What's My Line, horizontal?

360 of Tadao Ando's new Tokyo Shibuya subway station

    Ando's proud of this. 30 meters - about 100 feet - down and natural ventilation!

    (Click and drag down to see the roof.)

    As his buildings make you aware of the wind, he told me he wants this station to make you aware of the air currents caused by the trains.

    image via Coudal

    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2005/
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Putting up the Sol Lewitt Wall Paintings at MASS MoCA

    Better than Stomp
    The artists at work call this "dance" "the Boom-Boom."
    Click on the arrow.

    More on this great exhibition soon. The Sol LeWitt retrospective that you see going up at MASS MoCA is beyond stunning. I'd seen the spaces empty and had been told what would go up, but you can have no idea of their splendor and impact and how they transform your being until you see them.

    One hundred works, each wall size, created over forty years. Together they cover almost an acre of wall space at MASS MoCA. Where else would have the space for this? This will open in November and they'll remain in place for at least twenty five years. Sol LeWitt was involved with the exhibition, too bad he didn't get to see it before his death in April 2007.

    And from "dance music" to one of the "quietest" buildings you'll ever visit.

    Where everything is at rest. I'll also post soon on the very peaceful new Tadao Ando Clark Art Institute galleries in the woods; and the adjoining Williamstown Art Conservation Center. Together with the Ando terrace you see below, from which to contemplate the beautiful Berkshires.

    But right now, on this Sunday morning, I'm just enjoying this.
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2005/
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More new Mies

    And while we're on the subject of Mies, this book comes out in paperback today, from Princeton Architectural Press:

    "In this collection of interviews Mies talks freely about his relationship with clients, the common language he aimed for in his architectural projects, the influences on his work, and the synthesis of architecture and technology that he advanced in his designs and built works.

    Conversations with Mies van der Rohe makes an important contribution to the corpus of Mies scholarship. It presents a vivid picture of a master of modernism, bringing his artistic biography to a close while completing the scope of his style in terms of techniques, scale, use of materials, and typology. An essay by Iñaki Ábalos provides a context for these interviews and looks at Mies's legacy from a contemporary perspective."

    And this November 1st will bring the publication of another book,

    Mies and Modern Living
    Helmut Reuter and Birgit Schulte, Editors

    "Gathering the proceedings of a 2007 symposium on Mies, this publication takes the Barcelona chair as a starting point to address his progressive ideas on interior space and continuities between architecture and furniture design. Experts trace the highlights of Mies' career and flesh out a context for his innovations in the ferment of 1920s and 1930s Berlin. Also included is a series of previously unpublished photographs of Mies' work."
    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2005/
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Mies and Judd

Mies in Color!

    I'd never seen this photograph before. Mies in 1960 with his 860 - 880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments. (Where I live when I'm in Chicago.)

    by Slim Aarons.

    Funny, like the Barcelona Pavilion, which for so long was known only from memory and black and white photos, until it was "reconstructed;" it is (as "cityofparis" says in a comment to this post) very odd to see a color photograph of Mies. It does make him come alive in a more modern way. The color even makes him seem a little less dour than we think he is in most of the black and whites.

    And from the angle, he is floating. As his buildings do.
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2005/
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Calatrava's Chicago Spire - sales

    Garrett Kelleher, the developer of the Chicago Spire - designed by Santiago Calatrava - says he has sold 30% of the building's condo units, which he says is proof that the Spire - the world's tallest residential structure - will be built.

    But propertymarketupdates.com quotes The (Singapore) Straits Times:
    Two-thirds of Singapore buyers have backed out of their purchases of units in the much-hyped Chicago Spire in the United States.
    A number were apparently spooked by the near-collapse of US investment bank Bear Stearns, which took place a week after the Chicago Spire was launched in Singapore.
    Mr Colin Tan, the head of research and consultancy at Chesterton International, said it made sense for the buyers to pull out of their deals.

    ‘Housing prices in the US are coming down, and while some properties may look like a good investment now, you can probably get it cheaper later,’ he said.

    Experts said those who had seen their purchases through are likely to be more serious buyers who may, for example, have children studying in Chicago.

    Most of the units that were sold were reported to be one- or two-bedroom apartments that averaged US$1 million each, or US$1,000 per sq ft.

    About half the buyers were said to be Singaporeans or permanent residents, and the rest were expatriates.

    It is understood that to date, about 10 of the Singapore buyers have inked their purchase agreements. At least two of them are believed to be Indonesians.

    Sources said the Chicago Spire’s exhibitions in Shanghai and Hong Kong, which followed its launch in Singapore, received a lukewarm response as the turmoil in the US financial markets deepened in March..

    The Spire is designed with 1,194 units, including a $40 million penthouse, which is still for sale. It is scheduled for completion in 2012.Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2005/
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Another Ground Zero

    The following first appeared in eOCULUS - the magazine of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter. Kristen Richards, who also compiles the indispensable ArchNewsNow, edits eOCULUS and occasionally asks writers on architecture who live outside of New York City - "what's going on in your town?"
    I wrote,

    Another Ground Zero

    I remember the buildings – they seemed so tall at the time. Their site is now a void in the urban fabric. But unlike Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, I think the "empty" Block 37 in the middle of downtown Chicago ought to remain building-free.

    Block 37 is Chicago’s “Ground Zero.” Before being leveled by the Chicago Fire in 1871, this block bounded by State Street, Dearborn, Washington, and Randolph boasted some of the tallest buildings in the city. In 1989, Mayor Richard M. Daley approved the demolition of the block for a mixed-use skyscraper. But then the economic bust of the 1990s hit and the skyscraper was never built. Today, the land is something between a lunar and a prairie landscape.

    Plans for New York’s Ground Zero and Chicago’s are, in some ways, similar. So are the problems. Chicago would like to build an underground train station there, with express trains to O'Hare and Midway Airports (might we – American architectural Mecca – borrow Santiago Calatrava?).

    The city is still searching for financing for what has become a spurned downtown area. Over the years, various efforts have been made to revitalize the block. Helmut Jahn drew up a hotel/retail complex. Kohn Pedersen Fox took a turn, and so did Solomon Caldwell Buenz. Lord & Taylor was to be an anchor tenant; even Harrods of London considered moving there.

    All of these efforts failed to move beyond the drawing board. The Mills Corp is the latest developer, working with one of Chicago’s most talented architects, Ralph Johnson of Perkins & Will. Tenants are nowhere to be found.

    But that’s fine with me. Like many Chicagoans, I think Block 37 ought to be turned into a gorgeous contemporary public square. This block marks where the north side meets the south side. Blacks and whites mingle here more than in most parts of the city. On the east side of the block, you have the great symbol of retail, Marshall Field’s (D.H. Burnham & Company, 1892) with its fine narrow-wide-narrow Chicago windows. (Please, please put the cornice back on!) To the west, “government,” with City Hall and County Building (Holabird & Roche, 1905-1911). “Justice” is present with the courtrooms of the Daley Center (Jacques Brownson, C.F. Murphy Associates, 1965), and through its glass lobby you see Helmut Jahn's po-mo State of Illinois Building (1979-83). And on the north side, “entertainment,” with the Goodman and Oriental Theaters, and the Old Heidelberg Inn from the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair. On the south side, “leisure” is represented by the Hotel Burnham in the Reliance building (Burnham and Root 1890-95).

    Poking their heads into the square from beyond are the towers of the Art Deco Carbide and Carbon building (Burnham Brothers, 1929), and the dome of the classical Jeweler's building (1925-27). Look up Washington Street for that great framed view of Gehry's band shell, or if you prefer older metalwork, down State Street is Louis Sullivan's Schlesinger and Meyer Department Store (1899-1904), where the cornice is being replaced!

    All this around one block! What a great city. New York must rebuild Ground Zero. But Chicago ought to consider the minimalist approach at Block 37. Our “Ground Zero” is not empty; it’s full of what people need in a city: light, air, sky, and terrific views of great buildings.

    ----Edward Lifson hosts “Hello Beautiful!” on Chicago Public Radio. He is also Editor of Arts, Architecture and Culture at the radio station, a position supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

    Block 37 photograph by Thomas Yanul. Thank you Thomas.
    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2005/
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