All posts by Tori Brock

Centre Georges Pompidou

exterior aerial   The Centre Georges Pompidou, Centre Pompidou for short, was designed by contest winners Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. Pianoexterior walkway met Rogers at Expo ’70 in Osaka Japan. The realized they have a lot in common and then had an engineering firm suggest they compete to build the Centre Georges Pompidou, so they did.  The building was an overwhelming success — often described as “high-tech” by its spectators. Piano himself was displeased with this interpretation, however. His intention was not to create a “high-tech” structure, but a “joyful urban machine” that slightly resembles a “ship in dry dock.” According to the New York Times, Centre Interior walkwayPompidou “turned the architecture world upside-down.” All-in-all, its design was undeniably a huge success. Needless to say, Roger and Piano became recognizable names across the globe.

It houses the largest museum for modern art in Europe, as well as a vast public library. By 2006, the building had over 180 million visitors. Needless to say, Piano and Rogers names’ were recognized around the world.  Piano and Rogers went on to found an architect firm called Piano & Rogers.

KIX

daylight areial of infrastructure

One of Renzo Piano’s most notable works is the Kansai International Airport (KIX). This airport is located in the Osaka Bay in Japan, is an airport that was built entirely on a man-made island three miles off KIX phase 2shore. This means, in addition to the traditional challenges an architect faces such as creating a building that is functional, safe, beautiful, unique, and representative of the client’s imperatives, Piano also faced the challenge of constructing a manmade island that could withstand the forces of nature it is exposed to in the Osaka Bay, namely earthquakes and tsunamis. Shortly after being constructed, Mother Nature tested the structure with a powerful earthquake, and the airport was affected so little, that it didn’t even have to delay any flights.

interior check in

The airport was constructed to relieve the Osaka International Airport of its congestion and relieve the Osaka International Airport, it did. The main terminal is the longest terminal in the world, airport terminal exterioras of 2008, totaling 1.1 miles from end to end. The building is shaped like a airfoil and is equipped with giant air conditioning ducts that are strategically located in order to promote quality air circulation throughout the terminal. The second terminal is exclusive to Peach and focuses on low-cost carriers, charging a lower landing fee. The building turned out to be unique, beautiful, safe, and efficient. Renzo Piano won the Pritzker Prize in 1998 for its design.

 

Parco della Musica

aerial

 

Located in northern Rome, Italy, Parco della Musica is a large, multifunctional music complex with three different concert halls, each a different size. The smallest concert hall has 7 hundred seats, the largest concert hall has 2,800 seats, and the third has 1,200 seats. Each hall is separated by an outdoor lobby to ensure

180411-presentazione progetto nuovo auditorium casa della musica in parco del Cavaticcio in manifattura delle arti--foto Nucci/Benvenuti

soundproofing quality. Parco della Musica is open to the public, welcoming anyone and everyone to explore music culture. It was built from 1995-2002 where part of the 1960 Olympics took place. In 2014, just twelve years after completion, two million people visited Parco della Musica, making it the second most visited cultural music venue in the world, second only to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Personally, I do not like the planlook of this music center. All I can think is “hungry, hungry cockroaches” when I see the park from an aerial view. However, I can still appreciate the grandeur of this architecture.interior

New York Times Building


 close up

The New York Times Building in New York City was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and FXFOWLE Architects in 2007 to be the fourth tallest building in New York City and the tenth tallest in the country. The New York Times Building is a steel-framed, state-of-the-art, environmentally green building in the shape of a cross. There is a screen of small ceramic rods mounted onaerial and ground up view the exterior of the glass on the southern, eastern, and western side of the building, leaving the steel frame exposed in the corner notches of the cruciform structure. These rods get further and further apart from each other from the base of the building to the top. This is what creates the unique appearance of depth when looking at the building. The ceramic used is aluminum silicate, which is extremely dense, durable, and cost effective. The ceramic is then coated with a finish that reflects light, resists weather, self-cleans, and changes color with respect to the sun and weather. Furthermore, there are Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 12.00.53 PMsensors installed to monitor the position of the sun and move the shades accordingly. This unique double-skin curtain wall allows for floor to ceiling glass that provides beautiful views, plenty of natural light, and still reduces energy consumption by thirteen percent and reducing solar heat gain by thirty percent. If that isn’t impressive enough, the entire building is equipped with dimmable lights that will automatically dim in response to the brightness of the sun and the absence of people. Last but not least, the building uses underfloor air distribution which provides better quality air, more thermal comfort, and, you guessed it, saves energy. This building has to be one of my favorites.

Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

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The bronze medallion gifted to Pritzker Prize recipients starting in 1987.

Renzo Piano is a world renowned Italian architect that was born into a family of builders in 1937. He is best known for architecting the Kansai International Airport, Centre Georges Pompidou, Parco Della Musica, the Shard London Bridge, and the New York Times building in Japan, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, respectively. He has won a plethora of awards for his extraordinary creations including the Pritzker Architecture Prize – often considered to be the Nobel Prize of architecture.

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Politecnico Di Milano

Piano graduated from Politecnico Di Milano, the largest tech university in Italy and the 14th best architecture university in the world, and then worked for his father’s construction company, where he was mentored by architect Franco Albini. From there, he went on to work alongside Louis Kahn and Z.S. Makowsky. These three men, along with Buckmister Fuller, Pier Luigi Nervi and his idol from the 15th century, Burnelleschi, were the most influential men in Piano’s career as an architect.

italian industry pavilion at expo 70
The Italian Industry Pavilion

The first important commission Piano got after his graduation was the Italian Industry Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. It was at this world’s fair that he met another young architect, Richard Rogers. As the two got acquainted, they learnt they have a lot in common. That, in conjunction with an engineering firm’s recommendation, led to them pairing up to compete in the Centre Georges Pompidou contest. Not only did they win, but their building was overwhelmingly successful. Just like that, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers were names recognized around the globe.

As a result of the architectural design of the Centre Georges Musica being pinned as “high-tech,” Piano’s reputation was born. The two eventually established a firm together called Piano & Rogers, in 1971. While this was not exactly what Piano was aiming for when designing it, he has continued to design some of the most astounding works in the history of architecture.

In 1981, Piano founded an architecture firm called Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW). Today, RPBW employs almost 130 people, including more than 90 architects from all of the world. The firm provides comprehensive architectural services, from concept design to construction, as well as landscape design, and more. Piano intentionally chose to call his firm a building workshop because, being raised by a family of contractors, he values the act and art of constructing just as much as he does concept development.

When a House is not a Home

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I wanted to write about a building I did not like, since my other five blogs have been only positive. Almost immediately, I remembered the house we used to live in in Moore. There is only one positive thing I can say about the architecture of this house. and that is:fireplace and book shelves it has a fireplace and built in bookshelves with cabinets. Note, I did not say anything about these things being beautiful or nice.  The vaulted ceiling might have been considered a positive thing if it hadn’t been done aftermarket so poorly. The fireplace is very basic. and low-end basic at that. But it is a fireplace nevertheless, and it was nice having fires in the winter keeping the house warm and roasting our marshmallows. The worst part about this house, in my opinion, is the lack of light. livingroom The windows pictured here are the only windows lighting the living room and the light they should receive is shaded outside. If shade helped make being outside less miserable in Oklahoma, I might appreciate the covered patio more, but it’s so humid Backand windy that blocking the sun doesn’t make being outside bearable to me anyway. If this wasn’t the only window providing light to the entire common area of the house, I think I’d appreciate the covered patio more.kitchen There is a little window above the kitchen in the sink, but one of the panes was broken so it wasn’t a clear window and we didn’t often open the curtains that made the yellowing glass visible. Even if that weren’t a problem, the window faces our neighbors house, northeast, and therefore rarely has much light coming in anyway. The dark green walls, dark carpet that feels like it belongs in a cheap motel, and division of the kitchen and living room don’t help either.

parents bedroom
The bed my step father committed suicide on.

To be fair, my disdain for this house started with my disdain for my step father. The house is older, and the architecture reflects that. The bad interior design is the fault of the previous owners, and also why we got the house so cheap. We did eventually take down the horrible wall paper and paint the kitchen and dining room a much nicer off white color. However, I don’t think any amount of remodeling will help me disassociate the years of feeling unwelcome in the house that was supposed to be my home, nor the memories of my step father mistreating us, cheating on my mom, and then ultimately shooting himself in the head. Biased my opinion may be, it will never change. I hate this house.

When Architecture is Pure Fun

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It might not look like much at first glance, but take a moment to really evaluate what you are looking at. This here is an international shoe factory turned fun park industrial museum. Let’s take a closer look.

bus
Visitors may climb into this school bus that is hanging over the side of the building. There are also chickens living underneath the bus as an “artistic touch”.
lower roof
“Do not climb” signs do not exist here.
roof
The tallest part of the rooftop includes a Ferris Wheel and a pray mantis overlooking a slide.
rooftop
This is the view from the rooftop looking at the pray mantis slide.
roof fountain
Try to hop on the stones without falling in…. or fall in on purpose!

Everything you see, you can touch and climb on. And this is just the outside. The re-purposed-industrial-material-playground theme continues on the inside! Along with an aquarium, a skate park, a room with performances (and oh, yes, you can climb around under the stage if you find the entrance located in a different room!), a dining hall, ten story slide, and so much more.

stairway
Home of the 10 story slide.
nature inside
The nature park, contrasting with the industrial park that is most everywhere else. They have it all!
interior
What I would consider the main corridor of the museum. If you can climb on it, then you can climb on it!
interior roof
The inside of the dome seen on the rooftop. Look closely, there are people climbing around here too!
caves
The caves.
aquarium entrance
The entrance to the aquarium.
aquarium
The see-through aquarium tunnel.
industrial cave
Re-purposed industrial material.

This is City Museum in St. Louis. I have visited this museum once and haven’t stopped talking about it since. It is unlike any other building I have ever even heard of.  We stumbled upon it when visiting the St. Louis Arch, so we only had a few hours to explore. We did not get to see everything and I have been dying to go back. From day one, I have been utterly impressed that the architects of this building have successfully designed it so that you can climb on everything you can reach. If it isn’t safe to climb on, you don’t have access to it, so there are no signs telling you not to touch or climb on anything! Incredible!

Significance of Time

New York, New York
New York, New York

The most recent time I remember architecture making me speechless is when I was leaving the New York Public Library in May. My friends and I had been in and out of unique and impressive buildings all day, both new and old alike. We had even been in buildings of the same architectural style as the New York Public Library. exteriorI was enthralled and excited, but for the novelty of being at the New York Public Library more so than because of its structure. Sure, I was able to appreciate the recreation of Roman Corinthian Order as we walked up the steps. I was in awe at the size and popularity of the library – it was almost overwhelming. I even took a long moment to contemplate the paintings on the ceiling and wonder how its even possible to paint a ceiling, or to paint that well at all!ceiling But it wasn’t until I was standing at the top of the interior balcony waiting on my friends.
That is when it occurred to me how extensive, detail oriented, and time consuming the construction of this building must have been. Every nook and cranny seemed to have been crafted with pride. InteriorI began to wonder how it is that the less technology humans had, the more we valued quality construction and artistic design. It seems the newer a building, the quicker it falls and the less detailed it is. I found myself thinking how we should go back to constructing our buildings ancient Greek-style. But Mr. Boeck mentioned something in class that made a lot of sense and change my view on the matter: we shouldn’t construct new buildings to look like they’re old. The architecture of each era is significant to the history and  culture of that time. We should preserve the buildings of the past and embrace the modern styles of today. It’d be ignorant to say that modern architecture lacks any sort of artistic talent or attention to detail!

Space Needle

Taken from the Chihuly Garden.
Taken from the Chihuly Garden.

The Space needle was the first building I visited that wasn’t a box. I remember being fascinated by it’s structure. It was one of those moments in life where you can feel your perception of the world and its possibilities expanding. Inside, there are exhibits explaining how it was built. Those exhibits were the first I was ever interested in actually reading.

The Space Needle is an architectural wonder of its time. It was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River in 1962 and was accomplished in just 400 days. cut away The architects designed a rotating restaurant with a diameter of 94.5 feet offering a 360 degree view of the city of Seattle while visitors dine. This rotating restaurant uses a motor with just 1.5 horsepower – made possible by railroad technology.

Washington was the last state I lived in before my parents got divorced. Although my dad was on deployment for 9 of the 12 months we lived there, he was with us when we visited the Space Needle for the first time.

My first time at the Space Needle vs. my last time.
My first time at the Space Needle vs. my last time.

I will forever have a soft spot for this unique building. I realized this when I moved to San Antonio. There, they have the Tower of the Americas, which was built for the World’s Fair in San Antonio just 6 years after the Space Needle was built for the World’s Fair in Seattle. It is slightly taller and also has a rotating restaurant. From the very first time a friend explained to me that downtown San Antonio had this impressive attraction, I was defensive of the Space Needle as if they were rival football teams. It’s incredible how much sentiment can be attached to an object simply because of the impression its unique architecture leaves.

New World, New Perspective

Front Door
One of the most beautifully designed buildings that I have ever encountered is in Pichincha, Ecuador.

The Backstory
This family bought $1.5 million of land where a fire had scorched all of the trees. Living RoomThe family told the architects to incorporate those trees into the construction of their house wherever possible. As a result, every door, support beam, arch, rail, and frame is unique. The family then used any left over tree to have furniture built, tying the whole house together.

A chandelier made from the roots of a scorched tree.
A chandelier made from the roots of a scorched tree.

The architects did such an incredible job that the house is now a popular venue for weddings, fund raisers, and parties.

My Impression
I fell in love with Ecuador immediately. I have never seen so much biodiversity in one place. The lush surroundings and perfect, temperate weather at 9,000 feet above sea level made me feel like I was in paradise.  I have always had a profound love for nature, so when I learned that the house was built by re-purposing dead trees, I knew there was no place I’d rather be for my semester of cultural immersion.

Intrinsic Values
Little did I know, the architecture of this house
was just the beginning. The use of nature extends beyond the use of the trees. The house itself is accented with flowers, and shrubs and has a garden of its own.Side view - with yard The morning after my arrival in Ecuador, the family told me how they re-purpose anything when possible, then recycle. All food scraps are used to create a compost for their garden or fed to their dogs. never thrown away. BackTo top it all off, the son of the family has started hosting charity events at his house to raise enough money to implement a free art program for the children who come from families too poor to expose them to art themselves. His first event was held a year ago. He invited artists of all fields to display and sell their art, charging a $5 entry fee and limiting the number of participants to 1,000 people in order to ensure everyone attending could enjoy themselves without being overcrowded. He then found art teachers from several different disciplines to volunteer their time to teach children how to perform in their respective fields. All expenses were paid for using the proceeds from his artisan event. He plans on hosting such events three to four times a year.

Takeaway
Never before has the power and influence of architecture been so clearly displayed to me, and in such a positive way. I wish everyone still put this much pride and consideration into the construction of their homes.