I didn't write this entry.
    PrairieMod did.
    I like PrairieMod.

    This afternoon, both Edward Lifson of Hello Beautiful! and Chicago's cultural historian Tim Samuelson eloquently demonstrated how architecture can be like a musical instrument. Lifson began the lecture by illustrating how Beethoven's approach to music influenced Frank Lloyd Wright and demonstrated the ways in which Unity Temple reflects a musical composition. It was completely enchanting to hear the comparisons while listening to a Beethoven concerto and taking in the views inside Wright's Oak Park masterpiece.

    Tim Samuelson passionately spoke about his favorite Chicago architectural gems, only as he could. He spoke of The Chicago Auditorium and the Pilgrim Baptist Church. I seriously wish I could explain the fascinating details of Samuelson's talk, but instead I'll recommend that you listen to Hello Beautiful's June 26, 2005 special titled The Sound of Architecture to give you an idea.

    Bottom line, you should have been there!

    If you missed it, we'll do similar events. I'm trying to figure out where next.

    All best regards,
    -EdwardSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Today! at 2 pm.



















    Meet me in the hallowed space
    of Unity Temple in Oak Park

    I'll be with the great storyteller on architecture and architects,
    Tim Samuelson.

    Tim will bring some old records and his Victrola.
    It's just five years younger than Unity Temple itself.

    We'll show you how great buildings
    are one-of-a-kind
    musical instruments.


    Saturday, March 31st, 2007 2-4 pm

    At Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple
    875 Lake Street
    Oak Park, IL

    $15 members / $20 non-members

    For more information call 708.383.8873
    or click here.

    Help them raise money to restore Unity Temple.
    Now that's a good cause.

    I'd love to see you there. It'll be fun.
    -EdwardSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Archeworks 2007 Benefit

    Honoring
    Bruce Mau

    Friday, May 18, 2007
    6:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    MCA Warehouse 1747 West Hubbard Street Chicago, Illinois, USA

    This biennial event will once again feature a live auction with drawings by today's most recognized and respected architects, designers and artists. Event proceeds to benefit Archeworks’s Community Design Projects.

    What, no martinis? jk, see you there.
    -grEEnSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Vinoly does Opera

    Tonight we'll see the latest creation of Rafael Vinoly - a set for an opera - at the premiere of Chicago Opera Theater's "the Return of Ulysses." Here's an exclusive sneak preview :



    He's supposed to attend the opening tonight,
    But why did Vinoly cancel the two lectures he was supposed to give in Chicago?

    Word is he's spending his time dealing with issues and oppostion at his London project.


    This one's dubbed, "the walkie-talkie."
    -ESource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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Richard Rogers receives this year's Pritzker Architecture Prize

    Click here for my story on this on All Things Considered, on National Public Radio.


    He designed the Centre Pompidou in Paris (above) with Renzo Piano. Renzo Piano won the Pritzker in 1998.

    I was living in Paris when this monster went up - we called it "Beaubourg" after its location, rather than honor a French president we didn't care for. It was thrilling to watch it rise. I remember Paris had few escalators at the time. And the conception of space was so different, so much more modern than almost anything else in town. The library I used (for my Art and Architecture History studies) until Rogers and Piano's "Beaubourg" went up looked like this

    Slightly less modern.
    Then came the Pompidou Center with accessibility to all, including Paris’ immigrant populations. The openness and the open spaces inside – that was highly un-French, especially at the time.
    Its spaces flowed one into the other, its walls were movable, the exhibitions inside inclusive and dynamic .
    Many older people were appalled. It went up during the oil crises and I remember an elder statesman of French TV saying "In France we have no oil. We have an oil refinery in the middle of Paris, called an art museum, but we have no oil!"

    I always thought "Beaubourg" fit well in Paris. It wasn't much taller than its surroundings, since it is partially in excavated ground; and I think its reds , yellows, blues and greens pick up the colors of the stained glass windows of the great gothic churches nearby. Pompidou’s exposed structure is not so odd, it reminds me of the flying buttresses atop Notre Dame.

    The "x"'s on the facade were a little overscaled, more industrial than humanist. (We do it because machines can! But what does the human soul want?)

    A friend and I would tie a little scarf to one of the many pipes outside "Beaubourg" before we went in, so when the one passed by he'd know the other was there. Now that's a friendly building and city.

    The place instantly became a hit and its services and systems were overtaxed. It has since been modernized, funny term for a modern monument.

    In front of "Beaubourg," the piazza, where it's space starts sucking you in, was always alive - with fire-breathers from the provinces and strongmen who put chains across their chests and broke them by puffing out their abs as much as they could, and many Bob Dylan wanna-be musicians from Australia, America and other parts. That beautifully conceived public square stayed alive with people into the early morning. I'll never forget hearing a young woman recite Eluard's "Ecstasy" at 2 in the morning. She became a friend.

    Add to this the great Pontus Hulten exhibitions in the early years of the Pompidou, "Paris-Berlin," "Paris-Moscow," "Paris-New York," and "Paris-Paris;" and the fine fountain by Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinguely nearby. It was rich, communal city life as I had never experienced, but had always craved.

    Pompidou and all it stood for helped solidify (another funny term, for a building of "almost nothing...") helped solidify my lifelong interest in architecture. Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers were heroes.

    (Below) Lloyd's of London, Richard Rogers designed not with Renzo Piano, but with his own firm.


    Early in his career, Richard Rogers worked with Norman Foster. Norman Foster won the Pritzker in 1999. Now Richard Rogers has his.

    The links are to my NPR stories on each.

    Foster and Rogers have each designed a tower for the World Trade Center site. The old friend's towers even relate to each other, with the diamond shape. Foster on the left, diamonds on top. (Shall we call that tower "Lucy," as in "Lucy in the sky, with diamonds"? ) Richard Rogers' tower is in the middle, with diamond bracing going up the sides.


    The tower on the right would be by Fumihiko Maki. Maki received a Pritzker in 1993.

    Here's a link to today's press release on Richard Rogers.
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Alice T. Friedman investigates how women patrons of architecture were essential catalysts for innovation in domestic architectural design. By looking at the Farnsworth House (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), Hollyhock House (Frank Lloyd Wright), the Truus Schröder House (Gerrit Rietveld), the Constance Perkins House (Richard Neutra), and the Vanna Venturi House (Robert Venturi), she explores the challenges that unconventional attitudes and ways of life presented to architectural thinking—and to the architects themselves.Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    What's new, Lou?

    If you like Lou Kahn's work, as I do, such as

    Dhaka capital complex in Bangladesh.

    Then you might be interested to see this, from the town in Estonia in which Leiser-Itze Schmuilowsky (Louis Kahn) lived for several years as an impressionable young lad.

    The medieval Bishop’s Castle in Kuressaare.

    Here's the article. After reading it last night before going to bed, I dreamt I was standing in the courtyard at Kahn's Salk Institute in La Jolla, loooking at blue sky and the Pacific Ocean. Nice.........

    -Edoardo

    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    A Mies birthday party!

    Some snaps from the birthday party at Crown Hall.

    Hey, if you can't have fun with Mies, who can you have fun with?


    Fun and games with Mies van der Rohe...

    Beanbag!

    And all around us, the architecture students worked. That's the way it should be, ja?

    -marteen-E

    What happened to the woman who wanted to meet me there?

    *Wednesday afternoon on National Public Radio's All Things Considered you can hear my story on this year's Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate.*Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Nice new website on Mies.

    My neighbors at 900 - 910 Lake Shore Drive may not live in a building as nice as ours at 860 - 880. But they sure have a nicely designed and built new website.

    We oughta do something similar for 860 - 880 !
    -EdwardSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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A new New National Gallery by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe?

    Trump invades forlorn Wrigley Plaza!

    Trump Tower Chicago oozing into the Wrigley Building plaza. Which desperately needs help anyway.

    -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

    What about covering Wrigley Plaza with a glass roof and line the sides with shops, like a chic galleria in Italia,


    You'd think so, with our weather.

    -Galler-E-aSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Calatrava said living in his Chicago Spire should make you feel "as if you're in a Matisse painting! Full of joy!"


    People laughed. Then he said, and many will be art collectors, maybe with Matisse on the wall!


    They laughed again.
    And nearby, on a table was this image of the slender, transparent base. Remember? The delicate lady in high heels.


    Does kind of look like "the Twist," doesn't it?

    -ESource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    C'mon baby! Let's do the Twist!
    -but can you twist in high heels?












    At the evening meeting we saw the master create beauty.


    With an overhead projector he drew watercolors. This one shows how his building would meet the ground.


    And then compared that to....


    C'mon Chicago, let's do the Twist!


    Developer Garrett Kelleher talks a lot about the international nature of this project and how (wealthy) people from around the world will want to live here. He's the King of Twist.

    At the meeting tonight of area residents, many were concerned about increased traffic and congestion. On and off ramps would be built to lower Lake Shore Drive, all trucks would use those and between 50 and 90% of the traffic to the building, according to a traffic engineer who spoke. Those ramps would provide direct access to the Chicago Spire drop-off points and to the parking. I believe that this great project this needs to be approved by the city. 1200 new units will increase traffic some but the great benefits far outweigh the negatives. If we want to limit traffic there are ways to do it, for example let's de-prioritize the automobile in the city, and to reduce cars, let's block the many mediocre buildings going up in Chicago, not this one.

    More about tonight's meeting soon. Maybe I'd be more serious if we knew this project was really happening and not just a castle in the air.


    Oh, and Santiago Calatrava after drawing and dreaming for the crowd?


    Rock Star. Bigger than Chubby!
    -ESource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Calatrava / Chicago Spire developer won't talk $.

    After today's public meeting with precious little hard information, developer Garrett Kelleher walked off in a huff when asked how much the Chicago Spire will cost to build and how much he will have to charge people to live in it. We got no answers from him on that. Today's meeting revealed not much more than the one two weeks ago.

    Again Calatrava talked mainly about the public plaza at the base of the building, also about how slender the tower will be, how this is made possible by advancements in engineering and thus his building fits in the great Chicago tradition of furthering skyscraper technology. He calls it an "heroic" building, like the great John Hancock here. And he's right. And we haven't had many of those here since the Hancock and the Sears Towers.

    We did see a model, that was new.




    And Blair gets a copy of the animated "fly-around" we saw. Check it out, and his story here. Calatrava asked that we understand it was made in just four days.

    Ths shape and the twist have been refined, but they will be refined again. Where once there was to have been a bright beacon shining straight up into the sky from the top, now we'll get, "just a light every so often," Mr. Kelleher told me. And he still says "Anglo-Irish Bank is fully committed to this project," but won't provide details.
    Mainly we got to hear that inspiring, cultured, humanist and romantic talk from the architect. With little new information, enjoy the new pictures.



    I love how Santiago Calatrava just happens to leave his props around, the props he uses to explain the inspiration for his building. Don't the photographers love it!


    We have another meeting with Calatrava and Kelleher tonight. Stay tuned.
    -Edward

    Update: Words and pix coming soon. Calatrava even drew for us. Ladies shoes - high heels. He compared how his building meets the ground to ladies shoes! I'll post those soon.
    -ESource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    Make yourself at home with Alvar Aalto!

    Last week I walked through Aalto's great Baker Dormitory at MIT,
    and I had to take this photo (without the guy seeing me; yes it was a male!)
    to show how the students live in Aalto's masterpiece.


    Then I got home, in Chicago, and leafing through the catalog for my favorite auction house.
    Look what I saw!

    "Alvar Aalto shelving for Baker Dormitory at MIT Svenska Artek Finland, c. 1948 birch 58 w x 34.5 d x 98 h inches. This shelving system was designed by Aalto for the senior's dormitory at MIT in Cambridge, MA.
    Estimate: $4000 - 6000."


    Now you wanna pick up your clothes? Just kidding. I think it's great the guy's so comfortable!

    -EdoardoSource URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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    The ugliest building you'll ever see on this site!

    Only so we can talk about ---
    Five buildings that could be movies.


    This is Thomas Kinkade's painting, "The Christmas Cottage."
    (How horrid!)

    The painting is being made into a movie.

    This inspired Tyler Green to think about five good paintings that could be movies,
    and he blogged about it on his fine site. Tyler also links to others who chose five.

    So now I'm interested in "Five buildings that could be movies."

    What do you think?

    One on my list would be by Frank Lloyd Wright (his work is very cinematic), Fallingwater? Unity Temple?

    Another would be the New National Gallery by Mies. Each pane of glass at ground level looks like a film frame. Just watch someone walk around them. It's a movie. And give it an Oscar for best lighting! Of course the sound isn't great, with those large parallel walls of glass. Mies is said to have said, "If it's good sound you want, go to Philharmonie" (The concert hall by Hans Scharoun just down the street. (1.)

    But it's late now, and I have to prepare for my interview for this year's Pritzker Prize laureate - to be announced Wednesday - so right now I can't choose my "Five buildings that could be movies."

    How about you, which would you cite?
    Help me out here.

    -Edward

    1. Phyllis Lambert told me this.Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2007/03/
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