Monday, August 22, 2005

Too much of the American urban landscape already looks like it was designed while blindfold and drunk

"In tandem with the gentrification of the hilly residential areas to the north [in Central Los Angeles], two areas in particular are drawing cultural tourists and new residents. Bunker Hill tops the bill, crowned by the gleaming stainless steel sails of Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall - slightly less gleaming since they were sanded after local residents complained of the glare. His first large-scale work in his home city, it is said to be all the better for having come after the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

Other major works are being built in the wake of the concert hall. Rafael Moneo recently completed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, built of earth-coloured concrete and alabaster for America's largest Roman Catholic congregation.

Further east towards Chinatown - itself burgeoning with new art galleries - a site is being levelled for a new school of the performing arts by the radical Austrian firm Coop Himmelblau, who reject the functionalist approach to architecture in favour of a more spontaneous design process, finding building forms in sketches they make while blindfold and drunk."

"Things are looking up, downtown" August 22, 2005

Music Center at Strathmore, Maryland (A new home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra). Boston’s William Rawn Associates Architects, with acoustician R. Lawrence Kirkegaard & Associates of Chicago.

Photo credit: AIA


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