The Oslo Opera House

From the way it sits among the waters of Norway’s Oslo Fjord, it is possible to mistake the Oslo Opera house as a product of nature itself. In 1999, After a century of national debate, the Norwegian legislature agreed upon building the new Opera House. Operated by the Norwegian government property management agency, Statsbygg, it would be the first  urban development project at the head of the Oslo Fjord, Oslo’s old Bjorvika harbor area. Out of 350 design entries received, judges chose that of Snøhetta, Norwegian design firm and World Architecture Award winner for its design of not only the Oslo Opera house but Egypt’s Bibliotheca Alexandrian. Beginning construction in 2003, Snønhetta architects focused on three materials; wood, stone, and metal - precisely oak, white Carrara marble, and aluminum. The exterior of the building is characterized by angular stone architecture that arises from the waters of the Oslo Fjord. The roof angles upward as an accessible platform/ramp from the building’s ground, creating a public space for the public to enjoy. Architects also held the intention of 

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Petersen Automotive Museum - Los Angeles

The Petersen Automotive Museum is located on Wilshire Boulevard along Museum Row in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Petersen houses an array of historical vehicles yet the museum itself has quite a history. Located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, the building designed by Weldon Becket has lived at one of LA’s busiest intersections since 1962, opening as a Seibu Department Store. In 1965 ownership shifted and the building became Ohrbach’s Department Store until 1986. The building then stood vacant for 6 years when magazine publisher Robert E Petersen decided it would be a perfect site for a museum, as artifacts could be displayed without danger to damage caused by direct sunlight and ultraviolet radiation.

The museum flourished in its original structure for 20 years when museum directors decided it was time for a makeover. It was closed it in late 2014 for the building of its new facade, designed by architectural firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, and renovated interior, by designers at The Scenic Route. Petersen Directors wanted an exterior unlike any other building, one that would capture characteristics of the museum’s passion, the automobile. Cherry paint now covers the building, and 100 tons of stainless steel ribbons wrap around the museum (inspired by the visualization of fluid dynamics, the way air flows over a car). Being located on one of the

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Stuttgart City Library

What happens when Korean influences combine with German architecture? The result is exemplified in the unique structure of the Stuttgart City Library. With demands for a new central library, the city of Stuttgart made the principle decision to build the Stuttgart City Library on Mailänder Platz in1998, holding an architectural competition for the building’s design. Of over two hundred architectural firms that competed, the South Korea’s Eun Young Yi of Yi Architects won first place. Preliminary designs for its structure were completed in 2005, the planning application was submitted in 2006, the building permit was granted in 2007, and construction began in 2009. With construction completed in mid May of 2010, at a cost of about 80 million euros, the library was set to open on the 24th of October in 2011.

Covering a little over 20,000 square meters, the library stands as a cube of white glass blocks, a crystalline edifice, with nine stories above ground and two. . . 

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The Broad Museum - Los Angeles

You may recognize it for the famous works it houses from artists like Koons and Warhol, or from the countless posts of praise circulating throughout social media platforms and various publications. What draws the eyes of many however, is its interesting architecture. Since its establishment in September of 2015, The Broad has received hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world, raking in about 180,000 visitors in the first two months. Eli Broad, the builder of KB Home and SunAmerica, both Fortune 500 companies, planned the museum’s creation in 2008. Having been an influential figure in the art world from 1973, particularly in Los Angeles, the museum’s emergence was greatly anticipated, especially its appearance.

Six architects from across the globe competed to design the museum including Rem Koolhaasand (Netherlands), Herzog and de Meuron (Switzerland), Christian de Portzamparc (Paris), Ryeu Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima (Japan), and New York’s Diller Scofidio and Renfro who prevailed in becoming the final designers of the museum. Located by the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, the museum’s design was intended...

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The Getty Villa - Malibu

There are many historically inspired architectural buildings, mostly built to appeal to the eye of the visitor, but The Getty Villa was not only built based on an actual Roman building, using common materials for that era, but also lends itself as a great teaching tool.  The Getty Villa was built in the early 1970s.  Its owner, J. Paul Getty, was very involved in the design and development.  Due to the ever-growing collection of Greek and Roman art, an expansion project started in 1996.  Once again Getty worked very closely with the architects that were awarded the contract, Jorge Silvetti and his business partner of over 20 years, Rodolfo Machado.  Getty also enlisted the help of Norman Neuerburg as his archaeological consultant.  The plan was to create a “dynamic environment intended to promote the appreciation and preservation of the arts and cultures of classical antiquity” ( True, Marion, and Jorge Silvetti. The Getty Villa.)

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Porsche Museum – Germany

Porsche is a company that has always been known for innovation and what better way to display Porsche’s history and legacy than in a museum that does the same?  In July of 2004 Porsche decided to start building a museum in Stuttgart, Germany.  170 entries were received from various architects, but the architectural team of Delugan and Meissl was chosen to complete this undertaking.  Construction began promptly October 2005 and the museum’s keys were handed over in 2008.  The grand opening took place January 31st, 2009.  Like most buildings, construction started from the core up.  About 21000 cubic meters of concrete were utilized for the underground garage, ground floor, second floor and central support beams.   The building is 5600 square meters.  It houses rotating exhibits of 300 restored cars, in working order, most of which look brand new.  It also features a 3000 book library, shop, restaurant, and conference facilities.

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Bechtler Museum of Art - Mario Botta - Charlotte NC

Charlotte, North Carolina is not the first city that traditionally springs to mind when discussing world-renowned modern architectural structures.  However, Mario Botta changed all that with his design of the Bechtler Museum of Art.  In order to truly appreciate this magnificent piece, one must first understand the architect. 

 Mario Botta was born in Mendrisio, Switzerland April 1, 1943.  He dropped out of school at the age of 15 and became a draftsman in the architectural studio of Carloni and Camnish in Lugano, Switzerland.  After 3 years of being a draftsman, Botta earned an apprenticeship and landed his first major project – the redesign of a complex to replace the parish house of Genestrerio.  In 1961, Botta attended college in Milan, Italy.  He would complete his lessons alone and came to class to sit for the final exams.  After graduating, Botta attended the Instituto di Architettura in Venice, Italy.  

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Disney Concert Hall Los - Angeles CA

There are few concert halls across the world that can boast having an impeccable acoustic clarity, but Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California is one of these magnificent structures.  Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, this post-modern marvel attracts patrons from around the globe.  Not only is the hall home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but it is also often the venue for other functions, such as high profile speaking events.  Gehry envisioned this meeting place as more of a civic center for all to enjoy, not just a concert hall.

            Gehry was born in Toronto, Canada in 1929.  He studied at the University of Southern California as well as . . .

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Perez Art Museum Miami FL

Located in Downtown Miami, the Perez Art Museum is a truly innovative architectural masterpiece.  Designed by Pritzker Prize winning Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron, it integrates Miami’s natural elements and has successfully created a fluid transition from the cityscape, through natural elements, into a museum filled with 20th century and contemporary art pieces.  Some of the collections that were donated by Jorge Perez include works by Latin-American artists, such as Joaquin Torres-Garcia and Diego Rivera.   

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San Francisco Victorian Homes

San Francisco has many diverse and unique attractions that draw more than 16 million visitors to its shorelines annually.  One of these revered destinations is the beautiful and historical Victorian-Edwardian architecture.

In order to learn more about these landmarks, I had the pleasure to join the San Francisco Victorian Tour recently.  It was a great experience and opened my eyes in regards to San Francisco’s obvious Victorian history.  I've learned about the Victorian era architecture of the city’s first suburb.  As we walked through the neighborhood of Lafayette Square, I also learned about Victorian lifestyles and San Francisco’s illustrious history.  Some steep streets and many fabulous views! 

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Architect Zaha Hadid designed the neofuturistic BMW Central building in Leipzig, Germany.

When Zaha Hadid Architects were chosen to design the Central Building for Leipzig’s BMW plant, it was crucial that the building successfully joined and integrated the already existing on-site production facilities.  Zaha describes her project best by stating: “This building was very interesting because it was the weaving of all the flow lines from the exterior to the interior and also the weaving in of blue-collar workers and white-collar workers and management and design and production all in one space.”  “We tried to build a large site as if it’s going to build over time because it is very layered, like it has an inherent archaeology.”  The building acts as the main nerve center of the plant, joining together the three main production facilities.  Cars move overhead, through the main building, not only above busier visitor’s heads, but also past the desks of managers, designers and specialists.    The open office space designs date back to the feel of the American 1970s.  It has a positive influence on workflow, teamwork and an open exchange of ideas.  Therefore the building embodies what has been called a “communication knot – funneling all movement around the manufacturing complex through a space that transcends conventional white collar/blue collar special divisions.”  

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American neo-futuristic architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor Buckminster Fuller and his geodesic dome in Miami.

Buckminster Fuller, Fly’s Eye Dome Prototype within the Miami Design District in Wynwood and at the Pérez Museum of Arts.

When you visit Miami, many places seem to attract public attention. Some of them, because of the substantial chauvinist, especially within the times of Miami’s “Cocaine Cowboys”. Other places emphasize the Latin American culture and the strong Cuban, Puerto Rican but also Haitian influence. By looking closer, the predominant cultural impact was given through Cuban

But being in Miami today, you will see a shift towards modernism embedded within the remaining myths and past existents. Miami is shifting rapidly, more than steadily, towards a 21st century mega city. Modern Megacities showcase not just culture and architecture but also and perhaps mostly an exclusive way of consumerism. Like it is in Los Angeles, more specifically Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, Miami showcases the just recently opened Wynwood’s Miami Design District. With the New Yorker developer and preservationist Tony Goldman, Midtown became what it is today, a vitalizing the Miami Design District, making it a popular arts destination for visitors from across the globe. 

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Why is modern architecture shifting towards minimalism?

When we talk about minimalism – what do we really mean by that? Simplicity became a way of life during the 20th century. Due to an overwhelming bombardment of colors and designs, our perception longed for simplicity.

If, for example, one were comparing a 19th century living room with a 21st century living room, we understand that all the playful attributes like storytelling clocks and bookshelves disappear within the 19:6 rectangle box called TV. The room surrounding those early TV consoles transformed into an almost sterile and flat living space, perhaps due to the hypnotic glow of the square box.

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