Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Ripple Patterns

June 24, 2011

 

  After innumerable vehicular gridlocked approaches to Chicago’s skyline over the last nearly sixty years, a recent one from the east afloat through mist and fog was ethereal and otherworldly.  It was like walking into a theater with the most magnificent of backdrops and a smoke generator laying cover for the first act.

  It was incredible.  We were sailing downwind in a light breeze, so it was silent at first.  All one could do was stare.  Time passed, we continued toward the marina at Monroe and Lake Shore Drive.  The air cleared a bit and the sounds of water lapping at hulls and unladen halyards woke us up.  Sun burned and we soon saw more clearly the iconic rectilinearity, strangely yet bereft of the usual downtown din.

  The experience reminded me of something I read about the ascent of man, how “From the stone age to ancient Greece to the Maya to modern Japan, the most technologically advanced and economically successful human beings have often been seafarers and fisheaters”*

  “…people reached the Andaman islands, Melanesia and Australia, all of which required sea crossing, within a few thousand years – whereas it took them tens of thousands of years even to begin to oust our Neanderthal rivals from Europe and inland Asia.

   I wonder about the conscious (or not so) experience of those voyages eons before even Columbus.  Were they reckless forays into the truly unknown or an adventurous hewing to a vestigial instinct?  I’ve read about Polynesian navigators able to find their way through open sea solely by reading ripple patterns on its surface. 

  Something’s gotta be going on there.  Something not to be found on a cruise ship.  Something the zeitgeist lost somewhere between the acquisition of language and literacy.  I need a compass.  Scratch that – I need a GPS.

*WSJ”We Are the Apes Who Took to the Sea”, Matt Ridley, WSJ 3-12/13/11

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I’m Glad I Don’t Have A Tail

May 13, 2011

 

  Please, please, please don’t repeat this to anyone.  Last Friday wife and I rode our bikes along the river to a brew pub for dinner.  On way home via a different route just before dusk she (up ahead) exclaimed: “Is that what I think it is!?  Let me have your knife!”

  I did so and then watched as she cut the tail off of a dead black squirrel.  Jeesh.  Unfortunately I’ve many times found myself part of that peculiar sort of excision separating tail from torso of skunk, deer, raccoons, and more.  All in service to art.  She makes fine brushes with the hair.

  Jung wrote some interesting stuff about artists: “The artist’s life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts for two forces are at war within him (her) – on the one hand the common human longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire”.

  Furthermore: “The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his (her) own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him (her)”.*  Mission for god as the Blues Brothers put it.

  Demanding a muse might be, but a grand thing which to follow should an audience later manifest.  What a way to live if people would cathect emotion and fork over dinero in response to what might express from the depths of one’s soul through a trained and tamed skill set.  Two examples:

  Mick Jagger arranged for Lucien Freud to paint his then wife Jerry Hall and baby.  Sitting for Sigmund’s grandson is an arduous process and Mrs. Jagger spent many many hours in his studio over the course of four months. 

  One day Freud called his dealer William Acquavella: “I want you to be the first to know, the painting’s had a sex change.”  “What!” Acquavella responeded.  “Well, Jerry didn’t show up for two sittings so I changed her into a man”.  Jagger rang up Acquavella but there was nothing that could be done.** 

  Similarly, if not quite as obstinately, architect Peter Zumthor picks his clients not visa versa.  “Normally architects render a service.  They implement what other people want.  This is not what I do.”  What he does is to take the measure of a site and client from which to distill his vision.  Not theirs.

  Actor Toby Maguire hoped for a Zumthor house in the LA hills.  The architect said he’d look at the site if Maguire’d educate himself by visiting several projects in Europe such as his spa in Vals Switzerland and museum in Bregenz Austria.  House went ahead.  Maguire asked for a basketball court, but apparently got a garden instead.***

  Uhm, I’m glad I don’t have a tail.

*Both Jung quotes are from his book Modern Man in Search of a Soul

**WSJ Weekend April 2011 by Tom Vandrbilt

***New York Times Magazine by Michael Kimmelman

 

Beyond the Blare of the News

May 6, 2011

 

  There are small minds everywhere, but fortunately there are about big ones too.  Above you see the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.  It was designed by IM Pei who went to very great effort – wide peregrination and deep cultural immersion – to find the heart of Islamic architecture.  “Might it not lie in the desert, severe and simple in its design, where sunlight brings form to life?”*

  Most collections of Islamic art are in the west, minded by non Muslims.  The original vision of The Emir and his wife Sheikha Moza was not only to emplace fine objects in the region of their origin, but also to provide a center of culture and education.  “Here is a museum in the Muslim world capable of bridging the gap between tradition and modernity” said the original curator Sabiha Al-Khemir.

  As you may know, pictorial representation contravenes a precept of Islam.  There is thus no tradition of landscape or portraiture.  Think then about how it must currently be for visitors to that museum to look upon the likes of Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer for the first time in an exhibition of the Dutch golden age.

  For an article in the May 2011 Art Newspaper editor Anna Somers Cocks toured the show with a young volunteer.  The responses of the latter to Ms Cocks’ “just tell me what you see” were fresh and felt and fascinating.  About Church Interior by Emanuel de Witte (below) she said:

  “I like this very much; if you stand back you feel like you can go inside it.  I like that he drew if very well; you can see the small things like the details of the column.  They told me that they put dead people under the floor and I said how can you prey with dead people beneath you? I am told that when a woman got married the only thing she could do for fun was to go to church.”

  Above you see Jan Steen’s The Very Merry Family: “Because everybody is happy about something, everyone is doing a different thing, but because they are ignoring each other, the small child is on its own, drinking.  So this is a troubled family and very dirty and things are falling down.”

  She liked Rembrandt’s Self Portrait: “I love this person because he has been painting himself since he was young.  Maybe this is his last portrait.  I have heard that he painted himself all through his life, how his face, how his body changed.  It’s a very nice idea.  You can feel he is very old, even from how he is drowning his hair.  He does not put in many details so that you can focus on the face”.

  Hmm.  There is so much behind and beyond the blare of the 24/7 news cycle…

*I.M. Pei Complete Works by Jodido and Strong, Rizzoli, 2008

Astonished

April 2, 2011

 

Ok, here’s what to do next time you visit Chicago’s Art Institute to scintillate the constellation of your synapses. Enter through the original portal between the lions on Michigan Avenue, negotiate admission, and go down and right to room 109 – The Ando Gallery.

As I’ve mentioned before (4/4/08) this particular confluence of space, cirumstance, and spirit engenders the sort of roundedness for which pilgrims yearn. Experience with the objects in this serene room is one of communion not idolatry. you leave imbued with far more than didactics alone could possibly convey.

Make your way down the hall that used to be lined with swords, armor, and coats of mail, but now Buddha, Hinduism, and the way of the Tao. At its end (decorative arts to the right) go left and be overwhelmed by the cavernous great hall of the new wing. Whoa.

Continue north to its end and climb the stairs (!) to the Terzo Piano* – the restaurant on three. It is neutral but well fenestrated inside and breathtakingly open on the outside deck. maintain composure, walk around, and choose a perch.

 

From any point of vantage you will join the ebullience of this big shouldered city breaking bread head to head with the work of Burnham, Gehry, et al. Enjoy the fine repast, your friends, and the skyline. It’s astonishingly fine to be human. There may yet be hope for us all.

 

*Terzo Piano – A play on words. It means third floor in italian, but also refers to the architect of the new wing – Italian Renzo Piano.

**Sorry about last week.

Been on a whorl wind road trip. On train now. About all that later. Photos for this post too.

I’ll Have What She’s Having…

March 11, 2011

 

  Normally, I hesitate before expounding upon something I have not yet seen in person.  More to the point, I avoid even thinking about a building in which I have not actually been.  It’s the “Ce N’est Pas Une Pipe” thing.  It’s not a pipe, it’s a painting of a pipe.**  So to be clear, what follows is my impression of a building of which I’ve only seen photos and read reviews***.

  It’s Frank Gehry’s first skyscraper – an apartment/mixed use building at 8 Spruce St in NYC.  It is the tallest such building in the city standing some seventy-six stories and holding more than nine hundred apartments, a gym, a swimming pool, and a new public school.  The assemblage of those spaces is reportedly pleasingly functional, but the building’s allure is far greater than their sum. 

  Something immediately tingled inside me when I turned to that page, but it was Gehry’s description of his motivation that brought me full flush:  “I had one of those eureka moments, at three o’clock in the morning, when I thought of Bernini.  Michelangelo is rounder, Bernini is edgier”. Right on.

  I’m in awe of the subtle manner of Michelangelo’s graceful conveyance of form and tension in his sculpture, David for example.  It’s cool and I’ll not forget the experience of it.  But, well, when one thinks of Bernini, how could not the image of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa leap into one’s mind? 

  In a book about art and beauty Umberto Eco wrote of the expression of pain in the visage of that St Teresa.  How could he possibly have had that reaction?  He needs to see an ophthalmologist or shrink maybe.  That woman is in the throes of something grand whether the tumescence was spiritual or otherwise.

  I have been in, on, and around several Gehry projects and enjoyed those experiences.  There’s often an element of exuberance.  But this is different.  Does not that building appear to be on the verge of a shudder? 

  This might be a stretch, even for me, but the east elevation of 8 Spruce St makes me think of Katy Perry:

I might get your heart racing
In my skin tight jeans
Be your Teenage Dream tonight
Let you put your hands on me
In my skin-tight jeans
Be your Teenage Dream tonight…

*If you don’t get this allusion, that’s your problem

**cf post of April 24, 2009

***Photo at top by Richard Barnes in a review by Paul Goldberger in the 3/7/11 New Yorker.  Other photo of the building is from article by Nicolai Ouroussoff in the 3/9/11 NYT

Mirabile Dictu

March 4, 2011

 

    News reports regarding the Catholic Church over the last few years have largely been ugly.  It was thus a relief to read yesterday of  praise for Pope Benedict.  Though issues related to his regard for actions of Pope Pius XII in Europe during WWII are yet unresolved, his statements exonerating Jews of complicity in the death of Jesus Christ were very clear.

  About the Pope’s remarks Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “…I commend you for forcefully rejecting in your recent book a false charge that has been the foundation for the hatred of the Jewish people for many centuries…”

  Brought to mind an enlightened French cleric about whom I’ve read and with whom I’ve metaphorically crossed paths several times.  Father Marie-Alain Couturier fought and was wounded in WWI, became a Dominican priest in 1930, and was vigorously outspoken in refutation of Anti-Semitism in Vichy France*.

  “…I beg of you, remember that you are Christians, that charity tolerates no anti-Semitism, and that even if certain measures seem politically inevitable among those who have been conquered, at least let us maintain the integrity of our hearts…. As for myself, I love only freedom, and as I get older, I couldn’t care less about the rest”

  Another component of Father Couturier’s career (and my initial point of contact) had to do with the integration of art and the sacred.  As an artist and founder of the journal “L’Art Sacre”, he sought to invigorate that relationship as had Abbot Suger centuries ago with the development of the first Gothic cathedral.  Suger coined the marvelous term “metaphysics of light”.

  Fr Couturier worked closely with Matisse on the Chapel de Rosaire in Vence on the Riviera.  Matisse was a lapsed Catholic, but Fr Couturier said: “Better a genius without faith than a believer with talent…Trusting in Providence, we told ourselves that a great artist is always a great spiritual being, each in his own manner…”

  Similarly, when commissioned to provide a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, Jacques Lipchitz asked the priest: “But, don’t you know I am a Jew?”  “If it does not disturb you, it does not disturb me” was the answer.

  Perhaps even more radical was Couturier’s decision to work with twentieth century giant Le Corbusier who “had no place for institutionalized religion within his ideal society”** and sought to demolish historic Paris and replace it with “machines for living” – expressways and high rises.

  Interesting, then, that the most well known project of their collaboration was the chapel at Ronchamp (photo way above and interior just below) which was a decidedly uncharacteristic departure for Le Corbusier.  About it he said: “People were at first surprised to see me participate in a sacred art.  I am not a pagan.  Ronchamp is a response to a desire that one occasionally has to extend beyond oneself, and to seek contact with the unknown”.

  In prewar Paris Fr Couturier had met John and Dominique de Menil who were captivated by his vision.  He told them that a museum is a place where “you should lose your head”.  Heirs to the Schlumberger fortune they fled France to the USA settling in Houston where they assembled an incredible collection of art, architecture, and good works.

  Italian architect Renzo Piano designed two wonderful museums for them there both incorporating the powerful Texan sun to sublime effect.  The Menil holds an eclectic collection of western and African art.  The other only the works of Cy Twombly and if you’ve never seen his stuff start there.

  It is the first of Piano’s experimentations with translucent roofing systems.  The lid of Twombly filters the natural light through a four part system with tautly drawn Italian sailcloth forming the interior ceiling.  The combination of the refined light, the character of the space, and Twombly’s work yields an experience of preternatural transcendence.

  Once, upon entering, a woman disrobed to bathe in the light.  French philosopher Roland Barthes recalled that he there felt as if in the thrall of a Buddhist awakening.  Several years after my visit, allergic reaction shocked into a near death episode, the quality of the ‘white light’ evoked therein seemed identical.  No foolin’. 

  The major work is the fifty foot triptych “Say Goodbye, Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor”.  Catullus was a Roman poet whose brother died and was buried in part of what is now Turkey.  As if crossing west across the Mediterranean, the painting leaves color behind on the right, reading left toward pale shades of emptiness.

  I was bowled over even though I didn’t know the story of the picture at the time of my visit – only upon a bit of research once back home.  That knowledge gives special poignancy to memory of the experience because it was on that day one of my two younger brothers underwent surgery for a cancer that claimed his life some months later. 

  He was an independent thinker, extremely intelligent, creative, sensitive, and spiritual.  His challenges to my world view catalyzed significant personal growth.  Hmmm…  His Tibetan Buddhist friends could engage in interesting speculation related to the fact that Father Couturier died about nine months before Ed was born.

*Father Marie-Alain Couturier, O.P., and the Refutation of Anti-Semitism in Vichy France; Robert Schwartzwald, UMass/Amherst.

**”Almost Religious”; Dennis MacNamara, The Institute for Sacred Architecture, Volume 2.

***Mdm de Menil once offered one of Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisks to the city of Houston which declined because it was dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King.  It now is in front of the nearby Rothko Chapel.  With President Carter, she formed the Carter Menil Human Rights Foundation.  The Rothko Chapel gives an award to those struggling against oppression.  Another, The Oscar Romero Prize, was named for the murdered El Salvadoran priest. 

Take The Stairs

February 11, 2011

  I’m interested in stairs.  Their purpose is obvious, but appearance and experience vary considerably.  More than any other aspect of the built environment, they make you aware of your own presence within or upon it..  Successful negotiation of even a single step transition requires a greater portion of one’s attention than the whole rest of a structure’s circulation pattern. 

  That’s not my photo, but I’ve seen and climbed such steps (moki or moqui steps) in a place called The Maze in Canyonlands National Park.  I’m not afraid of heights and find pleasure in challenging vertical progress, but was impressed, scared, and thrilled during several such ascents.  I learned something about the nature of the consciousness of their engineers.

  They were hardy and adventurous souls not yet numbed by the comforts of life nor inured to the possibility of an exuberant experience of it.  They didn’t have to go up there.  Not that way anyhow.  Consequences of a fall are obvious.  That stairway to heaven is more than just a short cut in something “nasty, brutish, and short.

  A grander, more complex, and dramatic moment will be had upon the steps in the vestibule of Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence.  Even from the photo one can get a sense of the power of that small space.  Look at the foreboding cascade of those stairs.  They make you either shrink back or scurry quickly upward to the safe solemnity of the reading room.

  Other aspects add to the pressure by manipulation of classical ideas.  Michelangelo’s friend and biographer Vasari wrote that it: “broke the bonds and chains of … common usage”.  For example, the columns seem to be swallowed up by the walls rather than exhibiting discrete strength in the foreground.  They are indeed load bearing elements, but with convoluted psychological effect.

  This project, designed for the Medicis in 1558, displayed the range and depth of Michelangelo’s architectural power for the first time and marked the transition to its practice that dominated the rest of his life.  Even so, one might find him/herself here alone while having had to wait in lines to David across town or hours to gaze up at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

  Finally, I’m just about ready to go to a meeting in our art museum.  All front of house traffic either ascends the staircase pictured above or via the elevator.  Which mode one selects significantly impacts the entire visit.  The interior of the large elevator is stainless.  You feel like you’re in a ‘Sub-Zero’ kitchen for a few moments and they you’re there.

  The Grand Stair, by contrast, makes for a powerful exercise in the clearing of one’s mind.  Thoughts fall away as you move slowly upward.  Wow.  Wonder what’s up here.  At the top you catch your breath eager for interaction with beauty – the world left far behind.  Take the stairs. 

Wright’s Gingkos

November 12, 2010

 

  Until it gave up in 1992 there was a ginkgo tree in front of Frank Lloyd Wright’s first home in Oak Park, Illinois.  The one pictured above still thrives behind the home and to the side of the studio addition.  The historic site book shop is named for it.

  At first sight, Wright had been attracted to that lot on the corner of Chicago and Forest streets which was owned and profusely planted with native and exotic species by Scottish landscaper John Blair.  “I remember well that I came to Oak Park to live for no other reason than… the remarkable character of the foliage on the old Blair lot.”

   A few days ago while watching the gingko in our backyard drop nearly all of the green jewels of its crown in the span of just a few hours, I began to wonder what role gingko might have played in the evolution of Wright’s Prairie Style.  They are beautiful, but idiosyncratic, and though once widespread, the extant species has not naturally existed outside a small part of China since the Pliocene.

    They stand out.  They look like their progenitor must have been an initial sincere attempt at arboreal architecture by a divine novice – one with only a schematic set of instructions from his/her master.  The branches all stick out and up from the trunk in a more or less regular fashion and at a more or less forty-five degree angle.  Though plentiful, they are too brittle to make for good climbing.  (Look at ours and you’ll see how I figured that out.)

  They are dioecious which means that there are separate male and female plants.  A seed is an inch or so long, light yellow brown, soft, and stinks.  Smells so bad, in fact, that upon the odiferous encounter many look about and step with care thereafter.

  The steep gables of the Platonic triangular west façade of the Wright home vaguely parallel the gingko vectors.  The lines of Wright homes 1895 – 1898 do to a lesser degree.  The lines of his studio, built in 1898 do not at all, nor does any part of the Prairie aesthetic.

  It’s probably my over active imagination again, but I wonder if at some point in the mid 1890s the alien acute angularity and proclivities of the gingko catalyzed the transmutation of shapes and shadows of local species into the leitmotif of his Prairie Style.  Hmmm…

 *Wright’s home was designed in 1889.  The  Frank Thomas home (above) just a block down  Forest Ave was built in 1901. 

 

We’ll Always Have Paris…

September 17, 2010

 

     That’s Manet’s Olympia and it came to mind for several reasons.  First, while following an Economist online debate* over the legal status of prostitution, the tone and argument of some of the sex workers who weighed in made me realize that the range of their experience is extreme.  For some (like those I wrote about below 5/21/10) it’s a living hell while for others (like lady above) it’s a hell of a living.  Fulfilling even.

  Seventy-seven percent of respondents were in favor of legalization.  The moderator cited the following main reasons: “governments should not … legislate for morals; …part of human nature; …decriminalization would make it easier to apply laws against sexual violence; criminalization distracts from real problems – trafficking, abuse, disease etc; and people become prostitutes for a variety of reasons, including voluntarily.”

  Manet presented the painting to the Salon in 1865**.  There was some praise, but much scorn.  Why? Paternalism.  Nudity has been part of art since stick figures were first scratched in the dirt.  Issue with Ms Olympia was her exudation of confidence and self assurance.  Comfortable in her birthday suit, further familiarity would be by her choice and hers alone.

  I first saw a representation of this picture during a lecture in college.  Beautiful I certainly thought she was.  However, that experience couldn’t have prepared me for an in-person take during a 1972 term abroad.  The picture hung by itself on a wall at the end of a rectangular room in the Jeu de Paume on the grounds of the Louvre.  Pulse way quickened, I returned many times.

  A decade or so later, I was in the neighborhood with my father who I knew would enjoy an introduction.  That painting and the rest of the Louvre’s Impressionist stuff by then had moved to a remodeled train station now called the Musee d’Orsay.  Initially overcome by the scale and expanse of the new space I used a map to hurriedly escort Dad to Manet’s masterpiece. 

  We rounded the corner and – I’ll never forget it – she looked like a pole dancer on break. I found myself apologizing for the big build up.  What could have happened?  It was obviously not the painting that had changed and I’m here to tell ya neither had my, uh, joie de vivre.    

  It was a whack in the side of the head.  I began to realize just how critical are placement and context.  My inchoate understanding was greatly aided by Victoria Newhouse in her Art and the Power of Placement.  Casually looking through that book I was shocked to find a chapter that began with that exact experience: “Forced out of what was to a generation of viewers Olympia’s flattering ‘dress’, the painting was suddenly thrust into something hideously unbecoming”.

  Simply put, the soft and intimate conditions of the Jeu de Paume had made for a transcendent experience.  At the d’Orsay paintings are hung on the walls of brightly lit masonry rooms like decorations on those of a columbarium.  Oh well, we’ll always have Paris – err, The Jeu de Paume.****  

*http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/182 There were more than 300 comments; some instructive and some very interesting.  The effective difference between decriminalization and legalization for example.

**The same year the Civil War ended and the Matterhorn was first climbed.

***If you don’t get the allusion, you should.

Hancher Dreams

September 3, 2010

 

  Sometime this month, the University of Iowa will decide which of four finalists will design the new $125 million Hancher Auditorium  which will replace the one ruined by flood several years ago.  It will be the most important performing arts venue for quite a swath of this part of the world and thus will have an elevated prominence.

  And elevated in more ways than one.  Its new site will be near the old, but somewhere just a bit uphill toward the Levitt Center – above the levels of the record high water.  There had been thought of a move downtown, but access to I-80, parking issues, and the riparian sublimity kept it closer to the original. 

  The context of the site is indeed remarkable.  Nearby Art Campus buildings include the Levitt Center designed by Charles Gwathmey, The Advanced Technology Lab by Frank Gehry, and The Art Building West by Steven Holl.  There’s an expansive park north of the Levitt Center. The gold dome of the Old Capital can be seen toward the south.

  The finalists are: Pelli Clarke Pelli/New Haven, CN; Trahan Architects/Baton Rouge, LA; William Rawn Associates/Boston, MA; and SnØhetta.  For some reason all of the reports give SnØhetta’s home as NYC where they do have an office, but practice HQ is in Oslo*.  And for me they’re the one to chose.

  I knee jerk eliminate Pelli and Rawn because even though they’ve done neat stuff, they have other projects nearby.  Cesar Pelli designed the wonderful Faulconer Gallery on the Grinnell campus which by the way is walking distance from Sullivan’s bank.   

  I’ve visited and admired a dorm Rawn designed on the Bowdoin College Campus and he was called the “…go to architect for elite universities”** in a review of another project there.  A performing arts building in fact.  But like I said, he designed the under construction Federal Court House in Cedar Rapids.

  The  U of I hasn’t shied from risk and this is the perfect opportunity to take another which both Trahan and SnØhetta would represent.  I’m not much familiar with Trahan, but perusal of their site takes one’s breath away.  If they win, great – but my vote would be for the Scandanavians. 

  I’ve never been in a SnØhetta project*** but began following them with great interest after reading about the library they designed in Alexandria, Egypt.  The firm didn’t exist in 1989 when three Norwegians, an Austrian, and an American teamed up to submit a proposal for the project commemorating the most important library and place of learning in the ancient world.

  The site, very near the original one, is between the campus of Alexandria University and the sea from which the building appears to be just emerging anew.  The circular 160m diameter glazed roof is tilted toward the sea like an ancient sundial.  Inside, thirty-two meters below lies the main reading room.  Outside walls are gray Aswan granite inscribed with characters from 120 different languages.

  Egyptians have great pride in this twenty-first century take on the celebration of its antiquities. For it they won one of the prestigious Aga Khan awards for architecture during the 2004 cycle.  The award is given to projects that enhance the understanding and appreciation of Islamic culture.****

  Other significant and interesting projects in the Middle East ensued.  SnØhetta opened in New York after winning a competition for the 9/11 site which has morphed through controversy and iterations.  Recently SnØhetta was retained by  SFMoma to design its $250 million expansion. 

  Guess we’ll soon see about IC.  Whatever, should you be driving by on I-80 get off and look around.

* You’d have thought the Ø would have been a clue…

**Architect May 2002.  Can’t wait to visit the courthouse.  Renderings are beautiful.

***But daughter and husband did and came away impressed… And amused: It was obvious that Facebook was on 98% of the computer screens banked in the main reading room.

****Coincidentaly, Cesar Pelli won one during the same cycle for the Petrobras Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

*****Check out their site: http://www.snoarc.no