have a fun day?

have a fun day?
The refusal of the regularity or the acceptance of the unorthodox.
It is the art of everything. In the inanimate and living. The shape and meaning,
In spirit and body, logic and absurdity.
Everything is architecture. By Hermes Trismegistus, by bacterium.
The Heraclitus said ... Everything flows ....
The Architecture says .... everything in shape ..... so have art in them ..!!

Michael Balaroutsos


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Placement #1

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gabion: Recession, what recession? The cultural-buildings juggernaut rolls on.

Recession, what recession? The cultural-buildings juggernaut rolls on.
You know them when you see them, the great public buildings. It's all to do with unshakable confidence. The 1842 portico and faηade of the British Museum has it. Frank Lloyd Wright's 1959 Guggenheim in Manhattan has it, as does Frank Gehry's Bilbao version of 1996. Two utterly different 1970s buildings - the National Theatre in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris - have it. The question is - will the Tate Modern's £215m extension have it? And what else is going to happen over the next decade?
A surprising amount, paid for (in Britain anyway) by a mix of Lottery and taxpayers' money - often helped by European Union grants and private donations - from better times. These places are always about so much more than their contents and function. If the entire magnificent collection of the British Museum were to be housed in a distribution warehouse somewhere, we'd feel short-changed. Even if there was a nice cafι there, and lots of car parking. This was proved the hard way when, back in the 1990s, the Royal Armouries collection moved to a new building in Leeds. It wasn't a bad new building, but it wasn't the Tower of London, where most of the collection had been before. Collapsing visitor numbers, financial embarrassment and a Government bail-out ensued.
In the jargon of the tourism business, the "experience" is what counts. Ever stopped to look at your fellow art-lovers in Tate Modern, for instance? Lots of them (not you, obviously) charge around the place in packs. They don't stop to look at anything much. Dwell time per room is minimal. That's where the huge turbine hall with its annual installations comes into its own. You can get many roaming packs of cultural tourists in there. So the container - this once-overlooked, cathedral-like, postwar power station by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott - is more than up to the task of providing the experience. This is why they need to build an extension. It has more than twice the number of visitors it was designed for. It's just been too damn popular.
When Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron first came up with an idea for an extension, it was a bit over the top: a stack of glass boxes. That was silly, so version 2 is in brick, like the power station itself. Clever, latticework brick but brick nonetheless. However, the key thing is what the building, with its high-level viewing platform, will do for South London. Tate Modern faces north across the Thames: the symbolism of the fact that its £215m extension will face south, is huge. Visitors to London on 2012 will see it, though tantalisingly it won't be open by then.
As Bilbao proved, you don't have to be a capital city to draw the crowds. So I'm intrigued by the much-anticipated £72m Museum of Liverpool, opening of which has now slipped a year to 2011. A sort of stone-and-glass bowtie by Danish architects 3XN, it is right next to the famous "Three Graces" Edwardian Pierhead buildings. The museum looks a bit weird from some angles but is graceful indeed next to some of the other tat which is now being built close by. In what, incidentally, is still a Unesco-designated World Heritage Site. Liverpool has revived strongly in recent years, but continues to score some thumping architectural misses.

Gabion: Recession, what recession? The cultural-buildings juggernaut rolls on.

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