The great dynastic rulers of history have always called upon the best architects of their time to design their monuments and capital cities. iMagnate Steve Jobs is no different: Apple will work with British starchitect Norman Foster to design the company’s new campus in Cupertino, California, rumored to be named “Apple City.”
In the Guardian, Sam Leith writes an essay on the online multiplayer role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft, comparing the free experience of wandering through the game’s created universe to “a medieval cathedral, and a magnificent one: it is the Chartres of the video-game world.” Video games are often compared to narrative movies, controlled trips through a written plots. But Leith turns that on its head, suggesting instead that games are better characterized by the slow structural growth of a building.
When the topic turns to Park51, the “Ground Zero Mosque”/Islamic community center that’s been so omnipresent in the news lately, aesthetics may be the last thing that comes to mind. The building has become an icon for its political significance rather than its great accomplishments or offenses of architecture. Yet aesthetics are actually at the heart of the Park51 issue. Aisha Ghani writes that the building’s faux-contemporary varnish actually serves to downplay the fact that it remains a vehicle of Muslim religion, “sanitizing” Islam. For Park51, how does architecture serve to represent ideology?
The Joyce Theater is going to be a lonely Lower Manhattan performance tenant, with vacancies in the building if there are any performing arts organizations hunting for posh new downtown neighbors.
In a statement made earlier this week, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, alongside Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patterson, announced a federal funding allocation of $100 million for a much-touted and much-delayed performing arts center at Ground Zero designed by Frank Gehry’s firm.
Silver said that “this $100 million commitment clearly paves the way for this long-promised performing arts center,” and that it “will be a cultural jewel for Lower Manhattan.”
Daniel Libeskind, until recently, was one of the high-end architect’s of choice for war museums and somber memorials. Jagged, clean-faced metal-clad shapes torn by sharp little windows characterized a style that took trauma and produced memorial. The style was similar to Frank Gehry, but no curves to suggest the wry, playful smile of decadence at work — something I always see just beyond the magnificent and smooth sheet steel smiles of Gehry’s structures. And no 90 degree angles, either; everything is crooked, everything is asymmetrical, everything is torqued into the misshapen fragments that we piece together in turmoil to remember the parts of the past that are not pleasant. A friend who lives in Las Vegas said of the mall Libeskind designed for Las Vegas’s CityCenter: “I can never figure out how to walk around that building.”
New York City Coucil has voted to allow Vornado Realty Trust from proceeding with a 1,216-foot skyscraper adjacent to Penn Station, and since this is New York not everyone is happy.
In what can only be seen as a sign of the coming apocalypse, the Iranian government has proven itself to be too futuristic and modern for the citizens of London’s South Kensington neighborhood. Critics of the building are even appealing to Prince “I hate modern architecture” Charles to help their case.
If you’ve been looking at the spectacular photos coming out of Expo 2010, which opened in Shanghai last weekend, then you’re probably wondering the same thing everyone else is, “Wow, what a spectacular display of modern architecture and design, but … wait a minute, why does the United States pavilion suck so much?” One word: corruption.
Writing for Fast Company, Alissa Walker sings the praise of the new architectural ”Facebook” called Architizer, but that’s not the extent of her post and she goes on to ask, “Why Can’t the World’s Best Architects Build Better Web Sites?” Good question.