Saturday, December 31, 2011

Living Buildings

Near the Pompidou Centre in Paris is another modern building. This one is a bit more natural than metal and plastic tubing though! The men's department of the local department store BHV is housed in a building with a living or green wall. As windows aren't always condusive to a shop, I think this is a brilliant way of covering a facade without leaving a blank slate.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pompidou Centre

I was prepared to hate the Pompidou Centre, I readily admit to that. However, coming across it while walking through the Marais, I was struck by the sense of scale created by the intricate pieces of its construction and thought "this really fits the neighborhood". Lets backtrack a bit. The Pompidou Centre (or Beaubourg as it is known) was opened in 1977, designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano along with Richard and Su Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini. The award winning building has been turning heads ever since.

Paris, that is central Paris, is not known for its modern architecture so the very existence of this building is surprising. The size is immense, however the scale is broken down into bits by the exposed structure and services which bring it down to a city and even human scale. Now that the colors have faded over the years (believe it or not) it blends a little easier into the charming French gray the city is known for.
Love it or hate it, the building is much beloved and locals crowd the adjacent square on weekends, many calling it "Paris's living room".

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Architectural Watercolors at home

As I wrote earlier in Paris: Day 5, I was able to meet up with architectural watercolor artists Andrew Zega and Bernd Dams in their stylish Paris apartment.

Long an admirer and collector of their work, I was looking forward to meeting them and could barely contain my excitement walking up the stairs of the 17th century building to their apartment.

The building has been skillfully restored, leaving the best of the original features while bringing it up to date.

The beautiful and large apartment is obviously the home of scholars as books are the focus as opposed to the art which I expected. Built in shelves cover many of the walls while still more books are piled on numerous other surfaces. I felt right at home as I can relate to this in my own apartment!Andrew and Bernd have done a lot of reconfiguration in the apartment during their years there, such as these columns topped with urns which seperate the living room from the entry.This final configuration wasn't exactly their original plan for the space, as evidenced by this watercolor. Originally they had planned on a more architectural solution but over time they abandoned it for a lighter touch which I think makes the space feel larger.Bookshelves continue in the alcove off the living room which contains their reading desk for the hours of research they put into their pieces.
A small den off the alcove contains the tv, computer desk and their collection of architectural etchings.

Be sure to check out their fascinating blog Noted which they update weekly. You'll always learn something new!