In the world of architecture, libraries are among the very special buildings because they require the architect to design not only for humans but also for BOOKS! and their very special requirements in terms of natural light and the overall building conditions (acoustics, temperatures, humidity, etc). There is something so beautiful about the combination of books, natural light and human occupied space that creates a spirit to every library ( libraries with great design off course) . Now my love for library designs is combined with my admiration for Dutch designers MVRDV. This group of designers are without doubt one of the current pioneers in architecture with their SIMPLE design for efficient functionality. Their latest work “The Book Mountain” is a great example of my point about this firm. First of all, I think for the first time, I see a library that has centralized the stack of books and arranged everything else around it. The decision of the architects for this arrangement is definitely based on the context of the building. The adjacent buildings of the library are mainly the traditional brick buildings with pitched roofs and the architects have taken advantage of these rigid and bold buildings by literally taking their silhouettes and turn them into a new typology. This has resulted in a building with solid brick base topped by a glass pyramid which has a “mountain” of books in its heart. The transparency through the pyramid into the books creates a very tempting feeling to every passerby inviting them for a visit to the library. I think the response to the context, and attention to the arrangement of different functions in the building is a genius act and must be admired. Please do not hesitate to read more about further details on the project here.
I have always been fan of street art; it just creates a very special dimension to the Urban environments. “YarnBombing” or “Knit Graffiti” is a new street art movement which started in Texas in 2005. The aim is to cover different objects in the streets in knitted material. I love the soft,warm and colorful look that this type of graffiti adds to the urban spaces. It is filled with energy and life; something very much needed in the modern cities. Feel free to read more about it here.
Islamic art and architecture is famous for its playful manifestation of geometry and form. If you ever felt curious to see more of the Islamic art, make sure you pay a visit to Esfahan, a historic/cultural city in central Iran. In Persian we call the city “Esfahan, Nesf Jahan” meaning “Esfahan, half of the world” because for us visiting Esfahan means visiting half of the world. Our justification for that is the unimaginable amount of history, art and culture that lies behind this city.
In this post I am showcasing one of my favorite masterpieces in Esfahan, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. The mosque was completed almost 400 years ago commissioned by a Persian king from “Safavi” dynasty. What I love about this mosque is the combination of different forms of art into one building; these include the traditional Persian tiling, architecture, calligraphy, geometry etc. There has been unbelievable attention to the smallest tiniest details on this mosque and once you walk inside you pause in shock; when you come to your senses you would find your head and eyes constantly moving around, jumping from one part of the mosque to the other enjoying the beauty.
For me the best part is the dome; beautifully constructed from combination of bricks and Persian tiles resulting in a special gold color unique among any dome in the world. The interior is covered in tiles painted in beautiful Islamic forms following the spherical parameters of the dome’ creating a heavenly image.
Considering the fact this mosque was constructed 400 years ago, I couldn’t imagine how advanced this piece of architecture looked at its own time; think about the kind of process and technique that was able to put all this together. I am totally against copying the past but I am all up for imitating the techniques of delivering a masterpiece used in the past. Just imagine the amount of thought, aesthetics, variety in means of design, material, man power and money that was incorporated in Sheikh Lotfollah mosque; now transfer all that to the present and use our modern means of design; I do not believe we have a building as advanced as that in the present.
This is one of those projects that make me love architecture more and more and more. It just reminds of the endless possibilities of design, that amazing feeling of “creation” and the reason why I am an architect. Imagine going to a theater for your favorite act and suddenly watching a surprising performance by the space around you; wow…how amazing is that!!! Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theater is a harmony of dynamic triangular roof panels, assembled to operate according to the weather conditions. The project is an outdoor performance structure with a dynamic roof system designed to open up in a sunny day and capture the natural light; close down at the time of rain and protect the interior. I love dynamic architecture but unfortunately the budget for such projects is so tight that we do not get to see them very often. Hopefully with advancements in technology, the day would arrive when dynamic spaces are part of every single house on the planet. I definitely think that is the future. Know more about the project and its architects at http://www.studiogang.net and watch a YouTube clip of the project here.