine and have an opinion about it.

Architecture is just like wine (minus the side effects).

If you are an architect, an architecture student or an architecture groupie you have studied and trained to read architecture and thus will see details and formulate an opinion perhaps quicker, you will notice more, know what to look for, have the vocabulary to speak about it but

anyone can have an opinion about architecture

Darwin Martin HouseBoth modern architecture and historic architecture can be good or bad.  Just because a building is old doesn’t make it good architecture and just because a building is new doesn’t make it bad architecture, and visa-versa.  Use your own judgment, next time you are looking at architecture try to make a definitive decision about whether you like it or not and why.

Left, The Darwin Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Remember there is no wrong answer.

Also visit www.archgroupie.com   modern and contemporary architecture – by location

Related articles:

architecture JARGON: one

architecture JARGON: two

How do we EXPERIENCE ARCHITECTURE

Architectural Photographers that will leave you speechless

Hisao Suzuki Photography

Sometimes the architecture is the star of the photograph  other-times the architecture is the subject and the photograph is the showstopper.  Noteworthy  architectural photographers,  Ezra Stoller, Iwan Baan,  Lucien HervéJulius Shulman, Erieta Attali, and Hisao Suzuki capture architecture that will leave you speechless by the sheer fact that they are amazing photographers.  Architectural photography on occasion is so powerful in their representation their images will forever represent the building’s the photograph.

Architectural photography is an art which two-dimensionally represents the essence of the three-dimensional built form and the architect’s idea and vision.  We can aspire to their work and look at their talent not just as a mastery of technique but also a unique and insightful way they see space, light and lines.  Their photos and career inspire my architectural photography i hope you take a moment to notice the talent of this small collection of images which represent architecture in a magical way.

Ezra Stoller Photography

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Ezra Stoller was born in Chicago, 1915, but grew up in New York.  When he was a student he photographed buildings, models and sculpture. In 1942 he was drafted to work as a photographer for the Army Signal Corps Photo Center. Stoller had a long architectural photography career, working closely with Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Meier, Paul Rudolph, Marcel Breuer, I.M. Pei, Gordon Bunshaft and Mies van der Rohe.

Many modern buildings are known by the iconic images Stoller created due to his talent at visualizing the formal and spatial aspirations of modernist architecture. In 1960 Ezra Stoller was awarded a medal for his photography, the first time the American Institute of Architects awarded a medal for architectural photography.

Ezra Stoller’s photographs are published in countless books and magazines:

Ezra Stoller received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1998 and died in 2004 in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

http://www.esto.com/ezrastoller.aspx

Iwan Baan Photography

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Iwan Baan was born in 1975 and raised outside of Amsterdam, he studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and worked in New York and Europe in publishing and documentary photography.

In 2005 he proposed that he document a project by OMA to Rem Koolhaas. The documentation of the construction and completion of OMA’s China Central Television (CCTV) building and National Olympic Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron’s in Beijing led to his career in architectural photography.   Since he has photographed work by Frank Gehry, SANAA, Morphosis, Steven Holl, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Toyo Ito and Zaha Hadid.

His work is characterized by the portrayal of people in the architecture, the context, society and environment around architecture.

Books featuring Iwan Baan’s photography:

http://www.iwan.com/iwan_index.php

Lucien Hervé Photography

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Lucien Hervé was born in László Elkán, Hungry, and died in Paris at the age of 26.  Known primarily for his architectural photography of Le Corbusier.

“Lucien Hervé is one of the rare photographers to combine a humanist outlook with an architect’s eye. His characteristic style of cropped frames, plunging or oblique views, and pared-down compositions tending toward abstraction distinguish his work from that of his contemporaries.”

Books on Lucien Hervé:

http://www.lucienherve.com/

Julius Shulman Photography

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Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009) was an American architectural photographer known for his photographs of the California modern architecture movement such as the iconic shots of the Case Study House #22, Frank Lloyd Wright’s or Pierre Koenig’s remarkable structures, have been published countless times.

“The clarity of his work demanded that architectural photography had to be considered as an independent art form. Each Shulman image unites perception and understanding for the buildings and their place in the landscape. The precise compositions reveal not just the architectural ideas behind a building’s surface, but also the visions and hopes of an entire age. A sense of humanity is always present in his work, even when the human figure is absent from the actual photographs.”

Many of the buildings photographed by Shulman have since been demolished or re-purposed, lending to the popularity of his images.  His vast library of images currently reside at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Books on Julius Shulman:

http://www.juliusshulmanfilm.com/shulman-photographs/

Erieta Attali Photography

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Erieta Attali was born in Tel Aviv in 1966 and studied Photography at Goldsmith’s College, University of London.
Her talents are proven by her awards including Fulbright Artist Award in Architectural Photography, the Japan Foundation Artist Fellowship,  and the Graham Foundation Grant, Chicago.

Attali’s career as an architectural photographer began by working internationally, being published in various books of architecture and periodicals and being exhibited in major museums and institutions.  From 1992 to 2002 she worked in the field of Archaeological Photography.  From 2003 she has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architectural Photography at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York.

Work of Erieta Attali:

http://www.erietaattali.com/

Hisao Suzuki Photography

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Hisao Suzuki was born in 1957 in Yamagata, Japan. He studied at the Tokyo College of Photography and moved to Barcelona in 1982 to observe the work of Anotnio Gaudi, where he still resides, becoming immersed in contemporary architecture.

Suzuki is currently the principal photographer for the architectural journal El Croquis.

“A photographer may take one of two stances: either demonstrate a work within its reality and its environment, or demonstrate the image of the work that the photographer himself has created. In Suzuki’s case the former is true, for his work is a true testimony and documentation of reality.”

http://www.nuaa.es/eng/hisao.html

VISIT archGROUPIE.com to find modern and contemporary architecture

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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Starchitect

Starchitect is a blend of two words and their definitions to create a new word.

The Starchitect (star –a architect) describes architects who have obtained celebrity status and fame within the community of architecture as well as become known amongst the general population.  This fame is often a result of architecture which is avant-guard, extremely creative, provocative, the charismatic or intense nature of the architect him or herself, and their unique work that pushes the envelope of modern architecture to the next level.

Since fame is dependent on the media and is designated by others – the starchitect is therefore a fleeting or permanent designation out of the control of the architect.  Sometimes this term is meant derogatorily and some architects have an opinion about it, such as Frank Gehry who stated in his interview with The Independent called Frank Gehry: ‘Don’t call me a starchitect’

“I don’t know who invented that f—ing word ‘starchitect’. In fact a journalist invented it, I think. I am not a ‘star-chitect’, I am an ar-chitect…”

Some well known starchitecture:

Some of the most well known starchitects include:

 

Is the ‘starchitect’ a new phenomenon or were architect’s historically famous and the media and pop culture packaged and ‘branded’ the architect in a way similar to movie celebrities to further romanticize the profession or popularize architecture again?

Related starchitect articles worth checking out:

Here Now, the Craziest Starchitect Projects of the Year by Curbed

The ‘Starchitect’ Effect on Condo Prices by The Wall Street Journal

Starchitects: Visionary Architects of the Twenty-first Century

Learn more about Bjarke Ingels (B.I.G)

Bjarke Ingels

Bjarke Ingels was born in 1974 and founded B.I.G. (Bjarke Ingels Group) based in both Copenhagen and New York they are well known for innovative and nontraditional design ideas.  Together they work within the field of architecture, urbanism, research and development.

BIGB.I.G’s collective belief is

“A pragmatic utopian architecture that steers clear of the petrifying pragmatism of boring boxes and the naïve utopian ideas of digital formalism… By hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, we architects once again find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms. In all our actions we try to move the focus from the small details to the BIG picture.”

Ingels is a large advocate of sustainable architecture and re-thinks the traditional – his work is playful and practical in many ways.  He has caught international attention for his thoughts and works, his most notable projects are:

  • VM Houses (2005), multi-family housing in V and M shaped apartment buildings;
  • Mountain Dwellings (2008), an extensive parking facility combined with terraced housing;
  • 8 House (2010), a large mixed-use housing development.
  • the REN Building, taking its form from the Chinese character for person 人 (“ren”) combining two buildings – one symbolic of mind and the other of body.

To learn more about how Bjarke Ingel’s brain works check out this collection of interviews and talks: 

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Bjarke Ingels: 3 warp-speed architecture tales

Uploaded on Sep 15, 2009

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature — they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy — and creating stunning views at a TED talk http://www.ted.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AYE3w5TWHs

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Gyre: Recent Work by BIG (Bjarke Ingels)

Published on Oct 10, 2012

Bjarke Ingels, Principal, BIG

“This is the country that invented surf and turf!,” noted BIG Principal Bjarke Ingels in New York magazine when describing his forthcoming residential project W57, “a European-style, low-rise apartment block encircling a courtyard, and a Manhattan tower-on-a-podium, yielding something that looks like neither and behaves like both.” Ingels returns to GSAPP to discuss his recent work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdrK3G1nU3A

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Architect Bjarke Ingels shares his philosophy on the design process

Uploaded on Jan 28, 2011

See what architect Bjarke Ingels has to say about the design process and the importance of print.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFo50kK1tg8

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TEDxEast – Bjarke Ingels – Hedonistic Sustainability

Uploaded on May 17, 2011

May 9, 2011- Bjarke Ingels wows the audience with his wit and unlikely architectural solutions around the globe. Prepare to be dazzled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogXT_CI7KRU

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Bjarke Ingels on Sustainability

Uploaded on Aug 18, 2010Bjarke Ingels one on one talking to specific questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKJRS5ZzkDk

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Making architecture more like our dreams (Bjarke Ingels)

Published on Apr 20, 2012

CNN’s The Next List profiles innovative Danish architect Bjarke Ingels.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4WY8kcOfc0

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Bjarke Ingels – Interview by Studio Banana TV

Uploaded on Dec 7, 2011

Studio Banana TV interviews Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, principal of BIG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAkt49vu1ms

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BIG ECH – Escher Tower

Uploaded on Jan 14, 2008

Bjarke Ingels describes how when asked to design a Scandinavian skyscraper with views and daylight in abundance, he chose a slim volume: a thin slab with minimal distance between the facades. The thin slab however is as structurally complicated as it is visually simple. It combines maximum wind pressure – the wide side – with minimal foothold – the short side, thus appearing as an unstable monolith.

The Escher Tower in response consists of 3 square towers merged into one. The central tower is straight as a dart, the two peripheral ones change places between ground floor and penthouse, causing the volume to flip 90 degrees. This provides maximal foothold for the hardest wind pressures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYRCnCxxNkY&list=UUuzMH3B5EdlKWEFacVIXDeQ&index=10

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If you ever have a chance to go to Bjarke Ingels’ talks GO –  he is so inspiring!

For more information check out these great reads in BIG

Big - Bjarke Ingels GroupYes Is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution

BIG: Bjarke Ingels Group Projects 2001-2010 Big: Recent Project (English and Japanese Edition)

Interviews with Zaha Hadid

YZ221_01.tifZaha Hadid is one of the youngest people and only women to ever win the prestigious Pritzker Prize – the highest award in architecture.  Jorge Silvetti, a Pritzker Prize juror stated:”What she has achieved with her inimitable manipulation of walls, ground planes, and roofs, with those transparent, interwoven, and fluid spaces, are vivid proof that architecture as a fine art has not run out of steam and is hardly wanting in imagination.”

Zaha was born in Baghdad in 1950, and obtained a degree in mathematics from the American University in Beirut before moving to London in 1972 to study at the Architecture Association School, winning the school’s Diploma Prize in 1977.

Z ChairHer innovative creations span the entire spectrum of design, from large-scale urban architecture to interiors, furniture and exhibition spaces, and have graced cities around the globe, winning her a number of awards and prizes.  Her best known projects are:

Zaha’s recently completed the London Aquatics Centre.  At the completion ceremony, the International Olympic Committee Chairman Jacques Rogge said: “I have seen so many venues in my life but I had a visual shock when I came into the Aquatics Centre. Everything stands out: the harmony, the quality, the innovation. It’s a masterpiece!”

In addition to her architecturalarchitects sketch and design work she is a gifted artist – she has exhibited at New York’s Guggenheim and Modern Art museums – and also an academic.

Interviews with Zaha Hadid:

Zaha Hadid Talking About Challenges of Architecture

Uploaded on Apr 5, 2010

Zaha Hadid talks to JO Magazine about the challenges of architecture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcdvMm6c-fU

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What is New? – Zaha Hadid

Uploaded on Jan 11, 2012

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid has added several projects to her international portfolio: the Guangzhou Opera House in China, the Evelyn Grace Academy and the London Aquatics

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7j7gTBqijA

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ZAHA HADID – TWIRL

Uploaded on Apr 15, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cb3PoRzS_w

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Building the unbuildable – Zaha Hadid

Uploaded on May 7, 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr9P3EWYPiA

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Building the unbuildable – Zaha Hadid

Published on Jun 23, 2012

This year, the Guardian invited award-winning architect Zaha Hadid to Cannes Lions to speak about her own creativity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujFMRrSmIek

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OMEGA Ladymatic presents CNN’s Leading Women – Zaha Hadid

Published on Oct 11, 2012

Leading Women, a CNN television series that connects its viewers to extraordinary women at the top of their chosen fields, is sponsored by OMEGA Ladymatic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2ZN5quZdfg

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Zaha Hadid | Galaxy SOHO Beijing

Published on Nov 6, 2012 

Last weekend, in the heart of Beijing, the unveiling of the amorphous globes of Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy SOHO stunned visitors with the office and retail complex’s radical aesthetic. Beijing’s rapid economic growth has thrust the cityscape into a continuous battle between ever-climbing modern high rises, and the traditional, winding alleyways, unique to the capital city. Crane.tv meets Hadid to hear about her newest structural feat, and collect the thoughts of the building’s wide-eyed neighbours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOD8i8dJysM

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Zaha Hadid on song: China’s Guangzhou Opera House

Uploaded on Mar 8, 2011

Jonathan Glancey explores Guangzhou’s glittering, intergalactic new opera house, designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and opened last weekend. Sixteen years after a similar project in Wales ground to a halt, she explains why Cardiff’s loss is China’s gain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OgaaY62CTo

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Zaha Hadid: Complete Works, 1979-2009

        Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion (Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles Eames:  Born in St. Louis, 1907, studied architecture at Washington University.  In 1936 began his fellowship at Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan, during this time he collaborated with Eero Saarinen on furniture design.  The team won first place in MoMA’s ‘Organic Design in Home Furnishings’ competition.

Bernice Alexander Kaiser (name changed to Ray in 1954):  Born in Sacramento, California, 1933, studied painting at The Arts Students League and the Hans Hoffman School in New York.  In 1940 began school at Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan where she met Charles.

Charles and Ray Eames where married in 1941, moved to Los Angeles and “began the greatest husband-and-wife collaboration of the century” (Fiell 141).

Case Study House No. 8

Pacific Palisades, California, 1945 to 1949

The Eames House is a double-storey unit divided into house and studio areas by an open court.
Made of light steel frame, standard 7 foot 6 inch bays, with sashes and panels from standard industrial components utilized in a straightforward and workmanlike way.  Materials such as: transparent panels, clear or wired glass; translucent panels of glass fibre, opaque panels of wood and coloured aluminum  were used for the building shell.  The interior was filled with furniture, flowers, pillows, toys, candles, with a mezzanine and built-in
seats, and bookcases.

This house was designed for a living pattern and not as a fixed architectural pattern.

Design Philosophy:

They could not see why the living, moving, outward-rounded human form should have to be flattened against a rigid, straight surface, or pressed down on an arbitrarily curved one when sitting or lounging.  Chair seats and back should be sculpted to fit and conform to body movements.

The Eames strived to create well-designed furniture for the masses which was affordable, durable and comfortably fit the body thus providing a positive house environment.
Their chairs belong to the occupants, not to the building.

They began working with fiberglass in the 1950s because it could be easily manipulated, creating a one-piece chair which was mass produced for Herman Miller Co. with Zenith Plastics and UCLA.
The Plastic Shell Group of chairs were made of molded fiberglass-reinforced polyester seat shell connected to various metal rod bases, with rubber shock-mounts, some were designed to be stack-able.

New technologies were fundamental as well as close relationships with manufactures to ensure they employed the latest products and techniques.
Charles and Ray were thorough and vigorous in their process.

Ray Eames stated that “what works is better than what looks good.  The ‘look good’ can change, but what works, works.”

Eames Plywood Work:

Lounge Chair and Ottoman,
1956-7, ($634 in 1957, today $5500 )
The comfortable executive chair is made of rosewood veneer, moulded plywood shells, upholstered foam and downfilled and leather cover on a swivelling cast aluminium base.

“This differs from bent plywood in that there is no excessive compression or internal stresses set up nor any tendency to return to the flat shape.

At the time of curing the individual plys of veneer are held in the desired relation to each other and so take the molded contour as their natural shape.”

Charles and Ray created a one-piece compound curved chair through the use of their homemade ‘Kazam’ Machine.  It worked by pushing glued plys, with a bicycle pump, against an electrically  heated plaster mold creating the curved plywood chair.  This process worked but took
4 to 6 hours, too long for mass production.

Process & Technique:

Eames Sketches

Charles and Ray experimented on innovative methods of molding plywood into furniture for mass production.  Their designs are molded in two directions creating compound curves from thin veneers laminated together, achieving considerable strength.

Designs were explored with full scale models from preliminary sketches, working drawings were rare.  These models under went scrutinized testing for comfort and durability.

In 1941 The Chrysler Corporation invented a process called cycle-welding which allowed wood to be joined to rubber, glass or metal, without protruding bolts or screws, this connection absorbs shock and distribute stress.  However at this time the technology was reserved for the military.  Eventually the use of Rubber Shock Mounts and Electronic Cycle Welding became available and applied to their designs.
This same process was used to mass produce the molded-plywood forms.  A synthetic resin was placed between each sheet of laminated timber, allowing each layer to cure for a few seconds while heat is supplied by a wave emission from an electronic instrument.

The mechanical components are displayed but not glorified, they believed that it was appropriate to make the greatest use out of the least amount of material.

Charles Eames stated “I think of myself officially as an architect.  I can’t help but look at problems around us as problems of structure-and structure is architecture”

Bibliography:

      

Charles and Ray Eames: Designers of the Twentieth Century

Eames Design

Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Charles Eames. Furniture from the Design Collection. The Museum of Modern art, New York

architecture JARGON: one

Talk like an architect.

Architects have a particular language to describe and discuss architecture – this isn’t purely to sound smart or pretentious but rather to convey ideas and express the meaning of built form.

Here is a lexicon of words to help you discuss architecture and understand architects:

Human scale:  The relationship and measurable qualities of the human body as it relates to architecture.  The human body’s scale and proportion has been studied since Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or Le Corbusier’s Modular Man.  How the body’s relationship with, or the lack thereof, is often intentional and is present in all architecture.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Le Corbusier’s
Modular Man

 

The National Assembly Building by Louis Kahn in Bangledesh (right).  Notice the building has no frame of reference to the size a person.  The image on the top could appear to be big or small.  This building, for the most part lacks human scale. 

Juxtaposition [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn]:  This is when two or more architectural objects are located close together or next to one another for comparison and/or contrast.  This is commonly seen with new architecture next to historic architecture.  This is also a technique that can be applied to one very large building to break it down into smaller components which have differing materials, scale, and/or form.

Quartier Schützenstrasse, Berlin by Aldo Rossi.  The large building is broken down by colour and form.

Legibility:  The ability of being deciphered or understood.  In architecture this typically refers to way-finding which is how easily users can understand their environment and find their way within it.  If a large number of signs are required to decipher where to go the architectural legibility is poor.

Synergy [sin-er-jee]:  When the combination of parts or components creates a greater effect than any individual element.  This is typically the case for any good architecture but this word seems to get thrown around a lot.

Columniation:   The arrangement of columns.

Treptow Krematorium, Berlin by Axel Schultes, Charlotte Frank, Christoph Witt.  Its all about the columns.

Intercolumniation:  The space between columns.  The pattern of spacing between columns.

Squarify:  To make more square. (This is not a really word.  FYI:  architects love to make all words verbs)

Negotiate the Topography:  To change levels, to go up or down stairs or ramp.

(I guess sometimes architects like to sound pretentious sometimes)

Tectonics [tek-ton-iks]:  The science or art of assembling, shaping, or ornamenting materials in construction; the constructive arts in general.  A general term for the theory and techniques of construction.

Materiality [muh-teer-ee-al-i-tee]:  A way to create form and space via the nature or quality of materials used in architecture.  Materials can be the driving force behind the design of architecture, where the architect studies materials and techniques and thus form a building from the maximization of their effect.  In modern architecture material honesty is at its essence.

   

Ricola Factory by Herzog and de Meuron (masters of materiality)

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Space [speys]:  A loaded word which could be discussed at length but in short it is the formation and realization of a constructed three-dimensional realm.   In architecture space is physically or implicitly enclosed by the constructed form to create specific experiences and qualities.

The Pantheon, Rome.  One of the most dramatic interior spaces due to the geometric proportions.

to be continued…

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.

Buy-now-button

Vitra Campus – Weil am Rhein

Why visit Weil am Rhein? …. Vitra

Weil am Rhein is a located in Germany but boards onto both Switzerland and France and is about 20 minute drive from Basel, Switzerland.

As an architecture groupie you may be wondering why I would feature such a small and obscure town.  Well Weil am Rhein is home to the Vitra Campus which is a mecca for any modern architectural enthusiast.

Vitra is a furniture company founded in Weil am Rhein, Germany in 1950 by Willi Fehlbaum.  Specializing in the production and retail of furniture originally designed by many internationally celebrated designers.  Priding themselves on creating beautiful well-design and well-made furniture.  Although Vitra is company famous for reproducing furniture designed by many well named architects they have also gained a reputation for commissioning celebrated architects to manufacture, house and exhibit their products.

In 1981 a large fire destroyed most of Vitra Campus who were forced to rebuild and continue to expand.  Nicholas Grimshaw was the first to begin the rebuild and Herzog and de Mueron has been the most recent project, completed in 2010, currently a new Factory Building by Kazuyo Sejima / SANAA is scheduled for completion in 2012.  The Vitra Campus is a collection of contemporary capital ‘A’ architecture.

The Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry is an exhibition of the design and architecture of Vitra.

Visit architecturegroupie.com/weil-am-rhein for a directory of the Vitra contemporary architecture.

Vitra Campus

When visiting the Vitra Campus be sure to take a guided architectural tour of the campus as well as a guided tour of the exhibition.

For the tour schedule visit www.vitra.com/en-us/campus/visit .

In addition the new workshop at the center of the Lounge Chair Atelier holds live demonstrations of the production of the famous Lounge Chair by Ray and Charles Eames check out this video demonstration

 

Vitra Miniatures Collection

Besides the modern designed life-size furniture, Vitra also manufactures The Miniatures Collection which is collection of 80 small-scale furniture pieces.  The pieces are considered to be the most influential in design from 1850 to the present day.  Model builders measure the historical original in the museum collection and then scale it down to one sixth of the original size, compile technical documentation and replicated each with impressive precision.  The Vitra Miniatures Collection include The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe, the Tulip Chair by Saarinen, the Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright and of course a series of furniture pieces by  Ray and Charles Eames to name a few.

Here is the full Vitra Miniatures Collection

These miniatures can be delivered directly to your home at  Vitra Miniatures at Amazon or click the image below to order.

   



     

If you have been to the Vitra Campus – share your experience with us.


 

architectural travel entry: five

The most interesting event upon entering the Church is realizing the doorway is at the side of the altar. There are references to what direction is considered to be the front. The rectangular space is overwhelming to enter, it rises at least two storeys in height and the walls are made of raw concrete block. Everything within this space is simple there are no distractions and no ornamentation.

The windows behind the choir stalls are cut into the walls on a steep angle and the frame is painted bright yellow, green, and red, which releasing soothing light so there is no view of the exterior, we are forced to focus on what is happening inside.

In the middle of the room resides a large piece of polished sheet metal, it is hung from a single wire attached at the ceiling 25 feet or so above us. The metal is attached at its center and the edges bow to the ground just hovering above the floor.  A short wood bat is nearby and when the metal is struck the entire room echoes, the sounds are reminiscent of the monks chanting.

The sound penetrates the space and brings us all to silence.

La Tourette by Le Corbusier, France

MUST SEE architecture movies

Sometimes a documentary is just easier and a bit more fun to learn about architecture than to read all these books.

13 must see architecture documentaries:

(in no particular order)

1.  Antonio Gaudi (The Criterion Collection)(1984)

In this documentary Teshigahara immortalize Antonio Gaudí taking the audience on a trip of Gaudí’s amazing architecture, such as his large and still-unfinished project Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain. The photographic work as strong and delicate.
 

2.  Regular or Super – Views on Mies van der Rohe(2005)

REGULAR OR SUPER is a review of Mies van der Rhoe’s entire body of work, showcasing more than 70 projects which reflect his motto: “less is more.”  This is an informative introduction to the work of one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
 

3.  Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman(2010)

Although this is not a movie about a specific architect it is a great movie for those interested in architectural photography.  VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Capturing the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry to name a few.
 

4.  Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack (2005)

This film is a conversation between Frank Gehry and Sidney Pollack who discuss Gehry’s career and the process of making his architecture.  They visit four projects in this film: the Vitra Museum in Germany, Maggie’s Centre, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and the Disney Concert Hall in L.A.
 

5.  My Architect (2003)

The world-famous architect Louis Kahn had two illegitimate children, this movie is one son’s exploration of his father’s architecture while meeting people who worked and knew him.  Exeter Library, Salk Institute, and Bangladeshi Capitol Building are visited in this documentary and much is revealed about the life and death of Kahn.

6.  Eames: The Architect and the Painter

A movie about America’s most influential and important industrial designers Charles and Ray Eames.  Interviews with friends, colleague, and experts capture the personal story of Charles and Ray giving context to their projects.
 

7.  Rem Koolhaas: Kind of Architect

Filmed by Markus Heidingsfelder and Min Tesch, this documentary features interviews from other architects and friends about Koolhaas, offering a peek into his process and his influence in architecture. 
(You can watch it here: www.youtube.com/)
 

8.  Philip Johnson: Diary of An Eccentric Architect (1996)

Philip Johnson has always been at the forefront of stylistic change. Featuring the house he designed and lives in, his famous “Glass House” which has no walls so the landscape becomes the wallpaper. This movie is what he refers to as his “diary” and insightful look into the life of Johnson. 
 

9.  The Alchemy of Building

This film explores the way Herzog and de Meuron explore various materials, how their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other and how they collaborate with others, giving the audience insight into how they develop their ground-breaking architecture.

10.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater Special Edition

This is a two disc collection including the fascinating story of how Fallingwater came to be as well as interviews with Lynda Waggoner, the director of Fallingwater, and Richard Cleary, an architectural historian.  The second disc includes an interactive visual tour of Fallingwater, and copies of original plans, presentation drawings, and photos.
 

11.  First Person Singular: I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei speaks about his famous projects along with experts who comment on the impact and importance of these projects.  Featured projects include the Louvre in Paris, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas.
(see a trailer:  First Person Singular; IM Pei)
 

12.  How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? follows Norman Foster’s unending quest to improve the quality of life through design. By investigating his origins to how his dreams and influences inspired the design of emblematic projects such as the world’s largest building to its tallest bridge, Foster offers some striking solutions to humanity’s increasing demand on urban centers. 
(You can watch it here:  www.youtube.com)

13.  Architectures (Vol. 1-5) – 5-DVD Box Set ( Baukunst )

This five volume collection includes: ‘The Dessau Bauhaus by Walter Gropius’, ‘The Siza School’, ‘Family Lodgings in Guise’, ‘Nemausus 1’, ‘The Georges Pompidou Centre’, ‘The Vienna Savings Bank’, ‘The Johnson Building By Frank Lloyd Wright’, ‘The Galleria Umberto I’, ‘Lyon Satolas TGV Station By Santiago Calatrava’, ‘The Stone Thermal Baths By Peter Zumthor’, ‘The Paris Fine Arts School By Felix Duban’, ‘The Jewish Museum Berlin By Daniel Libeskind’, ‘The Garnier Opera By Charles Garnier’, ‘The Convent of La Tourette By Le Courbusier’, ‘The Casa Mila By Antoni Gaudi’, ‘The Auditorium Building in Chicago By Louis Harris Sullivan’, ‘The Municipal Centre of Saynatsalo By Alvaar Alto’, ‘Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans By Claude Nicolas Ledoux’, ‘La Maison de Verre By Pierre Chareau’, ‘The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao By Frank Gehry’, ‘Jean Prouve’s House’, ‘Multimedia Library of Sendai By Toyo Ito’, ‘The Abbey Church of Sainte Foy at Conques’, ‘The Alhambra, Granada’, ‘The House of Sugimoto, Kyoto’, ‘The Reception and Congress Building in Rome By Adalberto Libera’, ‘The Yoyogi Olympic Gymnasiums By Kenzo Tange’, ‘The Villa Barbaro (Villa di Maser) By Andrea Palladio’ and ‘Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg By Zaha Hadid’.  This will keep any architecture groupie occupied for a while – a great gift. 
 
 A Guide to Modern Architecture

VISIT architectureGROUPIE.com for a travel guide to modern architecture

 

The Intention of Architectural Photography

Architectural Photography can serve several objectives, knowing what your objective is will produce a collection of photos that will be useful for you in the future and will help direct your photographic decisions while on site.

Postcard photography: Visiting Modern Architecture

Many buildings have a particular view-point which is easily recognizable and widely documented.  This type of photography typically aims at getting a snap shot of the building from its most recognizable vantage point.  These photos do not require a lot of creativity but rather serve as a kind of proof that you visited the building.  Often people stand in front of the structure as further evidence of their presence.  These are fun and can be used in your slide shows or on social media platforms to show friends and family you were there.

 Visiting Ronchamp – there i am standing in front of the most notable angle of the building

Documentary Architectural Photography:

This is a method of photography where the photos sever to document the architecture in the most truthful means possible.  This type of photography would not implement any personal artistic expression but rather try to utilize as much technical skills to replicate the building’s specific design qualities.

Fred and Ginger by Frank Gehry, this photo represents what the building looks like in its context without any artistic interpretation.

Detail Photography:

This is an important type of photography for those who are very interested in the tectonics of architecture.  These photos focus on how materials come together and on the minute details that represent the whole building.  Mies said “God is in the Detail” these photos embody that principle.  I value these photos the most because they are very difficult to find and are not publically documented often.  They are typically more useful for architects or others in the industry for detailing ideas and should be catalogued well (for tips on cataloguing photos).

I really liked how this handrail felt – so I took a photo for my records

Collection Photography:

Some people enjoy collecting images of a particular architectural element from many different buildings sometimes from all over the world and compiling them into a collection.  Similar to a stamp collection, the architectural element is taken out of its context for review and comparison.  These collections are very always very interesting because they are so focused and by this repetitive comparison you can really begin to distinguish the minute differences in the architectural comparison.  I recommend trying this sometime.

In Peru I was fascinated with the different construction methods of the stone walls, here are a couple from my series. 

Journalistic photography:

This type of photography tells a story about the building.  It requires more attention to the architectural function and often the interaction of people in the space.  Journalistic architectural photography can humanize a building or do the opposite but it will require the photographer to be very conscious of how they want the photo will be interpreted.

As i walked under the building canopy and looked up the ‘skirt of Ginger’.  This photo represents that moment where the building transformed from playful to knotty. 

Artistic Architectural Photography:

Your artistic expression in architectural photography can be the most fun for those who enjoy photography professionally or as a hobby.  The architecture is the subject matter but the photo is really an expression of the photographer and not the architect (unlike the documentary style).  There are endless ways to be artistic with architectural photography however your interpretation of the architecture is the real purpose and at the forefront of the photograph.

This photo of Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Osoyoos, crops out much of the building and focuses on what i thought to be the most beautiful elements of the building: the slight curved wall composed colorfully stripping rammed earth and the long horizontal window. 
Next time you are photographing architecture think about the photos purpose….

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel Guide

5 Tips to Visit Berlin Modern Architecture

There is A LOT of modern architecture in Berlin.  There is so much new architecture to visit the following tips will help you make the most of your trip and your modern architectural visits.

1.  Research & Prioritize

This should be a general rule however if you are in Berlin for a week or less you will not get to it all so spend a bit of time deciding your ‘must sees’.  There are also a number of buildings which close, even some of the public monuments and memorials so make note of the hours of operation.  Berlin may not be a city where you can sleep in everyday or you will miss out on those open hours of operation.  The Berlin Directory at architectureGROUPIE.com includes links to the building websites so you can confirm the hours of operation.

2.  Up High and Down Low

The TV Tower can be seen everywhere in Berlin, with its loaded history it now contains an observatory deck with a 360 degree view of Berlin.  This is a great place to get an overall sense of the location of neighborhoods, architecture and monuments as well as observe how the east and west divide can still be seen in the building mass and city plan arrangement.  Learn more at:  www.tv-turm.de

A boat tour is always a nice break from the walking and trekking but from the water you will be able to get a great view of many architectural gems which front on the waterway.  For tour information visit www.berlin-info.com  which offer many different tour options.

3.  Guides:

When I was in Berlin I brought two travel books which I used and referred to constantly:  I never left my hotel with the Knopf MapGuide: Berlin and the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Berlin.
      

To help you with your research before you leave the Visit Berlin website is jamb packed with information, it is definitely worth a good review before you leave.

4. Guide to Modern Berlin Architecture

A Guide to Modern ArchitectureTo help you discover the modern Berlin architecture you should visit architectureGROUPIE.com/Berlin which is a comprehensive catalog of many modern gems.  The address and closest transit stop is listed to help you on your travels as well as a link to the website and a feature or tip about the building.  All the information is compiled to make your architectural visits easy.

5.  The BVG

The trains (subway) in Berlin will get you everywhere you need to go – they are easy and on time.   The BVG offers some great deals for visitors which get you discounts to a number of other locations and you can buy it online from home so you don’t need to waste valuable vacation time.  Visit:  www.bvg.de

Happy journeys in Berlin.

WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT MODERN ARCHITECTURE (5 reasons)

Here are 5 reasons why you should visit modern architecture that perhaps you never thought of.

1.  means to an end

This isn’t quiet the right term but the idea here is that you can use these modern landmarks to explore and meander different streets and new neighborhoods you likely would not have found otherwise.  I have found really great alleys and markets on my way to some of these buildings you just need to keep your eyes open and make the route part of the fun.  Often the new and cool buildings are in up and coming neighborhoods which are nice to checkout before they become tourist traps.

2.  modern architecture is cool

Modern architecture can house some cool stuff or activities.  I have gone to look at some great architecture because of the architect and thought it was actually just really fun and recommended it to my friends just because it was cool.  For example while I was in Tokyo I visited the Swatch Group Store because it was design by Shigeru Ban (fabulous architect).  I actually didn’t know much about this project at all before I went.  The entire ground floor is open to the street, there isn’t any merchandise on the ground floor only glass elevators and a large open space with a trickling waterfall and living wall almost 5 storeys high.   The elevators bring customers to different floors each carrying a different brand of watch.  It is actually one of the best retail stores I have been too, we had an espresso and took a ride in some of the elevators.  It was cool.

Shigeru Ban   Shigeru Ban   Shigeru Ban

3.  it isn’t boring

Visiting modern architecture is not like visiting old Gothic cathedrals, they don’t all look the same! I must admit I don’t’ think Gothic churches all look the same but it is understandable why many would think that.  Old architecture followed particular rules for centuries – that is why they are so similar.  New architecture is not like that – Modern architecture is colourful and playful.  Architects experiment with materials and form.  Even if you don’t like every building – you won’t be bored.

Fun Architecture   Colourful architecture  Suprising architecture

4.  new stories

While your friends are doing and seeing the same old stuff that they found in their travel books you can see new and exciting projects.  Visiting these new buildings will provide you with interesting stories and adventures and you will be the envy of all your friends.

5.  here and now

Modern architecture most often relates to today.  You don’t need to be a historian to understand and appreciate modern architecture.

   Boston Modern Architecture  

Bonus reason:

Because it is now easy to find these modern buildings just visit architecture groupie.com  for an address list!

A Guide to Modern Architecture