Friday, May 6, 2011

Katie's Architecture Reports

The Gugenheim Museum by Frank Owen Gehry

I chose the Gugenheim because although I had always heard about the museum, I had never seen it or known anything about it before now. Of all of Gehry’s works with all their similarities, this one seemed to stick out the most with me because it’s positioning and shape. The way it sits along the river and the direction and shape of its lines giver a “water” effect. It’s as though the building is flowing along with the river. It has an elemental look with very industrial materials.

Gehry grew up with in a creative family and so his ability to design was there from an early age. He spent time building small cities with his grandmother and out of scraps of everyday materials. He also played around in his grandfather’s hardware store, exposing to him to a variety of building materials. His mother was also a prominent influence in his life, pushing him to do what he liked to do.

Gehry’s style is not one of function but is shear creativity. Function, views, opinions, or any of the other things that many artists incorporate to influence their work do not really exist in his creations. To look at the Gugenheim you would never know that it is an art museum unless you recognized the building. It appears that Gehry’s major inspiration in the design of the museum is his limitless imagination.

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright

Ever since I was in elementary school I have always liked Fallingwater. As a child it fascinated me that a building could constructed in such a way that the waterfall was part of it. It has an organic feel without looking like it grew out of a tree. It’s as though modern architecture (at the time of construction) linked with the natural scenery while both still retained their individual essence.

The building is located in western Pennsylvania, just south of Pittsburgh in Fayette County. It was completed in October of 1937 for the president of Kaufmann’s Department store. Wright did not always see eye to eye with some of the engineers that Kaufmann employed and had to demonstrate one at least one occasion that his cantilever design was stable and strong enough for the building. It is rumored that upon discovering that Kaufman had taken some of Wright’s drawings to a group of engineers for evaluation, he took back all of his drawings and then buried the engineer’s report within the stone of the house.

Wright had a strong influence from Japanese architecture which shows up in his design of Fallingwater. As a young architect, he visited Japan and became enamored with the architectural designs of the country. Japanese often has a serene, almost meditative aura about it, which also seems to emanate from Fallingwater. While the house itself is not completely Japanese in appearance, it has the same tranquil effect which is achieved through its harmonious integration into nature itself.

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