Sunday, April 29, 2007

expense list, page 6

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

munich, fünf höfe

Translated as "Five Courtyards," this Herzog and de Meuron project embues a pre-existing galleria complex with remarkably phenomenal atmosphere. The basic typology is not that uncommon in Europe--a warren of ground-level stores weaving though a dense urban block--but such shopping conglomerates never receive this degree of high fashion care. The designers carefully configure surfaces, materials, and spaces to maximize their performance in concert. The result is a subtle exterior announcement that dissolves into ethereal illumination and surreal reflection.

ulm, ulm university

Otto Steidle designed this segment of the university as an essay in timber and steel tectonics. He organized the campus' program to branch from a long elevated corridor, photographed above. The linear, branching organization benefits enormously from the walls, grasses, and waterways which which it interlocks.

munich, olympic park

Günther Behnisch designed this complex for the 1972 Olympics with Frei Otto as structural engineer and Günther Grzimek as landscape architect. The three design forces meld with a sensibility that seems more contemporary than historical. Adjacent, Coop Himmelb(l)au's slowly emerging and heavily digitized BMW museum (visible to the right of the tower) will be hard pressed to compete.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

stuttgart, weißenhofsiedlung

I didn't bring many books with me, but I did bring my Corbusier guide. This is a building he designed for a 1927 prototype housing development coordinated by Mies van der Rohe. Many of the great names of early 20th century modernism (Walter Gropius, Mies, Bruno Taut, Hans Scharoun, Peter Behrens...) have claims staked on the surrounding plots. It was quite an experience to walk among them, especially on such a gorgeous day and with such an incredible view over the city of Stuttgart.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

stuttgart, kunstmuseum

Three images of taken from the museum looking out: on the left is a view over the rear, upper-level plaza, in the middle is a view over the stairs that connect the two plazas, and on the right is a view over the lower piazza to Konigstrasse, Stuttgart's main pedestrian avenue. The left and middle images belie the extent of the "cube's" coverage; the glass strip running through the plaza on the left acts as a continuous skylight for galleries below and the stairs provide roofing for the museum's extensive bookshop. The image on the right shows the stone-faced inner mass and, in the distance, suggests that Konisgstrasse's success may be due in part to its double-tree-lined Las Ramblas resemblance.

stuttgart, staatsgalerie

Three images of the museum focusing on the public sweep of its open-air drum: on the left is a view across the drum toward the walkway's lower entrance, in the middle is a view to its upper entrance (or exit, if you're going that way), and on the right is a climbing view from the walkway itself. Follow the handrail if my semi-circular description has lost you. And in the center image the doorway is red simply because that's the color that it actually is.

stuttgart, mercedes-benz museum

Three images of the museum: on the left is a view through a transitional corridor into a darkened gallery, in the middle is a view down through the central atrium, and on the right is a view of a gallery's edge showing the interaction of daylight, structure, visitor, and automobile. The more glamorous galleries--such as the one in the image to the left--face in, encased in concrete for controlled, dramatic lighting while the more supplementary exhibits of working class models--such as the one in the image to the right--face out, inhabiting the glazed, daylit zones. In the center of the image on the left are two of a hearty crew of cleaners armed with squirt guns, squee-gee's, and swiffers. My favorite feature in the middle image is the capsule elevator that tracks cinematic projections against the concrete as it rises and falls.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

stuttgart, pedestrian museums

I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on Friday evening and I will head into Behnisch Architeken on Tuesday morning. In the meantime, I will focus on three outstanding museums that go to great pains to incorporate public terrain. On the left is the new Mercedes-Benz Museum, a super-sexed trefoil spiral that coils above a landscaped plinth. In the middle is the Kunstmuseum, a pair of nested cubes that support an interstitial walkway and a stepped landscape to their side. On the right is the Staatsgalerie, a sprawling post-modern composition whose statue gallery splits to allow a public walkway to wind up and through. The Mercedes museum stands near the brand's factory surrounded by sports fields, a stadium, an arena, and Stuttgart's main fairgrounds. The other two museums are located in the city's center amidst other cultural institutions, parks, and various scales of shopping centers. Rarely have I seen such a pedestrian-friendly municiple mindset and from the throngs I see shopping, dining, lounging, and strolling, the effort seems to be paying off.

Monday, April 2, 2007

expense list, page 5