Category Archive 'Architecture'
31 Oct 2017

I Could Live There

, ,

Červená Lhota Castle

Červená Lhota is a château about 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-west of Jindřichův Hradec in south Bohemia, Czech Republic. …Its name Červená Lhota* meaning “red lhota” can be explained by the colour of the château’s bright-red roof tiles. … [Acquired by the knightly family of Káb of Rybňan sometime around 1530. The family had the original Gothic castle rebuilt and the basic Renaissance remodelling carried out between 1542-1555. …The four-winged two-storey château, with a small courtyard in the center, occupies the whole rock and juts into the fishpond. A stone bridge, built in 1622, links the château with the banks of the pond, replacing the original drawbridge.

* Lhota, name of Czech villages, founded during the Middle-age colonization in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia

01 Sep 2017

An Architecture Major from ’94 Reviews the New Colleges

,

Alexandra Lange, a Yalie Architecture grad, reviews Peter Salovey’s new recently-opened colleges.

The colleges, designed by Robert A. Stern Architects (Melissa DelVecchio was the design partner), were intended as a kind of time travel. I graduated from Yale in 1994, and I could not remember what occupied the triangular block during my time, so undistinguished were its contents, but I do remember the deep sigh of having classes nearby “up Science Hill.” In order to shrink that distance psychologically, the university asked the architects to make more of what it had down below: James Gamble Rogers’s ten colleges of the 1930s, in a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Georgian styles. Rogers loved a visual trick to create coherence, akin to that of the tower. My own college, Pierson, is red brick Georgian on the inside, but it has a grey neo-Gothic wrapper on Elm Street to match its neighbors across the road.

On a recent visit, as I toured the colleges, ducking in and out of courtyards and vaulted tunnels, I felt respect for the thoroughness of the pastiche. Franklin is roughly triangular, with one big rectangular and two small wedge-shaped courtyards within. Murray… is more regular, with three courtyards enfilade. The bricks, the slate roofs, the gates, the lawns: all very charming. The small courtyards are quaint; the giant courtyards, camera-ready for graduation.

The architects at RAMSA learned their lessons well, and have employed every possible means to make the new colleges as charming as the old. No one could argue that they are being assigned second-best. Given a few years, and a little grime, most people may not even realize these are from 2017.

The illusion dispels once you go indoors, and the conflict between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries begins to sap the energy from the rooms. The problem is scale, mostly. These residential colleges—what other universities might call “dorms,” but with the addition of on-site faculty housing, dining and recreation facilities, and generous courtyards—were built to accommodate a 15 percent increase in Yale’s undergraduate student body. Because the freshman dormitories on Old Campus can’t be expanded, the freshman of these colleges will live with the upperclassmen, meaning every facility needs to be sized for 450 students. That’s larger than all but the largest of Yale’s existing colleges, which were built in a simpler time—socially and mechanically.

So the public rooms at the Head of College’s house, where s/he might hold a lecture or a dinner, are sized for a 400-strong buffet line to march through the pantry. The hallways and doorways are wider so that all of the rooms and gender-neutral bathrooms are accessible. The architects, working to combine Yale’s preferred room configuration— suites of singles and doubles off a common room—with contemporary fire regulations had to create long hallways, which the old colleges’ design studiously avoid.

Student rooms were fine: three times the size of my freshman dorm room, with a vestigial chair rail and elaborately paneled doors, the world outside seen through leaded glass. The intimacy and delicacy of the tight neo-Gothic spaces (which could also be dark and uncomfortable) was gone. In its place, I often felt like I was at the hotel next to a university, which apes its style as a branding exercise.

The dining hall at Franklin College feels enormous, its bulk broken down by side nooks, housed in little classically-fronted rooms that can each seat 20 to 25 students. The chairs, the moldings, the round window providing a view: Everything felt gigantic, puffed up to cover the baronial proportions of the room.

The dining hall was one of few places the architects were expressing some native personality—postmodernism rather than historicism—via the deep moldings around every opening, the flamboyant round lighting fixtures, the chairs with their own rows of arches on the backs.

Stern’s choice of a Cole Porter (Yale College 1913) quote above the non-working fireplace, “It was just one of those things,” seemed to be trying to express joie de vivre, but that was not what I felt. The room felt wrong, proportionally, functionally, spiritually. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a female alum quoted above the fireplace at the first opportunity? Or someone more beloved by the classes of the 2010s? Why build a non-working fireplace at all, especially opposite a 21st-century working kitchen? Why build such an enormous room at all, another place for haunches to be speared, when co-eds today would rather eat a salad on the lawn? The disconnect between the look and the mechanics showed through the skin.

I do not believe that residential colleges built in 2017 should look like those built between the first two World Wars, in turn an Americanization of Gothic colleges built in England in the fifteenth century. Who taught me to believe this? Yale, where I was educated in the history of architecture in buildings designed for the university by Louis Kahn and Paul Rudolph.

RTWT

HT: Tim of Angle.

There is, of course, plenty to infuriate intelligent older alumns.

Firstly, the preposterous names. One college is named for the worthy-enough Benjamin Franklin, as a concession to to the whim of Frankin Templeton Investments founder Charles B. Johnson ’54 who wrote the check. The problem is: Benjamin Frankin has no real connection to Yale.

The name of the second college is far worse. I’d prefer that it were named for Benjamin Franklin’s dog, rather than some colored lesbian who once attended the Law School, whom nobody not a communist had ever previously heard of. This level of Affirmative Action up-sucking to Identity Groups is just plain nauseating.

The deliberately non-working fireplaces are a nice symbol of today’s Yale, constituting a perfect example of the wussification of the place (some utter nincompoop fire marshal back in the 1980s, after most of two centuries in which working fireplaces had failed to burn down the university, concluded that fireplaces were a fire hazard, so Yale obediently closed them all up), along with offering an extremely apt metaphor for Yale itself. Yale being these days to real Education what a non-working fireplace is to Warmth & Light.

This Chicago Tribune piece has a slide-show of photographs.

23 Aug 2017

Yale’s Two New Colleges Open Today

, , ,

Blair Kamin, at the Chicago Tribune, reviews Yale’s new residential colleges which are open for business for the first time today.

When Yale built its signature Collegiate Gothic residential colleges between the two world wars, critics derided the buildings as “girder Gothic.” That term took aim at the disconnect between the colleges’ medieval-looking outer walls and their modern internal frames of structural steel — a sin against the modernist commandment that thou shalt express a building’s structure. The legend even grew that the leading architect of the residential colleges, James Gamble Rogers, had workers pour acid on the stonework to give his buildings an instant sense of wear, age and authenticity.

But that story, which provided terrific material for Yale tour guides, may be nothing more than an urban legend. More important, time has proved Rogers’ critics wrong.

Anyone who has visited Yale or Rogers’ buildings at Northwestern University, including the Deering Memorial Library, cannot fail to be impressed by Rogers’ masterful manipulation of scale and materials; his inventive, often whimsical, use of traditional architectural languages; and the way his buildings, which drew from the example of the ancient colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, engage their surroundings and encourage their users to interact.

So Yale’s new residential colleges, which New York architect and former Yale architecture school dean Robert A.M. Stern designed according to the Rogers model, have a very high bar to meet and some tough questions to confront: Do they refresh the Gothic tradition, as Rogers did, or are they a pastiche? Does it make sense for Yale, which claims to prize diversity and inclusion, to replicate the physical world of Rogers’ day, when the university’s student body was largely WASP and male?

It will be impossible to fully answer these questions until students move in Aug. 23, but a recent visit suggests that Stern has neared Rogers’ standard without matching him. The new colleges are strong, city-enhancing buildings and their interiors are graced with commodious, tradition-tinged rooms that students who grew up reading Harry Potter novels can be expected to appreciate. Yet Stern’s traditionalist architecture, which is draped like a Ralph Lauren suit over an underlying frame of steel and concrete, is uneven in quality, wavering between self-assured reinterpretation and over-the-top eclecticism.

Named for [a dual identity group token nobody not a Communist has ever heard of] and founding father Benjamin Franklin [who has no real connection to Yale], the colleges will allow Yale to gradually increase its undergraduate student population by 15 percent, to about 6,200. The university is not disclosing the colleges’ cost. Like Yale’s 12 previous residential colleges, 10 of which were completed under Rogers’ leadership, each of the new ones contains student rooms, a dining hall, a library and residences for faculty members who administer the college and advise its students. Yet there are crucial differences: With roughly 450 students apiece, the colleges are larger than their predecessors — in some cases, more than half again as big. And they are separated from Yale’s central campus by a large cemetery that sits south of their triangular, 6.7-acre site.

RTWT

HT: Matthew MacLean.

11 Aug 2017

PC Vandalism to Architecture of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale

, , , ,

Yale Alumni Mag:

If you were especially observant during your years on campus, you may have noticed a stone carving by the York Street entrance to Sterling Memorial Library that depict a hostile encounter: a Puritan pointing a musket at a Native American (top). When the library decided to reopen the long-disused entrance as the front door of the new Center for Teaching and Learning, says head librarian Susan Gibbons, she and the university’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces decided the carving’s “presence at a major entrance to Sterling was not appropriate.” The Puritan’s musket was covered over with a layer of stone (bottom) that Gibbons says can be removed in the future without damaging the original carving.

HT: Instapundit.

07 Jul 2017

Oldest Wood-Frame House in the United States

, , ,

Vintage News says that the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts is the oldest:

The west wing of the house was built around 1654, and the east wing was added in the 18th century. After its construction, a chimney was built at its top, and around 1800 expansion of the parlor was made on this side. At the same time, a new wing with two rooms was added to the west side, and behind this side, a toilet was made as the last addition to the house.

The early inhabitants of the house carved hex signs into the mantle in order to protect themselves from witches. Also, shoes have been found in the attic to chase away evil spirits. In 1895, one of the heirs, Rebecca Fairbanks, was in a difficult financial situation, so she sold the house to John Crowley who after the selling allowed her to live there.

Later, Rebecca sold many of the family items including a unique wooden chest which was made by John Houghton in 1658. This item was purchased back by the family in 2003.

When Crowley wanted to tear down the house in 1897, it was immediately purchased by Mrs. J. A. Codman and her daughter. In 1904, the newly established Fairbanks Family took the house over, and in 1905 it became a museum. In 1960, it was declared a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Two buildings, the La Maison Puisseaux and La maison des Jésuites in Quebec City, date from 1637, but it unclear if they were wood-frame houses.

27 May 2017

La Maison d’Adam, 1491

,

——————

——————

——————

From the French Wikipédia:

La maison d’Adam, also known as La maison d’Adam et Ève or La maison de l’Arbre de Vie, is a half-timbered [in French: maison à colombages] house located in the heart of the city of Angers, at the intersection of the rue Montault and the place Sainte-Croix, just behind the cathedral. It is one of the architectural relics of the medieval heritage still existing today, built around 1491. Today it is home to the Maison des Artisans d’Angers.

The date of construction was determined by dendrochronology, which placed its date of building shortly after 1491. According to the archives, it was an apothecary, Jean Lefevre or Jean Lebreton, who paid for the construction. It was still in the same family in 1526, when Renée Lefèvre was listed as the second owner.

Around 1544, it became the property of Jacques Richard, merchant and notable of Angers. It was subsequently occupied by several notables of Angers: Jean Jolivet, woolen cloth merchant, circa 1686 and Michel Adam, son-in-law of Jean Jolivet, a silk cloth merchant.

During the French Revolution, the revolutionaries destroyed the figures of Adam and Eve with the serpent, leaving only the apple tree in place.

The building consists of a ground floor surmounted by three floors, plus two floors of attic, for a total of six levels. In addition, there is a barrel-vaulted [voûté en berceau] basement. It occupies a corner lot of 8 by 10 meters.

The wooden panel façade is decorated with numerous sculptures and consists of a diamond-shaped paneling, the slabs of which were originally made of bricks.

20 May 2017

Chateau de Morsan

, , ,

7 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 9-10 acres. Only €1,000,000 for the Chateau de Morsan, nestled in the midst of the forests of Normandy, one of the few remaining folies in France. Originally built around 1760 as a hunting lodge by the Marquis de Morsan, a confidant to Louis XV, for the King’s visit. The architect was Ange-Jacque Gabriel who was also the architect of the petit Trianaon at Versailles and the Folie of Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of the King.

The current owner rhapsodizes:

The house is a national monument, a summer house, not built for all seasons. There are two Renaissance towers, standing and three stables, all needing to be restored, and the windows and shutters on the house should be replaced by double glass, etc. The roof which is slate, needs rebuilding, as it is original, that can be done correctly with slate for around 200,000 euros. It has a nice servants cottage and quite a lot of land, it is very safe and protected there, two hours from Paris, and no one could find it. The land is quite fertile for growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and there is a very choice parcel of land with trees to build a large guest house, There are about nine or 10 acres, and is great for horses, it is horse country. It has everything.

With a good and responsible buyer who loves the l8th Century, and period furniture, the house can be sold more or less furnished at a very reasonable price. The furnishings are the right period for the house, so it could be sold furnished or semi furnished, to the right person.

A lovely couple reside onsite as caretakers. We have known their family for years, and the young man can do everything, he is very skilled and diversified, and does extra projects. She is very artistic, and keeps the house up.

It has important wood paneling and fireplaces, and it should not be changed or damaged, We can not sell the property to anyone who would destroy any of the original details, it has been maintained for nearly 300 years, and is a summer house. Central heating can be revived, there are radiators that function, and the plumbing should be brought up to date. This is not a house for the faint hearted, it is for a French history buff, and someone who wants to live in the beauty and charm of the l8th Century. I think that it would not appeal to most Americans, it is a romance with the past, and absolutely incredible in the summer… let’s say to die over… and absolutely unique. There are less than six of these l8th Century folies left in the country.”

Handsome Properties International has the listing.

02 Apr 2017

Book Tunnel

, , ,

Boing Boing: Chinese bookstore Yangzhou Zhongshuge in Zhen Yuan, China has arguably the most breathtaking bookstore entrance in the world.

My Modern Met:

The dizzying space contains a grand optical illusion that you only see once you’ve set foot inside. Its lobby is a cavernous tunnel that most notably features striking black mirrored flooring. Together, the reflective ground and curved shelving creates the feeling that you’ve stepped into a perfectly circular room, making you question which way is up. Luckily, there’s help in finding the path forward. The shelves are split by a lightning bolt-shaped gap in the ceiling that leads you into the rest of the store.

Shanghai-based studio XL-Muse were the ones to come up with this clever configuration. Inspired by Yangzhou’s proximity to water, they designed the ground to mimic liquid. “In the past, guided by water, many literati and poets visited and gathered here,” they told Dezeen. “[The bridges] used to be the guiding factor of culture and commerce, and they represent that the bookstore is the bond between humans and books at the same time.” The mirrored flooring acts as a water current that draws you further into Yangzhou.

29 Mar 2017

A Room With a View

, ,

Daily Mail:

A New York architecture firm has unveiled designs for a skyscraper that is out of this world.

Deemed the ‘world’s tallest building ever’, Analemma Tower will be suspended from an orbiting asteroid 31,068 miles (50,000 km) above the Earth– and the only way to leave is by parachute.

The orbital path would swing the tower in a figure eight pattern between the northern and southern hemispheres each day, taking residents on a tour through different parts of the world – all in just a 24 hour orbital cycle. …

The design will use a system called the Universal Orbital Support System (UOSS), which attaches a high strength cable to an asteroid that is lowered to Earth and then attached to the tower.

‘Since this new tower typology is suspended in the air, it can be constructed anywhere in the world and transported to its final location,’ Clouds Architecture Office shared on its website.

‘The proposal calls for Analemma to be constructed over Dubai, which has proven to be a specialist in tall building construction at one fifth the cost of New York City construction.’ …

The massive skyscraper will be setup in sections and each with a designated purpose.

Business will be conducted at the lower end of the towers and sleeping quarters will be positioned two-thirds of the way up the building.

Residents will also have access to a gardening area, a place for worship and in the bottom level will be sections for dining, shopping and entertainment.

The architects plan to take full advantage of the skyscraper’s location and will place solar panels at the upper most levels to generate power from the sun.

And residents will enjoy fresh water from condensation of clouds and rainwater, which will be collected and purified. …

The tower would travel on a figure eight path over certain major cities in the northern and southern hemispheres – this includes New York City, Havana, Atlanta and Panama City.

And the amount of daylight increases by 40 minutes at the top of the tower due to the curvature of the Earth.

‘Analemma can be placed in an eccentric geosynchronous orbit which would allow it to travel between the northern and southern hemispheres on a daily loop,’ Clouds Architecture Office explained.

‘The ground trace for this pendulum tower would be a figure eight, where the tower would move at its slowest speed at the top and bottom of the figure eight allowing the possibility for the towers occupants to interface with the planet’s surface at these points.’

‘The proposed orbit is calibrated so the slowest part of the towers trajectory occurs over New York City.’

while researching atmospheric conditions for the project, the team discovered that there is most likely a height that people could not tolerate due to the extreme conditions.

‘For example, while there may be a benefit to having 45 extra minutes of daylight at an elevation of 32,000 meters, the near vacuum and -40C temperature would prevent people from going outside without a protective suit,’ shared Clouds Architecture Office.

‘Then again, astronauts have continually occupied the space station for decades, so perhaps it’s not so bad?’

Read the whole thing.

23 Aug 2016

Double-Helix Staircase

, , , ,

Chambord

ChambordStaircase1

ChambordStaircase3

ChambordStaircase2
model illustrating the staircase’s design

Wikipedia:

The royal Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France, is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France.

Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, who maintained his royal residences at the châteaux of Blois and Amboise. The original design of the Château de Chambord is attributed, though with some doubt, to Domenico da Cortona; Leonardo da Vinci may also have been involved. …

One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular open double spiral staircase that is the centerpiece of the château. The two spirals ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the château. There are suggestions that Leonardo da Vinci may have designed the staircase, but this has not been confirmed. Writer John Evelyn said of the staircase “it is devised with four (sic) entries or ascents, which cross one another, so that though four persons meet, they never come in sight, but by small loopholes, till they land. It consists of 274 steps (as I remember), and is an extraordinary work, but of far greater expense than use or beauty.”

07 Aug 2016

Whale-Mouth Pulpit

, , ,

Dobroszow
Baroque pulpit in the form of a whale’s mouth, Church of Saint Hedwig, Dobroszów, Poland. Apparently a similar pulpit exists in Duszniki-Zdrój.

01 Jun 2016

Art Nouveau Stairway

,

Stairway
Musée National Gustave-Moreau, Paris, view of the stairway, Albert Lafon architect, 1895.

26 Apr 2016

Disgruntled

,

DisgruntledGargoyle

30 Mar 2016

Folk Architectural Detail

,

HandDoorknob

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Architecture' Category.















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark