Buildings need love too and since Tyler Green's doing a
collective intelligence experiment on the 5 best bits of American architecture
, why not?
Here's my list, as usual it is tinged with personal affinities, besides 5 is too short for historical sample:
1) Frank Lloyd Wright's
(1907), Oak Park Illinois. The approach to the temple is exactly
that, its sets the pace, mood and expectations on a level with Mayan or Egyptian
structures, then raises the bar (yeah scary). It was one of Wright's favorite buildings and highly innovative
for its use of concrete at the time. The central hall is just dumbfoundingly
good, debatably the best room ever designed by any architect. Pictures consistently
fail it. Wright called it a, "jewell box." It is both massively uplifting
and contemplative as an incredibly democratic yet enlightened community space.
I wonder if Donald Judd ever experienced this space? There aren't many rooms
similar to this, only Brad
Cloepfil's Weiden and Kennedy building
strikes any comparison, which is
very good but Wright's is a class or two above that effort. Also, Unity
Temple requires restoration, so please click here to help
, it's a national
2) Frank Lloyd
Wright's Wingspread House
(1938-9), Racine Wisconsin... the ultimate anti-McMansion.
Photo Credit: Tom Bonner
3)Frank Gehry's Walt
Disney Concert Hall
(2003), Los Angeles California. Great outside and inside.
It even sounds good, a functional masterpiece for the architect's home town.
From the inside it's got that Frank Lloyd Wright awe and warmth too.
photo credit: Jeff Jahn
4) Rem Koolhaas: Seattle
, (2004) One of the best things he's ever done and it's even
very functional. It only loses to Gehry for being less exciting outside while
being almost gimicky inside... that is a sophisticated eurotrash "almost" so even that is a kind of victory. Yes, the
hours of operation could be better.
Photo Credits: Jeff Jahn
5) Eero Saarinen (1957) & Santiago Calatrava (2001) Milwaukee
and War Memorial. Situated on the waterfront of Lake Michigan,
it couldn't have been better placed. At first sight the
had me doing a hammy version of "the Love Boat" theme. The
has ideal galleries with an art collection full of surprises. It is one of the best and most rewarding art trips in the country. Yes, I'm biased,
I cut my "eye teeth" here and I know most every inch of the parts
that are open to the public and a few that aren't.
Go ahead and feel free list your favorite 5.
Great list, Jeff! Check out mine: danielflahiff.net
No common picks, but some of yours were on my short-list...
I love the Watts towers... a painter freind of mine David Klein painted an art brut portait of me flanked by the St. Louis arch and the watts towers. It all stemmed from a philisophical conversation we had and I said something like... "aesthetically I want to resonate between something like the St. Louis Arch and the Watts Towers."
I think the EMP is kind of a mess SCL imho is much better... both are daring buildings... The Freemont Bridge in Portland is really beautiful but it can't crack my top 5 or even 10.
The Old Faithful Inn is a magical place for me and it was nearly in my top 5... I love that line from Beauty and the Beast, "I use antlers in all of my decorating!" My parents have this hunting lodge made by a railroad baron... everything is knotty pine. Im a rustic guy in ways most Portland city slickers would find amusing. I'm happiest with a campfire in the woods or piloting some wind powered watercraft.
By being built around a hearth, Wright's buildings speak to that same lizard part of my brain, the specifics of the execution is what convinces the intellect. Gehry's concert hall and the Calatrava both evoke sailing ships so I see that primal aestheyic at work there too.
Hildur Bjarnadottir once told me... "you Nordic men are always building ships." I was hollowing out a piece of bread at the time.
Funny how architecture is such a subjective thing... just like art.
Isn't it funny how we can love antler decor as much as the Seattle Public Library [which nearly made my list too]? I've often wanted to see a successful hybridization of the two aesthetics; Koenig's Case House #22 meets Mary Colter's Bright Angel Lodge. The material economies and DIY ethics are similar, though at first glance the two seem to have nothing in common.
By the way, did you read Jen Graves' blurb on her love of the Seattle Public Library [one of her top 5 as well]? Wonderful and touching, here: http://www.thestranger.com/blog/2007/02/five_favorite_buildings