GMP and BBP Refurbish Concert Hall at Kiel Castle

Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), together with bbp, obtained the commission to refurbish the concert hall at Kiel Castle, dating back to the early 1960s, according to the established conservation principles.

The design proposed by the architects aims to preserve the concert hall, rehabilitate this space and bring it back to its original condition. This modern heritage will undergo a refurbishment that will target the acoustics and induce a technical upgrade. The concert hall will offer 1,400 seats for classical concerts as well as for theater performances, festivals, and congresses.

The new project encourages the use of light materials and introduces a new lighting concept that “emphasizes the qualities of the foyer and the hall, and links the spaces to create conceptual and atmospheric unity”. The acoustics and technological improvements of the hall, once established, will fulfill the requirements of classical concerts, as well as of various types of events such as theater performances, festivals, and congresses.

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Concert hall at Kiel Castle, perspective of foyer. Image © gmp Architekten

Concert hall at Kiel Castle, perspective of foyer. Image © gmp Architekten

Located in the north of the old city and to the west of Kieler Förde, Germany, Kiel Castle was built on the ruins of the old structure, one of the most important buildings of the Renaissance in Schleswig-Holstein, of which only the west wing survived after World War Two. The contemporary building, comprised of the new east wing and the concert hall, was designed in 1965 by the Hamburg architects Sprotte and Neve. The listed historic monument has a forecourt linked to the inner city, and the rear and the castle garden offer views across the port landscape.

  • Negotiation Process (VgV) 2019 – Contract Awarded
  • Design Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Christian Hellmund
  • Project Lead Christian Hellmund
  • Negotiation Process Team gmp Anna von Aulock, Tobias Alexander Schmidt, Nadja Stachowski, Jens Weiler
  • Partner practice bbp:architekten bda, Kiel
  • Negotiation Process Team bbp Sven Heitmann, Doris Hönig, Sven Friedrichs
  • Client Kiel, capital of Schleswig-Holstein
  • NFA concert hall 6,300 m²
  • Seats 1,400

Human-Free Construction: How BuildTech’s Evolution Impacts Design

The construction industry has evolved throughout time, but always by way of builders. What happens when people are no longer part of building and construction? This is the question asked by British multinational infrastructure company Balfour Beatty, and they’ve published their answer in the 2050 Innovation Paper. The industry report has become a reference point to those looking at the evolution of buildings and design.

Courtesy of Foster + PartnersCourtesy of Foster + PartnersCourtesy of Sarcos RoboticsCourtesy of ICON and New Story+ 9

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Courtesy of Sarcos Robotics

Courtesy of Sarcos Robotics

Balfour Beatty’s report brings a series of conclusions: robots will work in teams to build complex structures using dynamic new materials, while elements of a build will self-assemble. Drones flying overhead will scan the site, inspecting the work and using the data collected to predict and solve problems before they arise, sending instructions to robotic cranes and diggers and automated builders with no need for human involvement. The result is a human-free construction process, one where the role of the builder moves to “overseer” and they are remotely managing projects. If people are still on site before being phased out, they will be using robotically enhanced exoskeletons and neural-control technology to move and control machinery and other robots on site. These movements could eventually address the dangers of construction and make Zero Harm a reality.

It may seem like a sci-fi future, but the future is already underway. Advances in construction are happening in months rather than after years of development, with technologies helping to coordinate repetitive and laborious tasks through systems like Building Information Modelling (BIM), drone construction, VR/AR, 3D printing and wearable technology. At the same time, we continue to find better ways to promote health, safety and productivity on the construction site. A study by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) estimates that by 2057 robots could replace or displace 2.7 million jobs in construction. Global consulting firm Roland Berger found that less than 6% of construction companies make full use of digital planning tools, and 93% of construction industry professionals agree that digitization will affect every process. But what does this mean for design?

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Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Beyond the trends and reports, there are deeper ideological changes that come with human-free building. In terms of design and an appreciation for craft, we may begin to lose a “human touch” and the haptic qualities of construction. It is directly tied to the very meaning of tectonics; the science and art of construction, the activity of building, and the resulting details and connections. This “art” would become robotic, completed by drones and 3d printers, and our relationship to materials, scale, and details changes, whether we find beauty in this process or not. It may also lead to new spaces and forms. As digitization brings an increase in productivity to a historically low-productivity sector, the relationships between builder and architect will change.

Balfour Beatty goes on to paint a picture of what’s to come: “the Internet of Things will power smart buildings with new, self-healing, energy generating or breathable materials, in smart cities which are able to model the future and adapt instantly to changing circumstances; construction will get faster, and we’ll see the advent of 3D printing of bespoke components and entire buildings, with 4D printing where self-transforming objects respond to changes in heat, sound or moisture levels to change shape.” At the same time, advances mean new jobs and industries will be created. These will provide new opportunities to the traditional “builder” as we move closer to human-free construction.

New modes of construction will change practice. They will also bring new answers to skill shortages, customer delivery, profitability and sustainability. Architects will need to place these advances and changes in context and answer for themselves where they derive meaning as the pace of digital change is only set to increase. As designers grapple with these questions, we’ve brought together a range of articles looking at the future of human-free construction on ArchDaily.

How Drones Can Be Used in Architecture

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Courtesy of Ennead Architects

Courtesy of Ennead Architects

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones, are gaining in popularity not only among the general public and consumers, but also among professionals working in the AEC industry. We’ve seen ambitious predictions for the use of drones on construction sites, as transportation vehicles and marketing tools. While this new technology, like 3D printing and robotic fabrication in general, promises to revolutionize the architectural profession, it is useful to know to what extent its practical application can affect the way archipreneurs work. It seems that, for now, drones have great potentials when it comes to several aspects of the profession.

Bionic Construction Workers Coming in 2020

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Courtesy of Sarcos Robotics

Courtesy of Sarcos Robotics

American robotics company Sarcos has revealed a new full-body exoskeleton for construction workers that aims to be commercially available in 2020. While the US manufacturer specializes in military and public safety devices, the new robotic exoskeleton allows workers to carry up to 200 pounds for extended periods of time. Called the Guardian XO, the design has been in development for nearly two decades and is made to help reduce strain on construction workers.

The Golden Age of 3D Printing

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© Universal Favourite

© Universal Favourite

3D printing itself is no longer a new technology, but that hasn’t stopped researchers and innovators around the world from coming up with new applications and opportunities. Some experiments with new materials have been driven by sustainability concerns and others are simply the result of imagination and creativity. Others have chosen to invest their time utilizing more traditional materials in new ways. Materials, however, are just the beginning. Researchers have developed new processes that allow the creation of objects that were previously impossible to print and, on a larger scale, new building typologies are being tested – including a Mars habitat!

Could 3D Printing be the Future of Social Housing?

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Courtesy of ICON and New Story

Courtesy of ICON and New Story

This is all quite recent: less than a year ago, a French family became the first in the world to live in a 3D printed house. Short of 20 years, this seemed like a distant dream, this new technology has developed quickly, and it arises as a possible contribution to the housing crisis around the world. The Chinese company WinSun was the first to build a 3D printed house, and in 2013 it was able to print 10 houses in a period of 24 hours. These homes required human assemblage, given that their walls were printed at a plant to be transported to the respective sites.

Droneports in East Africa and the Global South

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Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

A new video by AERIAL FUTURES explores the potential of droneports in East Africa and the Global South. The Norman Foster Foundation was one of the first groups to propose the creation of a droneport network to deliver medical supplies and other necessities to areas of Africa that are difficult to access due to a lack of roads or other infrastructure. The project aspires to have droneports across small towns in Africa and in other emerging economies by 2030.

INBAR Garden Pavilion / Studio Cardenas Conscious Design

© Pan ZhenYu
© Pan ZhenYu

© Pan ZhenYu© Pan ZhenYu© Pan ZhenYu© Pan ZhenYu+ 29

YANQING, CHINA
  • Concept

    Mauricio Cardenas Laverde
  • Preliminary Design, Design Development

    Mauricio Cardenas Laverde with Roberta Zecca, Monica Bernardi, Liyuan Chen
  • Detail Design

    Mauricio Cardenas Laverde, Prof. Arch. Xue Song Wang, Prof. Arch. Zhao Xia Wang with Roberta Zecca, Monica Bernardi, Liyuan Chen
  • Construction Aesthetical Supervision

    Mauricio Cardenas Laverde, Prof. Arch. Xue Song Wang, Prof. Arch. Zhao Xia Wang
  • Clients

  • EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction)

    Chongqing University Design Institute: Prof. Arch. Xue Song Wang, Prof. Arch. Zhao Xia Wang, Prof. Eng. Cui Jia, Prof. Eng. Shidong Nie with China Bamboo Company: Dr. Eng. Shao Chang Zhuan, Xiong Junfeng, Ma Jian, Luo Zhi
  • Landscape

    Studio Cardenas Conscious Design with Lorenzo Bar and Wang Xian, Wang Kailin – Beijing

LESS SPECS

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© Pan ZhenYu

© Pan ZhenYu

Text description provided by the architects. Bamboo and Rattan are amazing products of Nature ready to be used for Landscape, Architecture, Design, Interiors. Both materials are clear examples of sustainability, of ecology and in today’s environmental crisis are an important resource for architects, designers and for the construction industry. The Garden Pavilion for INBAR at the 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition is an amazing opportunity to explore, innovate and communicate the potential of these unique products of Nature.

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© Pan ZhenYu

© Pan ZhenYu

Concept / vision. Our starting idea is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional concept of “a Pavilion in the Garden” by fusing the Pavilion into the Garden, creating one single element: Garden-Pavilion, where architecture and landscape melt into each other. The structure which detaches the garden soil from the ground is made of natural bamboo poles a perfect product of Nature that best integrates the values of Ecology, Community, Nutrition, and Beauty.

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© Pan ZhenYu

© Pan ZhenYu

The project. The INBAR Garden Pavilion is located on the east side of the Expo 2019 International Pavilion and covers an area of 3100 square meters, including an open space of more than 1000 square meters and an outdoor green landscape area of 2,400 square meters. The Pavilion’s structure is with bamboo arches, and the landscape garden stretches up to blanket the roof of the structure, creating an organic, living structure named as the “Bamboo Eye” of the Expo 2019. The INBAR Pavilion is 54 meters in width and 40 meters in length. Each bamboo arch spans 32 meters and is 9 meters tall. The Pavilion’s truss arch structure makes the construction very light. The bamboo arches of the pavilion use more than 5,000 Phyllostachys pubescens bamboo culms, each 8cm to 10 cm in diameter and 4 to 6 years old. The main arches are bent and formed by fire baking. A certain process transforms the bamboo to golden yellow, and extends its service life to 30 years, greatly expanding the lifespan of the bamboo construction.

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© Pan ZhenYu

© Pan ZhenYu

Sustainable design. Bamboo is the world’s most carbon-absorbing plant, is said that bamboo can save the world, the use of this amazing natural renewable resource in a building is, therefore, an important decision for pursuing sustainable development, to strengthen the connection between man and environment. Inside INBAR Garden Pavilion people can directly feel the natural light inside the exhibition space, and the natural light shines through the bamboo weaving ceiling to the interior. The handmade ceiling is an attempt to apply traditional Chinese handicrafts to large-scale buildings, providing a familiar and welcoming environment for people.

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Sections A and B

Sections A and B
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Roof Plan

Roof Plan

The INBAR Garden Pavilion design’s sustainable strategy is not only the use of natural materials, but also to achieve comfort through passive design strategies such as the natural daylighting of the interiors, the acoustic control through the use of the soil on the roof and the natural cross ventilation through the openings and building orientation which allowed not to use air conditioning. In fact, this design is in cooperation with nature, and cooperation with nature is crucial to the future of architecture.

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© Pan ZhenYu

© Pan ZhenYu

Project gallery

Project location

Address:Yanqing, Beijing, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.

Take a Look at the First WeWork Offices Coming to Bengaluru, India

Cortesía de WeWorkCortesía de WeWorkCortesía de WeWorkCortesía de WeWork+ 5

WeWork recently opened its first offices in India in the southern city of Bengaluru. The downtown space, called Prestige Central, boasts 8 floors and was designed by WeWork Creative Director, Adam Kimmel.

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Cortesía de WeWork

Cortesía de WeWork
 

The space serves as the official headquarters for WeWork in India. Members enter the building via a large atrium that runs throughout the building’s main floor. The space is furnished with sofas and plants and is lit up by a large skylight that can be seen from the ground floor while a grand metal staircase provides access to the upper levels. The walls are accentuated with bricks forming large circular patterns, a nod to traditional Indian architecture, while the striped black and white tile work mimics the patterns found in traditional Indian palaces.

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Cortesía de WeWork

Cortesía de WeWork
 

On the first floor is a tea house, lounge, and library, which includes an intimate space with a large sofa and a chai dispenser. The idea was to create an area for the space’s members to relax and unwind. The lounge area is separated from the rest of the building by a wall of wood panels. The interior is made up of black walls lit up by purple neon lights. In the center of the space there’s a large bench of yellow Jaisalmer stone accentuated with a potted plant. The library is tucked away in a corner and features, along with the books, blue ceramic pieces made in Delhi by a local artist.

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Cortesía de WeWork

Cortesía de WeWork
 

The local coffee roaster Takai is located in the building’s entrance and features countertops made of local red wood and seats made by a local street vendor. What’s more, all of the offices and meeting rooms are outfitted with white cabinets and wooden doors that brighten up the space. The rooftop is furnished with sofas and coffe tables and offers breathtaking views of the city as well as a space for yoga, ping-pong, and meetings.

News via WeWork.

MULTI-FUNCTION SHOWER CUBICLE / STEAM / GLASS / SQUARE METIS

multi-function shower cubicle / steam / glass / square

Characteristics

  • Type:

    multi-function, steam

  • Material:

    glass

  • Shape:

    square

  • Door:

    with folding door

  • Other characteristics:

    chromotherapy

Description

multifunctional shower cabin with swinging door

Glass Lab

SIZES
cm 90×90, 100×100, cm120x80, 100×80, 100×70, 140×80; h207,4
VERSIONS
shower, steam
INSTALLATIONS
corner
EQUIPMENT
Equipped shower column in HardLite with shelf, thermostatic mixer and handshower, lumbar jets, on/off controls, LED chromotherapy, shower tray in MineraLite, roof in HardLite with headshower, bluetooth audio kit, steam bath 2,2 kW_2,7 kW with aromadispenser, shower enclosure with swinging door and fixed, side panel, clear glass 6 mm, serigraphed white glass walls with covering effect

ACCESSORIES
seat in white HardLite, adjustable feet kit with matt white tray band

Paul Hendrickson on the Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright

Fallingwater House © Flickr user Pablo Sanchez Martin (CC BY 2.0)
Fallingwater House © Flickr user Pablo Sanchez Martin (CC BY 2.0)
 

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Frank Lloyd Wright might be the most chronicled architect of the past 150 years. Scores of books, both mainstream and academic, have been written about him. “Wright scholars” are common in the academy. Dissertations are still being penned about the great man, six decades after his death. Philip Johnson called Wright “my favorite 19th-century architect.” (It was not meant as a compliment.) And yet every half-decade or so, Johnson’s mothership, MoMA, mounts yet another Wright exhibition, and thousands flock to see the now-familiar models, drawings, and photographs. Wright has even received the Ken Burns treatment, a full-length PBS documentary, surely a sign of his Mount Rushmore–like cultural status. Into this very crowded room now steps author Paul Hendrickson, whose new book, Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright (Knopf), attempts to shed new light on the architect.

The book is not a straight biography, per se, nor is it a deep academic dive into the architecture. Hendrickson knows that both of these have already been done, more than a couple of times, and he’s generous throughout the book about citing the work of others. Instead, he looks at the cracks in the facade (the sometimes insufferable Wright persona), reexamining the history, questioning it, attempting at times to re-report the established record—which, as all historians know, is always up for grabs. Recently I talked to Hendrickson about the new book and the enduring Wright legacy.

Martin C. Pedersen: The first question is the obvious one: Why a bio of Wright, perhaps the most written about architect in history? What made you think you could bring something new to the record? 

Paul Hendrickson: Absolutely important question. Maybe I can give it a twofold answer. One: Isn’t the best way we learn by osmosis? So here I am, a 9-year-old in Kankakee, Illinois, with a new bike under the Christmas tree in 1953. We lived on the same street, South Harrison Avenue, as two very important Wright houses: the B. Harley Bradley and its neighbor, Hickox. I would sail on that bike down toward the ballpark with my glove hooked on the handlebars and catching in my peripheral vision, over to the right, these two houses—but especially the Bradley. It vaguely scared me and deeply attracted me. Something was pulling me in. I am not even sure that I knew the name Frank Lloyd Wright in 1953. This house looked like nothing else in that town. It had just come down from Mars. I’m a slow learner, so it only took six and a half decades for it to loop around and find me as a story.

In no way, shape, or form do I wish to present myself in this book as any kind of architectural expert. What I am is a nonfiction narrative writer who gets obsessively hooked into projects. They begin to possess me. And so my bona fides are that it grew into me organically, a word that Wright might appreciate. But I thought I could find selected storytelling pockets that had not been looked at before, and as a journalist, I was not willing to take anything at face value. The obvious example being Julian Carlton, the man who brutally murdered seven people and set Taliesin ablaze in 1914. You punch his name into Google and what comes up pretty quickly is “West Indies,” “Caribbean,” “Barbados,” etc. Well, no, he was from backwoods Alabama. That’s an example of what I tried to bring to the table in this book, some new slants, and not go cradle-to-grave. I don’t know how to do those kinds of biographies. My psychic energy is elsewhere.

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© Teemu08 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

© Teemu08 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
 

MCP: The book is a biography, but it’s also a rumination on history, on collective memory. It asks: What is history? What does it choose to remember? What does it forget? You’re correcting the record constantly throughout the book. What determined that approach?

PH: If you look at my prior books, they all have this element of search. My first book, published 36 years ago, was a reported memoir of my time as a Catholic seminarian, studying to be a priest. That book is entitled Seminary: A Search. All of these books are searches and ruminations, with meanderings down alleys. They’re nonlinear. It’s what I know how to do. It’s trying to bring the reader along with me and taking the risk of, in a sense, writing myself into the story, making myself a character. That tone, that voice, that construct is something I became familiar with, even in my 30 years of daily journalism at the Washington Post and elsewhere. I would try out this approach and sometimes get shot down by my bosses, and at other times be willing to write just straight third person, reportorial narrative. But this is the voice that I’ve gotten comfortable with.

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MCP: Was that determined by the fact that so much had been written Wright, or was that the way you wanted to tell the story?

PH: Two things can be true at once. One, it’s what I wanted to do. Second, it was making a virtue of necessity. I knew that I couldn’t just write another book on Wright. Meryle Secrest’s biography is the book of record. All power to her. That book is very good. And, yes, I would be able to maybe bring some different things if I were doing that kind of book, but I wanted to explore something different.

MCP: And so in your quest to find Wright, what surprised you about him? 

PH: It’s rolling the boulder uphill with your nose to try to use the H-word, the man’s “humanity.” From the beginning, I felt that I intuited something deeply about his humanity that other chroniclers had by and large missed. You can’t look at one of his buildings without feeling the fundamental soulfulness—just go to Fallingwater. But I don’t think I was quite prepared for the degree of pain, regret, concealed guilt, and yearning and longing for his father. We think of his mother as the driver of his life, the relentless will. But the father is the larger influence. The family broke up in 1885, and I can find no evidence that the two ever saw each other again. But in his autobiography, Wright murdered his father for posterity, and he knew it. And I feel that he was, even before that, on a search for his father. He knew the dynamics in that family. He knew what his mother did, and he pretended for a long time that the story was otherwise.

And once I began turning over those stones, I started examining what is under the narrative of his Taliesin fellowship talks. Those really hadn’t been looked at very much, so far as I know, by historians and biographers, and they’re the best. They’re like letters. They show frame of mind, because he’s speaking spontaneously in those Sunday morning fellowship talks. Once I started looking at those transcripts and got a few of the audio tapes and heard what I felt was the longing—that moved and surprised me and circled right back around to his humanity.

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Unity Temple

Unity Temple
 

MCP: You worked on the book over the course of many years. How many Wright buildings did you visit? I ask because there are so many of them.

PH: These books grow inside me, and they overlap. So while I’m working on my Ernest Hemingway book, who grew up in Oak Park, I’m going to Unity Temple to find my space, to get inside my serenity for a moment. So there’s a conjoining with those two guys over the word space: the Unity Temple and Ernest Hemingway’s stories. But way before I signed a contract for Hemingway, I wrote about his sons at the Washington Post in 1987. I also wrote a story about a beautiful Usonian that’s right outside of Washington, the Pope-Leighey House. So all of these things overlap and intertwine. The Wright book has been growing inside me inchoately since I was a boy on my maroon JC Higgins three-speed.

I’m also a lifelong amateur student of architecture. I’m not trained in it, but I know what I know and like what I like. So the specific answer to your question: If we know that there are about 400 extant Wright buildings, almost all of them in America, I’ve been to more than a hundred. I haven’t been inside all of them, because sometimes I could only peer in from the sidewalk.

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Paul Hendrickson portrait by Tim Samuelson

Paul Hendrickson portrait by Tim Samuelson
 

MCP: You make an amazing connection between the horrible massacre and fire at Taliesin and the race massacre in Tulsa seven years later. How did you make that connection? 

PH: It’s so hard to get down in a few words, because it’s such a complicated thing. I tried to do my detective work. The ostensible connection is Wright’s first cousin, Richard Lloyd Jones, who in 1914 was right there in Madison. He’s editor of the Wisconsin State Journal. That’s the link. But the thing I’m trying to explore is far deeper and more psychic. What got into Richard Lloyd Jones’ head was this awful compartmentalization of good and bad. It was Manichean. There were good negroes in the universe, and there were bad ones in the universe. And my conjecture and contention and argument is that the terrible atrocity at Taliesin was a catalytic event in the head of Richard Lloyd Jones. It was not cause and effect, of what was going to happen seven years later, when Jones is now the editor of the Tulsa Tribune, and who is this awful racist, who baits the Tulsa massacre. And thank you for calling it that, and not the grossly misnamed “Tulsa Race Riot.” It was a race massacre. Jones, with his paper, with his pen, this contemptuous man, baits that event into being. So what’s the connection here? I’m trying to explore, not in any knee jerk cause-and-effect way, a tragedy that’s broader even than Tulsa, than Spring Green in 1914. Does 1909—when Wright abandons his family—in some way lead to 1914? Does 1914 in some way have to be “avenged” by what happens in 1921? And you put his father into the mix? Well, it’s the unanswerable question that I am circling in the entire book: I’ll call it “chains of moral consequence.” That’s what I am working toward, with as much reporting under it as I could possibly summon. To what degree did Wright himself think about these things? To what degree was Wright haunted about these things?

MCP: If you were to ask somebody who isn’t connected to architecture to name two American architects, they would probably name Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright, who died six decades ago. What accounts for that? 

PH: Wright worked his way past architecture into the consciousness and subconsciousness of American culture. He becomes like Elvis or Hemingway. He rises above his artistic genius in his field to become something else, to become iconic, a figure of pop culture. But that wouldn’t have lasted this long if it wasn’t backed up by the art. It was Wright, with some psychic power of his will, his force of consciousness, and his immense gift. He also knew how to present himself, how to project himself. This little man with the cape and the porkpie hat, who as an old man conquered television in the 1950s. Did the medium of TV ever seem more perfectly suited to anyone than to Frank Lloyd Wright? I don’t know what explains it, how someone accomplishes that kind of thing, but they do. And it becomes a phenomenon that remains to this day.

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MCP: As somebody who’s seen more than a hundred Wright buildings, I won’t ask you to name your favorite, because there are 300 you haven’t seen. But among the ones you’ve seen, what are some of the can’t-miss buildings?

PH: Unity Temple will always have pride of place for me. I love the Jacobs House, in Madison. That jewellike little thing you feel you could nest in your palm. It’s so small and fragile-seeming, but how could it be fragile if it has withstood all those Wisconsin winters? The B. Harley Bradley, which is my boyhood Wright. I like the Guggenheim. It took me some time to begin to appreciate it, but I like it very much. Overall, though, I tend to prefer the spare works over the grand works.

MCP: I like the Guggenheim, but I’ve never liked it for looking at art. I love to be in that atrium and look up. It’s amazing. But for actually viewing art, I don’t feel like it’s a great museum. 

PH: That was his ego at work. He wanted the building to be better than the art that hung on its walls. I agree with you: It’s not a great place at all to look at art. It can feel claustrophobic. But in that atrium, looking up, there’s something magical that happens.

Of the grand houses, I love the Heurtley House on Forest Avenue, in Oak Park, just a few houses down from his own, at the corner of Chicago and Forest. That house is amazing. I love the Winslow House, in River Forest. We better stop talking about favorites, because a whole bunch of them start coming to mind.

MCP: But for you, they tend to be the houses?

PH: Yes. I believe that speaks to his decency. He wanted to build shelters for mankind. He wanted to give people a dignified sense of domestic living. He didn’t think of them as houses—they were homes. And that dynamic, that terrible tension, was working against all of the probity and decency and homelike atmosphere he could never find for long in his own life.

MCP: Architecture has changed radically in recent decades. Most young architects wouldn’t recognize the process that Wright used to create his buildings. They’re barely doing the same job. What lessons does Wright still hold for them? 

PH: I don’t know much about how young architects practice. I know they do the bulk of their work on computers. So would they even recognize a triangle or a T-square? But one of the reasons he might still speak to us, aside from all of the ego and the myth, is because his buildings are green in a sense. They’re environmentally attractive, and there’s a consciousness in America to want something that is in harmony with what we fear we’re losing, which is nature. Wright’s buildings have that connection.

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