31 May 2006
30 May 2006
There is something about this city that makes it almost as perfect as a city could be – the scale, the imagination, the filth, the pace, the density and the people – this place as got it all.
I was there as part of my annual Excursion part of our theory programme at the Berlage along with our Dutch Architecture Historian/ New York Fanatic/ Eccentric and Fast-paced/ Frog loving professor – Thomas Van Leuven. His passion for this city and life in general was completely inspiring and has made this trip very dear to me. Our mission in NYC was to trace the history of the city (actually only
So the race to uncover the history and familiarize our self with this great city began literally a few minutes after we reached our hotel on
Day 1 – (
The above images show us a few minutes after our arrival from
Once on our own we formed small groups and moved around in the area, but a few of us more crazy people headed straight for the one place that everyone knows is as clichéd New York than any other – Times Square.
The strange thing for me about
Day 2 - (
The day started off early with a two hour long lazy cruise in the Circle line go around the
After that we explored some parts of
Here’s an image of our whole group in the building’s lobby.
After an extensive tour of the building and viewing from its various terrace we headed towards
Day 3 - (
The Next day took us to one of the most celebrated Monuments in the World – The Statue of Liberty.
Once past the absurd amount of Security we gained access to the statue itself, but since 9-11 all access beyond the plinth has been banned for all visitors because of guess what?
After that we headed to see
Day 4 - (
Day 4 was mostly spent in Museums – The Metropolitan Museum of Art (or simply the MET) and at the Cloisters way up north on
Most people who have lived in the city or visit there haven’t seen this Museum and I feel it’s a very interesting building and if you’re an architect you must see how as early as the 1920’s the architect of this project has wonderfully handled the whole issue of heritage and conservation. (Read more about the Cloisters HERE)
Day 5 - (
This day has to be the biggest architecture marathon of the trip.
Rem Koolhaas in his book “Delirious New York” has a chapter titled ‘How Perfect Perfection Can Be’ dedicated to the building we went to see on Day 5: The Rockefeller Centre. And believe me when you understand the project – its complexity, its response to this great city and its Utopian aim and achievement – you can’t but agree more with Koolhaas.
The height of the main tower and it’s location in Mid Town gives amazing views from its roof top aka ‘The Top of The Rock’. Check out
and the tall towers towards the South all piercing the sky. (Check out the
She (and this one is a she for sure) has the most amazing roof and a great story to go along with it – read this and more about the buildings history – in the links section of this Wiki Next stop yet another famous
Next stop yet another famous
When in the station don’t miss the wonderful food court in the basement and also check out the cool Guastavino Tiles on the roof and structure inside and just outside the Oyster Bar and Restaurant. (By the way they serve the best clamp chowder I have had in my life – try it, it’s awesome).
The rest of the day had more great pieces of architecture in store for us.
The United Nations building – Though I really like the slab and its look Super Studio look I have to say that the main lobby look on more real than the set made for Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. The space is all wrong – proportions, material, scale and what’s with that horrible roof?
Nonetheless an important building for any
The Seagram building (below) by the master architect Mies himself. It’s difficult to spot this building till you see the plaza in front of it cause of the many many look alikes that can be found near it.
Next stop the Prada store by yet another Starchitect – Rem Koolhaas. Though it is only an interior design job you could classify it as an interior architecture project. This project was done as a collaborative between his office OMA and his research think tank AMO (that was helping in the branding and identity building for “Mrs. Prada’s” designs).
We had one of “Mrs. Prada’s” faithful girls show us the outlet and the concept behind the design of this nice exhibition and retail space.
And the last stop of the day was the
Walking through this Museum was like taking an art history class. (Pity I was thrown out before I could take a glimpse and quiet a bit of the Museum). Don’t forget that most Museums in Day 6 - (
Day 6 - (
First stop of the day was the
Truly yet another MUST see in the city for Nature freaks like myself.
Then we walked across the street to take a stroll in the what may be the most famous park in the world –
Some spots in the park have been shown in so many Movies and Sitcoms that it felt like I’ve been there before. In the bottom left above check out the memorial made to John Lennon very close to where he used to live and eventually got shot. (Imagine all the people … living life in peace……)
Last stop of the day was the old Meat packing district of Manhattan, however today it no longer serves as a Meat Packing district and has now transformed into a district full of trendy bars and restaurants.
Day 7 - (
Day 7 was very easy going, not much stress of running around since a lot of people wanted to make the most of the great shopping the city so the only important sight of the day was the
I couldn't resist getting thee snaps of myself (below) clicked as homage to one of Bollywood's Greatest Sad (sad as in sad and horrible) Movie in recent times. I have to admit besides being Sad and having Shah Rukh Khan as lead I love the movie, so here's to "Kal Ho Na Ho".
As I said it was a lazy day and soaked in the sun and enjoyed being in
We even managed to seek in a small Picnic at Central Park.
Day 8 - (
And sadly it came – the end of a great week in this great city. But there were a few things to finish doing before I left back to
Seeing the Permanent Mission of India to the UN by my es-boss Charles Correa was one of them. I have to say this is one of my favourite projects by him and I think it stands out as a very nice piece of Architecture even in this city.
And last but not the least I had to catch up with some good old friends from the other side of the world (from my College days in Mumbai and my school days in
One thing about
And sadly my last pic from
19 May 2006
Starting the 15th of the month till today we had a Master class (Intense Workshop) with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Principle of Atelier Bow-Wow,
The studio explored what using
Besides using Japanese Regulations the studios basic aim was to triple the density of Ypenburg. We relied strongly on Tsukamoto’s own practise and his approach towards similar constraints in
found the format of the studio and it’s functioning extremely interesting, with quiet a few new faces from other schools and countries joining us for this. The intensity was amazing; it still is surprising to me the quantity of work that was produced and last but not the least I got to meet some great people, looking forward to the next Master class.
15 May 2006
So as soon as I met Neha we tried going to AA bookshop to pick up some books but the store was closed so we sneaked in a few minutes at the
After that I decided to go check out some new stuff in the city, and high on my list since a while was to see the whole Eastern Docklands development and all the new stations in the area (especially in light of the studio I am currently doing at the Berlage).
Below is the main station at
Over the past twenty years the London Docklands (as this area is popularly known as) with
However, along the way they made a few blunders in this huge project the most visible one being the Millennium Dome. Today is almost no better than a nice background for movie, ads and touristy postcards. So here’s one to that spirit.
09 May 2006
I have to admit that the work (at least of my group) could, in fact should have been better.
The studio for some reason doesn’t have a focus; the problem at hand - i.e. designing the high speed train station at South Axis, Amsterdam (Zuidas as they like to call it here) – has more to it than just a well designed station. And I constantly feel a disbelief in most students (including myself) in the idea that an architect can solve the problems of the strange master plan and weird political situation of this ‘New City Centre’. I guess the below picture shows exactly that same worry on the faces of most Jury members.
But to be fare to the tutors I have to say that it is not an easy problem to digest let alone to find a solution too. And I have to admit its nice to have a room full of some of the top architects in
In the picture above from left to right in front row – Vedran Mimica (Asst. Dean Berlage), Sylvia Lavin (American Architectural Critic and Greg Lynn’s wife), Ben Van Berkel (Namesake Tutor and Director of UN studio), Alejandro Zaera Polo (Dean Berlage and Director FOA), Jaap (Project Leader Zuidas station OveArup London) and I don’t remember the lady in front. In the second row Caroline Bos (Art Historian UN Studio), Olaf Gipser (Main Studio Tutor), official from Asmterdam, Caroline (Architect with OveArup London).
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