Whether architecture is a form of art or not has often been a controversial topic of conversation within the architecture world. If one goes by the general definition of the word "art," architecture could potentially fit within the umbrella term: "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." As anyone involved in the architectural discipline probably knows, there is an abundance of varying definitions of the word "architecture," so whether its primary purpose is to achieve beauty or to organize space is evidently up for discussion.
Ask Jay A. Pritzker, founder of the Pritzker Prize, and he may say that "architecture is intended to transcend the simple need for shelter and security by becoming an expression of artistry." Ask The Guardian's Jonathan Jones and he may tell you that "architecture is the art we all encounter most often, most intimately, yet precisely because it is functional and necessary to life, it's hard to be clear about where the 'art' in a building begins." But this ambiguity is part of what makes the field of architecture challenging and exciting. To celebrate this complicated aspect of architecture, below we have collected a list of just some of the works that could be seen as art, architecture or both, depending on who’s looking, to provide some context to those blurry boundaries.
Today, April 26th 2017, marks I.M. Pei’s 100th birthday. The occasion offers a wonderful opportunity to take a retrospective look at one of the most significant and productive architects of the past 100 years, with many organizations hosting events, celebrations, and symposiums to talk about Master Pei and his notable projects. However at these events, just as throughout I.M. Pei’s career, there is unlikely to be much intellectual conversation about Pei’s architectural legacy. The main discussion around I.M. Pei is still focused on his design talent and intriguing narratives about the charisma he used to convince clients to continue through tough projects.
Though I.M. Pei himself has never talked at length about his design theory or the intellectual basis of his projects, these simple narratives leave certain questions unanswered: Where does I.M. Pei’s inspiration for architectural form come from? How did his architectural design affect his peer group of architects and artists, and contribute intellectually to the contemporary art world?
Chilean architect and illustrator Francisca Álvarez Ainzúa created "Architecture of the Portrait": a series of illustrations of renowned architects drawn with the precision and accuracy of a fineliner. In order to choose the protagonists of her geometrical analyses, the architect states a preference for strong character and the presence of imperfections, which imparts a certain richness to the representation.
The architectural construction of the face is done using lines to create a hatch effect. Next, she adds color that pays tribute to the traditional default CAD shades: yellow, cyan and magenta.
Jordanian artist Raya Kassisieh, with the support of American firm NADAAA, has repurposed her exhibit from the Amman Design Week in Jordan to create blankets for Syrian refugees and Jordanian families. The Entrelac exhibit, created by Kassisieh and NADAAA, consists of 300kg of hand-knit, un-dyed wool which was later cut and stitched to create blankets for those fleeing the Syrian Civil War, now approaching its sixth year.
The production of creative work often requires a very particular type of space—a temple, if you will, to the work being done. Architects and artists are open about how their living and working areas affect their practice, and musicians, of course, are no different. Perhaps this is why places and spaces are often featured on album covers. The art on an album cover is partially advertising, but it is also often a visual symbol of an entire period in the life of a musician. An album's cover artwork may depict the view a band saw coming into the studio every day, the building the album was recorded in, the city the musician grew up in, or myriad other more abstract connections. We will leave it to you to make sense of the connection between the 7 architectural landmarks featured on the following albums and the music their images envelop, but the stories behind the constructions themselves may help you make a more educated guess.
In the first installment of her series, “Cities and Memory - the Architecture and the City," architect Marta Vilarinho de Freitas created a set of intricately rendered architectural fantasy worlds that straddled the line between realism and abstraction.
Now Vilarinho de Freitas has returned with an additional 7 illustrations, this time experimenting with planimetrics and new cityscape scenes.
As part of a new exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., a group of 24 American architects, designers and architects have been commissioned to create "dream homes" in the format of the contemporary dollhouse. Part of Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse, in which twelve historical dollhouses spanning the past 300 years from London's Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood are being presented in the United States for the first time, these 21st Century interpretations intend to showcase a "diverse array of perspectives, demonstrating the limitless creativity of building in miniature."
André Chiote’s newest series of illustrations focuses on the seminal architectural works of Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the firm’s founding this year. Established in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1986 by architects Morten Schmidt, Bjarne Hammer and John F. Lassen, the firm has since grown into an award-winning, international practice (with offices in Aarhus, Copenhagen, Shanghai and London) whose design philosophy begins with the Nordic architectural traditions of democracy, welfare, aesthetics, light, sustainability and social responsibility.
To commemorate the important date, SHL selected a set of 6 emblematic buildings to be illustrated through Chiote’s personal vision. Check out the collection and links to the projects after the break.
Artist and writer Yayoi Kusama has created an installation for the Glass House that will be on display in celebration of the 110th anniversary of Philip Johnson’s birth, as well as the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Glass House site to the public.
From September 1 through 26, Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope will be on display, with the Glass House itself covered with polka dots. “Visitors who attend the exhibition during this time will be offered the unique experience to simultaneously see the world through the eyes of both Philip Johnson and Yayoi Kusama.”
Burning Man 2016 is underway in the temporary city of Black Rock City, Nevada – meaning for one week, thousands of festival goers will romp through the desert taking pictures of the hundreds of art and architectural installations constructed for the event. This year's theme is "DaVinci's Workshop," inspiring sculptures based off the artist's famous inventions and artworks, including a large-scale interpretation of the Vitruvian Man on a circular frame.
Read on to see some of the best structures and installations found at Burning Man 2016.
JR is an anonymous artist who owns the biggest art gallery in the world. His exhibits are available on the streets, free of charge catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. His work is thought provoking and mixes art and act.
JR is known worldwide for projects such as Portrait of a Generation (2006), Women Are Heroes (2008), and Face 2 Face (2007). The latter is a piece which through portraits of people made with a wide angle lens, printed in large scale and pasted on city walls was able to generate a reaction from the public.
The Rijksmuseum, one of the largest museums in Europe dedicated to arts and history, made 250,000 works from its huge collection available for free online viewing or download.
During the golden age of sailing ships (roughly between 1584 and 1702), when Dutch ships dominated the trade routes of the world, the Netherlands became the first capitalist power in the west. The growing bourgeoisie class demanded a vast production of portraits and paintings, which enhanced trade, promoted the sciences and especially stimulated the arts. Few countries have such great quality artistic productions such as the Netherlands from that time.
MetPublications is a portal to The Met’s online publishing program, containing more than 1,500 books and other publications from the museum from the last fifty years. It includes descriptions for most titles as well as information on the author, publication reviews, and links to other similar titles.
The contents of many publications can be viewed online or downloaded in a PDF format. Readers can also search for works of art from The Met’s past collections. New titles are frequently added, expanding the online catalog.
Check out some of the architecture-related publications below and find more at the MetPublications Portal, here.
“Libraries,” says Chiote, “Are houses of books. And newspapers. And magazines. And music. And movies. The entire world connected, where we are with ourselves and with others. They are our memories and our legacy. The reference of knowledge and leisure but also urbanity. Libraries are the house where we must always return.”
A few months ago, KoreanartistJazoo Yang completed her most recent piece, titled “Dots: Motgol 66.” The work covered a home set for demolition in the small Korean village of Motgol, Busan with Yang’s thumbprint. Working from October 9th to 29th, for 4-5 hours a day, 3 days a week, “Motgol 66” was the first time Yang was able to realize her project goal, with two previous incidents of homes being demolished early.
In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about what architecture's ultimate purpose might be - with answers ranging from the creation of form to the correction of societal ills. But according to Lance Hosey, perhaps the least useful definition currently in circulation is that architecture is "art." In this article, originally posted to his blog on the Huffington Post, Hosey argues that the concept of architecture as a form of art is not only misleading to the public, but also potentially damaging to society.
In July, I wrote that when architects use the bodies of specific women such as Marilyn Monroe or Beyoncé as "inspiration" for buildings, they objectify both women and architecture. Many readers didn't like this: "Anyone complaining about where an artist gets thier [sic] inspiration dosn't [sic] understand what an artist or art is," protested one. "What's wrong with using the female form for artistic inspiration?" asked another; "I can think of nothing more beautiful." And another: "Music, Structures, Paintings, anything artistic is not degrading. It's beauty."
The message: Architecture is art, and where artists get their inspiration isn't up for debate, since it's personal to the artist.
"Pardon my face," says designer Daniel Voshart in the opening to his latest blog post on Medium, "I’ve been throwing things into DeepArt’s algorithm for a few hours and the results are surprisingly good."
DeepArt is an online service created by Leon Gatys, Alexander Ecker and Matthias Bethge, Łukasz Kidziński and Michał Warchoł. It uses a neural network algorithm to combine the subject of one image with the style of another. It seems particularly adept at applying striking, abstract art styles to photographic images, which means that many of the twentieth century's most celebrated architect-artists are perfectly suited to it. So, if you've ever wondered what your portrait (or indeed anything else) might look like when drawn by Le Corbusier, Lebbeus Woods, or Daniel Libeskind, now might be the perfect time to find out. Voshart has kindly shared his examples of what DeepArt can do - read on to see more.