Daily Showcase of Pretty Buildings & Architecture
The Queen's House - Greenwich, England
architect - Inigo Jones
dates - 1616 to 1635
style - Palladian, Late English Renaissance
"The Queen's House, Greenwich, was built by Jones for Anne of Denmark, wife of James I, in the grounds of Greenwich Palace. Conceived as a hunting lodge, it also fulfilled the secondary function of a bridge over the public road to Deptford, which divided the park in two. Jones placed two blocks either side of the road and joined them at first-floor level by means of a bridge. This H-shaped plan, perhaps modeled on the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano (q.v.), was later filled in by Webb's addition of two further bridges on the side elevations. A two-storey cubic hall facing the river gives access to the bridge and then to a loggia overlooking the park. Either side of this axis are two suites of rooms. Typically Palladian, the fa�ades are tripartite with a central projecting portion. Plain walls are set upon a rusticated ground floor and crowned by a balustrade. Curving steps lead up to the main entrance, while the internal circular staircase is of a type recommended by Palladio."
— Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p1023.
Gamble House - Pasadena, California
architect - Greene and Greene
date - 1909
style - Arts and Crafts
notes - superb craft work, Arts and Crafts Movement exemplar
"The best preserved of all the Greenes' fine works is the David B. Gamble residence on Westmoreland Place, Pasadena. Very little has been changed since the original construction. Furniture, carpets, lighting fixtures, silverware, picture frames, linen, etc., all designed for the house by the brothers, remain in excellent condition. Here was the refined application of the sleeping porch, which became the most dramatic element of the house. No detail was left to the discretion of the carpenter; every peg, oak wedge, downspout, air vent, opening and fixture was designed into the whole. The interiors were paneled throughout in mahogany. The elaborate stained glass detail in the lighting fixtures were designed by Charles Greene and executed by Judson Studios."
— Esther McCoy. Five California Architects. p112-3.
Ospedale Degli Innocenti - Florence, Italy
architect - Filippo Brunelleschi
dates - 1424 to 1445
building type - children's hospital
style - Renaissance
notes - arcaded portico, topical ornamentation.
"...Brunelleschi was designing buildings that have become synonymous with the genesis of Renaissance architecture. His Ospedale degli Innocenti, a foundling hospital begun c.1419 on property acquired by the Silk Merchants' Guild, is generally regarded to be the earliest monumental expression of the new style. Although it is related to Italian Romanesque and late Gothic architecture, its novel features minimized the buildings' affiliation with medieval styles. Tuscan trecento hospitals were often designed with arcaded porticoes, and Brunelleschi retained this feature for the Innocenti. But he eliminated the old-fashioned balustrade upon which the columns rested, changed the polygonal shafts to cylinders, and transformed stylized "pressed-leaf" capitals into rich Corinthianesque foliage."
— Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p284.
Pennzoil Place - Houson, Texas
architect - Johnson/Burgee
dates - 1976
style - Corporate Modern
notes - Sleek twin towers nearly touching at the inner edge of each, joined by space frame lobby roof.
"...Pennzoil Plaza in Houston by Johnson & Burgee is...a geometrically manipulative, modernist approach. Here a simple geometric idea, prompted also by not wanting to design a straight-up and unbroken tower, affords total visual clarity to the design. Twin 36-story towers, mirror images of each other and trapezoidal in plan, are related at the ground level by triangular shaped plazas that are 8-story spaces enclosed by a 45-degree glass slope. This slope repeats at the top of the towers where executive suites are housed when, rising straight upward to the twenty-ninth floor, they are then similarly angled-off to repeat the 45-degree theme. The 'twins' are in dramatic tension since they are separated only by a narrow 10-foot vertical slot, making them a changing visual presence in the urban landscape. The geometry of the idea is absolutely clear, especially since the towers are unbroken, neutral masses clad in bronze-tinted glass and a dark brown anodized aluminum curtain wall. This in the interior contrasts with the white painted steel trusses that roof the courtyards in more animating filigree patterns of lines and shadows."
— from Paul Heyer. American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. p128.
The Creator's Words
"I never really had an interest in structure, and neither has Mies, inside him. It always amused me that he started to design the Seagram Building with a perfectly rational bay system of 27 feet 9 inches, derived from the lot size and the office divisibility module. Then, we arrived at the design of the big double-height rooms in the back (the Four Seasons Restaurant now) and we needed to double the size of the bay. All right, but what happens about the column that would have been in the middle of the bay—well, take it out. We had to double the span without deepening the beam, wrenching the cost and also the logic. If you start with a bay, you have a repeatable and economic beam. If you take out a column, just like that, you quadruple everything; and yet we had to keep the beams within the same depth as the 27 foot 9 inch span because the building had to read the same on every floor. That is what I mean when I say that Mies does not pay attention to what he says.
"He took the column out for what purpose? To create space. There you come back to the theme that goes through all architecture: to make spaces, to make interior spaces—all architecture is interior spaces. The Seagram is interior space because it is on one side of a plaza. It is not a facade because the plaza is the feeling that you get and that, in a funny way, is interior space. Of course the skyscraper as such has no interior spaces other than the entrance. The skyscraper is death to architecture—no interest at all, just a beehive...."
— Philip Johnson. from Paul Heyer. Architects on Architecture: New Directions in America. p289-290.
36 stories, 495 feet high, filling a site 250 feet to a side in plan (62,500 sq feet).
1.4 million square feet of leasable space.
Two triangular plazas under space frame roofs total 36,000 sq feet.
Chinli Kiosk - Istanbul, Turkey
architect - unknown
date - 1473
style - Ottoman Islamic
notes - "Tiled Pavilion", arcaded entrance, central dome. in the Topkapi Palace.
"The Çinili Kiosk, or Tiled Pavilion, in the Topkapi Palace, at Istanbul, is decorated with glazed faience. Built as early as 1473, and possibly designed by a Persian architect, it exerted a powerful influence upon succeeding Ottoman architecture. Square in plan, it is preceded by an arcaded entrance portico. The interior is roofed with an elaborate arrangement of ribbed vaults and a lofty central dome."
—John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. p140.
"The unusual Chinili Kiosk in Istanbul has a plan much influenced by Persian pavilions. The crucifom central space is surmounted by a low dome, and the chambers forming the arms of the cross terminate in tile-encrusted, colonnaded verandahs and balconies. The spaces between them complete the square, and provide self-contained suites of rooms."
—Sir Banister Fletcher. A History of Architecture. p611.
On the grounds of the Topkapi Museum, Sultanhammed.
The Alcazar - Segovia (near Madrid, Spain)
"The Alcazar commands a strategic outcropping of the city's plateau high above the juncture of two small rivers. It is, of course, everyone's personal castle in Spain. Built in the eleventh century and rebuilt in the early fifteenth, it has a dashing, even romantic intimacy with its site that is difficult to equal. Muslim influence is seen in the name and in the building itself, particularly the interior."
— G.E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990. p80.
Fletcher says 1410 to 1455.
Piazza del Campidoglio - Rome, Italy
architect - Michelangelo
dates - 1538 to 1650
notes - Elliptical courtyard with central figure sculpture. At the top of the "Cordonata" steps, also by Michelangelo. A short walk to the south (starting out south-west) from the Piazza Venezia.
"A few years after he arrived in Rome, Pope Paul III (Farnese) decided to reshape the Capitoline Hill into a monumental civic piazza; Michelangelo designed the project and his Piazza del Campidoglio is one of the most significant contributions ever made in the history of urban planning. The hill's importance as a sacred site in antiquity had been largely forgotten due to its medieval transformation into the seat of the secular government and headquarters for the Roman guilds, and it was in forlorn condition when Michelangelo took charge of reorganizing it as a dynamic new center of Roman political life. The project went forward in slow stages with many interruptions; little was built before his death in 1564. It was begun in 1538 and was not completed until the seventeenth century, but Michelangelo's original design is preserved in engravings from the 1560s by �tienne Dup�rac."
—Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p313-14.
Pazzi Chapel - Florence, Italy
architect - Filippo Brunelleschi
dates - 1429 to 1461
style - Italian Renaissance
"Located on the southern flank of the great Franciscan church, the Pazzi Chapel was begun after 1442 although an agreement with Brunelleschi may have been made more than a decade earlier...the Pazzi Chapel was designed with a twelve-ribbed hemispherical dome on pendentives above a square extended into an oblong by the addition of barrel-vaulted bays on two of its sides. In keeping with its function as a chapter house, a low bench runs along the walls of the room; opposite the entrance a smaller altar chapel, square and domed, opens from the eastern wall. Similar to the Old Sacristy, but more intricate in pattern and more decorative in effect, is the clear-cut arch and pilaster articulation of the pale stucco walls, with framed circles afloat in spaces left free in the geometric system...
This small, brilliant structure represented a high point in early Renaissance style. Cerebral, rational, and serene, it was a marked contrast to the dynamics of Gothic architecture."
— Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p286-7.
Engineering Building - Leicester University, Leicester, England( interior anglesCollapse )
architect - James Stirling
dates - 1959
style - Modern
notes - large trusses.
"The Engineering Building comprises large ground-level workshops (heavy machinery), covering most of the available site, and a vertical ensemble consisting of office and laboratory towers, lecture theaters and lift and staircase shafts."
— James Stirling Michael Wilford and Associates. James Stirling, Buildings and Projects. p82.
"The work of James Stirling is permeated by a mannerist taste for distortion and paradox, especially at the Engineering School in Leicester (1960-3), where the diversity of forms, expressive of the internal functions of the building, is a pretext for the liveliest interplay of masses."
— Mitchell Beazley. The World Atlas of Architecture. p389.