Tuesday, January 6, 2015

atelier bow-wow, four boxes gallery, krabbesholm højskole, skive, denmark 2009

A few nice photo galleries images I found:

atelier bow-wow, four boxes gallery, krabbesholm højskole, skive, denmark 2009
photo galleries
Image by seier+seier
four boxes gallery, krabbesholm højskole, skive, denmark 2009.
architects: atelier bow-wow, yoshiharu tsukamoto and momoyo kaijima, tokyo.

the 'four boxes' gallery by atelier bow-wow looks like a tribute to utzon's bagsværd church and to the culture it grew out of, making it an obvious place to end the latest line of projects and buildings here. for such a celebration to arrive from abroad came was no surprise - the Danish architecture scene is currently occupied elsewhere - but no-one could have predicted its authors.

no expert on atelier bow-wow, I have nevertheless enjoyed their work from a distance. from the observations of their early books, true bestiaries of the strange buildings that thrive under extreme conditions in tokyo, through their unique drawings, to their quirky houses, they have shown an uncanny ability to make the traditional disciplines of architecture come alive. and despite the formal diversity of their buildings, bordering at times on the whimsical, everything they do appears connected through their unique understanding of the city they live and work in.

yes, the bow-wows are contextualists, but their careful and idiosyncratic readings of places and use have allowed them a great freedom from mimicry so far. and true to the ethics of their approach, none of the charm and quirkiness of their tokyo work is present in the gallery in skive, skive not really being famous for either. but neither is Danish architecture in general, with its historical focus on classicism and typological studies, and its modernist translation of those into prefabrication and system thinking. it does not sound charming when you say it and frankly, it rarely looks charming either. it does however allow for some intellectually exciting architecture with a hidden structure of game-like rules.

the four boxes gallery is just such a building, and its hidden rules are the rules of prefabricated concrete elements, sandwich elements more specifically, meaning fully insulated elements with a concrete finish on both interior and exterior sides. sandwich elements are the work horse of construction in denmark and deal with sound transmission, fire, load and finish all in one piece, and at a good price. only problem being, as an architect, you can hardly do anything with them.

complex geometry is out of the question, the elements are flat. height is limited to about one floor or you couldn't move the pieces under a bridge; as in all prefabrication, the demands made by transportation are the most decisive. you can make the elements long, trucks are long after all. the logic is simple, the resulting buildings tend to be simplistic. yet strict limitations like these attract architects of a certain mindset. utzon was such an architect and so, surprisingly, are the bow-wows. if cheap sandwich elements only let you build boxes, we shall build boxes, they seem to say, and proceed to build the architectural equivalent of a russian matryoshka doll, a box inside a box inside a box inside a box!

while budget was clearly a decisive factor, there is nothing cynical about bow-wow's application of prefab. in the facade, the elements have been turned on the side, and rather than stacking floors, single elements express the changing height of the building like a graph or the LED display on your 1980's HIFI equalizer. the same elements with different reinforcements act as beams and daylight reflectors in the suspended boxes inside, displaying the kind of terse thinking one would have expected from utzon or korshagen back in the day.

the fourth, outer box is a courtyard, a spatial typology central to both Japanese and Danish traditional architecture, and one of the similarities between the two that meant so much to Danish architects working in the 1960's. the bow-wows are contextualists alright, but they acknowledge that reading context is every bit as personal as reading a book - in skive, their reading has produced a house so Danish, it could only have come from japan.

this photo was uploaded with a CC license and may be used free of charge and in any way you see fit.
if possible, please name photographer "SEIER+SEIER". if not, don't.

more words, yada, yada, yada.

Boston - Back Bay: Boston Public Library McKim Building - Wiggin Gallery Dioramas - George Bellows' Stag at Sharkeys
photo galleries
Image by wallyg
George Bellows, shown in the foreground, watches the boxing match which gave him the subject of his 1917, Stag at Sharkey's. The scene shows a prize fight, known as a ‘stag’, being held at a private club. The boxers are arranged in a strong, pyramid-like composition, recalling classical sculpture. The force of their action is illustrated by interlocking forms and bold diagonal lines. Bellows' lithograph portraying the fight is part of a complete sequence of his prints in the Wiggin Collection.

Located in a dark corner in the Wiggins Gallery, twelve dioramas created by Louis Stimson in the 1940's depict artists in the midst of painting some of their most famous works. The Albert H. Wiggin Gallery, originally devoted to special collections, was given over to the exhibiting of prints in 1941 when Mr. Wiggin, a Boston born New York financier, gave the Library his collection of prints and drawings.

The Boston Public Library McKim Building, located on Boylston Street between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets, was built in 1895 by Charles Follen McKim of McKim, Mead & White. Consisting of a three-story, monumental free-standing block in the style of an Italian Renaissance palace surrounding an open courtyard, McKim's design was one of the earliest successful examples of Renaissance Beaux-Arts Classicism in America, and set the precedent for grand scale urban libraries. In 1972, the Philip Johnson-designed late modernist wing was added to the Central Library location. The Boston Public Library system, established in 1848, was the country's first publicly supported municipal library, its first large library open to the public and its first to allow citizens to borrow books. There are currently twenty-six branches in the system.