Re: Re: Dublin skyline

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I once, remember a story of a boy who grew up with one of the finest stretches of Trout Fishing River, in all of Great Britain, at the end of his back garden,… who later in life, having not expressed any interest in fishing whatsoever, at any stage,… developed a very keen interest in Train Spotting. So I guess, it shows how little your upbringing, surroundings and background sometimes have to do with how you grow up and develop. Yeah, I reckon, there is someone for just about every hobby under the sun,… and I think this website here, proves that point, yet again.

BTW, I notice every one of the above posts/skyline pictures has focussed on the macro scale, whereas, the scale that people are most likely to experience, in the scale described by the skill of the ‘Pot-Spotter’. I mean, the Chimney Pot is more a development of the Classical Orders,… if you were to look at Le Corbusier’s Ver Une Architecture,… he does a quite nice study of the Parthenon, and goes into much detail of how the Parthenon is still one of the most beautiful buildings on the planet. I mean, even if it is things like cantilevered lamp posts, and street lights nowadays, it is still about skylines. One of the Architects, who deserve the utmost credit in recent times, for repairing, or ‘adding’ to urban skylines, have been Coop Himmelblau.

They have managed to build in some of the oldest and most conservation oriented urban centres in Europe and the world, and most of their architecture speaks about this notion of the urban skyline. Carme Pinos spoke widely about the urban skyline, in relation to her tall buildings, during her recent lecture here in Dublin this year, at the AAI. I think she has got something to say about that,… as does the architecture of Enric Miralles, who has done a lot for streets in Spain and elsewhere, through his spatial constructions, all of which deal with the notion of silouhette and meeting with the sky also. The Architects who deal with the opposite to skyline, are Architects like Thom Mayne of Morphosis, and when you put Coop Himmelblau and Thom Mayne together, as they did, to do a project for Los Angeles, in an urban park, to build a Concert Hall, sunken into the ground,… you got a building which dealt with the earth, and being ‘in’ the ground, which also having a building, that was exurberant and danced ontop of the ground, playing with the light and the sky and the ambiance,… that was Coop’s contribution to that project. If you look at any Morphosis books, you will see the project I am talking about. Niemeyer, is an Architect who I think has done quite interesting things for the skyline too, in his own South American native part of the world. Even an Architect such as Mies van der Rohe should not be left out, given the contribution he made to cities in North America, surely a Mies building is a lot to do with the skyline, the sense of place, of a city like New York or Chicago.

Architects like Kahn, and even James Stirling tend to be good at working on the ground, as part of the ground and in the ground, giving their buildings that sense of rootedness, in the place, the earth itself,… which is a feeling that I really am drawn to. Though on the other hand, Coop Himmelblau’s stuff has done so much for old cities too, creating what they describe as ‘cats walking on the roof’,…. you get the feeling that if the cat jumped, the whole roof top installation, would respond by quivering, and shaking in response. I was drawn by these nightime, urban, skyline kinds of Architects for a while. I think looking at the recent works of Zaha Hadid is worth while, who is influenced by Mies and Niemeyer. Or even looking at the contributions by people like Piano and Grimshaw, urban projects, or even Santiago Calatrava. Who have all introduced dynamic and spectacular forms in the urban fabric. Gehry, Koolhaas and Libeskind most certainly. . . Depends on how much you want to get into it, but certainly many, many architects have responded to this aspect of cities and architecture,… as much as they have to the more ground level stuff, the boardwalks, the pavements, the streets,… it is good to work the two together, to think of the two together I feel. Getting back to the more ordinary level stuff though, even in suburbia, there seems to be a lot of stuff, on roofs, and people interested in roofs, on the web,… but any of the above mentioned famous architects, would bring you close to an understanding, of skylines, and the contribution of buildings and new architecture in that respect,… certainly Coop Himmelblau, should be a port of call for you. The images I attached are typical of Blau, and what they aspire to achieve I think. More banal but,…

Can you imagine how important a ‘landmark’ this building’s roof would be for a cold, grey, car-dominated suburban kind of city in the US…. I mean, the Future Systems stuff, or the Libeskind stuff is trying to make a bigger statement, because the site demands it, or the building type demands it, or the City’s major demands a bigger statement, or whatever, but the same effect, should also work in Suburbia, albeit on a smaller level. It is something that has yet to be fully exploited in Dublin’s suburbs,.. In the suburbs, even small landmarks can become ‘big’ landmarks over time. Venturi’s book Learning from Las Vegas would be worth a look at too. Fine collection of roof top objects here,…

what this does highlight, just like Le Corbusier’s description of the Parthenon, is the scale at which you need to increase things, to actually make an impact, when ‘to be viewed’ on top of a building,… you really do have to supersize things, or they get lost,… that added considerable cost too, when you are talking about materials which are durable like copper especially, which is I presume, why one sees fewer rooftop objects anymore,.. that is why I suggest Coop Himmelblau,… they manage to divert money back into building budgets for skyline aspects of the architectural impact, statement and design. Mies really was the Daddy though, he could manage to divert all efforts in a building design,… to just making some of the most beautiful silouhettes and exterior skins, ever since the Parthenon.

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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