Europe proved to impact my architectural influences, which have begun to nest within one another. A study on a] Alvar Aalto brought me to not only appreciate his work in architecture, but to identify with the belief that architects should dabble in many crafts. His interests in the building details exemplify that architecture is a practice for the improvement of how we live; it is a b] human centered design field.
c] Gaudí is another architect who designed details to fit the needs of the inhabitor. His whimsical designs are childhood fantasies for me and definitions of what fantastical is. At these projects, it is all about the experience.
This could be said of d] Nordic Architecture projects, which are typically sensitive with natural daylighting and hugely site specific. I fell in love with Snøhetta’s Oslo Opera House when I was there; it had a grace and elegance to it that I didn’t expect as the ground and water met seamlessly. The sweeping walkway that is actually the roof is an example of e] structure as enclosure. This too is a design idea that has resonated in many of my own projects. Like the Hearst Tower, a system exists that not only holds up the building, but adds compositional order. When structure is the building is the structure, it is simple to understand the existence of the space.
I like the idea of being in a project that is logically designed, but visually beautiful. f] Foster + Partners has done this time and time again, blending the technical with the artistic. Like Buckminster Fuller, Norman Foster was always interested in industrial design and machines, but the real talent comes in harnessing the composure of industrial with the elegance of design. Art and technology is a balancing act, one in which is not only exhibited in the modern design of Millenium Bridge but also in its site, as it extends to historic St Paul’s Cathedral.