Beautiful Life and Style


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Architect Report: Ole Scheeren

Last week, as I was on the Amtrak to NY, I found myself relaxing, soaking in sunrise on the Connecticut shoreline and FINALLY reading cover to cover through the Vogue September Issue. I had skimmed through the issue a few times already, but this time, I kept finding new amazing features tucked between the pages (it was easy to get lost in there- if you haven’t seen the issue- its 902 pages and weighs 3.76 pounds!) One of my favorite finds was about architect Ole Scheeren. It’s not everyday a fashion magazine writes about architecture so I figured I’d share his work here. Between this article and the feature on Melissa Mayer it was a very nerdy issue! I hope they continue to have more engineering and design features mixed in with fashion.

Scheeren is a German born, Beijing based architect, who at a very young age, already has a resume that rivals some of the world’s best architects. He worked under Rem Koolhaas for 15 years, and together they designed the iconic CCTV building in Beijing. (As the article mentioned, the two  had a bit of a falling out, most notably over the design credit for this building)

CCTV

One characteristic of Scheeren’s buildings is the incredible forms and heights that they achieve. Like many painters, the shape he creates relies as much on “negative space” as it does the actual structure. You can’t help but look at them and think- HOW did they do that?! As a structural engineer, I am scratching my head on a few of these. The Maha Nakon Building looks almost like a Jenga tower, and it will somehow, soon be Bangkok’s tallest building:

Maha Nakhon

Scheeren also has an amazing way with creating architecture as a storytelling element- a journey for the occupant. One incredible project is the floating “Archipelago Cinema” he designed for the Film on the Rocks Yao Noi Festival in Thailand. Attendees were brought to the site in the dark, in boats, and then the lights came up all around them after the films were over, in this most amazing setting. Can you even imagine????

Archipelago Cinema

Archipelago Cinema 2

The article mentioned that Scheeren is incredibly influenced by Asian culture and their ideas about personal vs communal space, but that he may be moving back to his native Europe soon. I wonder what direction this new environment will take the young architect next…

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

 

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AD’s 10 Blockbuster Buildings

It’s those lazy days following the holidays. Is this a “just me” phenomena? I come home and have no interest in working out or putting away decorations- or preparing blog posts- I can’t motivate myself to do anything really, except lie around and read magazines. It’s a bit of escapism. I guess life could be worse.

Yesterday, I spent some time catching up on one of my favorite subscriptions, Architectural Digest. AD is a funny magazine because despite the name, it usually only focuses on amazing interiors. But every once in a while, they feature a few architectural masterpieces that blow me away. Especially this month. If you haven’t picked up the most recent issue I suggest you do. “10 Blockbuster Buildings from Around the World” will knock your socks off. The article features 10 buildings that were built in the past few years- and each is now on my “must see” travel list! They vary in architectural style, location and size but are each linked together with an inspired design unlike anything you’ve seen anywhere else. These three were my absolute favorites:

Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill NY. Of all of the places on the list, this one is definitely closest to home- so its first on my list for visiting! The Parrish Art Museum features the work of a colony of artists from Eastern Long Island. The current exhibitions would be reason enough alone to visit, but I’m sure they seem even more amazing in such an inspired building!

Water Mill NY Parrish Art Museum

Metropol Parasol, Seville, Spain. The story behind this structure is absolutely amazing. Developers were planning a new underground parking garage in Seville when they encountered an undiscovered Roman archaeological site. The country immediately changed courses and created a new national landmark complete with museum, observatory and restaurants.

Seville Metropol parasol

Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay, Singapore. The booming Marina Bay in Singapore is home to many amazing attractions- including these Gardens by the Bay. There are 7 different attractions each highlighting a different climate and garden style. The first picture is of the two “garden domes” and the next picture of of the 50 meter tall “supertrees” The goal of the site is to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be to explore this area of the city!

Singapore Gardens by the Bay2 Singapore Gardens by the Bay

The other buildings were equally amazing so I suggest you check out the article! Have you been to any of the ones featured?? I’d love to hear about it!


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A home in the city

If you follow me on instagram you might know that this past weekend Nick and I went for a nice Fall stroll through Back Bay and Beacon Hill, two of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods.

The homes in this area were built well before anyone alive was born and there is so much charm in the uncorrupted, traditional architecture. I mean- what other major city has this? Save for the lone air conditioner- this picture could have been taken in 1904 and would probably have looked exactly the same. I always wonder what secrets these homes hold of the former residents. What people lived there? What historical events were discussed or occurred between these walls.

And then of course after ogling to the point of tourist excess, I go one step further to wonder what these homes look like on the inside. While most of these townhouses have been divided up into several units- every one in a while you realize that some of them are single family homes. Living in a townhouse is probably my dream of dreams and I always enjoy looking at real-estate listings online its always good motivation to keep working. So yesterday, I happen to come across this one.

It is an ACTUAL house. Like two story, 3000 square feet, with shingles and windows, and ivy crawling up the sides, and trees in front, and a style somewhat reminiscent of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but IN THE CITY.  This “Sunflower Castle” in Beacon Hill is currently on the market for $4.6 mil and while the colors are agreeably- out there- I can’t get over how charming it is! If you ever have trouble deciding between living in the city vs the suburbs- this is the house for you!

Sunflower Castle

exposed beams? LOVE

gorgeous details!

this looks cozy

And then it just goes completely insane:

let me remind you… this is DOWNTOWN BOSTON

So yeah. I guess the bar just got set a little higher.


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Architect Report: Frank Lloyd Wright

Yesterday I read this article in the NY Times about the house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his son. The house has been kept pretty under the radar for the past 60 years, but it is an amazing specimen of Wright’s work especially as an example of the spiral layout he employed for the Guggenheim Museum in NY. The drama fueling the article is that despite its history and importance as an architectural gem, the house is scheduled to be demolished by a greedy developer who recently bought the Phoenix property. (can you tell which side of the story I’m on?) There are now several petitions and protests all over the country in an attempt to save the house- but they are very likely too late.

David Wright House

Guggenheim Museum

Someone who is not familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright’s work might wonder- so what’s the big deal? Houses get torn down all of the time…. WRONG. This is a BIG. DEAL. and in case you are one of those people, today I’ve decided to showcase a few famous pieces of his work as a case for preserving a home by one of the greatest American Architects of all time.

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Wisconsin in 1867 as the son of a minister. His mother was from an especially well to do family and is reported as saying she wished for her son to grow up and build beautiful buildings. She helped teach him at an early age the history of English cathedrals and provided him with educational toys such as building blocks that helped form his early understanding of geometry and architectural form. Despite a questionable education background (with no record of finishing high school and then dropping out of college), Wright was able to secure work at an Architectural Firm in Chicago in 1887 at only 19 years old. His early work is traditional- but still very Wright. For example the window massing on this Walter Gale house:

Walter Gale House

To Wright, architecture was not just about buildings, it was about nourishing the lives of those sheltered within them. His buildings were designed to connect residents physically and spiritually with nature. One of Wright’s most famous designs is Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, built literally over a waterfall in the Bear Run Nature Preserve. The owner of this home requested that Wright design a place where he “could enjoy the sound of the waterfall” and so Wright designed it that you could hear the waterfall from every room. It was only after construction that the owner- somewhat disgruntled at the layout- added that he would have also liked to SEE it… or so the story goes.

Fallingwater

I remember when I was in Middle School our family visited Taliesin West- which is now the home of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. I remember specifically the triangular rooms and the transition between indoor and outdoor space- you almost couldn’t tell where one room ended and the outdoors began.

Taliesin West

In another fairly recent Wright controversy, a project that had been shelved for 50+ years, was constructed on Lake Mahopac in NY – (which coincidentally, is my home town). While the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation insists that it is not a TRUE Frank Lloyd Wright house- the project was built almost exactly to the original plans with minor updates for modern amenities and building code requirements. The 5000 square foot home is on a small island, only accessible by boat, and is another beautiful example of Wright’s passion for the relationship between indoor and outdoor space.

Lake Mahopac House

So I guess the point of this long tale is that I hope the David Wright house survives- and I hope at least anyone reading this post appreciates its value in American culture!

Sources: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 //


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Shut the Front Door

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again- as much as I LOVE living in the city, there are some things I really miss from living in a house. One being a front door. I mean, yes, we have a front door as in a method of entering our apartment- but we miss out on color and decoration- even something as simple as a wreath or a welcome mat is frowned upon, there is no grand entrance. Our door looks exactly like the other 12 on the floor.

Front doors set the tone for the feel of a house. It’s almost like a mystery game show (what is hiding behind door #1…!?) in that it gives clues to what the rest of the house might hold. There are so many subtle differences that I don’t think you realize until you really start looking- door knockers, windows, color…. Designing and decorating the front door is almost the same effort as an entire room in your house!

I don’t think we are moving out of apartment life anytime soon, so for now I’ll have to settle for looking at these amazing images and hope that maybe someday I can afford a townhouse.

and then can we talk about how much I would DIE for a pink front door?

And of course, a few Fall fabulous ones (have to look good for trick or treaters!)

ps I’ll follow up later with links!