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.
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The Pompidou Centre. Inside Out
21 July 2014
words: Natalie Donat-Cattin
photos: Jian Yong Khoo
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. The engine of the Pompidou Centre larks in the blue, green, red, yellow, grey and white tubes, each of which carries a different service: fool-proof and ideal for any problem. At least plumbers and electricians immediately know where to put their hands!
It is a structure that fully belongs to our century even if it was constructed in the past one. It is innovation, rebellion, desire to go beyond and flip the charts. It represents all the expectations, all the great ideals, all the hopes for the new millennium. We cannot yet tell if all these good intentions have become true, since we are still sailing in this century, but certainly the Pompidou now stands in front of us.
Many say that this is love at second sight. For me, no doubt it was love at first sight.
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The Barbican Centre – A place of connection, a place of transition between two different worlds: the street and the courtyard. The former, a reflection of everyday life. The latter, an image of the pleasure of stopping, sitting, observing and thinking. Two universes governed by opposing laws: that of motion and that of stillness.
When the Milanese gallerist Massimo De Carlo gets taped on the wall and morphs into the artwork… are we human or are we art?
Water temple, designed by Tadao Ando, hides in the inland of Awaji Island. Despite its close proximity to the sea (only a 15 min walk) the building turns its back to the ocean to embrace the hillside. The road to reach it, is deserted and steep: a series of greenhouses and fields are the only panorama’s highlights.
In Praise Of Shadows – “…what strikes the eye is the massive roof of tile or thatch and the heavy darkness that hangs beneath the eaves. Even at midday cavernous darkness spreads over all beneath the roof’s edge, making entryway, doors, walls, and pillars all but invisible.”