Category Archives: Uncategorized

Outside Inside

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In the aptly named series, Camera Obscura, photographer Abelardo Morell marries the inside with the out by turning rooms into camera obscuras. This technique projects an inverted image of the view from directly outside onto the walls, floor, and ceiling. He then uses a large format camera to capture the image created inside the room.

Image Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum

High and Low Tide Superimposed

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In the series, Sea Change, Michael Marten superimposes images of seascapes at high and low tide. He photographs each scene between 6-18 hours apart to show the dramatic difference that occurs throughout the day. Marten hopes to reconnect people with the natural rhythm of the earth and remind them of its dynamic nature.

Image Source:  Visual News

Focus on Brazil: The Museum of Brazilian Sculpture

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Pritzker Prize winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha designed the Brazilian Sculpture Museum (MuBE) in collaboration with Roberto Burle Marx, who designed the gardens. The project was developed between 1985 and its inauguration in 1995. MuBE is considered to be a part of the family of Paulista (São Paulo) Brutalist architecture tradition, and maintains architectonic reference to Mendes da Rocha’s previous projects, the Jockey Club of Goiana (1962) and the Guiambê Residence (1964) in São Paulo and to the MASP and FAU projects featured in previous posts.

MuBE draws from these predecessors: the long span roof, circulation, and interconnection between inside and outside are collaged into a hybrid network of path, hard and soft surfaces, and raw concrete forms that hold art, water, earth and demarcate space. Like the FAU, entry is unarticulated and replaced by movement. In distinction, the paths of MuBE are varied, their destination dependent on the user’s inclination. MuBE’s roof span is an abstraction to MASP’s enclosed hanging gallery volume, sheltering inside and outside spaces almost as if to turn MASP inside out. Situated within a largely gated residential neighborhood, MuBE’s outward orientation “integrates a sculpture museum and a landscape, whose union composes a public garden.” (from “Museu da Escultura Brasileira, utopia construida em São Paulo,” in Revista Obra – Planejamento e Construção, 1(2): 21-24 – 1988). MuBE’s collage of the biophysical, the technical, and art toward a determined whole allows it to exist as simultaneously determinate and indeterminate.

Find images of this project by searching the VRC’s online image collection using the search terms “Brazilian Sculpture” in the Subject field.

Photograph by Kristine Stiphany, courtesy of the UTSOA Visual Resources Collection

Focus on Brazil: The School of Architecture and Urbanism

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Constructed between 1966 and 1969, Artigas and Cascaldi’s School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo – FAU / USP) was built at the same time as Lina Bo Bardi’s Art Museum of São Paulo, featured last week. In contrast to the tropical International Style of the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) tradition, the MASP and FAU /USP projects exemplify the Paulista (São Paulo) school of architecture, characterized by exposed concrete and raw stereotomic articulations typical of Brutalist architecture.

In addition to serving as the project architect, Vilanova Artigas was the director of FAU in the early 1960s. The FAU can be considered the physical expression of Artigas’ pedagogical project, which conceived of the architecture school as a laboratory through which a student’s professional development would derive from a free intermingling of the arts, humanities, and technology. The FAU does not have a front door, and passage from outside to inside is fluid, demarcated only by a massive roof structure supported by double trapezoid pilotis. Gardens flow underneath the roof line, and the exterior sidewalk transitions into an interior ramp, off of which unfold various programs including studios, a library, classrooms, wood shop and central Caramelo Salon – an indoor plaza for gatherings and reviews.  Still today, the interrelationships between diverse disciplines and forms united beneath the roof and permeability between the school and the world outside reflect FAU’s pedagogical statement, which asserts that the purpose of architecture school is to prepare professionals to examine what FAU considers to be the most critical urban questions: social housing, the interaction between city, landscape, and environment and the preservation and restoration of the historical built environment.

Find images of this project by searching the VRC’s online image collection using the search terms “School of Architecture and Urbanism” in the Subject field.

Photograph by Kristine Stiphany, courtesy of the UTSOA Visual Resources Collection

Focus on Brazil: São Paulo Museum of Art / MASP

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Prior to SESC Pompeia, Lina Bo Bardi designed the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) between 1957 and 1968. MASP is constructed on the Paulista Avenue ridge which falls toward Centro to the north and the wealthy Jardins neighborhoods to the south. The museum is composed of two gallery volumes, one elevated with magnificent views and the other, shown here, buried in the hillside.

While attention is often directed skyward to the massive red pillars from which hang the glass truss of the upper volume at street level, less attention has been paid to MASP’s subterranean world. Here, the dialogue between volumes is subtly referenced, from the red of the exterior pillars that has been applied to circulation stair ramps to the concrete displays designed for the elevated volume abstracted into railings that double as benches. Even less legible is the role of the ceiling as floor to a vast exterior public plaza, first used for mass public demonstrations in the years of the military dictatorship. As a narrative between visible and invisible, levity and weight, sky and earth, MASPs architectonic hybridity reflects its cultural ambiguity as a political, artistic and public urban space.

Find images of this project by searching the VRC’s online image collection using the search term SESC in the Subject field.

Photograph by Kristine Stiphany, courtesy of the UTSOA Visual Resources Collection

 

Focus on Brazil: SESC Centro in Construction

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Last week’s post introduced the SESC as a network of public cultural institutions across the city of São Paulo, Brazil. The most recent addition to this network is the SESC Centro, a partnership between Pritzker prize winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha and the office of MMBB Arquitetos. Currently under construction, SESC Centro utilizes a structure from the mid 1800s and is an example of how existing buildings can be adapted toward other uses.

In an interview, Mendes da Rocha elaborates on the inextricable link between centrally located housing and resources like SESC. “The SESC Centro project needs a partner of low income housing for the people who work yet cannot afford to live in the central district. Because the project transforms an existing commercial building into a public facility, it shows how buildings can take on other lives that the contemporary city requires. After all, the city is people, not built things.” (Paulo Mendes da Rocha in an interview with Kristine Stiphany. São Paulo, January 6, 2012).

Find images of this project by searching the VRC’s online image collection using the search term SESC in the Subject field.

Photograph by Kristine Stiphany, courtesy of the UTSOA Visual Resources Collection