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Corbu, Gaudi & Gehry; Liebeskind & Calatrava...

Corbu, Gaudi & Gehry; Liebeskind & Calatrava...

Aug 6th, 2003, 04:28 AM
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Corbu, Gaudi & Gehry; Liebeskind & Calatrava...

Much has been said here about the great architecture of the (distant) past. How about some of the more recent?

Has anyone been to Le Corbusier's sublime chapel at Ronchamp or Gehry's restive museum at Bilbao?

Now that Daniel Liebeskind and Santiago Calatrava have come into focus (with the Lower Manhattan commissions), has anyone been to any of their recent European buildings, in Berlin and Zurich and elsewhere?

How about other gems of modern architecture?
TuckH is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 05:43 AM
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For the obligatory Europe trip upon receiving my masters in architecture, I traveled with a couple of friends the summer of 1960.

Indeed, I did visit Ronchamp, as well as Nervi's 1960 olympic structures in Rome and all of Gaudi's work.

These past few years my wife (also an architect) and I go to Italy spring and fall and now admit that we are into wine and food more than architecture. So much for maturity.
DRJ is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 05:43 AM
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I was asking this question to myself some days ago but in regard to Le Corbusier and Chandigarh in the Punjab region.

For Corbu, Ronchamps, Villa at Poissy and the Dominican convent are easily accessible; good visiting opportunities. The other projects are mostly of another scale and are very often the aim of some kind of personal architectural pelgrimage.
Barcelona and Gaudi is very easily visited and well worth it.

If seeing a lot of Gaudi means going to Barcelona, then seeing everything of Corbusier means travelling to 5 continents if I'm not wrong (all except Oceania).

With all due respect to their honorable collegues, I dare consider Liebeskind, Calatrava, Gehry and quite some others as 'Lesser Gods'. Their buildings are very often the subject of a trip of one or another architectural association, but are not that much a concern of the man in the street.
I would also like to stress an increasing impact of marketing in the promotion of architectural events, which was very much the case of Gehry in Bilbao. ( I do not at all judge the architectural 'value' of the building.)

But I think that, on the whole, architectural tourism is developing.
Another gem, maybe: Herzog and De Meuron, London, Tate Modern.

Hope I did answer your question,- a little but.
baldrick is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 06:04 AM
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This phenomenon is general. My wife, who is not an architect, did a lot of architectural travelling with me some decades ago, but the wine and food branch has become more attractive with the years...
baldrick is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 07:03 AM
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We're of the same background (architect) and approximate age (my "obligatory" was '58). I too have "matured", as you put it, but I still pursue the attractive architectural elements to be found in Europe, i.e. towns and villages, plazas and streetscapes, etc. This summer I "discovered" Sarlat in France for instance.

But DRJ and baldrick, I was asking about the newer stuff.

A couple of years ago I "stumbled upon" the new British Library in London. How nice! Also the Barbican Centre there, built 30 years ago, was a pleasant surprise.

(Vis-a-vis Nervi, Calatrava has advanced the genre up quite a notch!)
TuckH is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 07:45 AM
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Indeed I do treasure the food, wine and the dolce far niente of Italy, but my eyes well up every time I enter Piazza San Marco.
DRJ is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 11:29 AM
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I suppose DRJ there is perhaps a"lesson" for architectural designers in your comment about San Marco...to paraphrase the saying, "Time passes; [great architecture] endures..."
Aug 6th, 2003, 12:52 PM
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It is the expectation, the overwhelming sense of enclosure, San Marco as a focus, the campinile as hinge, the Doge's Palace as an elegant tapestry and the lagoon and San Georgio Maggiore as a fitting culmination. I find it the most memorable space in the world and am staggered every time.
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Aug 6th, 2003, 02:45 PM
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Can't say I was all that impressed by Calatrava's Communication Tower in Barcelona (which I saw in person.)


But I LOVE his Alamillo Bridge in Seville (only seen it in photos)....


...and his Quadracci pavilion for the Milwaukee Art Museum (same)


I've not seen Cobusier's chapel at Ronchamp in person. In person, I may find it impressive, or sublime, but I can't say it does much for me in the photos I've seen.


In other photos I've seen of Le Corbusier buildings, I'm reminded of the wonderful rejoinder by Robert Venturi to Mies van der Rohe's dictum "Less is More": "Less is a Bore."

Have not seen Gehry's Bilbao museum in person. In photos I love it. I have, however, seen his Weisman Art Museum on the U. of Minnesota campus...


...and his EMP (Experience Music Project) building here in Seattle


and like both of them. My only criticism of EMP is in some of the colors he chose to use: the red and, especially, the robin's egg blue. To me, they pale in comparison to the rich gold and purple colors. I think the entire building should have been done with just these two colors. Inside, there's a lot of plywood. Apparently this is one of Gehrys' favorite materials and, while it is not plain plywood, it still looks cheap to me.
capo is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Are there any comments on the Reichstag in Berlin by Foster? How about the Pompidou Center in Paris?
TuckH is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 04:37 PM
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I have only seen one building by the Japanese architect, Tadao Ando, the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art just completed in November, 2002. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA selected him for their addition and had an exhibition of models and photos of some of his completed works. WOW!

Check these websites for examples of his work:


jsmith is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 05:54 PM
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We made the trip a few years ago to stay in the French Basque country on the way to see the new Guggenheim in
Bilboa. When we parked the car on a street and started walking up towards it.....amazing site, I thought I was looking at a space ship that had crashed. At that time, the huge "puppy dog"of flowers by koons was outside to greet you. A very good restaurant there and a small but very good bookshop.
cigalechanta is offline  
Aug 6th, 2003, 06:46 PM
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Another great modern European architect is Carlos Scarpa. The house in Venice, the museum Canoviano and the private cemetary are masterpieces.

I love Corbu's ideas but the follow through - the actual buildings, pale. When I visited Poissey the detail work was, even after restoration, kinda rough - even though I love the layout of the spaces and circulation. The massive walls at Ronchamp are actually hollow. I do though want to see his buildings in India. And I do want to see the Dominican monastery.

Tando Ando is work is beautiful but a bit brutal. Mexican architect, Berrigan, is more human.

And what - no Rem Koolhas, Aldo Rossi, Renzo Piano admirers?
marktynernyc is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 12:50 AM
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I loved seeing Gehry's 'Ginger and Fred' building in Prague from the river cruise we were on.

In London, Foster's Pickle or Gherkin, formally known as the Swiss Re building. It's a dynamic, if a little odd, addition to London's skyline in The City. I do love it though, especially when it was lit up at Christmas.

Another new UK building that is getting a lot of press here is the new Selfridges in Birmingham. Seriously space age.
Aug 7th, 2003, 12:58 AM
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What about Jean Nouvel?
Great buildings such as the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Fondation Cartier, both in Paris.
Then, the Culture and Congress Center in Lucerne.

Not to forget the most successful Herzog & De Meuron.
Ursula is offline  
Aug 7th, 2003, 01:08 AM
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Don't miss the juedische Museum (Jewish museum by Libeskind)in Berlin!
Kascha912 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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I know this is a Europe forum but the thread is about architecture so I'll quote from Architecture Week to give a plug for three US buildings and architects:
Quotes from Architecture Week on the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art:

"The building is elegantly simple both in design and material. Only six materials are visible: concrete, oak, glass, granite, painted steel, and drywall. The only colors are white and two shades of gray. The simplicity of this palette provides a sense of calm that contrasts with the power expressed by the diversity of spaces and the magnificent art they house.

The new museum is located in Fort Worth's Cultural District, which may become one of the most celebrated art districts in the country. Within the 950-acre (385-hectare) site, The Modern's new building is one of three outstanding art museums designed by a trio of Pritzker Prize winners and AIA Gold Medalists. Ando's building joins the Kimbell Art Museum, designed by Louis I. Kahn, and the new Amon Carter Museum, designed by Phillip Johnson.

Directly across the street from the Modern is the Kimbell, regarded by many as one of the best works of architecture of the 20th century."


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