In one of his 1922 travel essays for the Toronto Star Ernest Hemingway wrote, in a typically thewy tone, of “a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways and all stuck over with large brown hotels built [in] the cuckoo style of architecture.” This was his Switzerland: a country cornered in the heartland of Europe and yet distant from so much of its history. A nation which, for better or worse and particularly over the course of the 20th Century, has cultivated and become subject to a singularly one-dimensional reputation when it comes to architectural culture and the built environment.
Working since he was 16, Swiss architect Mario Botta (April 1, 1943) has become a prolific and well known crafter of space, designing a huge array of places of worship, private homes, and museums, perhaps most notably the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Church of San Giovanni Battista in Mogno, Switzerland. His use of traditional masonry over the streamlined steel and glass of so much modern architecture creates strong, self-confident buildings that pull together the contrast between the weight of his materials and lightness of his designs.
There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.
Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.
This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.
Dream of Venice Architecture, the second in a series by Bella Figura Publications, has brought together a collection of contemporary architects and architectural writers to share their personal experiences of La Serenissima: the great Italian city of Venice. "Water runs through her veins," Editor JoAnn Locktov writes. "Bridges, palaces, churches – every structure is a testament to the resiliency of imagination."
'Defiance' manifests itself in many forms: riots in Baltimore, makeshift housing in Rwanda, Pink Floyd in Venice and plants growing where they ought not sprout. To defy the norm is an act of rebellion and in architecture, doubly so. In the third issue of LOBBY, the burgeoning magazine from London's Bartlett School of Architecture, the notion of defiance and its incarnations are investigated in a collection of essays, interviews and discussions with leading and emerging thinkers in urbanism and architecture. From Swiss master Mario Botta to Carme Pinós, former partner to Enric Miralles, this latest LOBBY investigates the act of defiance as a core tenet of architectural practice.
The world of architecture is small. So small in fact, that Rem Koolhaas has been credited with the creation of over forty practices worldwide, led by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels. Dubbed “Baby Rems” by Metropolis Magazine, this Koolhaas effect is hardly an isolated pattern, with manifestations far beyond the walls of OMA. The phenomenon has dominated the world of architecture, assisted by the prevalence and increasing necessity of internships for burgeoning architects.
In a recent article for Curbed, Patrick Sisson dug into the storied history of internships to uncover some unexpected connections between the world's most prolific architects. With the help of Sisson's list, we've compiled a record of the humble beginnings of the household names of architecture. Where did Frank Gehry get his start? Find out after the break.
Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory is an exhibition spanning the 50-year career of internationally acclaimed architect Mario Botta, the designer of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art building and one of the century's most fundamental contributors to postmodern architecture.
This week we are featuring San Francisco for our Architecture City Guide series. Thank you to all of our readers for adding their can’t miss buildings last week. We hope to see your comments below this week too.
Follow the break for our San Francisco list and a corresponding map!