Browsing Category: architecture

  • Cathedrals of Culture (2014)

    Of course, buildings cannot have souls. We are cannot even install them in computers. But a new 3D film by six directors, which began life as a TV series, sets out to demonstrate the improbable. You have to admit these are personable buildings. The roving cameras are accompanied by first person voiceovers which bring us into the …

    January 2, 2015
  • Barbican Estate, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon (1965-76)

    There are two Barbicans, we soon learn on a tour of the East London council estate: the multi-purpose arts centre; and the mysterious residential units which sell for seven figure sums. Most visits to the former involve passing beneath the latter. But there is so much more to this brutalist landmark and unlikely home than …

    December 14, 2014
  • Ernö Goldfinger, Balfron Tower (1968)

    It’s been a sheltered low-rise sort of upbringing for this blogger. So the chance to ride a steel elevator up 24 floors to flat 130 of the Balfron Tower was not to be missed. This masterpiece of social housing is Grade II listed, and the flat in question is a pop up showpiece of 1960s …

    October 6, 2014
  • Chris Agnew, Sacrifice (2012)

    If superstition ran riot, might not every human casualty take on the complexion of a sacrifice. Every death would register as an appeasement of one of our many gods. Admittedly, that is wacko. But here Chris Agnew juxtaposes what must be the most rational system of government, communism, with one of the least, Mayan. In …

    June 28, 2012
  • Toilet of Modern Art, Vienna

    I’m not even going to mention the most famous toilet in modern art, but here’s another pretender to the throne, no pun intended. Hundertwasser was an Viennese architect. His quirky creations are a guide book mainstay, with their undulating floors and irregular windows. Coach parties love him. Just streets apart in the East of the …

    December 13, 2011
  • Adolf Krischanitz, Barhocker (1986)

    With its dark, stained and somewhat splayed feet this stool looks solid enough. But it was still not clear that sitting there was permitted. It was, after all, part of an exhibition. It had its own plaque on the wall and, indeed, I was reading the very details relating to this piece, when I turned …

    November 24, 2011
  • Ximena Garrido-Lecca, The Walls of Progress: Project Country (2011)

    Amidst the bright, shiny things one could take home from Frieze to put on your wall was this: a structure of mud, daring collectors to take it back to their bright, shiny homes. Hand made from adobe bricks and modelled on an original in the highlands of Peru, this sculpture brought the outside world into …

    October 21, 2011
  • Kutluğ Ataman, Mesopotamian Dramaturgies / Mayhem (2011)

    Kutluğ Ataman has got into the spirit of the Brighton Festival with a carnivalesque metaphor for the recent turmoil in the Arab world: a waterfall which defies gravity. (This reading of Mayhem needs its full context, a series named after a region encompassing Iraq, Iran and Syria. And nearby here is another piece (Su) in …

    May 13, 2011
  • Gordon Matta-Clark, Splitting (1974)

    Novelist Philip Roth is known for having said: “When a writer is born into a family, that family is finished.” And this work by Gordon Matta-Clark suggests a comparable model for artists. The house which he literally saws in two is described in a caption to the film of the event as a “typical family …

    March 6, 2011
  • Review: Modern Times – Responding to Chaos

    Exhibition: Modern Times, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea, until June 13 2010 Somewhere between art and architecture sits a drawing by minimalist sculptor Fred Sandbeck. His pencil and chalk plan for a Zurich gallery construction hovers in mid air, reminding us of the Utopian potential of pictorial space. The architectural role of this work would …

    April 24, 2010