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message 1: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments I don't think we have explored this particular art form. I do believe that it takes much imagination to create and build beautiful structures.

Who are your favorite, fascinating architects?

message 2: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Oct 02, 2011 04:04PM) (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Night Club inspired by ice-caverns Wow!

A new project of a Spanish interior designer Elia Felices is called La Cova Night Club built in the city of Mataro near-by Barcelona. This night club has a surface of 500 square meters that house a cloak-room, box office, dance parquet, two bars, DJ board and of course a space for visitors. All rooms are part of one-storey rectangular room that allows to distribute clients in rational and intensive way. The main idea was to create a space reminding an ice-cavern in the middle of a city. Everything has the style of an ice-cavern; decorations, lighting, shapes, colours etc. Two big lamps are hanging from the ceiling as two icicles for example. Other source of light are lamps shaped as stones emerging from the floor. The designer wanted to accentuate the simple design with a very variable lighting. Colour lighting from a number of reflectors is a distinctive element of La Cova. The main entrance is lightened by a half-moon to gain attention of passing-bys. White box-offices are decorated with blue flower wall paintings.The dance parquet is literally bordered by two bars backlit by LED RGB lights that change colour.

OOOPS! It seems that the images have now disappeared. I guess the site has changed. It is interesting enough, however, to still click on the link and get more 'latest' news from the Modern Architecture & Design News.

message 3: by Robin (last edited Jun 26, 2011 01:55PM) (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Wow, Barcelona is the cutting edge of architecture. They also have that structure that they are near completion. Can't think of the name of it, but it is also awesome. Just found out it is the Barcelona Gaudi architecture.

message 4: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Thanks, Robin. I believe Divvy is from Spain. How far away is Tarragona from Barcelona? I'm sure there are many more members of the group who have been there. Wish I were one of them! I would love to hear about it!

message 5: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) As per your original question, I like architecture in many forms, I like the Spanish Mission like Santa Barbara and San Juan Capistrano. I also like the brownstones of New York, The Taj Majal, and even some of the downtown buildings of Hawaii. My mother used to work at a bank in downtown. I loved the architecture but they destroyed that building to make way for another modernistic one.

message 6: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 163 comments These are so musical! How beautiful! Thank you for posting these.

message 7: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments You're welcome, Aloha. Glad you like them. I would love to visit and just 'hang out'! What an experience!

message 8: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 163 comments There are so many places in the world I would love to "hang out" at! My bucket list is very long.

message 9: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I guess it is a "take" on the ice houses in Iceland? I couldn't see myself going to Iceland, and freeze my you know what off.LOL

message 10: by Connie (new)

Connie G (connie_g) | 368 comments You could visit Iceland in the summer when the sun never really sets, Robin :) I visited back in the 1970s, and there is so much unspoiled natural beauty. I couldn't see myself freezing in the dark winter either!
The pictures are gorgeous, Heather.

message 11: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I guess, it would be "cool" to sit on ice chairs. LOL . I agree Heather the pictures are very "inviting". Too bad I am too old for the dancing scene.

message 12: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Dvora is in Spain, originally from the U.S. Divvy probably wishes she was from Spain, or at least living near Barcelona to be able to go to this club!

message 13: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Oh, yeah. I'm sorry, I did get Divvy and Dvora confused. Hope I didn't hurt any feelings! Thank you, Monica. And I wish I were closer to Barcelona, too! Although, I may be getting a bit too old for the club scene, too.

message 14: by Terri Lynn (new)

Terri Lynn (terrilynnmerritts) | 10 comments This is simply gorgeous and amazing. It reminds me a bit of Chilhuly's beautiful glassworks.

message 15: by Monica (last edited Aug 04, 2011 01:42AM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments By the way, I'm NOT too old for dance clubs. Never will be!!!!!!!!!

message 16: by Kristen (new)

Kristen love the club pics! what a great idea!

message 17: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I am not too old for dance clubs, probably will just sit and nurse a drink or two. I wouldn't know the latest dance moves, old dinosaur that I am.LOL

message 18: by Dvora (last edited Jul 07, 2011 08:09AM) (new)

Dvora Hi everyone, I've had minimum internet access for the last two weeks and am just now catching up from my temporary summer apartment using the portable modem I bought this morning. Maybe my comments are too late, but my connection is so slow, that I do not plan to reading back and forth through the posts or it will take days!
Tarragona is about an hour south of Barcelona. It's a great place to visit for Roman ruins. I've written some blog posts about it:
Mataro is just a short distance north of Barcelona. I hear there is a really good beer pub there too.
Heather wrote: "Thanks, Robin. I believe Divvy is from Spain. How far away is Tarragona from Barcelona? I'm sure there are many more members of the group who have been there. Wish I were one of them! I would love ..."

message 19: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie That is truly a beautiful structure.

message 20: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments I agree. I should have commented before. Thanks for bringing up the thread again, Stephanie!
I went to you your blog, Dvora. It is really great! I didn't know you were from CA? I learn something new every day!

message 21: by Dvora (new)

Dvora Thanks Heather. I hope you keep returning and that others take a look too.
I never did respond to the question of favorite architect. I worked for many years at UC Berkeley's school of architecture which doesn't make me an expert. But it left me with some knowledge and a lot of interest in the field.
I think for California, the Greene and Greene brothers were my favorite. I love their aesthetics and would feel very happy and comfortable living in one of their homes.
Here in Catalunya, I like Domenech i Montaner the best. He worked at the same time as Gaudi. Not as fantastic, but somehow more human and beautiful to my eyes. He designed the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona (which I talk about on my blog) and the Hospital de Sant Pau (an incredible hospital composed of many small pavilions set in a garden, rather than one big imposing (and scary) building as are most hospitals.
But Antoni Gaudi was the great genius.
I also tend to find the ancient Roman constructions incredibly beautiful (bring tears to my eyes!). The Roman aqueduct just outside of Tarragona (I think that's on my blog too) is fabulously beautiful, not because of any decoration but just because of its form. That's probably why I like the American Arts and Crafts architecture so much too.

Heather wrote: "I agree. I should have commented before. Thanks for bringing up the thread again, Stephanie!
I went to you your blog, Dvora. It is really great! I didn't know you were from CA? I learn something ne..."

message 22: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Critic's Notebook: Neutra's Kronish House in the cross hairs
As the owners of Kronish House weigh its future, it's past time for the city of Beverly Hills to put into place a sensible review process for protecting important architecture.

By Christopher Hawthorne
Los Angeles Times Architecture Critic
August 1, 2011

It's looking as if the owners of the Richard Neutra-designed Kronish house in Beverly Hills plan to demolish it.

There are signs that the new owners of Richard Neutra's Kronish House, in Beverly Hills, are determined to knock it down.

In most California cities, those signs would signal the beginning of a long review process. In Beverly Hills, which has refused to put even the most basic historic-preservation ordinance in place, they are cause for deep anxiety, even understandable panic, among fans of modern architecture.

That hands-off approach could spell quick doom for the low-slung, richly appointed Kronish House. It is also a reminder that even in the midst of an increasingly contentious global debate about whether historic-preservation activists have, in certain cities, gained too much power, homeowners elsewhere continue to enjoy the right to demolish great architecture with impunity.

Soda Partners, the limited partnership that bought the Kronish House out of foreclosure in January for $5.8 million, and then tried unsuccessfully to sell it for just under $14 million, has secured a permit to cap its sewer line — often a first step on the path to demolition.

The owners don't have plans to replace the house, which was completed in 1955 on a secluded, flag-shaped 2-acre lot on the north side of Sunset Boulevard, with another, more contemporary design; they have apparently concluded that the land will be easier to sell — and perhaps even more valuable — as an empty parcel. The Beverly Hills City Council has put discussion of the house on the agenda for its meeting Tuesday evening.

Built for the real-estate developer Herbert Kronish and his wife, the single-story, six-bedroom house is one of three Neutra projects in Beverly Hills and among the largest the architect's office ever produced, covering nearly 7,000 feet. It is also a rare example of Neutra's flirtation, in the latter half of his long and prolific career, with a kind of luxe modernism, pairing his trademark spare, rectilinear forms with rich, glossy materials.

Dion Neutra, one of Richard Neutra's sons and a project architect on the house, calls it a "remarkable expression of opulence." The historian Thomas Hines, author of the 1982 book "Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture," told me he saw the house in the late 1970s, when it was barely 20 years old, and recalls it as "a very good house — upscale."

Another local historian and Neutra expert, Barbara Lamprecht, describes the house as "a pinwheel plan on steroids," and "a kindred spirit" to the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, which was completed in 1947 and is by a significant margin the architect's most influential postwar design.

The growing fears about the Kronish House's future come on the heels of separate news that L.A. preservationists cheered: the announcement that billionaire Ron Burkle has bought Frank Lloyd Wright's monumental Ennis House in Los Feliz, reportedly planning to continue its complicated restoration.

They also come as the architecture profession has embarked on a timely if also slightly messy reassessment of the role that advocates for historic preservation play in contemporary urban planning around the world. This critique — led in part by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who organized an exhibition for the New Museum in New York earlier this year on the subject — has prompted a fresh round of arguments about what happens when the desire to protect significant landmarks begins morphing into an unreasonable bias against innovative new architecture of any sort or scale.


message 23: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) The Kronish house does look interesting. I hope they don't tear it down. Have they tried to get it put on historic preservation status?

message 24: by Ed (last edited Aug 02, 2011 09:43PM) (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Robin wrote: "Wow, Barcelona is the cutting edge of architecture. They also have that structure that they are near completion. Can't think of the name of it, but it is also awesome. Just found out it is the B..."

I have always liked Gaudi, I'd love to go and see his work.

Then I started thinking about more, I don't think of myself as an architecture person, but all of a sudden, they came flooding in....

(He thought he was just an engineer.)

Hunderwasser whets my curiosity .
[image error]

Sydney Opera House (by Jørn Utzon)

Earlier eras.

The roofline of the lacy Milan Cathedral, looks like icing, so much statuary.

Chartres, Book in stone and glass.

The Jesse Tree Window, symbolizing the descent of Christ.

Notre Dame de Paris, from the side, looks like a boat where the flying buttresses are oars. Apparently the designers, situating it in the middle of a river intended it to be a literal Ship of Faith.

Santa Maria Novella in Florence

In Istanbul, The Hagia Sophia, with its marvelous combination of Christian and Islamic architecture.

And finally, you must know.....

message 25: by Dvora (new)

Dvora It's the Sagrada Familia, a church designed by Antoni Gaudi, that is not yet finished. The Pope was here a few months ago to consecrate it. It's one of the great tourist attractions of the city although there is a lot more to see, both of Gaudi's work and other's.

message 26: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Wow, what wonderful structures! Thank you for posting there, Ed.

message 27: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Portugal has some amazing architecture as well. Thanks for the amazing architecture displays Ed.

message 28: by Ed (last edited Aug 04, 2011 10:44AM) (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Oh man, how could I forget Imhotep, the first architect (2655-2600 BC) known to history by name. He was a brilliant polymath, apparently.

[image error]
M18 G17 R4

message 29: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Very informative as always, Ed. Thanks alot.

message 30: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Robin wrote: "Very informative as always, Ed. Thanks alot."

The hieroglyphs are his name, as he would have spelled it.
(I was waiting for somebody to ask!)

message 31: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I just glossed over the hieroglyphics, interesting as well. It has been a long day.

message 32: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments The Art-Architecture complex by Hal Foster – review

Is it a good idea if architects start seeing themselves as artists? Rowan Moore salutes a refreshingly rigorous argument

Rowan Moore
Guardian Friday 16 September 2011

Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, centrepiece of the 2008 Olympics. Photograph: Robert Bukaty/AP

Ours is a time when art looks more and more like architecture, and architecture looks quite like art. Now rising at the 2012 Olympic Park is the Orbit, a pile of steel composed by the artist Anish Kapoor, which has things like lifts and stairs, serious engineering, and the scale of a building. Olafur Eliasson has just finished a spectacular glass wrapping to the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik which has attracted a lot more attention than the parts by the actual architects of the project, Henning Larsen.

The Serpentine Gallery in London, a place dedicated to visual art, presents an annual pavilion, designed by an architect, as if it were the work of an artist, which is then sold to collectors. Architects themselves profess to be inspired, with varying degrees of credibility, by the likes of the American artist James Turrell. "Minimalism" has turned from an artistic movement to an architectural style to an interior design option. Office towers purport to be "sculptural", or else use tricks of perception borrowed from conceptual art. This co-mingling is the subject of The Art-Architecture Complex and, according to the book's author Hal Foster, it is "now a primary site of image-making and space-shaping in our cultural economy". As the half-sinister title suggests, with its echoes of Eisenhower's warnings about the military-industrial complex, and the suggestion of complexes in the psychological sense, the merging of art and architecture is not necessarily a good thing. It can become, suggests Foster, a means of blurring our consciousness, a new opiate of the people supplied by corporations and governments as they use "iconic" artworks and buildings to sell cities and property to investors.

He starts by taking us through major architectural movements of the last half-century, including the way pop art influenced both postmodernism and what became the hi-tech architecture of Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Norman Foster, which then led to a "global style" of steel and glass, more or less the same everywhere. In the case of Rogers, this global style takes the form of "pop civics" – law courts and assembly buildings and our beloved Millennium Dome, which profess accessibility and public engagement. In the case of Renzo Piano the result is "light modernity": elegant, refined structures that might be a Hermès store in Tokyo or a cultural centre in New Caledonia.

Foster describes the influence of Russian suprematist and constructivist art on Zaha Hadid, and the effect of conceptual art on the Americans Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the creators of New York's High Line park. Also, the use of both minimalism and pop by the Swiss Herzog & de Meuron, creators of Tate Modern and the Beijing Bird's Nest stadium. He then examines the question from the other side, looking at the spaces and constructions of artists like Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Irwin and (especially) Richard Serra, before concluding with an extensive interview with Serra.

For him the stuggle is between the "imagistic" (bad) and "embodiment and emplacement" (good), or between "stunned subjectivity and arrested sociality supported by spectacle" and "sensuous particularity of experience in the here-and-now". One supports our sense of who we are, in relation to ourselves and other people; the other is a ruse of globalised capitalism to induce numb passivity, "in the guise of our activation". This is performed through something called the "experience economy", a modern version of the ancient Roman panem et circenses, only without the bread. All pretence that the cultural is separate from the economic, says Foster, is finished.

Of course, one of the features of building-sized artworks, and of artistic buildings, is that they require a lot of money to make, which implies a compelling economic argument to pay for them. (Hal Foster, a native of Seattle, and now a professor at Princeton, was a classmate of Bill Gates, which may or may not give him special insight into big money.) All the architects he describes succumb, one way or another, to the curse of the imagistic, as do many of the artists. Richard Serra emerges as a hero of the embodied and emplaced, with his large, physical sculptures where you can see the marks of their making, and which require you to walk round and into them.

There are, nevertheless, consolations: Foster is appreciative of, for example, "the mixed condition" in the work of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, by which he means their combinations of art, video and architecture, and of the new park of the High Line with the old viaduct on which it is formed. Despite worrying that they "might be a front for capitalist modernity", he sees the possibility that they might "not simply smoothen".

As an architecture writer reading Foster, who comes from the direction of art theory, I find it refreshing to encounter a degree of intellectual rigour (if also, sometimes, opacity) you don't find too often on my side of the fence. Indeed, it requires a certain gentleness on his part, when dealing with the artistic pretentions of architects, to stop them collapsing too quickly under his probing. On the other hand, he sometimes treats buildings too much as artworks – as things to be looked at and walked around, that stand or fall by their inherent conceptual strength – rather than as things of use, to be inhabited, which are enmeshed in function and finance.

I'd also question his polarity: is image always such a bad thing, and can it in any case be avoided? But his basic premise is compelling – and he uses it to powerful effect – to reveal the gap between the reported effects of buildings and art pieces, and their actual ones.

message 33: by Dvora (new)

Dvora I like it when a building is aesthetically pleasing, but I think architecture should be concerned first with function and second with form or aesthetics. If a building is not comfortable to use or doesn't serve its function well, it isn't a good building.
I also don't want architecture to subscribe to the universal style of the moment. I love it that the buildings in Barcelona are unique and don't look like the buildings in Paris or Florence. When they all start looking alike, it's like when all the cultures that to meld and you get buildings that may or may not be aesthetically pleasing, but have nothing to do with their environment or the culture where they reside. Actually I don't believe in the melding of cultures in general. I want Spanish food to remain Spanish, French French, and Chinese food to stay Chinese, etc. The same with music and dance and on down the line. Although difference often tends to be the reason for conflict, it doesn't have to be and shouldn't be. It should be a delight that there are so many different cultures and histories in the world and each should be celebrated.

message 34: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Architecture is one of my favorite artforms, everything from Japanese to Mannerist to early Norse dwellings!

message 35: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) In Hawaii we have all the differing types of architecture from the mission homes to Kawaihao Church to I'olani Palace, to the Our Lady of Peace Cathedral. I like Moorish Spanish type architecture like the San Juan Capistrano and the Santa Barbara missions.

message 36: by Heather, Moderator (last edited Dec 06, 2011 03:41PM) (new)

Heather | 8385 comments Architecture as Allegory

The Wall Street Journal

From the theater's statuary to its interior paintings, mosaics and tapestries, a design that was meant to be read like a book.

Towering above the center of Paris, a monumental statue of Apollo crowns a 19th-century theater whose architecture and decoration are an opulent tribute to the performing arts. The theater's official title is "L'Académie National de Musique." Unofficially it has long been known as the Paris Opéra, or the Palais Garnier. And, in keeping with the theater's balance of decoration and visionary technology, Apollo, holding aloft his golden lyre, is actually the building's lightning rod.

The Palais Garnier is the masterpiece of architect Charles Garnier (1825-1898), who called his work "the architecture of illustration." The theater's statuary, allegorical ceiling and wall paintings, mosaic inlay and tapestries were designed as a harmonious and moving backdrop to the performances on stage.

For all its glory, the theater owes its existence to an attempted regicide. In 1858, Paris's Opéra was in the Rue Le Pelletier, near a dark alley—a security nightmare. On Jan. 14, as Emperor Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie drove to a gala performance there, an Italian conspirator, Felice Orsini, hiding in that alley, tossed three bombs into the street, killing 150 people. Napoléon and Eugénie escaped, but the emperor ordered the construction of a new Opéra as soon as possible—well isolated to prevent lurking assassins.

A design competition opened in December 1860 with a month's deadline; it drew 171 submissions. The winning architect, Garnier, was a blacksmith's son who had studied at the École des Beaux Arts, taking its Grand Prix de Rome for architecture in 1848.

Work commenced in July 1861 on the site of what is now the spacious Place de l'Opera. Almost immediately an underground stream flooded the foundations, so Garnier reworked his plans, erecting his theater on a double concrete vat containing the water—hence the notorious Opéra Lake. Though his flamboyant architecture was rooted in the Renaissance and Baroque styles, Garnier innovatively built it over a fireproof iron skeleton.

By the end of 1863 Garnier had chosen the artists and sculptors to produce the iconographic interior decoration of the ceilings and walls, among whom were the painters Paul Baudry, Jules Lenepveu and Isidore Pils, and the sculptors Aimé Millet and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. All École des Beaux Arts alumni and Prix de Rome laureates, their academic finesse stood them in good stead when producing the vast neo-Baroque allegories that Garnier commissioned.

The Franco-Prussian War in 1870 stopped construction on the opera house and resulted in France's defeat and Napoléon III's abdication. But when the old Opéra Le Pelletier burned in 1873, the government quickly appropriated money for Garnier's Paris Opéra, and it was inaugurated by President Patrice Macmahon on Jan. 15, 1875. Due to a government slight, however, Garnier had to pay 120 francs to attend the opening gala, which included hugely popular scenes from Giacomo Meyerbeer's "Les Huguenots" and Fromental Halévy's "La Juive."

The Palais Garnier is visible down the entire length of the wide Avenue de l'Opéra running southward to the Louvre. In fact, the paired columns of the theater's main facade were intended to complement those of Claude Perrault's East Front of the Louvre, completed in 1670. Garnier persuaded the civic planner Georges Haussmann not to plant trees along the avenue to preserve the unobstructed view between the two.

Today, Garnier's "architecture of illustration" can be read like a book. Viewing it from across the Place de l'Opéra, your eyes move from the solid ground-floor entry, its repeated arches sheltering the entrance doors, upward to the main floor with its massive paired columns, its balconies and its row of round bull's-eye windows each containing the bronze bust of a composer. The busts reveal which departed masters were most important to 19th-century France: Rossini, Auber, Beethoven, Mozart, Spontini, Meyerbeer and Halévy.

At the roof level, defined by the elaborate cornice of sculpted masks of comedy and tragedy, the flattened green dome of the auditorium is crowned by Millet's immense "Apollo" and flanked by two gilt-bronze allegorical groups, "Harmony" on the left and "Poetry" on the right, by the sculptor Charles Guméry. And when this facade is viewed from just the right angle, the splendid domed roofline is further defined by the triangular gable of the stage housing behind it.

The main entrance arches are flanked by sculptural groups each representing a different art form. Deservedly, the most famous of these is Carpeaux's ebullient "La Danse," whose swirl of riotous male and female nudes initially scandalized critics. In 1964 a full-scale copy by Paul Belmondo was placed at the Garnier entrance—the precious original is now safely housed in the Musée d'Orsay. Inside the entrance vestibule, monumental marble statues of Gluck, Handel, Lully and Rameau represent opera's founding fathers according to 19th-century France.

In the great multistory stair foyer, the sinuous upward sweep of the broad staircase lifts the eye to Pils's four large ceiling paintings, whose luminous reds, yellows and seductive flesh tones shimmer in the light of a thousand incandescent lamps, which impart further texture to the rich settings of carved stone and gilt. For the banisters and balustrades, Garnier gave full vent to his love of rare stone in combination—pink granite, pink marble, onyx, scagliola and superb mosaic designs on the floors.

With its balconies and mirrors the stair foyer is a space not only to see but in which to be seen. Garnier wrote: "The sparkling lights, the resplendent dress, the lively and smiling faces, the greetings exchanged; all contribute to a festive air, and all enjoy it without realizing how much the architecture is responsible for this magical effect."

The dramatic main portal of the auditorium is flanked by massive bronze and polychrome marble figures representing "Comedy" and "Tragedy" by Gabriel-Jules Thomas. And as you enter, you are dazzled further by the resplendent trappings of crimson and gold. Eight paired Corinthian columns support the upper parts of the house, from which hangs the 6½-ton bronze chandelier made famous by novelist Gaston Leroux's phantom.

After savoring Garnier's rich neo-Baroque effects, the eye finally arrives at what should be the auditorium's harmonious apex, only to encounter a brash discord: Marc Chagall's mid-20th-century ceiling. Installed in 1964, it was the French government's attempt to soup up what modernist critics then deemed an eyesore. Painted on canvas, the ceiling was installed over Jules Eugène Lenepveu's original, "The Times of Day." Garnier intended Lenepveu's allegory, painted on fireproof copper panels, to sum up the allegorical works in the rest of the theatre, including Baudry's majestic designs in the Grand Foyer out front. Its model, preserved in the Musée d'Orsay, reveals a graceful composition of airborne deities in the manner of the 18th-century Venetian painter Tiepolo.

It is lamentable that during the extensive restoration of the Opéra Garnier, completed in 2007, Lenepveu's ceiling was not restored to its rightful place. Chagall deserves his due, but not here.

—Mr. Scherer writes about music and the fine arts for the Journal

More images of the Opera House

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message 37: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Actually I have come to like the Chagall ceiling. It seems to epitomize the idea of people flying irrationally about a ceiling. Chagall's weightless style is kind of a 20th century equivalent to the original. The interior colors are so sumptuous, the strong deep colors don't really look out of place there.

I couldn't find what Lenepveu's ceiling looked like but it was clearly some kind of allegory flying through the air.

However, I heard that Chagall insisted on the false ceiling being constructed in such a way as to leave the original intact, because he felt that Lenepveu's work was an honest effort by a skilled artist and needed to be preserved. And perhaps one day, they will figure out how to move one or the other (entailing enormous expense).

I'm not usually big on style clashes like this. The other one that I think works for me is the Pyramid in the Louvre, which initially shocked me

I think it worked because of its transparency, and its combining a modern artifact with an ancient design. It also enabled them to cross-link galleries, which is a godsend to myriads of exhausted tourists: you no longer have to walk enormous distances to correct a wrong turn.

message 38: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Thank you very much for this beautiful Paris Opera House post, Heather. Fortunate to have been there. It really is amazing and the Chagall ceiling worked for me. That's cool to know he insisted on the original staying intact, Ed. I don't think I knew that.

message 39: by Konrad (new)

Konrad R (krad) As per Architecture, the other day I was walking the beach and looked up at the multi million dollar mansions, and not one of them made any sense. Not one of them considered there environment , immediate or on the grand scale.

Basically, they were an extension of these track home you see every where. In away, they were the Robert Kincades of modern architecture . Seriously, meditate on this for a minute or two ...( here's a trash can if you need to hurl, pardon me for having bet you to it )

Even the homes that got a bit daring and utilized a sail boat theme where bizarre and unpractical .

Now for the flip side of the coin, take the American Indian Wigwam. It's more than meets the eye, and here's why:

1. It makes complete sense. It obeys the laws of physics . It's mobile ; it's in harmony with it's environment.

2. It is aesthetic . Three rods ( as we know, three is the magic number ) Buffalo skin, how can you bet it as a surface . It ages and blends with the environment .

3. It's design and function blend on a very human level. It's more of a reflection of us, than we of it.

message 40: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments I don't know what to say!

message 41: by Dvora (new)

Dvora Don't say anything. Move into a teepee! It's true that sometimes "progress" doesn't mean "better".

message 42: by Konrad (new)

Konrad R (krad) MONICA,

break out the Cayolas and get funky with it .

Is not knowing what to say a bad thing?

Do as Indians do, use sign language or smoke signals.

message 43: by Monica (last edited Oct 17, 2011 08:39AM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments Back in the way back machine I almost went to Bob Dylan's place in Woodstock to live in a teepee for the weekend. You see I was jailbait and my host probably came to his senses and suggested I stay home. My poor mom.

message 44: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments When I was younger, I used to create 'forts'. You know, out of chairs and blankets, etc. I'm sure all or most little kids did this. I thought it would be fun to live in something like a teepee. Yes, style and aesthetics is not always better. I believe functionality is the most essential.

message 45: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments The best architecture of 2011: Jonathan Glancey's choice

Frank Gehry completed his first Manhattan skyscraper and Mattel Toys launched Architect Barbie, but it was very much Zaha Hadid's year

Jonathan Glancey
The Guardian

Grotto-like … Inside Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera house. Photograph: Dan Chung for the Guardian

Frank Gehry completed his first Manhattan skyscraper, 8 Spruce Street, and it proved to be a powerful and robust affair – swirling and muscular. Meanwhile, Mattel Toys launched Architect Barbie, an incarnation of the doll that wears those black-framed glasses so beloved of practitioners, as well as a dress embroidered with a city skyline. She has a pink case for drawings and a model of a pink Dream House to show clients. Is this what inspired Justin Bieber to announce that he would like to have been an architect?

It was very much Zaha Hadid's year. She won the Stirling prize for the Evelyn Grace Academy school in Brixton, London; attended the opening of her opera house in Guangzhou, China, with its grotto-like auditorium; and completed the Riverside Museum, Glasgow's charismatic new transport museum on the banks of the Clyde.

Hadid has been much influenced by radical 20th-century Russian architects, many of them little known elsewhere. So Frédéric Chaubin's revelatory book, CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, was a highlight of 2011. Just look at that thrilling Georgian Ministry of Highway Construction, a Jenga-like tower of windowed oblongs from the mid-1970s. Such bravura design shows that radical work has continued to emerge from the time of the Russian revolution. Hadid remains its torchbearer.

The architecture world is a poorer place without the Hungarian Imre Makovecz, who crafted haunting, low-budget timber "building beings" in the days of Communist rule, before shaping the glorious Hungarian pavilion at the 1992 Seville Expo. Makovecz strived to create buildings that connected heaven and earth in a world increasingly given over to the slick and the inane.

message 46: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments I think it's kind of cool! What do you think?

message 47: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments I think it's cool, and, speaking of the art of architecture, I'm reading this:

message 48: by Heather, Moderator (new)

Heather | 8385 comments That looks like a good book. I added it, thanks for the recommendation! It got good reviews, too.

message 49: by Monica (last edited Dec 07, 2011 04:23AM) (new)

Monica | 909 comments The book is detailed and the photos are good. The color combinations of the home on the cover caught my eye. The author is Associate chair of Preservation at Columbia University School of Architecture and that was enough credibility for me. The design of the book is interesting and clean and I enjoy learning about the homes and the history of the periods related to Queen Anne. The US differentiated itself from the British Queen Anne style. My mom created an extremely successful B&B in Newport, Rhode Island called The Queen Anne Inn.The book explains the Eastlake, Arts and Crafts, and Esthetic Movement styles, how they are interrelated and spring from one another.

message 50: by Dvora (new)

Dvora No kidding! You wouldn't think this would be in Germany. I guess if you generalize you can be in for surprises. Some fun-loving soul must have painted it.

Heather wrote: "

Haus Rizzi – Germany"

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