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Modern architecture worth seeing

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Let's discuss modern architecture sights worth seeing. In particular, the lesser known projects. Everybody knows about the Guggenheim, Empire State Building, etc. By modern, let's say 1900 and later, so that includes Art Deco. I will be in Spain (the entire country) and Berlin this July. In Spain, I'm particularly interested in looking at some of the works of Santiago Calatrava, as he is my favorite modern architect. If there is anything else modern worth looking at, I'd love to know. For Calatrava, I'm just looking at the entries in his Wikipedia article. If there are others not mentioned there, I'd also like to know. I'll start with some reviews: Berlin Crown Prince Bridge - Calatrava. OK, not that impressive Oberbaum Bridge - Calatrava. He just did the refurbished middle-section of the bridge. Not worth seeing unless you have time to kill. DZ Bank - I have mixed feelings about Gehry. This one just looked like a pretty cool giant sculpture, and not an architectural work. Dutch Embassy - Koolhaas. Decent, bizarre for the sake of bizarre, like a lot of modern architecture. Watch out for the barking dog. Reichstag - Awesome, I love Foster. Worth the wait in line. Federal government complex - Pretty cool.
post #2 of 16
don't forget that crematorium in Berlin by Axel Schultes. No, I havent seen it in person, but my better half is an architect and insists it's one of the most beautiful/haunting places she has ever been.
post #3 of 16
I find Berlin's architecture scene really boring for a city of its stature, but check out Mies' Neue Nationalgalerie and Eisenmann's Memorial to Murdered Jews.
post #4 of 16
Instead of focusing on good modern architecture, you might also consider looking at some really bad modern architecture, in which case I recommend looking at the works of J. Mayer H., one of the world's shittiest practicing architects. He has assaulted Berlin's skyline with tastelessness for the past decade. http://www.jmayerh.de/home.htm
post #5 of 16
I think the best modern architecture experience in Berlin is to attend a concert at Scharoun's Berliner Philharmonie.

Earlier that day, always in the Kulturforum area, visit the Berlin State Library (Neue Staatsbibliothek, also by Scharoun, of "Wings of Desire" fame) and the National Gallery by Mies.

Not necessarily modern, depending on the definition, but Museum Island is well worth it, although I don't think the Neues Museum renovation by Chipperfield is that great. Also, for an older building, the AEG Turbinenfabrik by Behrens is great.

The Eisenman buildings in Berlin suck as much as they do everywhere else.

A "pretty cool giant sculpture"? DZ/DG Bank is one of Gehry's more sober projects, and is very well executed.

I like the Jewish Museum by Libeskind. Many don't.

Some of the IBA projects are interesting, mainly Siza's Schlesisches Tor projects, but the area is sad and many of the buildings are degraded. The Hansaviertel projects in the Tiergarten are not nearly the best by any of those architects. The Bauhaus Archive by Gropius is OK.

The Schultes crematorium is very powerful.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gomestar View Post
don't forget that crematorium in Berlin by Axel Schultes. No, I havent seen it in person, but my better half is an architect and insists it's one of the most beautiful/haunting places she has ever been.
That looks awesome. This blog also looks like a good resource.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
I find Berlin's architecture scene really boring for a city of its stature, but check out Mies' Neue Nationalgalerie and Eisenmann's Memorial to Murdered Jews.
Of course. Neue Nationalgalerie is rather simple (which is the entire point, I suppose). Memorial to Murdered Jews I found very impressive. I should also add: Bauhaus Archiv - Building itself is not that great, but it's a fairly interesting small museum. Jewish Museum - Really dislike the style. More weird for the sake of being weird. Still worth visiting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
Instead of focusing on good modern architecture, you might also consider looking at some really bad modern architecture, in which case I recommend looking at the works of J. Mayer H., one of the world's shittiest practicing architects. He has assaulted Berlin's skyline with tastelessness for the past decade. http://www.jmayerh.de/home.htm
Which are the finished ones in Berlin? Some of the projects on the site look pretty cool, actually, but they don't seem to be completed.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by venessian View Post
A "pretty cool giant sculpture"? DZ/DG Bank is one of Gehry's more sober projects, and is very well executed.
These are the two photos I took of it. That's all I could see. The rest of the building I couldn't see much of but it doesn't look particularly notable. There was a surprisingly large crowd of tourists at the entrance all trying to get a look; that must be annoying to deal with if you work in the building. Let's talk about Spain more. Currently, I only have on my itinerary Guggenheim Bilbao, Calatrava works across the country, and Gaudi.
post #8 of 16
So, have you already been to Berlin, or have you been before and are going back now? Which cities will you visit in Spain?
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've been to Berlin before and am going back again. I've never been to Spain, but I'll have a full month there in July so we're going to do the whole country. You said you don't like Eisenman. How about the City of Culture in Galicia? Hard to tell from these photos. I doubt it'd be as awesome as Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Mexico City Luis Barragán House and Studio - This is the most awesome residence I have ever seen, and one of the coolest architecture sights as well. Photos are not allowed inside so there aren't many of them online. The interior is amazingly well-thought out and designed. Casa Gilardi - A nearby house also designed by Barragan, that is privately owned but the owner gives tours (for $15 or so, which is fairly expensive for what it is). Not nearly as awesome, but still worth a look. There are brochures at the Barragan Studio for it.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post

So bad. Soooooooooooo bad. Unfathomably bad. Carl Lewis singing the national anthem bad.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
I've been to Berlin before and am going back again. I've never been to Spain, but I'll have a full month there in July so we're going to do the whole country.
I see.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
You said you don't like Eisenman. How about the City of Culture in Galicia? Hard to tell from these photos. I doubt it'd be as awesome as Calatrava's City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia. Mexico City, Luis Barragán....
I doubt it as well. I don't like Eisenman's buildings. I don't think they stand up to his "process" (which I'm not keen on anyway) and the ones I've seen are pretty badly built. To me, he really is a "paper architect" who built some bad buildings. I'm not a fan in general, but to me the built work really just obviates any allure the writings/projects might have had. Barragán is incredible, a great, great architect. Spain is much more difficult to list than Berlin, of course; there is just so much. You are probably better off browsing the various books on modern architecture in Spain and looking at modern arch. websites such as MIMOA, etc. I assume you have all the Calatrava buildings/projects listed already. In Barcelona, I like the city in general, the works by Gaudi, Puig i Cadafalch and Doménech i Montaner. Also Montjuic, the hill, with the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies, Fundation Joan Miró by Sert, the Botanical Garden by Ferrater. The cemetery there is beautiful. There are some Miralles, Meier, HM, Nouvel projects in Barcelona but I haven't seen them irl. I have seen quite a few published projects by younger architects that look good, but I can't recall names, etc. right now. I don't know Madrid well other than the Prado, Museo Nacional Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, all well worth it for the art. The Atocha station is by Moneo. I'm sure there is much more there. Bilbao: definitely the Guggenheim and by default you'll probably see the Foster subway stops (not so special imo). There is also a library there by Moneo. The airport is by Calatrava. Near Bilbao: San Sebastián is a beautiful seaside city, with the Kuursal by Moneo and the Wind Comb (Peine del Viento), a beautiful sculpture/installation/environment by Eduardo Chillida and the Plaza del Tenis (same place) by Ganchegui. There are other projects there as well, and I just really like the city. Santiago de Compostela is another really beautiful city. The medieval convent is great. The Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea by Siza is great. In Elciego (Alava) there is the Marqués de Riscal winery/hotel by Gehry but I don't think you like his work too much. Beautiful project and area though, and nearby in Laguardia is the Isios winery by Calatrava. Also one by Hadid, as well as other wineries, in the area. I haven't seen the Chipperfield, etc. (maybe Renzo Piano too) stuff at Valencia for the America's Cup, nor the City of Arts by Calatrava there, but Valencia, Sevilla, Granada, and Cordoba are well worth a trip, esp. the latter 3. The Igualada Cemetery in Igualada by Pinòs and Miralles is great (Miralles is buried there). The National Museum of Roman Art in Merida by Moneo is incredible, a must-see imo. I haven't seen his Roman Theatre of Cartagena Museum in Cartagena but I would like to. I think Can Lis, Jørn Utzon's vacation house in Portopetro (Mallorca) is fantastic, if you get over there. I'll try to think of more later.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
So bad. Soooooooooooo bad. Unfathomably bad. Carl Lewis singing the national anthem bad.
Have you seen it in person? The photos on their website look pretty decent. Maybe not something I'd go out of my way to see, but I wouldn't say bad from these photos.
Quote:
Originally Posted by venessian View Post
websites such as MIMOA, etc.
Wow, this site is awesome. Thanks for the other suggestions. I'm just a novice at this and you mentioned several architects I've never heard of. I will say that the great thing about architecture is that it's really an art form that you have to see in person to appreciate. The scale, the interiors, the setting are hard to get across just in photos. This is less of an issue with paintings and even sculptures. I also appreciate that it's a functional art, and not "pure" art for art sake.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
Wow, this site is awesome.
It's up and down, but the convenience is that you can type in a city you will be visting and at least get an idea of some of the (modern) buildings there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
I will say that the great thing about architecture is that it's really an art form that you have to see in person to appreciate. The scale, the interiors, the setting are hard to get across just in photos.
Absolutely true. It's the only way. Robert Venturi famously criticized Giovanni Michelucci's 'Church of the Autostrada' in the 1st edition of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, and then more famously redacted his criticism with just that lesson in the 2nd edition, after having finally visited it. Even if the City of Culture is bad, Santiago de Compostela is really worth a visit, for all the other things. Then you can decide to go see the CofC or not.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm in Tenerife, Canary Islands right now and the Calatrava auditorium is spectacular. It is rivaled only by the Sydney Opera House in my opinion, with the Disney Concert Hall pretty close. I thought I could see the whole country in a month but we're only able to do Madrid, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Canaries, Valencia and Barcelona. Madrid Not much in this city, as far as I could tell. Port of Europe - I tried to see it at night around midnight but the lights had been turned off already. The sun sets at 10:30 so they have the light on for just an hour? Torre Picasso - Photos look nice and minimal, but lights were also off. CaixaForum - Herzog & de Meuron. Looked cool in photos but didn't have a chance to see it. Bilbao Guggenheim - I think Disney Concert Hall is slightly better, though maybe it's because I saw that first? I just prefer the way that the Disney is more compact. Zubizuri foot bridge - Calatrava. Pretty good, though they put an ugly anti-slip carpet over the glass walking area. Bilbao airport - Amazing, like a cathedral. Right up there with Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the coolest airport I've seen, though I haven't been to Saarinen's JFK Terminal 5. If you're not flying out of the airport, you can still go in and see most of it.
post #15 of 16
Gaudi's Sagrada is Modern no? if not modern. If i could see nothing else I'd see that
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