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Architecture Now!

Vol. 3

By Philip Jodidio, Taschen, 2nd abridged edition, 2008, pp. 352, $14.99

Serpentine Pavilion by Ito

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Kensington Park, London, by Toyo Ito, 2002

By Carter B. Horsley

This fine international survey of important architectural projects has superb photography and short but pertinent texts by Philip Jodidio, the prolific architecture writer.

The texts are presented in English, German and French, which is nice, but the font size is small and the English text is printed in a light blue that is not very easy to read for some people who need glasses. The book also includes the architects' addresses, phone numbers, e-mails and website addresses.

Among the projects highlighted are the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London by Toyo Ito, the Stevie Eller Dance Theater at the University of Arizona by Gould Evans, the Jubilee Church in Rome by Richard Meier, Kunsthaus Graz in Austria by Cook/Fournier, Prada Aoyama Building in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, by Herzog & de Meuron, the Ysios Winery in Laguardia, Alava, Spain by Santiago Calatrava, and the ING Group Headquarters, Amsterdam by Meyer en van Schooten.

Ito's very beautiful pavilion was the third in a series and followed one by Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind.  It is columnless and the book noted that "the seemingly random structure was determined by an algorithm derived from the rotation of a single square."
Stevie Eller Dance Theater at University of Arizona

Stevie Eller Dance Theater at the University of Arizona  in Tucson by Gould Evans, 2003

One of the most spectacular works in the book is the Stevie Eller Dance Theater at the University of Arizona in Tuscon by Gould Evans, which is based in Phoenix.  The building was completed in 2003.

The building's angled brown screens are meant to conjure/notate movements of the dancers and the architects contacted the Dance Notation Bureau and the Balanchine Foundation to acquire the labanotation and score for Balanchine's "Serenade," a ballet that was to be danced by the daughter of the building's major donor at its opening.  "The building was initially conceived by a father and daughter's quest to find a distinguished ollege dance program.  During their research, they found the Unviersty of Arizona had the BEST dance program with the WORST faculity,' the article on the project noted, adding that the architects immersed themselves "with the IDEA of movement."

The architects said that they "overlaid the 'plans' of the starting positions for each movement of Serenade' and created a matrix from which emerged the 'grid' of titled columns that support the glass encased dance studio on the second flloor of the building."  "Serenade" was the first ballet that Balanchine did for the students of the American Ballet."  

The building is raised on pilotis.  It is en pointe!
Jubilee Church by Richard Meier

Jubilee Church by Richard Meier in Rome, 2003

A somewhat similar "succession of shells" can be found in Richard Meier's Jubilee Church that was erected in Rome between 1996 and 2003.  Its curved "shells" are, the author maintained, "like sails billowing in the wind."  The work was commissioned by the Vicariato of Rome which held a competition to which it invited such other famous architects as Peter Eisenman, Frank O. Gehry and Santiago Calatrava.  

Kuntshaus Graz in Austria by Cook/Fournier
Kunsthaus Graz in Austria by Cook/Fournier, 2003

The Kuntshaus in Graz, Austria was designed in 2003 by Cook/Fournier.  "Described as a 'friendly alien' by its creators, the Kunsthaus Graz is located on the bank of the Mur river...[and] the bluish skin of the structure appears to hover above the glass-walled ground floor.  The biomorphic upper section of the building contains two large exhibition decks.  Sixteen nozzle-like north oriented openings project upward from the skin of the building to admit daylight. In the upper levels, bridges link the 23-meter high new structure with the 'Eisernes Haus' whose cast-iron construction - which is the oldest of its kind in Europe and listed as a historical monument - was renovated as part of the construction work on the Kunsthaus."  The design was originally intended for a different site inthe city where the architects had planned that part of its form would be a wild dragon's tongue and they kept that part of the design in the new location.

Prada Aoyama building in Tokyo by Herzog & de Meuron

Prada Aoyama Building in Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, by Herzog & de Meuron, 2003

On a small site, Herzog & de Meuron erected a retail store for Prada with a facade with 840 glass panels, 205 of which have a spherical, conical shape and 16, on the ground floor, with a concave shape.  The interior configurations and the interiors are no less complex.  The building was completed in 2003.

ING Grouop Headquarters, Amsterdam

ING Group Headquarters, Amsterdam by Meyer en van Schooten, 2002

The ING Group Headquarters building in Amsterdam looks like an ungainly but impressive 16-leg beetle or the forward section of a gigantic World War II bomber raised up on stilts.  The author wrote that "Like an apparition out of a 'Star Wars' movie, the ING Headquarters building looks almost as though it is ready to move forward on its legs."  The pilotis vary in height and the building is quite energy efficient and its shape was designed to maximize views on one side of the city's "green zone" and on the other of the city.  The building has various atria, loggia and gardens as well as a thermal underground storage.

The Ysios Winery in Alava, Spain, by Calatrava

The Ysios Winery in Laguardia, Alava, Spain, by Santiago Calatrava, 2002

The Ysios Winery in Laguardia, Alava, Spain was designed by Santiago Calatrava in 2002 for the Bodegas & Bebidas Group for its new Rioja Alavesa wine.  Walls covered with wooden planks "evokethe image of a row of wine barrels" and the roof is covered aluminium and laminated wood panels and the book says that the "result is a 'ruled surface wave,' which combines the concave and convex surfaces as it evolves along the longitudinal axis.
Other projects included in the book include the "Glass Shutter House" by Shigeru Ban in Tokyo, the Norddeutsche Landesbank by Behnisch & Partner in Hanover, Germany (see The City Review article), the Mur Island Project in Graz, Austria, by Vito Acconci, the Bankside Paramorph building in London by Decoi Architects, the Blur Building at Expo.02 at Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland by Diller + Scofidio (see The City Review article), the Yokohoma International Port Terminal by FOA (see The City Review article), the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by Frank O. Gehry, the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England, by Daniel Libeskind (see The City Review article), and the Son-O-House by Nox in Son en Breugel, The Netherlands.

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