“La Tourette is in-situ cast concrete, and it reads as a singular structure in spite of its volumetric and formal complexities and apparently tectonic language. The monastery is suspended between earth and sky; it echoes the dark depths and gravity of the earth while reaching towards the sky, hovering weightlessly on its dense system of piloti. This building merges the opposing human dreams of flying and being buried in the earth…
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
La Tour Eiffel. 125 Years Of Love
22 June 2014
words: Natalie Donat-Cattin
photos: Jian Yong Khoo
Paris is an old romantic man. Two things distinguish him as french: a baguette under the arm and a revolutionary spirit in the chest. A bit Bohemian, a bit Jacobin, but with one motto: liberté, egualité, fraternité.
Like all men – or all lovers I should say – he has two weaknesses: absinth and women. But it is known that every Casanova has one true love.
Paris’ everlasting one is a lanky old lady with an iron soul.
In her early years, she was criticised for her avant-garde personality: a bit too strong, a bit too modern. As time went by, confidence grew and she was ready to impress. Her vanity and diversity made her famous worldwide. Now, she is a front cover diva and her photographs are plastered all over magazines and postcards.
Paris observes her everyday from dawn to dusk. For 125 years, he awaited the right moment to make his move, but the time has not come yet. She towers above him like no other. Rising to the top of the Trocadero steps would not be enough to reach her height. Maybe he will never kiss her, but from there he can enjoy her best view.
His love is secret and endless. A love that will last forever.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
If the essence of architecture – its intrinsic and determining constituent – is empty space, every man has experienced an archetypal feeling when visiting the Pantheon. Confined in an immense space, we can never embrace its entirety. Ignorant but curious, we marvel at how such a great dome can stand. Questions whose answers lie in subtle ploys: secrets buried within the structure and the material.
The Ara Pacis was and is an altar to the greatness of Rome, an altar of ideals and hopes. Forgotten but rediscovered. Rebuilt but eradicated. Idolised but caged. Now it sits imprisoned behind white bars, while the citizens invoke freedom for it. Criticism resonates from every part of the capital, loud and clear not unlike most Italians.
Architecture is the embodiment of the arts and sciences, a complex combination which results in an ambiguous whole. What once was just a means of shelter, has evolved into a means of which to communicate and express the ever evolving necessities of contemporary society. The demands of the people coupled with the zeitgeist of the period, more often than not, precipitate a prevailing architectural style, one with which the architects of the period rally to. Two centuries apart, Étienne-Louis Boullée and Louis Kahn, through their tireless re-examination of the discipline, have established profound ideologies on the nature of architecture, which remarkably allude to common principles.
What is the best house for an art museum if not art itself? With an open heart and bones of steel, the Pompidou Centre towers naked above the French roofs of the 4th arrondissement. Among them it stands out, an alien surrounded by mortals. A myriad of pipes wraps the back of the building: not to protect it but to make it work.