More a Marvel of Engineering, Torre de Collserola functions as a highly adaptable communications tower and an innovation for an entirely new structural concept: a hybrid concrete and steel-braced tube. This required a base diameter of only 4.5 metres, dramatically minimizing its impact on the mountainside.
Torre de Collserola, Barcelona, Spain by Foster and Partners
The site where the Gherkin stands was originally occupied by the Baltic Exchange, a masterpiece of Edwardian commercial architecture that housed an expansive trading floor behind its elegant stone facade, the building was destroyed by an IRA truck bomb. A landmark on London’s skyline and architectural history; the sleek and shiny exterior of the offices at 30 St Mary Axe hide its credentials as the UK’s first environmentally progressive, commercial high-rise building. It changed the London skyline forever.
Echoing the Martian invaders in the War of the Worlds (Paramount Pictures, 1954), for which his brother, Hal Pereira, was Art Director, William Pereira’s “Theme Building” for the new Los Angeles International Airport was intended to resemble a landing spaceship. Calling this “the first terminal area specifically designed for the jet age,” The initiall building design was done by James Langenheim, of the Pereira-Luckman firm.
Theme Building, LAX, Los Angeles Airport, USA, by (1962, Pereira, Luckman, Becket, Williams)
The Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1946 for his client, Dr Edith Farnsworth, is seminal. It asserted America as the pre-eminent home of modernism after the war. It also reduced (for the first time) the idea of a dwelling to its skeletal minimal.
Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois USA by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
+ Farnsworth House National Historic Site
Buy the Book: Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography
When completed in 1969, the John Hancock Center was the tallest building in the world outside New York City. A mixed use building of offices and retail, it also contains the highest residences in the world. One of the most famous buildings of the structural expressionist style, the skyscraper’s distinctive X-bracing exterior is actually a hint that the structure’s skin is indeed part of its ‘tubular system’. This idea is one of the architectural techniques the building used to climb to record heights (the tubular system is essentially the spine that helps the building stand upright during heavy wind loads). The only drawback from my point of view is the ceiling height in the condominiums; I have entertained in several units and while the night light views are expansive and the morning views above the clouds are a real pleasure, and a heavy diagonal beam slashing through a window adds a distinctive interest, there is a certain interior claustrophobia that modernism should alleviate — bets are, it was a client decision to pack more floors in.
John Hancock Center, by Skidmore Owings Merrill
A classic house is up for Auction. Christie’s expects the house to sell for somewhere between $15 million and $25 million (€9.7 million-€16 million). It sits on 2.1 acres on a cul-de-sac in an exclusive section of Palm Springs.
It was the heyday of modernism in Palm Springs — some images from that time.
This Iconic bridge is a cable-stayed, masted structure, one of the finest structures built in this century. To accommodate the expansion and contraction of the concrete deck, each column splits into two thinner, more flexible columns below the roadway, forming an A-frame above deck level. The tapered form of the columns both expresses their structural loads and minimises their profile in elevation. The bridge enables motorists to take a drive through the sky, 270 metres (equivalent to the height of the Eiffel Tower) above the Tarn River valley for a 2.5 kilometre stretch through France’s Massif Central mountains.
Millau Viaduct, by Foster and Partners Co-architects: Chapelet-Defol-Mousseigne