Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They by Tom Wilkinson

By Tom Wilkinson

We don't simply examine structures: their facades, attractive or grotesque, hide the areas we inhabit. we're born, paintings, love and die in structure. We purchase and promote it, hire it and squat in it, create and ruin it. those features of constructions – fiscal, erotic, political and mental – are an important if we're to appreciate structure adequately. and since structure moulds us simply up to we mold it, knowing structure is helping us to appreciate our lives and our global. via ten nice constructions internationally Tom Wilkinson unearths the robust and intimate courting among society and structure and asks: can structure switch our lives for the better?

THE TEN structures: The Tower of Babel, Babylon (c. 650 BC), The Golden apartment, Rome (AD 64-68), Djinguereber Mosque, Timbuktu (1327), Palazzo Rucellai, Florence (1450), The backyard of ideal Brightness, Beijing (1709-1860), competition Theatre, Bayreuth, Germany (1876), Highland Park vehicle manufacturing unit, Detroit (1909-1910), E.1027, Cap Martin (1926-29), Finsbury well-being Centre, London (1938), Footbridge, Rio de Janeiro, London (2010)

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In the wake of the counter-culture revelations of the 1960s, architects everywhere considered dropping out as a serious option. Sottsass spent long periods in India, and translated his experiences into totemic architecture that described a state of mind. 40 Far from the cosmopolitan conditions that had inspired much of the architecture of the 20th century, by the early 1970s Sottsass had turned towards ideal imaginary forms with a self-sustained temple-like singularity. Influenced by the counter-culture thinking of the 1960s, Sottsass ‘tripped out’ on an introspective hippie otherworldly vision.

Six storeys above the ground, this Alhambra in miniature would provide a break from the bustle below. 30 The slopes provided the opportunities for a variety of interlacing terraces, with meandering paths, projecting roofs and incongruous plazas that offset nature with a vibrant 31 fantasticality. Gaudí used tried-and-tested landscape techniques in which a network of paths activates a variety of experiences, but he also incorporated so many artificial natures that real nature paled into a supporting role.

When the term first emerged in the early 1980s it was chosen to describe a set of values. It placed the circumstances surrounding a building in a higher position than the building itself, circumscribing the ‘event’, as Bernard Tschumi called it, in relation to the architectural object. Tschumi drew parallels between a sequence of events in space and the physical conditions of the city. There was a need to understand the dynamics between the physical form 62 of architecture and what happens in it, and these relations were subject to degrees of manipulation introduced by the architect.

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