Category - Architecture

The dragon of Barcelona: Gaudi’s Casa Batlló is one of the most bizarre architectural works from the 20th century

Casa_Batllo_Overview_Barcelona_Spain_cutBarcelona is a city of great culture and amazing architecture which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Some of the most recognizable architectural masterpieces were constructed by the one and only Antoni Gaudi, who at the beginning of 1900 started to build a house which today is considered as one of his greatest works.   398px-CasaBatllo_0054The name of the house is Casa Batlló and the architect’s idea was to depict Saint George and the dragon. He was hired by the Batlló family to rebuilt their previous home. The owner gave total freedom to Gaudi to do what thinks its best to reconstruct the whole place. With his artistic vision, he created the most authentic work of art.800px-Close_up_Casa_BatloThe texture of the façade looks like a dragon’s gills and there is a cross on the roof that represents the saint. The balconies which are carved of cast iron look like faces and suppose to be the skulls of the dragon’s victims. The unusually shaped windows in the lower part of the house and the entrance have white curved frames and highly decorated columns that combined together look like a dragon’s jaw. That is way Casa Batlló is also dubbed as the House of Bones.CasaBatllo_inner_courtyardThe interior is as bizarre as the exterior. One of the most stunning spaces is the loft with its nadrealistic white walls that looks like a dragon’s spine. The main floor is the largest space in the house which has the unusually shaped windows covered with colorful stained glass. The most popular feature in the house is the roof which according to Gaudi represents the dragon’s back. It is made of colorful ceramic tiles and there is a small window shaped like a triangle that symbolizes the dragon’s eye.
CasaBatllo_rooftop_chimneys_dragonThe house was finished in two years, and from 1910 it was impossible for the locals to not stop in front of it and admire its unusual beauty. The word of the House of Bones spread fast around the world and everyone was excited to see this dragon in the middle of the city. It belonged to the Batlló family until the 1950s and after almost forty years it was bought by the Bernat family who are the current owners. From 1995, the house is open to the public and many events are hosted during each year. Millions of people come to visit the house and it always stands out as one of the greatest places they’ve visited from their must-see lists. In 2005, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and remains as one of the most valuable icons of Barcelona. CasaBatlló_NobleFloor_saloon_side1024px-Casa_Batlló_(Antoni_Gaudi)_(interior,_ceiling_close_up),_43,_Passeig_de_Gràcia,_Eixample,_Barcelona,_Catalonia,_Spainimages: wiki

Metabolist architecture coming to South Brooklyn, inspired by eco-regeneration

Citiscape Consulting has just revealed the first-look renderings of their latest architectural venture, and it’s stunning. This tower which looks like it came straight out from a science fiction novel is going to be a long-term care facility in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.1508-Avenue-Z-from-East-15th-Avenue-design-by-Citiscape-Consulting-hero-1024x0-c-defaultThe design, which looks like a futuristic tower of cubes and hexagons, was inspired by an architectural movement from post-war Japan, called Metabolism. In Japan they called it “shinchintaisha”, a literal translation of metabolism in a biological sense. But for a country still struggling to make sense of the tragedies of war, the word meant something else. Regeneration. That from the ashes of yesterday, they will create living structures that are capable of organically growing and adapting as symbols of resilience…. So how will these ideas translate into a 16-storey medical structure?1508-Avenue-Z-design-by-Citiscape-Consulting-2 The building which will be located at 1508 Avenue Z, will have a crown of vegetation, and each of the building’s hexagonical shell will carefully integrate organic elements such as live plant walls and wood. Staying true to its green theme is a special rainwater capture system, making sure that the building’s plumbing and its greenery’s maintenance are low-cost and highly sustainable. Aside from that, the building will also have a CO2-cleaning organic material which seeks to help lessen air pollution. And finally, the structure will be equipped with sun-responsive panels designed to keep the building cool and comfortable for its inhabitants. Kisho-Kurokawa-Modular-Nakagin-Capsule-Tower-at-Airbnb-1-889x594When done, the building will dedicate more than 3000 square feet to its medical facilities, almost 4000 square feet for retail, and 42,000 square feet for residential units. 1508-Avenue-Z-facade-closeup-design-by-Citiscape-Consulting-768x1024What’s even more exciting is the fact that metabolist architecture seeks to create structures that are meant to change through time—something that grows. This is reminiscent of one of the most iconic works in the movement, the Nakagin Capsule Tower designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurakawa. It is a modular capsule building, which meant that each of the units, or rather, “capsules” of the building can be moved, removed, and changed. How will this concept work on this building, we wonder? Will it also be able to change its appearance and adapt accordingly? Only time will tell.

(h/t, images: archpaper.com, inhabitat.com, newyorkyimby.com)

Bathe in sound at Joshua Tree’s Integratron

The world is filled with many wondrous places that have a history we don’t yet fully understand. Locations such as Stonehenge and Easter Island draw people from all over the globe, all claiming to feel some sort of spiritual pull towards those places. While we may never know all the details of these ancient wonders, there are some newer spiritual locations whose history is very clear. That knowledge does little to deter those folks who feel as though they need a little magic in their lives. One such place is the Integratron, which can be found in a small town near Joshua Tree in California.static1.squarespace.comSeemingly stuck in the middle of nowhere, the Integratron is a dome shaped building that, at first glance, looks a whole lot like an observatory. Given the history of the building, it is perhaps no real surprise that it looks the way it does. There is an alien connection to this place, and while it is not used for such purposes nowadays, we do know the reasons why it was built.5205162597_b5e848d562_bThe history of the Integratron goes all the way back to the 1950’s, when former aircraft mechanic named George Van Tassel moved to the area with the intention of opening a small hotel. Shortly after moving there, George would spend a lot of time at Big Rock, a spiritual destination for Native Americans. It was during one of his moments of quiet solitude that Van Tassel claims he received messages form intelligent beings beyond the stars. The idea of the hotel was put on the back burner in favor of what was to become the Integratron.3860944225_d0c9b898f1_bGeorge hosted many successful UFO conventions in the area, the proceeds of which he used to build his masterpiece. More than just a simple building, George intended the Integratron to work like a massive battery that he claimed could recharge the cells in the human body. The main construction was finished in 1959, but George continued to make changes all the way up to 1973, which was when he passed. Rather than slipping into obscurity and falling into ruin, the Integratron continued to thrive, albeit under several different guises.6330619775_c48d33d7fd_bThe building was used for a variety of different purposes, and at one point came very close to being turned into a disco. Despite all the changes over the years, the Integratron has come full circle, and is now used for the purposes that Van Tassel initially intended. This is the place to go for a full body regeneration, which is delivered via sound baths. Essentially, you get to lay back and relax for an hour while the session leader created music through a series of different vessels.8772658209_afb3a3ff43_bThe acoustics of the building make this experience something quite magical. Several musicians have visited over the years, testing the sounds and sonics that the interior of the Integratron creates. The building is open to the public, so it’s certainly a place to visit if you feel as though your energy is waning and you need a little recharging.

8772657085_e3631e1117_b  Images: integratron.com