Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shiny new buildings by leading architects

What do Salford (Manchester, UK), Cambridge (Massachusetts), Dubai, Bahrain, and Denver have in common? The answer is "Shiny new buildings by leading architects".

Denver has the Denver Art Museum, a joint venture by Studio Daniel Libeskind and Brit Probst of Davis Partnership Architects. It is intended to kick-start a cultural quarter, although when I visited I found the museum felt cut off from its surroundings, forcing me to cross wide roads to walk to it. It didn't feel like it was in a quarter like, say, the Reina Sofía in Madrid. But it certainly is impressive:


And from the side:


The New York Times remarked that the building "looks oddly familiar". With so many similar new buildings being thrown up around the world, "it’s as if you’ve seen the same building again and again. ". That is somewhat elitist, given that most people do not travel the world photographing shiny new oddly-shaped buildings. But, that said, I am one of the people who does travel the world photographing shiny new oddly-shaped buildings, so here are some "oddly familiar" buildings I have photographed:

This is the Imperial War Museum North, in Salford (Manchester) UK. This was Daniel Libeskind's first building in Britain.


The Imperial War Museum North resembles, to me at least, a World War One tank. Nearby there is The Lowry, designed by Michael Wilford and Buro Happold.


The Lowry houses many of the "stick people" paintings by LS Lowry. I feel that the impact of The Lowry is lessened by the fact that there is a "Lowry Outlet Center" right beside it!


In Cambridge Massachusetts there is the Stata Center, designed by Frank Gehry and recently in the news because of leaks.


In Dubai, there is the Burj al Arab, shaped like a sail. I feel that this building really works, there is nothing gimmicky about it.

Burj al Arab, Dubai

Also in the Middle East, the Bahrain World Trade Center complex includes integrated windmills. Now this is a little bit gimmicky, but it certainly saves money and fossil fuel energy.


The complex consists of two buildings, but viewed from a distance, they look like one. Clever stuff.


If anyone wants to share pictures or links of other interestingly shaped modern buildings, use the comments form below...

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