Ascending a stair - in Thom Mayne / Morphosis' Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech in Pasadena

    In mainly conservative Pasadena, a town with many red tile Mediterranean-style roofs, you see it from afar:

    Thom Mayne and Morphosis' building on the campus of Caltech. This being Pasadena Mayne didn't give them Big Signage, as he did some years back at the University of Toronto:

    Here the architecture speaks for itself. When you approach, just a little sign reads

    Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. I like the use of color, rather than Mayne's usual grey, and his aggressiveness is easier to take at this smaller scale. He nicely brings natural light into the auditorium,

    There you see Mayne's grey on the ceiling, along with the metal and mesh he likes to use. The exterior doesn't come in much to the interior, the offices are mainly straightforward and rectangular. But how about those hallways,

    Some of the hallways offer two perspectives,

    fitting for scientists looking for answers.

    The team at Morphosis are rightly proud of the four story central stairwell.

    Mayne has said this stairwell is like a telescope you can occupy; and it should make us think about how we look out at the world, as astronomers and astrophysicists do. It's also supposed to encourage encounters with colleagues. Go inside now, and up the stairwell - (click on the arrow to ascend). Don't miss the cosmic "wallpaper."

    I think it works. The craziness in the stairwells does not seem gratuitous. He seems to be saying: there are many ways to solve a problem, try them all. Take a risk. Put unlike together and see what happens. Maybe it will "lead" somewhere. It's a sculptural tour de force; so good it makes you want to say, "Take that, Daniel Libeskind!" I like that natural light is seen entering from the top of the stairwell; this makes us want to ascend to it, to feel a part of it and to discern its nature. Such a stairwell reinforces the seeker in each of us.

    Other Hello Beautiful! posts on Thom Mayne / Morphosis' Cahill Center here; and Mayne gets sensuous at Cooper Union in New York here.
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