This is a church… Let me repeat that, this is a church! I absolutely love when architects challenge the status quo of traditional style especially when its a church. A very good example of this is Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. But the difference between Gaudi’s work and Aalto’s is that if you walk up do the Sagrada Familia you don’t wonder “what on earth could that be”, you immediately know that it is a church. Hell from miles away you know it’s a church! It want’s you to know what it is and what it stands for. The Stephanuskirche takes a different approach; a subtle approach. Like what I would deem as a good person regardless of belief is someone who keeps their religion to themselves. I wont judge you, you don’t judge me, I won’t push my beliefs on you, in return you do the same. That’s the vibe I get when I look at this building. Come to me if you want me. Come inside and discover who I am and what I stand for.
I made this point during my presentation and the more I look at modern and minimalist architecture the more the idea solidifies in my mind. I made the point that almost every piece of architecture of this style that you look at it features white and lightly stained wood… It looks good don’t get me wrong but metal is also a minimalist material, so is rock and glass… It all comes from the earth and can have as minimal of processing as wood can if not less… white is minimal yes because it’s devoid of color but other colors could be arguably minimal as well. So why white and light stained wood? I don’t know someone smarter than me would have to figure it out but doesn’t it look good!? This building was created for an art dealer and has a striking resemblance to one of the houses Frank Lloyd Wright built. The one now located in Arkansas as a show piece.
This is the Villa Mairea located in Noormarkku, Finland. It was created for the industrialist Harry Gullichsen. I would like to see this building in person. Notice that it was built as a private residence for the industrialist and his wife but it has that office/industrial/otherwise non residential feel to it. This is interesting but you build to personify the person paying you I guess.
This is the Wolfsburg cultural center in germany and it was built in 1962. It is made of white and blue marble! An epitome of the 1960’s; It screams dominance and “I’m in charge”! I actually love this building. It’s facade definitely suits the buildings purpose. To portray the culture of the people during the time.
This is the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York! He was asked to design and build it in his Alvar Aalto way and he delivered. He built in a compact 4 story structure and it includes photos posted on top a a background of wood slatted walls. Also something I though was cool is that he used airplane propellers as ceiling fans. I see this done some places today but in 1939 it would have probably been pretty odd.
This will be the first of 6 posts covering my favorite architectural works by the critically acclaimed Alvar Aalto.
The first building i chose is Finlandia Hall; a concert hall placed on the coast near the sea. It is the centerpiece of the Finnish capital. It was engineered by Alvar to improve acoustic noise within the walls. He did this by using a very high, pronounced roof. The outside is made of white marble and black granite!
I’m very happy that I got Alvar. I would have loved to have gotten Frank Lloyd Wright but I was exposed to a lot of his work when I was preparing for the team project. Therefore It’s great to see another architects work which falls into the same modern theme. I would even go so far as to say that some of Alvar’s work goes hand and hand with Frank’s.
I visited the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC with my father when I was around 14. My mom went on a lot of business trips and they’d pay for her to bring a guest sometimes. I rode a Segway under the legs of the statue standing in front of the huge red column you see in the picture. If I remember right, there was another art museum across the street that we visited too but this one comes easier to memory. Often with art museums, the building itself is the main attraction, and the Bechtler is no exception.
When I was 12 I went on a family trip to Disney World and fell in love with EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) namely the Spaceship Earth building/attraction. It’s one of the first things I saw when arriving to Disney World and the first place we visited during our trip! Experiences like the one I had being humbled by this huge sphere of a building ultimately dictated where I am today. From an early age I dedicated my life to furthering our understanding of the world and EPCOT is a place where I felt at home.
The Cheyenne Mountain Complex is located within the deep woods of Colorado Springs. Built during the heat of the cold war in the 1960’s, it is the safest place to be during a nuclear bombing. It can withstand direct (modern day) nuclear attacks long enough to take defensive and offensive measures. Meaning that we get extra time to push the big red button! It is a modern marvel, featuring a 25 ton vault door, shock absorbing coils the size of cars, and enough men in black to fill wall street… Jealous of the girls who got to tour the whole thing!
Unlike my other architectural favorites, this post isn’t about a particular building. Instead it’s meant to encompass the architectural prowess of the entire city of Charleston, SC! Mainly the downtown area, but I love just about every square inch of this city! It’s brick streets, brick buildings, narrow alleys, Gothic churches, Gothic street lights, shady canopies, marble banks, and tropical paint choices mesh together to create one of the most memorable places I’ve ever visited!