Monday, December 29, 2008

172. Maubeuge (Nord) L'Eglise


Dear Renzo,

The church of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul
in Maubeuge was finished in 1958 by
architects Andre Lurcat and Henri Laffite
within the framework of the rebuilding of
this french town after the big war. Jean
Lurcat, brother of the architect took part
in the decoration of the church.

Best.
R

Sunday, December 28, 2008

171. Pabellon de Japon. Expo 92, Sevilla



Dear Koji,

Tadao Ando designed the Japan Pavilion for the 1992
International Exposition in Seville, Spain. His objective
here was to reinterpret the technology of Japanese wood
architecture by means of contemporary technology.
This building thus embodied tradition and modernity,
technology and culture.

Regards.
R

Friday, December 26, 2008

170. Bundesrepublik Deutschland


Querida Cristi,

En la reconstruccion del mitico Pabellon
de Barcelona el material mas dificil de
obtener fue el famoso "Onix Dore" del
muro central libre.
Se busco primero en Marruecos. Luego
en Argelia se les dijo a los arquitectos que
las canteras que se explotaban en los años
veinte ya no existian. Mas tarde se intento
en Egipto, Israel, Pakistan, Mejico y Brasil.
A la desesperada se volvio a Argelia, y en
un lugar a pocos kilometros de Muskara y
en un frente abandonado de una cantera se
encontro un bloque con la calidad y las
medidas adecuadas. Partiendo de unas
condiciones aparentemente irresolubles, por
problemas de transporte y gestion (habia que
convencer a los que ya no explotaban aquel
yacimiento que cortaran aquel bloque) se
consiguio sin embargo, llevar finalmente el
material en bloque hasta España. El fulgor
deslumbrante de las piezas de colosales
dimensiones en mitad del espacio fue la
manera en que el Pabellon recobro vida
definitivamente.
Una historia casi mitica para un edificio
mitico.

Besos.
R

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

169. Chicago's Gold Coast


Dear Sabrina,

Came to Chicago and saw this view
from the Lake. To the left 860–880,
to the right 900–910. Of course I mean
Lake Shore Drive, and of course I
mean they were designed by Mies.
Unlike the later 900–910 buildings, the
exterior walls of 860–880 are not true
curtain walls because the windows are
placed within the structural frame
of the building so they do not form a
continuous, separate curtain wall structure.
By contrast, at 900–910 the curtain wall
stands apart from the buildings’ structural
skeleton as a separate continuous element.
Finding the beauty in exposed structural
elements was a hallmark of Mies’
philosophy.

Thanks for your songs.
R

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

168. Roma. E.U.R. Palazzo dei Congressi


Dear Oscar,

My friend Curzio took me to see the Palazzo dei
Congressi at the EUR. I was surprised with
Libera's ability of giving to this building a singular
style that I could describe as between modernism
and neo-classicism. But I was shocked when I got into
the Salone della Cultura. To get an idea of its impressive
size I can say that this space is a cube measuring 38
meters on each side, a volume which could contain the
entire Pantheon.

Best regards.
R

Sunday, December 21, 2008

167. Exposicao Ibirapuera S. Paulo. 4 Centenario, 1954


Mary Kate,

Hoy he estado en el Palacio de la Industria del Conjunto
Ibirapuera en Sao Paulo. Este enorme edificio de mas de
800 pies de largo por 160 de ancho es muy sobrio en el
exterior pero enormemente dinamico en el interior. Estas
rampas entrelazadas me recordaron a una ciudad donde
vivimos: los cruces y las intersecciones de las autopistas
de Los Angeles.
Os echo de menos y os llevo en el corazon a ti y a los
chicos.

Besos
R

Saturday, December 20, 2008

166. Breslau, Jahrhunderthalle


Dear Anna,

This reinforced concrete structure was built in Wrocław
in 1913 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of
victory over Napoleon. At the time of construction
it was the largest reinforced concrete structure in
the world. With a large circular central space it seats
6,000 persons. The dome is 23m high and made of
steel and glass. The Jahrhunderthalle became a key
reference for the development of reinforced concrete
structures in the a 20th century.

Best regards.
R

Friday, December 19, 2008

165. Stockholm. Sergel Place with Obelisc



Dear Olof,

Sergels Torg Square in central Stockholm is fantastic!
The Cultural Center by Swedish modernist architect
Peter Celsing was designed like a huge vertical screen
with a glazed elevation facing the Square exposing the
structure of the building from the outside, and interior
details in wood. Through these large glass panes the
long floors exhibit their contents as well. Of course
after a while I went inside to take a better look.

Best regards.
R

Thursday, December 18, 2008

164. Fondation Maeght-Saint-Paul, France


Querida Luz,

Hoy he visitado el Museo de Sert para la Fundacion Maeght
en el pueblecito de Saint Paul de Vence. La considerable
extension del conjunto es resuelta por Sert haciendo uso de
la iconografia de pueblo mediterraneo. De ese modo articula
sabiamente espacios abiertos con naturaleza y arquitectura.
En la foto, desde el patio Giacometti domina "La Mairie"
(Ayuntamiento) del "poblado". Algunos de los ilustres
"fundadores" de este pueblo imaginado son Braque, Miro,
Chagall, Giacometti, Chillida o Palazuelo.

Besos.
R

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

163. Wien, Haas-Haus am Stephanplatz


Dear Johann,

"The shape of the building doesn't
develop out of the material condition
of its purpose. A building shall not
show its purpose. It is not an
expression of structure and
construction, it is not an enclosure or
refuge. A building is itself. Architecture
is without purpose. What we build will
find its usefulness."
(Hans Hollein 1963)

The Haas House in Vienna, in whose
facade one can see the mirror image of
St. Stephen's Cathedral, was designed
by architect Hans Hollein in 1989. The
building follows the line of ancient fortified
walls around the Roman camp on which
the building stands.

Regards.
R

Monday, December 15, 2008

162. Rio de Janeiro. Castelo


Dear Oscar,

Happy birthday Master.
Happy 101.
Thank you for the grace and lucidity of your work.

Sincerely.
R

Saturday, December 13, 2008

161. Price Tower. Bartlesville, Oklahoma


Dear Laurita,

This is the building that inspired Saenz
de Oiza to design his "Torres Blancas".
Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower was
his pioneering experiment in the multi-use
skyscraper: a structure whose purpose
was to combine business offices, retail
and apartments. Wright nicknamed the
Price Tower, which was built on the
Oklahoma prairie, "the tree that escaped
the crowded forest." It is the only realized
skyscraper by Wright.

Warm regards.
R

Friday, December 12, 2008

160. Madrid. Avenida de America



Querida Laurita,

Esta postal originalmente escrita por una americana
viviendo en España te la manda ahora un español
viviendo en America. La torre del fondo es el famoso
edificio Torres Blancas, obra cumbre del organicismo
español y uno de los mejores edificios construidos en
Madrid. Curiosamente el proyecto para este edificio
español se inspiro en otro americano: the Price Tower
en Oklahoma obra de Frank Lloyd Wright.

Espero que estes muy bien.
R

Thursday, December 11, 2008

159. Fundacio Publica del Pavello Alemany de Barcelona de Mies van der Rohe


Dear Enric,

"Such is the German Pavilion: the architecture of reflections.
walls, paving stones and roofs form a prodigious blending
of rays of lights which criss-cross freely."(Marsa, Marsillach)
"The greatness of this art cannot be expressed materially.
Rather, it acts in ways which affect us even more profoundly"
(Peter Behrens)

Best.
R

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

158. Jardines de Pedregal. Mexico D.F.




Dear Kathy,

In the mid 1940's mexican architect Luis Barragan began
to design El Pedregal. The idea of developing this
residential neighborhood was to promote the harmony
between architecture and landscape. The first structures
built on the site were the Plaza of the Fountains, and a few
typical gardens and houses by Barragán and Max Cetto.

R

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

157. Amsterdam, Olympisch Stadion



Dear Hans,

The Olympisch Stadion designed by architect Jan Wils
is one of the finest examples of theAmsterdam School
architecture. It was built as the main stadium for the
1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. The Olympic
flame was burned for the first time ever in a tall tower.
Nonetheless, the top bowl is known for local people
as the KLM pilots ashtray.

Regards.
R

Sunday, December 7, 2008

156. Firenze. Chiesa di S. Giovanni


Dear Enric,

The Chiesa di San Giovanni or dell'Autostrada del Sole
was built between 1960 and 1963, based on plans by
Giovanni Michelucci. The floorplan follows sinuous curves
creating a feeling of fluid space just like on many of your
drawings. I always saw a strong connection between
Michelucci and Miralles architectures.

Best regards.
R

Friday, December 5, 2008

155. Madrid. Paseo de la Castellana


Querida Ines,

"La tirante superficie vitrea que envuelve el medio interno
acondicionado, se provee de una segunda envuelta o
fachada sensible de un sistema fijo de elementos de
parasol metalicos, que determinan en definitiva este
concepto de situacion de umbral o de anillo de
interrogacion dentro-fuera. La mujer en el umbral de su
casa esta tanto dentro como fuera de la misma"
(F.J. Saenz Oiza hablando sobre el Banco de Bilbao)

Besos.
R

Thursday, December 4, 2008

154. Como. Vista da Brunate



Querida Cristi,

La Casa del Fascio de Terragni, vista aqui en el
centro del borde inferior de la foto, es un edificio
concebido como un cubo ideal y aislado. De esa forma
Terragni, que tenia solo 32 años cuando acabo esta su
obra maestra, propone la creacion de una plaza civica
paralela a la del poder religioso presidida por el Duomo.
Ambos edificios no comparten un eje longitudinal comun,
pero se sabe que Terragni quiso construir un segundo
bloque de igual tamaño para posibilitar la simetria de
eje con la catedral.

Mil besos.
R

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

153. Bremen-Rathaus, Dom und haus der Burgerschaft



Dear Hans,

The "House of Glass" as the Deputies' Assembly Hall
of Bremen is sometimes called, by virtue of its exterior,
is a building designed and built by Wassili Luckhardt in
1959.
The facade reflects the old buildings in the mirror-like
surface of the glass sheathing as a means for converging
and linking the building with the older edifices
surrounding the historic market square.

Best regards.
R

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

152. Bogota Colombia. Aerofotografia del Centro Internacional


Dear Alvar

One of Rogelio Salmona's key works
is theTorres del Parque housing complex
in Bogota, which has elements in common
with Aalto's towers in Bremen and
Lucerne.
"Good architecture will become ruins.
Bad architecture disappears. I hope the
[Parque] Towers not to be ruins today
but one thousand years from now"
(Rogelio Salmona)

All the best.
R

Monday, December 1, 2008

151. Haus Wittgenstein, Wien



Dear Paul,

"No ideas but in things"
(William Carlos Williams)

Yours
R

Sunday, November 30, 2008

150. Mallorca, Palma. Hotel de Mar, Illetas



Dear Tom,

The Coderch's Hotel de Mar in Mallorca was positioned
so as to open frontally on the sea. The bedrooms open
onto the terraces by way of a partition which is stepped
in plan. This way and with the in between beautiful vertical
wooden shutters (for shelter from the sun as well), privacy
and seclusion between the rooms are achieved.

Regards.
R

Saturday, November 29, 2008

149. Solvesborg Ungersgatan


Querida Aino,

Hoy ha sido un dia magnifico. Mi amigo Erkki me ha
llevado de excursion al campo donde nos hemos quedado
extasiados contemplando uno de los bosques de hayas
mas grandes de Europa.
Luego hemos ido en tren hasta Solvesborg. Al salir de la
Estacion, hemos caminado en linea recta con la vista puesta
en el edificio al final del camino: Los Juzgados del Condado
de Lister. Erkki me ha explicado que es obra del famoso
arquitecto sueco Erik Gunnar Asplund que lo construyo en
1921. Por supuesto hemos entrado a visitarlo. Solemne y
acogedor al mismo tiempo, me ha sorprendido por sus detalles
ingenuos llenos de buen humor y delicadeza. Erkki me ha dicho
que le gusta imaginar la inmensa forma cilindrica en la parte
trasera del edificio como el resultado final del impacto de una
masa ideal en movimiento que hubiera hecho el mismo recorrido
que nosotros desde la estacion de trenes. Erkki es buen fines,
lleno de imaginacion poetica.

Un saludo afectuoso.
R

PS.
Como respuesta a tu comentario te dire que la idea de la masa
ideal en movimiento que da pie a la formacion del cilindro
trasero es discutida por algunos estudiosos como algo
que es posible que en realidad Asplund imaginara, pero no hay
constatacion explicita de ello. Por otro lado la Biblioteca de
Estocolmo que tambien posee un gran cilindro interior, y que
responde a otra idea distinta como es la de un universo central
del conocimiento, estuvo algunos años sin la cuarta fachada
que cierra el cuadrilatero dejando expuesto el cilindro completo
al exterior. Tal como en Lister. El 29 de Octubre de 2012
enviare una postal en este blog con esa imagen para que la veas.

Un saludo y gracias por tu pregunta.
R

Friday, November 28, 2008

148. Ljubljana



Enrique,

Alli, al fondo, la Biblioteca de la Universidad de
Ljubljana, arquitectura semperiana de suelo-muro-techo
de genesis textil.
El arquitecto? el referido por Le Cobusier como
"el famoso dibujante de mano temblorosa": Joze Plecnik

Abrazos.
R

Thursday, November 27, 2008

147. Josep Maria Jujol, Torre de la Creu 1913-1916


Querido Juan,

La Torre de la Creu en Sant Joan Despí,
Barcelona es un proyecto de Josep Maria
Jujol que se termino de construir en 1916.
Las dos escaleras que posse son elementos
que taladran los volumenes cilindricos de
los que esta compuesto el edificio.
Este construccion deslumbrante ha llegado a
ser comparada en su analisis con la Casa de
Melnikov en Moscu por el tema comun de
interseccion de cilindros.

Abrazos.
R

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

146. Beograd XVII Zemun rue Roi Pierre


Dear Scott,

The Yugoslavian Air Force Headquarters in Zemun,
built by Dragisa Brasovan in 1935 is one one the most
significant examples of Expressionism in Serbian modern
architecture. Regrettably it was damaged by Nato bombs
in 1999.

Best regards,
R

Sunday, November 23, 2008

145. Prague. The Dancing House


Dear Pier,

This well-known building was originally named
Fred and Ginger (after the famous pair of dancers),
though for some people it is difficult to understand this
metaphoric image. Others, however, have nicknamed
it "Drunk House".
That's easier!

Cheers.
R

Friday, November 21, 2008

144. Munich Allianz-Arena


Dear Julia,

In this new football stadium in Munich the different stairs
follow the line of greatest slope of the outer shell
underscoring the procession-like approach of visitors to
the building. Here's a view of the stadium under
construction where you can see the shadows of those
stairs.

Best.
R

Thursday, November 20, 2008

143. Vitoria, Iglesia de Ntra. Sra. de los Angeles


Querida Olga,

La solucion a un solar triangular muy complicado
fue absolutamente brillante por parte de estos dos
grandes arquitectos. La calidad "flotante" de las
paredes y la cubierta, con su aparentemente
complicada pero en el fondo sencilla solucion, es
admirable.

Besos
R

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

142. Malmo Stadsteatern


Dear Aino,

Sigurd Lewerentz and his colleagues Erik Lallerstedt
and David Helldén built in 1944 what is considered
to be of one of the masterpieces of Swedish
Functionalist architecture: The Malmo Opera House.

All the best.
R

Monday, November 17, 2008

141. City Hall Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Dear Silke,

One of the most distinctive landmarks of Toronto,
The new City Hall was designed by Finnish architect
Viljo Revell along with his collaborators and finished
in 1965. The overall arrangement is somewhat like
two hands cradling the council chamber which stands
between the two towers.

Best Regards.
R

Saturday, November 15, 2008

140. Copenhagen. Gammeltorv and our Lady's Church


Dear Pier,

Designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1938,
the "Stelling Hus" is located in the
northern side of the old Gammeltorv
square. The building situated in an
old part of the town was, at the time,
criticized for its irreverent modernism.
Today, however, it is possible to
appreciate how well the building
measures up to the scale of the old
built neighbors, and how much even
its building material is in keeping with
the congenial atmosphere of the
district.

Regards.
R

Friday, November 14, 2008

139. Mercado de Santa Caterina, Barcelona


Domenec,

"The city appears at once brutal and romantic.
Stuffy and cramped yet filled with memories.
The market had to be remodeled in order to bring
back to live its neighborhood. Conducting the traffic
flow from Via Layetana towards the interior of this
area was also essential. Nevertheless, the work was
almost uniquely about designing a roof that would
be able to do all that." (B.Tagliabue)

Best.
R

Thursday, November 13, 2008

138. Amsterdam, Reguliersbreestraat


Dear Felix,

The Amsterdam Cineac movie theatre was located
directly opposite the famed Tuschinski Theatre on
the narrow Reguliersbreestraat. It symbolized modern
rationality versus old-fashioned romanticism.
It opened on 18th October 1934 and the architect
Jan Duiker managed to create on an awkward
site an ingenious auditorium in which the
projection room was tucked away, under the balcony.
To open up the mystique of the operation of the
cinema, the operations within the projection room
(located over the front entrance) could be seen from
the street as it had glass walls on two sides.

All the best.
R

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

137. Uruguay-Balneario Atlantida, Planeta Palace Hotel


Querido Juan,

Este maravilloso edificio, el Planeta Palace Hotel, fue
construido por el empresario italiano afincado en
Buenos Aires, Natalio Michelizzi en 1939. La forma de
barco responde al nombre mitico de Atlantida y al maravilloso
paisaje de playas y naturaleza que le rodean.
Se que esto es pura especulacion pero desde el principio
me sorprendio su parecido con el famoso Isokon Building
en Hampstead (Londres) diseñado por Wells Coates en
1934 como ejemplo de vivienda colectiva experimental y
muy elogiado incluso por Le Corbusier.

Abrazos.
R

Monday, November 10, 2008

136. Sevilla. Puente del Alamillo



Gracias Rafa, por venir a Sevilla conmigo.
Por cruzar el charco a mi lado coloreando tus libros
de hombre araña, viendo Wall-E conmigo, y
preguntandome si "ya hemos llegao" cada 5 minutos.
Todo, lleno de alegria e inocencia, haciendome ver
las cosas que conocia de toda mi vida de otra manera,
con tus maravillosos ojos de niño curioso.
Aqui te mando un puente que es tambien un caballo
gigante.

Te quiero mucho.
Papa

Sunday, November 9, 2008

135. Nordens Hus


Dear Stefano,

This building is a small Congress Hall built by
all the Nordic Countries in Reykjavik. It was finished
in 1968 and designed by Alvar Aalto, naturally!

Regards
R

Saturday, November 8, 2008

134. Stockholm. Katarinahissen


Dear Sean,

This lift was built in 1935 as part of another building,
the Kooperativa Forbundet or simply KF, and
together they form a classic example of early Swedish
Functionalism or colloquially in Sweden and Norway
"Funkis". In a glass gangway at the top of the lift there
is a restaurant which offers guests a wonderful view of
the city along with their meals.

Best.
R

Friday, November 7, 2008

133. London Millennium Dome


Dear Anna,

This tensile structure is the largest of its type in the
world. The canopy is made of a durable and
weather-resistant plastic, and is 50 m high in the middle.
During the political controversy surrounding the dome
back in the 90's, Wonderbra ran an advertising campaign
with the slogan 'Not all domes lack public support'.

Cheers.
R