(July 2016) Blog Question:
What Is your favorite architectural masterpiece? Or your favorite design element? & Why?
BOB (Partner Emeritus):
Fallingwater is the architectural masterpiece created by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed between 1936 and 1938. UNESCO has recently voted to include it as a World Heritage Site, along with several other FLW buildings. Some consider this to be the most important work of architecture of the 20th Century. This house completely changed the concept of residential architecture. A house no longer needed to be a box one lived in for protection from the elements, it could be a way to live as part of nature, to live naturally in the environment, not separated from the environment. It became the precursor to the environmental movement in the latter half of the 20th Century. As we are now witnessing the rapid decline of our culture, Fallingwater represents the high water mark of the architectural accomplishments of western civilization.
I do not have 'one' favorite. I have many!
I admire many great works of architecture going all the way back to ancient times. I love the beauty in the simple geometry of the pyramids, yet I love the beauty in the Greek temples and the design and ability it took to construct them. I also love the Gothic cathedrals (French over English) and their sheer magnitude to the human scale. But I also love the elegant beauty in the contemporary lines of Falling Water.
So I prefer not to put myself into a corner and simply say that is my favorite building, style or iconic image. I enjoy many in their element.
Faye Jones's Thorncrown Chapel.
Fay Jones was a disciple of Wright, except I think he took the nature discipline further and did it successfully.
Thorncrown was done down a long path. All materials were carried to the site and assembled without impact to the environment. He took nature, and turned it into a gothic cathedral. The building is now an American icon, that inspires all visitors. With a simple donation box in the worship space, the building construction, all maintenance, and upkeep are fully self supported thru donations of visitors. It has also weathered time unlike many other projects that are design icons, but poorly constructed.
DAVID (Director of Construction Administration):
Agrees with Bob.
AMY (Intern Architect):
My favorite building in the world is currently the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda. It is the most thoughtfully-approached building project, carefully considering the needs of the community to be served. The design team did not only consider the functions of the hospital, but also the opportunities to engage local labor and building materials. This not only cut the cost of the project by a third, it provided jobs and skills training for 4000 people. I love this project because it represents the potential for human-centered design, creating so much more than a pretty building.
CHRIS (Intern Architect):
I like brutalist concrete buildings probably because of five years in the University of Tennessee’s Art and Architecture Building, which is also my favorite example. One of my favorite things about it is what I like to think was a joke on UT’s obsession with football. The structure grid is in 30’ bays and it is as long and wide as a football field. The building is bisected by an atrium with art classrooms on one side and architecture studios on the other, and faculty offices cantilever into the atrium (a test of faith maybe?). It is also the only building on campus that is not covered in orange brick or revivalist styles. Its atrium space with art and building projects on display (and stores) is a common path of travel for anyone just passing through. I like that a building having no pretense of good looks operates better in function than it does in appearance.
JACQUELINE (Intern Architect):
I have always loved art deco architecture. As a child, my dad would always plan our summer vacations around architectural monuments. This included everything from going to Virginia to see Monticello to going to Los Angeles to see the Getty Museum. My favorite vacation spot was South Beach, Florida, because of all of the Art Deco style hotels. Even in New York, I was surrounded by Art Deco architecture such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. To make a long story short, my favorite architectural buildings are the strip of Art Deco hotels on South Beach.
DELANE (Intern Architect):
My favorite style of architecture is based on my residential design background. I am partial to the American Craftsman style. My favorite feature is the deep porches.
JENNIFER (College Intern):
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Being absolutely honest, this was a pretty hard question for me, since I don’t consider myself very knowledgeable yet about all the types of architectural designs and buildings out there. I started doing some research to look for something that I would find somewhat appealing. I realized that every time I saw buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, I was drawn to their out of the ordinary design and their contemporary style. I find this interesting and exciting.
LISA (Office Manager):
I’ve always been intrigued by The Sydney Opera House. It’s visually stunning and I was awe-struck when I first saw pictures of it. Its roof is shaped like “peaked shells” and its interior was made for superior acoustic sound. I’m sure it’s perfect for Opera and theatre. It’s earned its reputation for being a world class performing arts center. Even though construction began on the Opera House in 1957, it still keeps a modern look even today. This is definitely on my bucket list as one place I’d like to visit.
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