Congratulations Studio Gang!

    Aqua Tower Chicago Studio Jeanne Gang
    The Emporis Award Jury chooses Studio Gang's Aqua Tower in Chicago as the best skyscraper of 2009.

    Congratulations to Jeanne Gang, Mark Schendel and all the gang at Studio Gang in Chicago. This award shows that nice people can finish first (if they're super-talented).
    From the citation: "The Emporis Award Jury chose Aqua as the best skyscraper of 2009 for its advances in sustainable design and for the imaginative and fascinating architectural effects it achieves. With the dramatic flair evoked by a theater curtain, the rippling facade of Aqua has caught the attention of thousands of people looking into the skyline from Grant Park or the Chicago River. Seen from afar, the building appears to be a standard, though well proportioned, rectangle. A little bit closer, the wavy folds formed by the undulating balconies arouse curiosity and invite inspection. Planes of smooth glass between the balconies catch sunlight and resemble calm watery surfaces. As the tower starts to loom overhead, it changes shape; straight lines disappear, and a mass of rounded layers stack up vertiginously like a limestone palisade molded by centuries of flowing water."

    Aqua Tower Chicago Studio Gang
    Aqua Tower Chicago Studio Gang
    Aqua Tower Chicago Studio GangThe "Fire Pit" on Aqua's terrace.

    Aqua towered over towers in Dubai, Bangkok, Rotterdam and New York in this year's voting. Previous Emporis Skyscraper Awards went to Foster and Partners, "Gherkin" in London and Hearst Tower in Manhattan, Taipei 101 in Taipei, Ellerbe Becket's Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Santiago Calatrava's Turning Torso Tower in Malmö, Sweden.

    Bottom three photographs: Steve Hall©HedrichBlessing.
    The top one is mine, from this previous post on

    Does Aqua make your mouth water? I'd really like to hear what you think of it. Comment below.

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Mies perception

All that is solid melts

    Mies van der Rohe Seagram Building Manhattan New York City night view with water pools fountain reflection

    Stopped by the Seagram Building late last night. Saw this. I saw it since we'd been thinking about Mies and water and reflections here and here. And of a work profaned.

    *All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind. -Karl Marx

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If you could rent the Barcelona Pavilion, what would you rent it for?

    Guess what? You can.

    Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavilion capitalism commercial rental advertising for LG Phones
    LG flacking cell phones at the Barcelona Pavilion
    at this year's Mobile World Congress.

    Mies's work is a lot like advertising. It's about desire, value, who you are, sensuality, seduction, signs and symbolism. It's also about telling the truth, the virtues of labor, how we communicate and how to resist commodification. So yes, his Barcelona Pavilion is a good place - to flack cell phones.

    What would you rent it for?
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The best museum in America for sledding

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Odd, isn't it? If you abstracted it, you could get this Japanese sledding vest

    in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Sled-Hauling Vest (Sorihiki Banten)
    Made in Yamagata, Shonai District, Japan
    Late Edo (1615-1868) or Meiji (1868-1912), 19th century
    Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

    Another museum in winter.

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The Mies fish tank reminds one of

    Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House rear lawn
    Damien Hirst shark, like Mies Farnsworth House

    Top - Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, Mies van der Rohe
    Bottom -
    Shark, Damien Hirst


    Thoughts: locals in Dessau called the glass-walled Bauhaus building the “aquarium”, the Barcelona Pavilion reflecting pool, the pools at the Seagram Building plaza, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments hovering over Lake Michigan, folks who don't want to live in a Mies often say they don't want to live in "am aquarium", some of his early houses in Potsdam (Neu-Babelsberg) face the Havel river, the raised-above-ground Farnsworth House on the Fox River which occasionally floods the house and creates a kind of aquarium.

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A Mies fish tank

Another new direction for Frank Gehry?

Wuzzat? Frank Gehry

    Frank Gehry unbuilt project SCI-Arc 2009
    What do you think of this project that Frank Gehry presented not long ago at a lecture at SCI-Arc in L.A.?

    Gehry said it would be mixed-use, is now on hold, and that he is very proud of it.

    Thanks for the photo DH, mine didn't turn out well!
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