100 H2O

Hundertwasser was a very serious eccentric, an eccentric interesting artist. He was painter, architect and much more. He travelled the world with many ideas and works, and on his lively coloured boat renamed Regentag (Raining day) as well.

For him in one of his most brilliant aphorisms, humans have 3 layers ; skin, clothes and architecture (3 Schichten : Haut, Kleidung, Architektur). To him, colours are more beautiful, mellower (zarter) by the rain.

In Vienna (Wien), his Kunsthaus is worth hours of visit eyes wide open. It is both a museum and a manifesto against the straight line.

Regentag (Raining day) is an out-ordinary film by Peter Schamoni in 1972 (here in German, 20″ via YouTube), about his ideas and artistic works. Paintings and movies sometimes merge. The pace is slow and yet breathtaking.

Regentag, schönster Tag…

& :
Hundertwasser.at
Pluie ? | Pleuvons (en français, EcritOL).

La terre sous la pluie ne se mouille pas aisément, dure qu’elle demeure après des sécheresses. Il pleut ce soir pour noyer les décibels des Hommes, l’on ne sait qui gagnera vraiment mais la terre se décante néanmoins lentement, rassurant les jardiniers. Ce jour de pluie offre l’autre musique qui nous manquait, comme un clavecin sur les tuiles que ponctue le carillon sur les tôles,là-bas ; des traits faussement réguliers sur les grandes feuilles des liquidambars. Au fil des nuages, la terre se décante et revit, exhalant ici de la poussière abreuvée. D’autres jardiniers reprennent leurs outils, crayons et claviers : lettres instantanément agencées en mots qui s’alignent lentement par phrases. Comme eut dit Hundertwasser, les jours de pluie sont beaux et invitent à l’écriture.

Regentag, statt Musiktag.

(EcritOL, 2011-06).

EDIT – First version in 2009-08.

Photographies de sites industriels

Qui n’avait pas télévisualisé l’émission artistique d’ARTE un certain dimanche 14 octobre 2007 (de 20h15 à 20h45), sur un couple de photographes célèbres pour la photographie de sites industriels, le regrette depuis lors. C’était remarquable sur la construction des photos et donc du regard, sur la mise en valeur des chateaux d’eau, de hauts-fourneaux, d’usines magnifiquement spéciales.

WebOL est resté marqué par la découverte voici quelques années des travaux de ces 2 photographes, dans le cadre d’une exposition au Grand Hornu (lieu patrimonial qui mérite le détour, dans le Borinage près de Mons en Belgique).

Bref, du grain électronique à moudre :
Bernd & Hilla Becher.
– Liens ARTE, pour archive (il n’y avait malheureusement pas de possibilité de revisualisation 8 jours durant pour cette émission-là) : L1 & L2.
– Une page Wikipédia, à prendre avec les réserves d’usage. (Auch auf Deutsch).

A toutes vues utiles, par exemple celle de Valérie Thierry, architecte-urbaniste-voyageuse et fort bon clavier : retour à Hagondage. Laquelle VT conseille derechef de suivre Thomas Maniaque, architecte-photographe-curieux, en son Escapade toxique.

EDIT – Première version en 2008-05.

To make a place

It has been claimed here and there that architecture like design is about light, sound and matters. But architectural production is not just artefacts. According to Peter Zumthor as related by the excellent FT specialist, Edwin Heathcote, architecture is to make a place.

– PZ’s current Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011 in London, with extensive press coverage and one interview.
– EH’s article The unplugged pavilion in FT WE (2011-07-01, unfortunately access under subscription) :

(…)

His recent work embraces strange pieces of constructed magic, such as the memorial to women murdered as witches in the bleak arctic landscape of northern Norway and a chapel to the eccentric visionary hermit-saint Bruder Klaus in a field outside Mechernich in Germany.

What he has designed for the Serpentine is, in many ways, just as strange. A mute black container lurks outside the dainty brick-built gallery. On entering you are confronted with a sinister dark corridor and then, suddenly, a splash of colour in the rich mix of meadow flowers and plants at its courtyard centre, a canopy of sky above. The building has the dark, light-absorbing angularity of a stealth bomber but at its heart is pure delight; a garden within a garden, the planting conceived by the Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf, whose work along New York’s High Line park has created an entirely new natural layer in Manhattan. “How could you do something where you are not looking at nature,” Zumthor explains, “but nature is looking at you? Where you can become part of it? This is not a pop-up Chelsea Flower Show but a collection of ordinary plants you’d find in your garden or that might sprout up in an alley.”

In the heat of London’s hottest day this year, the garden really does appear like a retreat, a shady glimpse of something other. But, with the snapping of lenses, the aggressive jostling for media position and the thrusting of microphones, this isn’t, perhaps, the perfect day to experience it. Then again, will any day be? These pavilions have become so popular, so keenly anticipated, that the idea of this place becoming a refuge is perhaps a little hopeful – though it is being opened at dawn every day through the summer. Get there early if you want contemplative.

(…)

His buildings have made such an impact because they affect us in a way we have become unused to. His pavilion too is as unsettling as it is enigmatic, dark, concealed, strange. I was wary of how an architect such as Zumthor, who deals in a kind of permanence, with a deep connection to the earth and the place, would cope with such a weightless brief. His response has been the hardest thing in architecture – to make a place.

& :
– PZ’s Pritzker Prize 2009.
– WebOL’s all architecture tags.

Gerrit Rietveld

Gerrit Rietveld is one major designer of the 20th century, with no single interest but broad output from furniture to architecture. Among pals like Mondrian (Mondriaan, in dutch) and Van Doesburg, he remains one great name of the De Stijl movement in art. His legacy lies in the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (NL).

Many people are familiar with the red-blue chair and the Rietveld-Schröder House, but Rietveld has designed many more pieces of furniture and houses. On the special Rietveld collection website you will get a good impression of his complete oeuvre. Here you can find all objects by and about Rietveld owned by the Centraal Museum. It concerns more than 300 museum objects, mostly pieces of furniture, and over 7000 items of archive material. This archive material consists of a great many items, varying from architectural drawings to personal scribbled notes on business cards. The archive is owned by the Foundation Rietveld Schröder Archive and kept by the Centraal Museum.

Wish you could read Dutch reasonably enough to browse swiftly ?

Collection = Collectie
Drawing = Tekening
Chair = Stoel
Visual material = Beeldmateriaal
Table = Tafel
Scale-model = Maquette
Settee, sofa = Bank
Correspondence = Correspondentie
Cabinet, cupboard = Kast
Model = Model
Text = Tekst
Documentation = Documentatie

& :
Rietveld Schröderhuis in Utrecht (NL).
Typo-but-also-Grapho + Architecture @WebOL.
– (Museum.nl) For modern art,  Kröller-Müller Museum | Stedelijk Amsterdam | Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (The Hague) for Mondrian | Museum Boijmans van Beunigen Rotterdam.
– (Museum.nl) For older fine arts, Mauritshuis Den Haag (The Hague) | Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Archi-sculpture

Architecture is not restricted to isolated showcases with no consideration to the actual surroundings, as if they were in sealed boxes. Nonetheless, the exhibition in Shanghai may provide one inspiring testbed.

– The Danish Pavilion (@ArchDaily). Add-on : visual tour (@Fubiz).
– The UK Pavilion (@Fubiz).
– More following the tag « Shanghai 2010«  @ArchiDaily.
Article synthétique de Frédéric Edelmann (@Le Monde, accès payant).
Add-on : as synthetic an article by Edwin Eathcote (@FT Week-end, paying access).

& :
IT-towns of nowadays | City is diversity | Ville | Do cities get slim too ? (@ArchiOL).

VitraHaus

The best architecture park in Europe is a factory and a showroom, stuck to the swiss border in Germany. Another jewel has been erected near the Rhine : the VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron is now open, and deserves additional round walks on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein.

The site is for archi-addicts indeed, if just because of the following recipe (as Edwin Heathcote wrote in the 2nd March’s edition of FT Week-end) :

Zaha Hadid’s first building is here. The jagged construction was to be the town’s fire station, although it proved hopelessly impractical and is now a chair museum.

Frank Gehry’s first building in Europe is here too, the odd-looking collapsing architecture of the Vitra Design Museum (1989) predated the billowing titanium of the Bilbao Guggenheim by nearly a decade.

The main factory building was designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, whose metallic high-tech style perfectly suited the aestheticised industrialism Vitra was seeking.

There is another factory building by Portugal’s Alvaro Siza, arguably the greatest and possibly the subtlest architect working today.

The conference centre is the European debut of Japanese architect Tadao Ando, while the petrol station came from the French pioneer of the engineering aesthetic, Jean Prouvé.

Under construction is a building by Japanese practice Sanaa, famed for its diaphanous, ethereal architecture. Even the bus shelter is by British industrial designer Jasper Morrison.

And now, most visibly, there is that blackened pile of extruded houses, the Vitrahaus, by local architects Herzog & de Meuron. Known for their radical and never less than striking designs, from the Beijing Olympic Stadium to London’s Tate Modern, they are at the top of their game. But what they are designing here is effectively a furniture showroom on an industrial estate.

Zone polyglotte à la croisée de trois frontières, la visite est également en français aux bons soins de l’Express pour découvrir le nouveau bâtiment.

& :
– Imaginer des bâtiments construits par des architectes qui n’étaient, avant la gloire large, pas tous si reconnus. Retrouver Nicolas Grenshaw, Alvaro Siza, Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Jean Prouvé, Richard Buckminster Fuller et bientôt Herzog & de Meuron sur quelques hectares à Weil am Rhein, en Allemagne aux portes de Basel, où Vitra implante ses usines d’assemblage, son Musée et son centre de séminaire. S’assoir avec art, se rendre au coin des 3 frontières au bord du Rhin et se rappeler que le design est la rencontre entre des fonctions, des formes, des matières et des lumières.
– « Vitra » @ArchiOL.

Sanaa

Architecture is light over matter, matter under light to create space for all senses. Some works are more gracious than others. Sanaa is now the recipient of the Pritzker Prize 2010 for so elegant reasons.

– The Guardian’s portfolio of S, plus the article on the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne (in other words, part of the EPFL University) which is simply « mesmerising« .
– The NY Times’s article + resources on S.
– Le Temps’s article on S., plus the previous one on the already mentioned « mesmerising » EPFL building (in french).
– e-Architect’s page relative to S.
– Google’s miscellaneous images of S.
Add-onPost by Martin Filler (NY Review of Books Blog).

& :
Rossignol bâtisseur | Archi-Tele-in-Nord | Vitra | Renzo Piano | Rotterdam.
Matières & Sons (Matters + Sounds) | Sons & Forms (Sounds + Forms).
–  « City » | Architecture (Resources) | All Architecture @WebOL.