Manhattan Architecture

A residential architect complained to me that Frank Gehry is all surface and no substance.  Well, I suppose if I had to live in this building I’d be much more critical.  I don’t, so I can enjoy the skin stretched over the form of the IAC Building perches along the Hudson on the west side of Manhattan.  I wasn’t looking for this building, but just drove to it and couldn’t make it past without stopping to shoot it.  From the other side of the Hudson it looks like a ship with three sails.  Up close it’s all about the contour and light, off and through the skin of the building.  ” ….all surface” is right…. but it’s beautiful.

Jean Nouvel designed this condominium across the street from Gehry’s office building.  The two seem to have been created without an awareness of the other’s presence.

The Guggenheim

You might guess from previous posts that I am inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s work.  While recently in New York City on a business trip I happened on the Guggenheim Museum in the Upper East End of Manhattan.  What a thrill.  The building is like none other you’ll see, especially as it shouts out to you from the sea of similar to one another buildings.  It’s no wonder Wright and his creation were so controversial when the museum opened up in 1959.

Twenty one influential artists signed a formal protest and refused to exhibit in the building.  They claimed that the intent of Wright was to overshadow the art is was displaying.  In 1992 the rectangular addition was added behind the  Guggenheim’s spiral strip beehive.

The controversy has ended and the Guggenheim is regarded by most today as an example of creative genius.

As striking as the building is on the outside, the inside of the museum is bold, beautiful, and elegant.

Lakefront Icons

Here are a couple of Milwaukee lakefront icons.  This photo is of the south face of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Calatrava Pavillion.  I have included two or three other photos in earlier posts featuring the extendable wings and support mast.

Discovery World is a lakefront museum that features physical science exhibits that are targeting a learning experience.  During the warmer months (what a joke) they dock a replica of a 19th century three masted Great Lakes schooner called the Denis Sullivan.

Corrugated Metal

This power plant at a medical complex in Milwaukee County is peppered with corrugate metal buildings.  At sunset the horizontal and vertical ribs in the metal siding create a jumble of patterns.  The brick chimney glistened as if polished.  Yes, the work of the sun on metal and brick is exaggerated by HDR….but I just couldn’t help it!

The ladder provided a pattern of shadow on the metal siding that looks nothing like itself.  The rivets on the siding seem owned by the shadow not the metal.

Frank Lloyd Wright – Greek Orthodox – Annunciation Church

Frank Lloyd Wright died in 1959 during his most prolific period of design and project commissions.  Projects during his last several years included the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Marin County Civic Center.  One of his last designs was of the Greek Orthodox Annunciation Church built in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.  Common to these three projects is the circular design element.

Designed in 1956, construction of the Greek Orthodox Church did not begin until after his death in 1959 and was completed in 1961.

While this shallow, domed design is not as attractive to me personally as most of his earlier work, there are some unique design attributes.

Lattice on Store Front

During the ’50s and 60’s many commercial buildings incorporated some sort of lattice grille into the front of the office building in an effort to simplify the geometry.  Some attach this technique to the mid-century architectural movement, popular at the time.  It’s been a long time since 1960 or so and the grille is showing it, but the effect is still striking.