Archive for the ‘Norman Foster’ Category

Planes, trains of thought and peace

09/03/2008

The New York Times story on the retro-futurist design of the interior of the new Airbus A380 double-deck superjumbo jet for the Australian airline Qantas


reminded me of this timeless, unforgettable form follows function; beauty in structure shed designed by the late Chicago architect Myron Goldsmith.


What a perfect fit! Excitement when that beautiful plane enters that shed. A sense of completion. The shed’s straight lines contrasting with the curves and angles of the aerodynamic plane. To welcome the plane back home. To rest, before it takes off again.

It also reminds me that architect Norman Foster famously said,

when asked to make a film for the TV series Building Sights about his favourite building, Foster chose a Boeing 747. This was a homage not just to the aerospace industry that has so inspired him, but to the big-spiritedness of US design, the American belief in getting things up and flying, of taking on daunting challenges in the belief that they will succeed.

Ah yes, Boeing. They have their own Dreamliner coming out soon. Airbus has raised the stakes for design as a competitive tool and Boeing has understood. The 787 should be gorgeous.



Look at that. All curves inside. That’s calming too. As is the lighting. As in the A380 LEDs in the ceiling will give a sense of daylight or of a beautiful night sky.

The L.E.D.’s that illuminate the cabin are programmed to wash the interior with colors that change subtly throughout the flight. Each shade is selected to create the ideal mood for a particular activity, like sleeping, waking or eating, regardless of time zone.

Boeing thinks about these things, “Blue/green is nearly unanimously associated with peace,” it says in a Boeing article called, “The Psychology of Comfort in Airplane Interior Design – Shape, color, patterns and lighting influence how travelers feel.”

I would feel peaceful too, watching a jumbo jet pull into Myron Goldsmith’s shed at San Francisco International airport. Like finding the perfect puzzle piece. Modernist perfection it is. Too bad it was demolished in 1996. I guess its perfect shape for 1958, when built, would hardly fit today’s larger aircraft anyway. What we build today is often too big.

But I do find the new jets and their interior cabins thrilling.

A380 photo: Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via the New York Times
Boeing photo: Boeingmedia.com

BLDGBLOG wonders too about “the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art, here transformed into a total environment sent aloft into the sky.”
.

The most beautiful new building in the world ?

06/20/2008


Celestial.

Beijing Airport’s new Terminal Three by the UK’s Norman Foster and Partners is not only perhaps the most beautiful airport in the world, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings of any kind in the world.

Curbside you’re greeted with curves.


That’s quite a cantilevered roof. The longest in the world. Good for a dramatic entrance.
But once inside, the building really takes off.

Inside, the roof floats, light as a bamboo raft, though made of metal.


Sensuously curved. Always in more than one direction (computers used well.) Like flight, like the curve of the sky, like the curves of Chinese roofs, which go up at the end, abstracted. Put it all together it symbolizes China as the center of the world.

From the land that gave us the seemingly endless Forbidden City.

Architect Norman Foster’s office says this airport is the biggest building on the planet. Twice the size of the Pentagon. Interesting we’d compare it to that.

Inside, it’s flooded with natural light.

Always changing.

At times looking Chinese red and gold, as at China’s temples.

Elsewhere, sparingly used, accents of yellow and red.


Again curved. Gently. Which lightens it all. It feels springy, feather light, like flight. Not heavy; or tiresome. And again natural light.

Quiet and calm was the mood when I was there.

The reflective floor also lightens your mental load – a wonderful thing when you’re carrying luggage.


The reflections remind one of the pools in Chinese gardens that reflect pavilions and nature and create the demarcation of heaven and earth. The same occurs in this fabulous gateway of a terminal. An entrance to and an exit from a great civilization.



And as in any good Chinese garden, as you proceed through it and turn your view you’re rewarded with new, different, arrestingly beautiful views.





(click arrow)

The soft curves of the airport roof tell you what path to take.


Follow this


to the escalators down to the trains to the gates.


Once down below, the design continues to flow, out through the walls and outdoors, where we’ll be soon.


At the gate, none of those dark, metallic container-like passages to walk through to board the aircraft. Instead, another light-filled hall.


From the plane’s window- a view of the roof with the windows that let all that modulated serene light in to the main hall.


Dragon-like? Perhaps. It feels local. And the horizontal and vertical in these skylights ensure that the light is always changing.

Another exterior shot. It’s a graceful and curved world.


Then it’s goodbye to China,


and though smoggy, it’s on to sailing. As one was inside the terminal.


Until soon, I hope.

——

Paul Goldberger’s New Yorker piece on new airport terminals.

Foster has done for airports what the architects Reed & Stem did for train stations with their design for Grand Central…

And the New York Times:

$3.8 billion and can handle more than 50 million passengers a year. The developers call it the “most advanced airport building in the world,” and say it was completed in less than four years, a timetable some believed impossible..

And high-speed rail connects it to the city.

(Other posts on China from me here).

The most beautiful new building in the world ?

06/20/2008


Celestial.

Beijing Airport’s new Terminal Three by the UK’s Norman Foster and Partners is not only perhaps the most beautiful airport in the world, it’s one of the most beautiful buildings of any kind in the world.

Curbside you’re greeted with curves.


That’s quite a cantilevered roof. The longest in the world. Good for a dramatic entrance.
But once inside, the building really takes off.

Inside, the roof floats, light as a bamboo raft, though made of metal.


Sensuously curved. Always in more than one direction (computers used well.) Like flight, like the curve of the sky, like the curves of Chinese roofs, which go up at the end, abstracted. Put it all together it symbolizes China as the center of the world.

From the land that gave us the seemingly endless Forbidden City.

Architect Norman Foster’s office says this airport is the biggest building on the planet. Twice the size of the Pentagon. Interesting we’d compare it to that.

Inside, it’s flooded with natural light.

Always changing.

At times looking Chinese red and gold, as at China’s temples.

Elsewhere, sparingly used, accents of yellow and red.


Again curved. Gently. Which lightens it all. It feels springy, feather light, like flight. Not heavy; or tiresome. And again natural light.

Quiet and calm was the mood when I was there.

The reflective floor also lightens your mental load – a wonderful thing when you’re carrying luggage.


The reflections remind one of the pools in Chinese gardens that reflect pavilions and nature and create the demarcation of heaven and earth. The same occurs in this fabulous gateway of a terminal. An entrance to and an exit from a great civilization.



And as in any good Chinese garden, as you proceed through it and turn your view you’re rewarded with new, different, arrestingly beautiful views.





(click arrow)

The soft curves of the airport roof tell you what path to take.


Follow this


to the escalators down to the trains to the gates.


Once down below, the design continues to flow, out through the walls and outdoors, where we’ll be soon.


At the gate, none of those dark, metallic container-like passages to walk through to board the aircraft. Instead, another light-filled hall.


From the plane’s window- a view of the roof with the windows that let all that modulated serene light in to the main hall.


Dragon-like? Perhaps. It feels local. And the horizontal and vertical in these skylights ensure that the light is always changing.

Another exterior shot. It’s a graceful and curved world.


Then it’s goodbye to China,


and though smoggy, it’s on to sailing. As one was inside the terminal.


Until soon, I hope.

——

Paul Goldberger’s New Yorker piece on new airport terminals.

Foster has done for airports what the architects Reed & Stem did for train stations with their design for Grand Central…

And the New York Times:

$3.8 billion and can handle more than 50 million passengers a year. The developers call it the “most advanced airport building in the world,” and say it was completed in less than four years, a timetable some believed impossible..

And high-speed rail connects it to the city.

(Other posts on China from me here).

12/31/2006


Architecture is a marriage of the functional and the spritual, if the spaces we create do not move the heart and mind then they are surely only addressing one part of their function. Light is a good example. Any engineer can quantify the lumens required to brighten a passage or to read a book. But what about the poetic dimension of natural light: the changing nature of an overcast sky, the discovery of dappled shade, the intensity of a sunburst.”

-Norman Foster, from “Reflections.”

Sir Norman’s “personal statement about architecture, how it is understood and how it is perceived.” For Foster, the book reflects his belief that architecture is essentially a social art; a necessity and not a luxury; that it is generated by people’s needs, which are both spiritual and material. It has much to do with optimism, joy, and reassurance-of order in a disordered world, of privacy in the midst of many, of space in a crowded site, of light on a dull day. It is about quality – the quality of the space and the poetry of the light that models it.”

Thought I’d leave you with that, as we make disorder tonight.
Next year, perhaps we’ll return to order. We shall try.

If you’re in Chicago, today’s the last day for Bruce Mau’s exhibition, Massive Change at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Open until 5pm.

Hope to see you in ’07!
Happy, Healthy New Year to you and yours,
-Edward

12/31/2006


Architecture is a marriage of the functional and the spritual, if the spaces we create do not move the heart and mind then they are surely only addressing one part of their function. Light is a good example. Any engineer can quantify the lumens required to brighten a passage or to read a book. But what about the poetic dimension of natural light: the changing nature of an overcast sky, the discovery of dappled shade, the intensity of a sunburst.”

-Norman Foster, from “Reflections.”

Sir Norman’s “personal statement about architecture, how it is understood and how it is perceived.” For Foster, the book reflects his belief that architecture is essentially a social art; a necessity and not a luxury; that it is generated by people’s needs, which are both spiritual and material. It has much to do with optimism, joy, and reassurance-of order in a disordered world, of privacy in the midst of many, of space in a crowded site, of light on a dull day. It is about quality – the quality of the space and the poetry of the light that models it.”

Thought I’d leave you with that, as we make disorder tonight.
Next year, perhaps we’ll return to order. We shall try.

If you’re in Chicago, today’s the last day for Bruce Mau’s exhibition, Massive Change at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Open until 5pm.

Hope to see you in ’07!
Happy, Healthy New Year to you and yours,
-Edward