Curvy, voluminous structures of super-human dimensions.
Last week’s the Krulwich Wonders blog on NPR, titled Buildings That Wheeze, Squeeze and Dance, presented a compelling treatise on the fleshing up of architecture. While the ancient Greeks, no doubt, would have loved to have engaged in the Aphrodite-like curvatures of the buildings that follow, B.C.E. technology limited them to ionic contours. In a modern architectural context, that’s akin to an a-cup or b-cup, at best.
Note, an ionic shaft:
Tantalizingly phallic for its time, but PG-13 in comparison to the Marilyn Monroe of skyscrapers.
Robert Krulwich writes that the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Canada is a “she” building “whose sensuous curves remind me of a beautiful woman, the kind that strides off, unaware she’s being oggled.”
I beg to differ: she knows she’s a head-turner.
The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China, meanwhile…
…reminds me of a ticking biological clock.
Krulwhich also includes the Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunić collaboration Dancing House, also called the “Fred and Ginger” building after the dancing duo. He observes, “it looks like a guy giving his girlfriend a squeeze.”
And here’s that same guy, his head done in after a nasty breakup.
Le sigh, La Tete-au-Carre by French artist and sculptor Sacha Sosno, which also serves as the Central Library in Nice, France.
The crux of Krulwich’s argument is that the line between architect and artist, sculptor and builder, static columns and fluid geometry is as straight and narrow as the ripply side of New York By Gehry, how most of us wished we looked in a Grecian dress.
Not too long ago, bodies were sculptors’ territory. The best way to capture those sly contours, the twists and turns of muscle or fabric, was to stay small, make a statue, a museum piece. Buildings were too big. They needed strength, height, the protection of solid geometry — rectangles, squares and triangles. But all that’s changed. With a new palette of supple building materials, builders have become sculptors.
And humanity, the muse.