This building in Taborstrasse, Vienna, illustrates the forgotten 'principle number one' of the design of classical cities and buildings: buildings and cities were created in the image of Man. They had eyes, heads, noses, feet, hair, nails, skin, eyelids, mouths, shoulders, lips, arms and legs. Accordingly, the education of an architect included drawing the human figure and learning its anatomy.
This building in Buenos Aires exemplifies one of the basic principles of 'classic' architecture: each floor is treated differently so that in each of the seven floors- including the mansard, various stratagems are used in order to avoid repetition on the vertical axis: changing balconies, different balustrades, handrails, cornices, moldings, arches, blinders, geometry, proportions and textures.
The urban tracé of Copacabana, my home neighborhood, squeezed between the sea and the hills, displays a kind of clear thinking we seem to have consigned to oblivion: it is made of roads parallel to the sea and roads perpendicular to the seashore, heading either to the sea or to the hills. The result is a full connection to the site.
Another interesting detail is that the urban plan is pre-modern, but it was filled with mostly modern architecture, an extremely important experiment that went relatively unnoticed.
While modern architecture has its advantages and disadvantages, modern urban design is a perfect disaster. Maybe this pre-modern-urban-but-modern-architecture model could be used a way to accommodate the positive side of modern architecture?
This old gate in the town of Taormina, Sicilia, frames a dome at a distance and a mountain on the background. The street experience is thus composed of the near surroundings and the faraway areas as well, all scales coexisting simultaneously.
The gate, the dome and the street facades seem to have been built at different periods, all layers of time coexisting simultaneously.
A coffee shop is normally surrounded by inviting objects, shapes, messages and textures: The cookies on the display say "I'm here for you to eat me", the coffee bags in the shelves express "I'm ready to be in your coffee cup", a handwritten board suggests various types of coffee that can be prepared for you. The chairs' round and curvilinear shapes utter "come and take a seat", the timeworn brick walls express that you do not have to worry about being too clean and formal. The floral floor tiles recall some flower field you can step upon (a pristine white floor wouldn't do it). Places are constantly transmitting messages.
I’m sometimes asked about my favorite building. If I had to pick one and only one building I think I would point at the building on the right. I first came across with it browsing a book in a library (a library is an earlier version of Google): “Paris along the Nile” is a book on French-inspired architecture in Cairo. The building has a scent of 19th century beaux-arts architecture and a bit of local adaptations – the porch seems to be a great space to take a seat in the scorching heat of the summer months in Egypt, adding depth and grandeur to this palatial building. The structure is raised from the street level, distancing itself from the by-passers. Colonialism has been praised and criticized through times, but whichever side is chosen, the superimposition of cultures frequently yields creative and unexpected outcomes.