By Carter B. Horsley
This fabulous, small but thick volume describes
about 1000 intriguing architectural projects from around the world
and has about 2,000 superb color photographs. It is, without question,
the best architecture book of the Millennium so far and a splendid
introduction to the spectacular works that have been created over
the past decade or so, one of the most dramatic and sensational
periods in architectural history.
Despite its robust size, this volume has some
important omissions. Such important designers Arquitectonica and
S.I.T.E., and Zaha Hadid, are missing and others such as Arata
Isozaki, Frank Gehry, Peter Eisenman, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill,
Kohn Pedersen Fox, Helmut Jahn, Shin Takematsu, and Fox &
Fowle, are not adequately represented. Norman Foster has 9 entries,
the most of any architect, followed by Cesar Pelli, 6, and Salvator
Calatrava, Kisho Kurokawa, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas, and William
Bruder have four each.
Nevertheless, this is a stupendous book not
only for reference, but inspiration. One of its great features
is that it covers not only skyscrapers, but airports, train stations,
bridges, museums, urban parks, land art, educational and athletic
structures, theme parks, religious buildings, hotels libraries,
theaters, retail buildings, restaurants, convention facilities,
homes, and industrial properties.
Although the book is nicely divided by building
type, one cannot discern the emergence of any particular style
for the period covered by this book. Post-modernism would appear
to be rather moribund and Deconstructivism seems to have lost
some of its energy. High-tech, however, seems to have flourished
well and what could perhaps be described as Poetic Eclectic Classicism
- grand, gestural forms and flourishes - is abundantly evident.
Indeed, architecture as sculptural art, best exemplified by Frank
Gehrys famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (one of
the few works not shown to its best advantage in this book), is
ascendant. Gehrys Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, of course,
is one of the major architectural masterpieces of the 20th Century
and certainly the most important building of the 90s, heralding
a new age of plasticity.
Not surprisingly, Europe and Asia have more
interesting projects than the United States.
Among the eye-openers are the following:
Interchange Module at Charles de Gaulle Airport
in Roissy, France, completed in 1994, by Paul Andreu and J. M.
Duthilleul, a high-tech marvel, shown above, with a great curved
slylight trusses. Photography by Paul Maurer.
The Atocha Station in Madrid, Spain, completed
in 1990, by José Rafael Moneo, a great variation on a giant
colonnaded dome. Photograph by Luis Casals.
The Kurt-Schumacher Strasse tram station in
Hanover, Germany, completed in 1994, by Alessandro Mendini, a
yellow-and-black checkered urban folly of simple boldness. Photograph
by Thomas Deutschmann.
The La Barqueta Bridge in Seville, Spain, completed
in 1992, by Juan J. Arenas and Marcos J. Pantaleón, an
awesome bridge with huge triangular porticos for stability and
drama. Photograph by Fernando Alda/Expo 92 photo archive.
The Collserole Tower by Sir Norman Foster &
Associates, completed in 1992, and the Montjuic Tower by Santiago
Calatrava, both in Barcelona, Spain and completed in 1992, the
former a 684-foot-high communications tower and the latter a 390-foot-high
sundial, both of great sculptural beauty. Photographs of the former
by David Carelius and of the latter by John Edward Linden.
The Schouwburgplein square in Rotterdam, the
Netherlands, completed in 1990, designed by West 8, has four 115-foot-high,
red "hydraulic post-cranes" that can be coin-operated
by the public to change the squares appearance.
The Citizens Square in Tokyo, completed
in 1991 and designed by Kenzo Tange Associates, is a semi-circular
plaza across from Tanges great, twin-towered City Hall and
it also features two large, red curved elements at its sides,
somewhat reminiscent of the cranes in Schouwburgplein Square.
Photographs by Osamu Murai, Shinkenchiku Shashiubu.
The Place des Terraux in Lyons, France, completed
in 1994 and designed by Christian Drevet, moved a large Bartholdi
fountain slightly and created a mini-forest of 69 fountains in
front of the Palais St. Pierre on the citys largest public
square. Photograph by Eric Saillet.
The Tower of the Winds in Yokohama, Japan,
completed in 1986 and designed by Toyo Ito & Associates, is
a ventilation and water tower that has beclad by an ellipitical
cylinder of perforated aluminum that becomes, according to the
author, "a mirror of its circumstances, and thus is not material."
"The direction and speed of the wind as well as the intesnity
of the traffic noise and transformed into electrical impulses
to become an ephermal architecture of light
The tower is
never the same, which makes it ephermeral, changing in essence,"
he added. Photographs by Sinkenchiku-sha, Tomio.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, completed
in 1995 and designed by Mario Botta, is a very elegant and monumental
structure of rectilinear setbacks covered in red masonry and punctuated
by a gray and white, angled, circular atrium skylight that abstractly
conjures the Duomo in Florence. Photograph by Robert Canfield.
The Cartier Foundation in Paris, completed
in 1994 and designed by Jean Nouvel, shileds a Chateaubriand cedar
tree beween two glass screens and the author notes that part of
the building "creates the impression of the Carter Foundation
as an ephermal building on the verge of fading away," adding
that "It belongs to an unspecified school of modern architecture."
Photograph by Christian Richters.
The High School of the Future in Jauney-Clan,
France, completed in 1987 and designed by Architecture-Studio,
is a boarding school for musicians and is rakisly angled, tiling
outwards with a sliding roof that is a powerful expression of
technology. Photograph by Stéphane Couturier.
An extension to the Denver Central Library,
completed in 1996 and designed by Michael Graves, has an extraordinary
square top with three-story angled supports over a cylindrical
form. It is one of the architect's strongest and best designs.
Photograph by Timothy Hursley.
The Phoenix (AZ) Central Library, completed
in 1994 and designed by William Bruder, has enormous glass walls
on its north and south facades and tall, vertical fabric sunscreens
on its east and west faces, and portrays a great sense of strength,
detail and transparency. Photography by Bill Timmerman.
The Monterrey Central Library in San Nicolás
de los Ganza, Nuevo León, Mexico, completed in 1994 and
designed by Legoretta Architects is an immensely interesting interplay
of geometric forms: a central cylinder with protruding square
windows, is not fully enclosed and ends in sharply angled buttresses,
one of which cascades into water. A rectilinear structure of different
facade material is visible inside the cylinder form only from
where the buttresses are angled. Photography by Lourdes Legoretta.
La Sémaphore is a complex for shows,
concerts, parties and banquets in Roussillon, France, completed
in 1994 and designed by Christian Drevet. It has a cylindrical
light mast, a metal screen and a parallelepiped. "Behind
the metal screen of the facade is a second skin of glass and heind
that is a wall which folds like a curtain. Each of these successive
skins creates a scenic plane. The spectacularly inclined camera
obscura interprets the heights of the various areas: higher in
the auditorium and lower in the party and banqueting hall. Photograph
by Eric Saillet.
The Stop Line entertainment center in Curno,
Bergamo, Italy, completed in 1996 and designed by Studio Archea,
is a long, low building that was originally a warehouse and has
been reclad in performated Corten steel and surrounded by a narrow
moat. It is very beautiful and houses a huge, single interior
space. Photographs by Pietro Savorelli, Severio Lombardi Vallauri.
The Triangle des Gares, Euralille, in Lille,
France, completed in 1994 and designed by Jean Nouvel, is a shopping
mall crowned with a row of small office towers. The project also
has a hotel and apartments. It is distinguished by its vibrant
use of bold colors. Photography by Phillipe Rualjt and Ralph Richter.
The City of Arts Cinema-Planetarium in Valencia,
Spain, shown above, was designed by Santiago Calatrava and completed
in 1999. This work has quite a Japanese flavor. Photography by
The Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France,
shown above, was designed for the Council of Europe by Richard
Rogers and completed in 1996. Photograph by F. Busam/Architekturphoto.
The new glass dome atop the Reichstag in Berlin,
show above, was designed by Foster & Partners and completed
in 1999. Photography by Dennis Gilbert and Nigel Young. The interior
of the dome has a marvelous reflective inverted cone and is very
The Government offices for the Department of
Bouches-du-Rhone in Marseilles, France, shown above, was designed
by Alsop & Stormer and completed in 1994. Photography by Roderick
The DG Bank Headquarters Building in Frankfurt,
Germany, shown above, was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and completed
in 1993. Photography by Dennis Gilbert.
Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron designed
an interesting apartment building in Basle, Switzerland in 1991,
shown above, that has its street facade covered with cast-iron
slats that full the full width and height of each floor in a very
elegant design. Photography by Margherita Spiluttini.
The Terminal 2 at San Diego Airport, shown
above, was designed by Gensler and completed in 1998. Photography
by Marco Lorenzetti and G. Cormier. It bears a resemblance with
the Dulles Airport but is quite strong in its own right.
The Wakayama Prefecture Museum of Modern Art,
shown above, was designed by Kisho Kurokawa and completed in 1991.
Photography by Tomio Ohashi.
The Millennium Experience in London, shown
at the top of this article, was designed by the Richard Rogers
Partnership and completed in 1999. It measures one kilometer in
circumference and is 165 feet high with a diameter of 1,200 feet.
The steel masts from which the Teflon fiberglass roof is suspended
at 348 feet high. Photography by Grant Smith.