I still remember the outrage in the voice of my friend, Lino Bottaro, trying to defend his native city, Venice, against the Las Vegas Venetian hotel: “how dare you suggest that they did an ok job in Vegas? Haven’t you heard of great architects like Palladio or Brunelleschi?”
Of course I have heard of those two great Italians but I have a weakness for the 20th century STARchitects like the great Mies van der Rohe above, who’s more known for his Barcelona chair than his great buildings! Mies’ visionary architecture has ushered in the glass-and-steel skyscraper era.
I fell in love with Louis Kahn’s work after watching the movie, My Architect.
A density of purpose, a phenomenal sense of place and an intense spirituality define his works. There is a silence about his buildings, they have a sense of quiet…
Just look at this enchanting blue staircase in Brasilia…
Cutting-edge buildings designed by globe-trotting architects have changed the face of today’s cities and there is no monopoly of architecture, a sensuous and intellectual art, like in the time of Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies:
Of all of today’s self-indulgent “star architects”, I still have a soft spot for Frank Gehry’s curves; you have to be in one of his buildings to see the frozen poetry in Bilbao, Prague, Los Angeles, etc…
His Bilbao museum is the 20th century’s iconic architecture according to the architecture critic, Ada Louise Huxtable.
Last but not least, Rem Koolhaas’ unconventional designs are a force to reckon with:
I shouldn’t even get into the Diva, Zaha Hadid or Jean Nouvel, Herzog and de Meuron or Tadao Ando (the great light and water architect)…Those will be for another post, another day. Richard Meier, Taniguchi and the phenomenal Charles Gwathmey have to wait their turn too. As you can see I am passionate about architecture…
“Less is more.” Mies van der Rohe
“The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.” Frank Lloyd Wright
p.s. Renzo Piano is missing from my list because I have not forgiven him for his wild Pompidou Center design and his Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Los Angeles has not helped his case!
the photos of Prague, Bilbao, Venice and Seattle are from my own archives.