The Pompidou Centre. Inside Out

Towering Above
Towering Above

What is the best house for an art museum if not art itself? With an open heart and bones of steel, the Pompidou Centre towers naked above the French roofs of the 4th arrondissement. Among them it stands out,  an alien surrounded by mortals.

A myriad of pipes wraps the back of the building: not to protect it but to make it work. The engine of the Pompidou Centre larks in the blue, green, red, yellow, grey and white tubes, each of which carries a different service: fool-proof and ideal for any problem. At least plumbers and electricians immediately know where to put their hands!

Myriad Of Pipes
Myriad Of Pipes

In this transgressive museum, all the old conventions collapse, leaving everything inside-out and giving carte blanche to the men. This is a building for the community. A mixture between the ancient polis and the Bauhaus, where every truth is tolerated because democracy reigns.

For The Community
For The Community

It is a structure that fully belongs to our century even if it was constructed in the past one. It is innovation, rebellion, desire to go beyond and flip the charts. It represents all the expectations, all the great ideals, all the hopes for the new millennium. We cannot yet tell if all these good intentions have become true, since we are still sailing in this century, but certainly the Pompidou now stands in front of us.

Many say that this is love at second sight. For me, no doubt it was love at first sight.

Love At First Sight
Love At First Sight

The British Museum. Never The Same

The British Museum
The British Museum

Walk up the steps, cross the pronaos, rush through the first room, enter the main courtyard and look up: you will be rendered speechless. The modern roof designed by Fosters and Partners hovers above you. 3312 glazing panels – none of which are the same – frame 3312 triangular slices of sky.

This is the heart of the British Museum. The metaphor of all the different civilizations, whose relics are conserved in the museum. Like those different cultures, the panels interact, collide, work together. The result is a strong and stable structure.

New And Old
New And Old

Lowering the eyes, a second consideration comes to mind: contrast. At first glance, it is an architectonical and spatial contrast. The modern roof both holds together the different entities of the building and divides them, thus creating a new central space where the interplay of modern and neoclassical architecture is dominant.

However beyond that initial contrast, there is a deeper antithesis. This is hidden in the soul of the building: the people.

A museum without people is no museum at all.

The Main Atrium
The Main Atrium

Visitors come from every region of the world to see the wonders preserved in the museum. Sculptures, objects, books that – even if stolen – do not belong to us. Uprooted from their place of origin, they mingle among the crowd, in rooms where the frenetic movement of the visitors clashes with the stillness of the stone and marble. It is this contrast that shapes the building and makes it unique.

A building that is never experienced in the same way, because the people who walk through it are all different. Each individual with a distinct history, similar to the statues and the artifacts, not unlike the glazing panels.

The Modern Roof
The Modern Roof

London Aquatics Centre. A Solitary Wave

London Aquatics Centre
London Aquatics Centre

In the far east of London, stands majestic and solitary the London Aquatics Centre. In an almost inexistent context, it emerges from the flatness of the surroundings, like a solitary wave in the middle of the ocean.

At first sight, its dynamic form amazes but then the question arises: would it be as beautiful within a context? Or is it this emptiness that enhances the building? “Space is meaningless without scale, containment, boundaries and direction”, writes Huxtable – so is the aquatic centre just a meaningless wonder?

Curved Wall
Curved Wall

I cannot deny that its shape and materiality interests me. The timber gently bended, the slightly tilted glass, the overall movement, the long span…all details showing a long and well thought study of the structure. I cannot even deny that it does not serve its purpose, because it does. Oriented on a north-south axis, it has glazing on the east and west side, providing natural lighting to the swimming pool in the morning and in the afternoon.

I can, however, say that when I stand in front of it, it does not make me burn inside. Instead, I feel insignificant, in this immense and flat urban desert where the only spectator is the mute and motionless London skyline.

London Aquatics Centre

La Tour Eiffel. 125 Years Of Love

Glimpse Of The Tour Eiffel
Glimpse Of The Tour Eiffel

Paris is an old romantic man. Two things distinguish him as french: a baguette under the arm and a revolutionary spirit in the chest. A bit Bohemian, a bit Jacobin, but with one motto: liberté, egualité, fraternité.

Like all men – or all lovers I should say – he has two weaknesses: absinth and women. But it is known that every Casanova has one true love.

Paris’ everlasting one is a lanky old lady with an iron soul.
In her early years, she was criticised for her avant-garde personality: a bit too strong, a bit too modern. As time went by, confidence grew and she was ready to impress. Her vanity and diversity made her famous worldwide. Now, she is a front cover diva and her photographs are plastered all over magazines and postcards.

View From The Trocadero
View From The Trocadero

Paris observes her everyday from dawn to dusk. For 125 years, he awaited the right moment to make his move, but the time has not come yet. She towers above him like no other. Rising to the top of the Trocadero steps would not be enough to reach her height. Maybe he will never kiss her, but from there he can enjoy her best view.

His love is secret and endless. A love that will last forever.

A Love That Lasts Forever
A Love That Lasts Forever

Central Saint Martins. A Liberty Square

Old Granary Building
Old Granary Building

Architecture is art, and in art lies its completeness. In Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, the two disciplines work one in function to the other. The building is like a Rubik’s cube in which all faces have the same colour: the solutions are endless and they all work. The school is designed to change, depending on the needs of the students. The interior is indefinite, with soft temporary walls that allow the campus to morph in the future.

The form of the building derives from its function, and it is achieved through a well thought process of subtraction. This process of subtraction leads to the creation of a series of empty spaces: the heart and soul of the building.

The first atrium, which connects the old granary building to the new structure, does not only belong to students, but also to the community. The space is used in all manner of ways, an arena for the annual student fashion show or a friendly game of table tennis.

The second central atrium belongs fully to the school. It is a stage where the students are the actors and the different disciplines the main characters. On that stage they interact, come together, learn from each other, they take form and ownership. Ownership of the space, of the primitive mass.

The apex of functionality is that central empty space: a space of collaboration and dialogue.

A liberty square where ideas, creativity and art are the motto.