On April 19, Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia Basilica, designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudi, caught fire. A fire burned inside the structure for over 45 minutes before firefighters could put it out, destroying the church’s sacristy and badly damaging the crypt.
In 1999, the National Gallery of Australia cancelled a planned exhibition of Sir Charles Saatchi’s Sensation, a collection of art focused on the work of the Young British Artists of the 1990s, on the grounds of the possible offensiveness of many of the works included in the show. Several of those works and artists are now on display in the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) recently opened in Hobart, a small city on the island of Tasmania in the south of Australia. Where the National Gallery quailed at the idea of exhibiting work by Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and the Chapman brothers, MONA has no such qualms today. Works by these artists feature alongside 400 other pieces from the private collection of David Walsh, a Tasmanian millionaire gambler, art collector and founder of MONA.
Next month, the very first sunken conversation pit will open to the public as a museum. The Indianapolis Museum of Art plans to open a private residence designed by Eero Saarinen for industrialist J. Irwin Miller as a design and architecture showcase, featuring interiors (and the conversation pit) by Alexander Girard. To celebrate, we’ve collected the best of American’s modernist houses turned museums, magnificent private residences now made public. There’s Philip Johnson’s Glass House, of course, but also Richard Neutra’s Neutra VDL, Louis Sullivan’s early Charnley-Persky House and Richard Meier’s epic bachelor pad, the Rachofsky House. Get ready for real estate envy — but take heart, you can go visit any of these homes.
Designer Andrea Gallo has created a series of six posters that boil iconic works of architecture down to their minimalist details. The stark, black and white posters cut out silhouettes of the buildings and zoom in, with an eye towards the key elements of famous buildings.
Architectural criticism takes to the streets in this video walk through of starchitect Zaha Hadid’s new opera house in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in China. Wandering through the structure’s alien curves and strange spaces, Guardian architecture critic Jonathan Glancey explains how the opera house combines high-concept intellectualism with populism, showing how audiences interact with the space and interviewing an effusive (not to mention operatically dressed) Hadid.
The Brooklyn Museum’s newly renovated Great Hall is filled with pirouetting abstract figures made of billowing cloth. This architectural ballet is Brooklyn architecture firm Situ Studio’s reOrder, an installation inspired by hoop skirts, but blown up to enormous proportions. reOrder is now on display at the museum, through January 15 2012.
At only 40 years old, Japan Society’s low-slung modernist headquarters at 333 East 47th Street has just been named New York’s youngest landmark building by the state’s Landmark Preservation Commission. The structure, designed by Junzo Yoshimura and George G. Shimamoto and first completed in 1971, translates traditional Japanese architectural forms into a modernist idiom, bowing to neither but combining the two languages in an innovative and complex way. I spoke with Japan Society vice president Joe Earle about the landmark designation and his experience of the building itself.
In reaction to exploitative conditions for construction laborers at the site of the upcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, an international group of artists and art world figures are boycotting the Guggenheim, refusing to “participate in museum events or sell work to the museum,” reports the New York Times and today, Human Rights Watch endorsed the artist protest.
A New York Times Magazine profile of Pritzker Prize winning-architect Peter Zumthor shows the his work engaging with the spirituality of space and human history, and exploring the most basic aspects of our sensual experience. The profile highlights Zumthor’s buildings as a return to the humanistic, spiritual side of contemporary architecture.
In 1977, a postmodernist theorist wrote that the destruction of the Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis was “the day Modern architecture died.” The idea was parroted by others as a convenient way to mark the end of something that they wanted to see as a failure, namely Modern architecture. Enter The Pruitt-Igoe Myth.
In LA, the Watts Towers are a homemade monument by Simon Rodia, pointed cylinders of steel decorated with found objects that stretch over 99 feet tall. In Madrid, Benedictine monk Justo Martinez has constructed his own cathedral of a scale and complexity to rival Baroque architecture. Built over the past five years and rising over 131 feet, the cathedral is an enormous monument to perseverance.
An earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand this Tuesday, February 22 has damaged the city’s iconic works of architecture, including the Christchurch Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. At least 65 people have been killed by the earthquake, though the number is expected to rise.