Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926) was a Catalan architect famous for his unique style and highly individualistic designs.
Gaudí was born in Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain, in 1852 though no one knows exactly where. While many believe his birthplace to be the town of Reus, others claim it was in fact Riudoms. It is known, however, that he was baptized in Reus a day after his birth. The artist's parents, Francesc Gaudí Serra and Antonia Cornet Bertran, both came from families of metalsmiths.
Gaudí, the youngest of five, found himself unable to play with friends his age because of rheumatism. Being in such pain, he was rarely able to walk on foot and was forced to ride a donkey when he wanted to go anywhere outside his home. That he remained close to home allowed him substantial free time to observe nature and its design. It has been hypothesized that it was this exposure to nature at an early age that began to hone two of his greatest qualities: observation and the analysis of nature.
At a young age, Gaudí entered a nursery school (parvulari) under the instruction of Francesc Berenguer, and his imaginative qualities began to manifest themselves: when Berenguer lectured the child on how wings let birds fly, Gaudí observed that chickens do not fly. He concluded that their wings must help them run faster.
When the time came for his formal education, Gaudí enrolled in the Collegi de les Escoles Píes de Reus, where he soon became fast friends with Eduard Toda and Josep Ribera. It was perhaps their insatiable curiosity that drove them to learn all they could about the intricacies of nature.
During his time at Les Escoles, Gaudí did not make the best of grades, though he proved to be an abstract thinker. He did, however, see remarkable improvement in the area of geometry, a subject which fascinated him. This fascination would carry through with him until his death. Its first major effect on his life was his choice of career.
As an architecture student at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona from 1873 to 1877, Gaudí continued to achieve mediocre grades but did well in the "Trial drawings and Projects" course.
He would remain affiliated with the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura his entire life. Awarded the title of Architect by the school in 1878, Gaudí immediately began to plan and design. When Elies Rogent signed the title, he declared, "I have either found a lunatic or a genius."
Gaudí, throughout his life, was fascinated by nature. He studied nature's angles and curves and incorporated them into his designs. Instead of relying on geometric shapes, he mimicked the way trees and humans grow and stand upright. The hyperboloids and paraboloids he borrowed from nature were easily reinforced by steel rods. He didn't limit his use of natural structures to support, however, and most of his designs resemble elements from the environment.
Because of his rheumatism, the artist observed a strict vegetarian diet, used homeopathic drug therapy, underwent water therapy, and hiked regularly. Long walks, besides suppressing his rheumatism, further allowed him to experience nature.
The Casa Milà, in the Eixample, Barcelona.Gaudí was an ardent Catholic and a fervent Catalan nationalist. (He was once arrested for speaking in Catalan in a situation deemed illegal by authorities.) In his later years, he abandoned secular work and devoted his life to Catholicism and his Sagrada Família. In the early twentieth century, Gaudí's closest family and friends began to die; his works slowed to a halt; and his attitude changed. Perhaps one of his closest family members – his niece Rosa Egea – passed away in 1912, only to be followed by a "faithful collaborator, Francesc Berenguer Mestres" two years later. After both tragedies, Barcelona fell on hard times, economically. The construction of La Sagrada Família slowed; the construction of La Colonia Güell ceased altogether. Four years later, Eusebi Güell died.
Perhaps it was because of this unfortunate sequence of events that Gaudí changed. He became reluctant to talk with reporters or have his picture taken and solely concentrated on his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia.
On June 7, 1926, Antoni Gaudí was run over by a tram. Because of his ragged attire and empty pockets, multiple cab drivers refused to pick him up for fear that he would be unable to pay the fare. He was eventually taken to a pauper's hospital in Barcelona. Nobody recognized the injured Gaudí until some friends found him at the poor hospital the next day. When they tried to move him into a nicer hospital, Gaudí refused, reportedly saying "I belong here among the poor." He died two days later, half of Barcelona mourning his death. It was, perhaps, fitting that he was buried in the midst of his unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Família.
Gaudí's first works were designed in the style of gothic and traditional Catalan architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who promoted an evolved form of gothic architecture, proved a major influence on Gaudí. But the student surpassed the master architect and contrived highly original designs – irregular and fantastically intricate. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an almost hallucinatory power.
He integrated the parabolic arch, nature's organic shapes, and the fluidity of water into his architecture. While designing buildings, he observed the forces of gravity and related catenary principles. (He designed many of his arches upside down by hanging various weights on interconnected strings, using gravity to calculate catenaries for a natural curved arch.) Using the Catalan trencadís technique, Gaudí often decorated surfaces with broken tiles.
The architect's work has been categorized as Art Nouveau architecture, a precursor to modern architecture. But his adoption of biomorphic shapes rather than orthogonal lines put him in a category unto himself (in Latin, sui generis). His style was later echoed by that of Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928–2000).
Though hailed as a genius, some hypothesize that Gaudí was color blind and that it was only in collaboration with Josep Maria Jujol – an architect twenty seven years his junior whom he acknowledged as a genius in his own right – that he produced his greatest works.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:
Friedensreich Hundertwasser (December 15, 1928 – February 19, 2000) was an Austrian painter and sculptor. By the end of the 20th century, he was arguably the best-known living artist in Austria, though he was always controversial.
He was born Friedrich Stowasser to a Jewish family in Vienna and attended the Montessori school in 1936. Before he was twenty, all of his relatives on his mother's side died in the Holocaust. He briefly attended the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1948 and began producing his own works in the late 1940s.
Hundertwasser's original, unruly, sometimes shocking artistic vision expressed itself in pictorial art, environmentalism, philosophy, and design of facades, postage stamps, flags, and clothing (among other areas). The common themes in his work are a rejection of the straight line, bright colours, organic forms, a reconciliation of humans with nature, and a strong individualism. He remains sui generis, although his architectural work is comparable to Antoni Gaudi in its biomorphic forms and use of tile. He was inspired by the works of Egon Schiele from an early date, and his style was often compared to that of Gustav Klimt. He was fascinated with spirals, and called straight lines "the devil's tools". He called his theory of art "transautomatism", based on Surrealist automatism, but focusing on the experience of the viewer, rather than the artist.
His adopted surname is based on the translation of "Sto" (the Czech word for "hundred") into German. The name "Friedensreich" has a double meaning as "Peaceland" or "Peacerich" (in the sense of 'peaceful'). The other names he chose for himself, "Regentag" and "Dunkelbunt", translate to "Rainy day" and "Dark, multicoloured". His name "Friedensreich Hundertwasser" means, "Peace-Kingdom Hundred-Water".
Although Hundertwasser first achieved notoriety for his boldly-coloured paintings, he is more widely renowned today for his revolutionary architectural designs, which incorporate natural features of the landscape, and use of irregular forms in his building design. Hundertwasserhaus, a low-income apartment block in Vienna, features undulating floors ("an uneven floor is a melody to the feet"), a roof covered with earth and grass, and large trees growing from inside the rooms, with limbs extending from windows. He took no payment for the design of Hundertwasserhaus, declaring that it was worth it, to "prevent something ugly from going up in its place".
He felt that standard architecture could not be called art, and declared that the design of any building should be influenced by the aesthetics of its eventual tenants. Hundertwasser was also known for his performance art, in which he would, for instance, appear in public in the nude promoting an ecologically friendly flush-less toilet.
In 1972 he published the manifesto Your window right - your tree duty: "A person in a rented apartment must be able to lean out of his window and scrape off the masonry within arm's reach. And he must be allowed to take a long brush and paint everything outside within arm's reach. So that it will be visible from afar to everyone in the street that someone lives there who is different from the imprisoned, enslaved, standardised man who lives next door." Also planting trees in an urban environments was to become obligatory: "If man walks in nature's midst, then he is nature's guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest."
His work has been used for flags, stamps, coins, posters, schools, churches, a rest area in his adopted home of New Zealand, and apartment buildings. His most famous flag is the Koru Flag; he has also designed stamps for the Cape Verde islands and for the UN post administration in Geneva on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hundertwasser always considered New Zealand as his official home, and no matter where he went in the world, his watch was always set to New Zealand time. That finally became the place he was buried after his death at sea in 2000.
In 1999 he started his last project named "Die Grüne Zitadelle von Magdeburg". Although he never finished this work completely, the building was put up a few years later in Magdeburg, a town in central Germany, and finally opened on October 3rd, 2005.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:
Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was one of the most prominent and influential architects of the first half of the 20th century. To this day he is frequently recognized as America's most famous architect and still extremely well-known in the public eye.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in the agricultural town of Richland Center, Wisconsin, USA, on June 8, 1867, just two years after the end of the American Civil War. He was brought up with strong Unitarian and transcendental principles (eventually, in 1905, he would design the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois). As a child he spent a great deal of time playing with the kindergarten educational blocks by Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (popularly known as Froebel blocks) given by his mother. These consisted of various geometrically shaped blocks that could be assembled in various combinations to form three-dimensional compositions. Wright in his autobiography talks about the influence of these exercises on his approach to design. Many of his buildings are notable for the geometrical clarity they exhibit.
Wright commenced his formal education in 1885 at the University of Wisconsin School for Engineering, where he was a member of a fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. He took classes part time for two years while apprenticing under Allen Conover, a local builder and professor of civil engineering. In 1887, Wright left the university without taking a degree (although he was granted an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the university in 1955) and moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he joined the architectural firm of Joseph Lyman Silsbee. Within the year, he had left Silsbee to work for the firm of Adler and Sullivan. Beginning in 1890, he was assigned all residential design work for the firm. In 1893, after a falling-out that probably concerned the work he had taken on outside the office, Wright left Adler and Sullivan to establish his own practice and home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, IL. He had completed around fifty projects by 1901, including many houses in his hometown.
Between 1900 and 1910, his residential designs were "Prairie Houses" (extended low buildings with shallow, sloping roofs, clean sky lines, suppressed chimneys, overhangs and terraces, using unfinished materials), so-called because the design is considered to complement the land around Chicago. These houses are credited with being the first examples of the "open plan."
In fact, the manipulation of interior space in residential and public buildings, such as the Unitarian Unity Temple, in Oak Park, are hallmarks of his style.
He believed that humanity should be central to all design. Many examples of this work can be found in Buffalo, New York, resulting from a friendship between Wright and an executive from the Larkin Soap Company, Darwin D. Martin. In 1902 the Larkin Company decided to build a new administration building .
Wright came to Buffalo and designed not only the first sketches for the Larkin Administration Building (completed in 1904, demolished in 1950), but also three homes for the company's executives:
George Barton House, Buffalo NY, 1903
Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo NY, 1904
William Heath House, Buffalo NY, 1905
The houses considered the masterpieces of the late Prairie period (1907–9) are the Frederick Robie House and the Avery and Queene Coonley House, both in Chicago. The Robie House with its soaring, cantilevered roof lines, supported by a 110-foot-long channel of steel, is the most dramatic. Its living and dining areas form virtually one uninterrupted space. This building had a profound influence on young European architects after World War I and is sometimes called the "cornerstone of modernism." Wright's work, however, was not known to European architects until after 1910.
Europe and personal troubles
In 1904, Wright designed a house for a neighbor in Oak Park, Edwin Cheney, and immediately took a liking to Cheney's wife, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. The two fell in love, even though Wright had been married for over a decade. Often the two could be seen taking rides in Wright's automobile through Oak Park, and they became the talk of the town. Wright's wife, Kitty, would not grant him a divorce however, and at first, neither would Edwin Cheney grant one to Mamah. In 1909, even before the Robie House was actually completed, Wright and Mamah Cheney eloped to Europe. The scandal that erupted virtually destroyed Wright's ability to practice architecture in the United States.
Architectural historians have speculated on why Wright decided to turn his life upside-down. It has been said that he enjoyed living on the edge. Offered as proof of this are the facts that he was always digging himself into problems. He spent money almost as soon as he received it, and almost always seemed to be in debt. This argument has been coupled with speculation that Wright was himself having a professional midlife crisis (in 1907 he was already forty years old). Scholars argue that he felt by 1907-8 that he had done everything he could do with the Prairie Style, particularly from the standpoint of the one-family house. To illustrate, one can ask the question, "How many different permutations of the Prairie Style residence can you do without eventually feeling like you are going nowhere?" Wright was not getting larger commissions for commercial or public buildings, which frustrated him not only because of the desire for bigger and better work, but also because of his immense ego and desire to be recognized as the architectural genius he saw himself as.
Wright and Mamah Cheney traveled extensively throughout Europe, where Wright absorbed a great amount of architectural history. In 1910, during a stop in Berlin, Wright, with virtually all of his drawings, visited the publishing house of Ernst Wasmuth, who had agreed to publish his work there. In two volumes, the Wasmuth Portfolio was thus published, and created the first major exposure of Wright's work in Europe.
Wright remained in Europe for two years, though Mamah Cheney left for the United States a few times, and set up home in Fiezole, Italy. During this time, Edwin Cheney granted her a divorce, though Kitty Wright again refused to grant one to her husband. After Wright's return to the United States in 1911, he moved to Spring Green, Wisconsin, to land that was held by his mother's family, and began to build himself a new home, which he called Taliesin.
More personal turmoil
On August 15, 1914, while Wright was in Chicago completing a large project, Midway Gardens, Julian Carlton, a male servant whom he had hired several months earlier, set fire to the living quarters of Taliesin and murdered seven people with an ax as the fire burned. The dead were: Mamah, her two children John and Martha, a gardener, a draftsman, a workman, and the workman’s son. Two people survived the mêleé, one of whom helped to put out the fire that almost completely consumed the residential wing of the house.
In 1923, Wright's mother, Anna, passed away. Wright wed Miriam Noel in November 1923, but her addiction to morphine led to the failure of the marriage in less than one year. In 1924, after the separation, Wright met Olga (Olgivanna) Lazovich Hinzenburg, at the Petrograd Ballet. They moved in together at Taliesin in 1925, but in 1926, Olga's ex-husband sought custody of his daughter. In Minnetonka, Minnesota, Wright and Olgivanna were accused of violating the Mann Act and arrested in October 1925. The charges were dropped in 1926. The couple married in 1928.
Wright is responsible for a concept or a series of extremely original concepts of suburban development united under the term Broadacre City. He proposed the idea in his book The Disappearing City in 1932, and unveiled a very large (12 by 12 feet) model of this community of the future, showing it in several venues in the following years. He went on developing the idea until his death.
It was also in the 1930s that Wright first designed "Usonian" houses. Essentially highly practical houses for middle-class clients, the designs were based on a simple, yet elegant geometry. He would later use similar, elementary forms in his First Unitarian Meeting House built in Madison, Wisconsin, between 1947 and 1950.
Wright was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1941.
His most famous private residence was constructed from 1935 to 1939—Fallingwater—for Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Kaufmann Sr., at Bear Run, Pennsylvania. It was designed according to Wright's desire to place the occupants close to the natural surroundings, with a stream and waterfall running under part of the building. The construction is a series of cantilevered balconies and terraces, using limestone for all verticals and concrete for the horizontals. The house cost $155,000, including the architect's fee of $8,000. Kaufmann's own engineers argued that the design was not sound. They were overruled by Wright, but workmen secretly added extra steel to the horizontal concrete elements. There is a difference of opinion as to whether Wright's original design would have withstood the test of time. In 1994, Robert Silman and Associates examined the building and developed a plan to restore the structure. In the late 1990s, steel supports were added under the lowest cantilever until a detailed structural analysis could be done. In March 2002, post-tensioning of the lowest terrace was completed.
Wright practiced what is known as organic architecture, an architecture that evolves naturally out of the context, most importantly for him the relationship between the site and the building and the needs of the client. Wright's creations took his concern with organic architecture down to the smallest details. From his largest commercial commissions to the relatively modest Usonian houses, Wright conceived virtually every detail of both the external design and the internal fixtures, including furniture, carpets, windows, doors, tables and chairs, light fittings and decorative elements. He was one of the first architects to design and supply custom-made, purpose-built furniture and fittings that functioned as integrated parts of the whole design, and he often returned to earlier commissions to redesign internal fittings. His Prairie houses use themed, coordinated design elements (often based on plant forms) that are repeated in windows, carpets and other fittings. He made innovative use of new building materials such as precast concrete blocks, glass bricks and zinc cames (instead of the traditional lead) for his leadlight windows, and he famously used Pyrex glass tubing as a major element in the Johnson's Wax building. Wright was also one of the first achitects to design and install custom-made electric light fittings, including some of the very first electric floor lamps, and his very early use of the then-novel spherical glass lampshade (a design previously not possible due to the physical restrictions of gas lighting).
One of his projects, Monona Terrace, originally designed in 1937 as City and County Offices for Madison, Wisconsin, was completed in 1997 on the original site, using a variation of Wright's final design for the exterior with the interior design altered by its new purpose as a convention center. The "as-built" design was carried out by Wright's apprentice Tony Puttnam. Monona Terrace was accompanied by controversy throughout the sixty-years between the original design and the completion of the structure.
Wright's personal life was a colorful one that frequently made headlines. He married three times: Catherine Lee Tobin in 1889, Miriam Noel in 1922, and Olga Milanov Hinzenberg (Olgivanna) in 1928. Olgivanna had been living as a disciple of Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff, and her experiences with Gurdjieff influenced the formation and structure of Wright's Taliesin Fellowship in 1932. The meeting of Gurdjieff and Wright is explored in Robert Lepage's The Geometry Of Miracles. Olgivanna continued to run the Fellowship after Wright's death, until her own death in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1985. Despite being a high-profile architect and almost always in demand, Wright would find himself constantly in debt thanks in part to his lavish lifestyle. In one instance Wright was over $1,000 in debt, and reportedly would borrow $1,500 from a friend only to spend more than half of it on clothes, gifts, and trips.
Wright died on April 9, 1959, having designed an enormous number of significant projects including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, a building which occupied him for 16 years (1943–59) and is probably his most recognized masterpiece. The building rises as a warm beige spiral from its site on Fifth Avenue; its interior is similar to the inside of a seashell. Its unique central geometry was meant to allow visitors to experience Guggenheim's collection of nonobjective geometric paintings with ease by taking an elevator to the top level and then viewing artworks by walking down the slowly descending, central spiral ramp. Unfortunately, when the museum was completed, a number of important details of Wright's design were ignored, including his desire for the interior to be painted off-white. Furthermore, the Museum currently designs exhibits to be viewed by walking up the curved walkway rather than walking down from the top level.
Wright built 362 houses. About 300 survive as of 2005. Three have been lost to forces of nature: the waterfront house for W. L. Fuller in Pass Christian, MS, which was destroyed by Hurricane Camille in August 1969, the Louis Sullivan Bungalow of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the James Charnley Bungalow of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which was also gutted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Ennis House in California has also been damaged by earthquake and rain-induced ground movement. While a number of the houses are preserved as museum pieces and millions of dollars are spent on their upkeep, other houses have trouble selling on the open market due to their unique designs, generally small size and outdated features. As buildings age their structural deficiencies are increasingly revealed, and Wright's designs have not been immune from the passage of time. Some of his most daring and innovative designs have required major structural repair, and the soaring cantilevered terraces of Fallingwater are but one example. (A common joke was once how "Fallingwater" is falling into the water.) Some of these deficiencies can be attributed to Wright's pushing of materials beyond the state of the art, others to sometimes less than rigorous engineering, and still others to the natural wear and tear of the elements over time.
Many speculate that the character of Howard Roark, an architect in Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead, is based, at least in part, on Frank Lloyd Wright. Rand, a Wright client herself, however, denied this.
In 1992 The Madison Opera in Madison, Wisconsin commissioned and premiered the opera Shining Brow, by composer Daron Hagen and librettist Paul Muldoon based on events early in Wright's life. The work has since received numerous revivals. In 2000, Work Song: Three Views of Frank Lloyd Wright, a play based on the relationship between the personal and working aspects of Wright's life, debuted at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
One of Wright's sons, Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., known as Lloyd Wright, was also a notable architect in Los Angeles. Lloyd Wright's son, (and Wright's grandson) Eric Lloyd Wright, is currently an architect in Malibu, California.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:
Frank Owen Gehry, CC (born Ephraim Goldberg, February 28, 1929) is an architect known for his sculptural approach to building design. He is best known for building curvaceous structures, often covered with reflective metal. His most famous work, and the clearest expression of his style, is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which is covered in titanium.
Born in Toronto, Canada to a Jewish family, Gehry moved at age 17 to California, where he studied at Los Angeles City College before graduating from the University of Southern California School of Architecture. He then studied city planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is today a naturalized American citizen and lives in Los Angeles.
Gehry's style is derived from late modernism. The tortured, warped forms of his structures are considered expressions of the deconstructivist (DeCon) school of modernist architecture. The DeCon movement departs from modernism in its de-emphasis of societal goals and functional necessity. Unlike early modernist structures, DeCon structures are not required to reflect specific social ideas (such as speed or universality of form), and they do not reflect a belief that form follows function. DeCon, which Gehry has continued to refine, is also known as the Santa Monica school of architecture. This region of the United States has produced the greatest range of experimentation in the field of DeCon design and contains the largest concentration of the structures.
Gehry is considered a modern architectural icon and celebrity. He has appeared in Apple's black and white "Think Different" pictorial ad campaign that associates offbeat but revered figures with Apple's design philosophy. He even once appeared as himself in an episode of "The Simpsons" in the episode The Seven-Beer Snitch. His buildings, including his private residence, have become tourist attractions. Many museums, firms, and cities seek Gehry's services as a badge of distinction, regardless of the product he delivers.
Seattle's EMP Music Museum represents this phenomenon at its most extreme. Microsoft's Paul Allen chose Gehry as the architect of the urban structure to house his public collection of music history artifacts. While the result was undeniably unique, critical reaction came in the form of withering attacks. The bizarre color choices, the total disregard for architectural harmony with the built and natural surroundings, and the mammoth scale led to accusations that Gehry had simply "got it wrong." Admirers of the building remind critics that similar attacks were levelled against the Eiffel Tower in the late 19th century, and that only historical perspective would allow a fair evaluation of the building's merits.
Recently, Gehry has been criticised by some to be repeating himself, critics claiming the disjointed metal panoply that has become Gehry's trademark is perhaps overused. Almost all of his recent work seems derivative of his landmark Bilbao Guggenheim. (It should be noted, however, that while the Guggenheim was completed before Disney Hall, the latter was designed first.) His critics and admirers alike are watching with anticipation to see whether Gehry is able to produce equally compelling forms in a different idiom.