During his visit to Athens over two hundred years ago, British diplomat Lord Elgin absconded with nearly half of the Parthenon’s architectural marble sculptures and bas relief panels and transported them by sea to Britain over an 11 year period. The event, no doubt, is infamous not only in the minds of Greek citizens, who resent that they are now on display in London’s British Museum. But the absence is especially felt by the curators of Athens’ Acropolis Museum, where the remaining half is displayed among a set of pale facsimiles that will be cheerfully replaced whenever the “Elgin Marbles” return from their unwarranted journey up north. In a surprising turn of events, it seems the 2,500-year-old statuary might be returned amidst Europe’s current political turmoil. If the United Kingdom wishes to continue trading with the European Union post-Brexit, according to a recently leaked clause in the European Union's (E.U.) negotiating mandate, it must return the Elgin Marbles back to Greece. The clause’s declaration that the U.K. must now be committed to the “return or restitution of unlawfully removed cultural objects to their country of origin” has put the marbles front-and-center of the raging trade debate. Of course, Britain and Greece have been arguing over the Elgin Marbles for years—Greece claims they were taken without permission while under occupation and should be repatriated, while Britain has claimed this could open the door to returning an untenable amount of cultural assets to other countries. But the transaction is not yet set in stone. Negotiators on either side are set to begin a much-needed conversation next month and will attempt to reach an agreement by November 26, when a trade deal must be presented to European Parliament for ratification. Currently, the U.K. refuses to give up the marbles, stating that their acquisition was lawful at the time given Greece’s occupation within the then-existent Ottoman Empire. According to ARTnews, a spokeswoman for the British government said in a statement on Tuesday that the Elgin Marbles are, therefore, “the legal responsibility of the British Museum,” and that they are “not up for discussion as part of our trade negotiations.” “I would expect some of these negotiations to be rather difficult," E.U. aide Stefaan de Rynck told French politician Michel Barnier in a public statement. “Perhaps more difficult than during withdrawal because the scope of issues is much vaster.”
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Stop by the latest outpost of Sant Ambroeus for your morning coffee and you may not notice all of the design at play. But you’ll certainly feel it, as you enjoy an espresso, Italian-style, at the counter. Your leg will sink into the angle of the Dark Emperador marble slab, and suddenly you’ll feel anchored, calm. That’s because visitors to the Upper East Side coffee shop are in the competent hands of Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture, who used mock-ups to convince their client to place the glowing pastry case at the back and allow generous room for flow. “There’s always a leap of faith from the client, but the shorter you can make it and the more you can show the reasons, the better,” said Enrico Bonetti, the project’s principal in charge, whose firm lead the renovation of the entire building, now called the Hanley. A native of Bologna and a self-professed coffee obsessive, Bonetti looked to the brand’s heritage, “like a producer,” to create a space that would feel both fresh and within the visual language established since the first Sant Ambroeus opened in 1936. “We adjusted what they had, fine-tuned it, and tried to bring some level of quality that you don’t see, but you feel,” Bonetti said. Every element, down to a brass niche precisely proportioned to hide the requisite box of latex gloves, was carefully considered. “You don’t find places like this in Italy,” Bonetti said, settling into a coffee-colored Thonet chair. “The level of refinement is very New York.” Behind the counter, rounded tiles of Marmo Rosa di Verona were glued to the walls by “two very old installers” imported, like the stone, from Italy. The tiles’ shape mirrors the oiled American walnut tambour that clads the remaining walls, while their shade references Sant Ambroeus’s signature peachy-pink hue. Even the ceiling is painted with purpose, nearly imperceptibly, in Benjamin Moore’s Burlap, a neutral take on the color. While it’s unlikely anyone would notice the hue, the entire space glows warmly thanks to layered lighting with metallic-capped LED bulbs in simple ceiling-mounted Schoolhouse Electric fixtures as well as architectural cove lighting combined with a pair of vintage 1950s Paavo Tynell sconces and brass Alvar Aalto pendants. The same care was given to details like the matte black paint that makes the tables’ legs seemingly disappear, the wood newspaper holders sourced from Germany, and even the height of the custom leather bench, which puts sitters at eye level with those across from them. “These are not things that anybody notices, but at the end, they stay with you if not properly treated.” The team also worked with kitchen consultants Clevenger Frable Lavallee to make the space as functional for those working behind the counter as it is beautiful for those waiting in line. But, Bonetti had more than just his clients to please. “It’s mostly thinking selfishly,” the architect joked, “because I want to come back and have a really good cup of coffee.”
This article was originally published on ArchDaily as “Bahá’í Temple of South America Wins 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award.” Toronto-based Hariri Pontarini Architects’ Bahá’í Temple of South America has won the 2017 Innovation in Architecture Award presented by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains outside Santiago, Chile, the domed building was designed and built using computer modeling, measuring, and fabrication software, as well as custom glass, all of which culminated in nine monumental veils that frame an open worship space for up to 600 visitors. Completed in 2016, the project took 14 years to realize.
The Bahá’í Temple of South America reflects innovations in materials, technology, and structure. For instance, a search for materials that capture light resulted in the development of two cladding materials: an interior layer of translucent marble from Portugal, and an exterior layer of cast-glass panels developed, in collaboration with the Canadian glass artist Jeff Goodman, for this project.In addition, the Temple is designed to withstand extreme earthquakes and wind. Thousands of individually engineered steel members and nodal connections comprise the super-structures of the wings, each of which rests on concrete columns on seismic bearings.
I am very pleased to receive this award, said partner-in-charge Siamak Hariri, FRAIC. The brief was for a new type of sacred space, a place of worship that is attractive, open, and inviting to people of all faiths or none at all. Innovation was at the heart of the project. The award is a testimony to the deep collaboration of literally hundreds of people.The Bahá’í Temple of South America will be honored at the RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture in Ottowa between May 24 and 27. News via: The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Written by Sabrina Santos. Want more from ArchDaily? Like their Facebook page here.
In the United States, the architecture of power manifests itself in the stone edifice. Like the Roman and Greek precedents that gave rise to home-grown neo-Classical examples, stone is the material of choice for the monument. Marble, to the Western world, appeals to the upper echelons of society due to its ability to connote the democratic ideals Greek and classical architecture represents. "More marble was used in building in the United States in the years 1900–1917," wrote Marcus Whiffen, "than... in the Roman Empire during its entire history." Emphasizing the U.S.'s love of the eternal material, Whiffen continued: "Nowhere outside the United States were the classical orders... drawn up in so many parade formations." Of course, this is not to say that the style, or indeed use of marble, has come to an end. With typologies such as state capitols, courthouses (a phenomena well chronicled in Courthouses of the Second Circuit by the Federal Bar) and other governmental buildings that require a certain grandiose scale and presence, marble will be in demand for a long time to come. The thirst for marble nevertheless continues and the supply may lie in the sleepy rural town of Tate, Georgia. Located upstate, two hours north of Atlanta, Tate has an established white marble pedigree. Now run by Polycor, the huge quarry has been mining marble for over 180 years, supplying much of the U.S. with its white and gray marble which has been used for many national landmarks and emblems of power, notably the New York Stock Exchange, Lincoln Memorial, and the U.S. Capitol. Now, it is also used for the vast majority of U.S. military gravestones. Polycor has pioneered advancements in marble manufacture, developing a new 3/8" (1cm) thick marble slab. This equates to being one third of the weight of a normal slab that is three times as thick, meanwhile the application of a proprietary composite backing increases the strength of the stone ten fold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6VXi1TVSQI This development means that marble can now be used effectively in cladding systems. A notable failure of marble being used for cladding in the past can be seen with the Aon Center tower in Chicago (formerly the Amoco building). Once built, the Amoco building was the world's tallest marble-clad building, utilising 43,000 slabs of Italian Carrara marble. While construction was still underway, however, on December 25, 1973, a 350-pound marble slab fell from the facade, puncturing the roof of the adjacent Prudential Center, an unwanted Christmas present. Now, thanks to the new stronger and thinner marble slabs, the material may once again be considered for such uses and indeed many more.
After all these years (read: delays), the public will finally be able to check out the grand oculus in Santiago Calatrava's $3.9 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub—starting next month. The New York Times reported that beginning in June, a north-south passageway with direct views onto the building's main attraction will open to "limited pedestrian traffic." The entire building won't fully open until the end of this year, or early next year so don't get too excited. And you can always walk through an already open portion of the Calatrava station connecting to the Brookfield Place towers. The Times also noted that the World Trade Center redevelopment is set to check off milestone after milestone over the next few weeks and months. —The second of four PATH platforms in the Transportation Hub will open on Thursday. —Soon after that, a floor-to-ceiling barrier will come down as well. This will allow commuters to marvel at the immaculate space set beneath those already-iconic soaring white ribs, or wings, or spikes, or whatever you want to call them. —And on May 29th, the One World Trade Center Observatory will open, offering panoramic views to anyone willing to shell out $32 a ticket. As for 2 World Trade Center, well, we're still waiting to hear if Norman Foster's design will be replaced with something from Bjarke Ingels.
While much of the work introduced at Milan this year played it safe—distinctly conservative colors, forms familiar from the 1950s, cautious use of materials—some architects' designs took, shall we say, a bolder stance. But: Was it a better one? You, ever-opinionated reader, shall and no doubt will be the judge of that. Among the boldest of the bold designs this year were four pieces presented by Zaha Hadid. Most photos we've seen of the aluminum Manta Ray seating underscore its unfortunate semblance, not to the graceful sea creature, but to a giant human posterior. At AN, we're taking the high road, featuring this more abstracted view of the piece. But it may not be enough to erase the obvious imagery. Here, Hadid has designed a fireplace, which appears to have melted into a puddle of black marble. Ironically cold design, for an interiors element that generates heat. Thumbs up on this one. A rectangular top is a disciplined extension of the vaguely tripod-ish base. Great stone fabrication, and we wouldn't even mind bumping our knees on the legs of this terrific table. A welcome departure from the blobby, yes? But the mid-point of the unit seems to be a bit dysfunctional for shelving, lacking any level horizontal surfaces, but hey, it's all about the cantilever. Looking back on Salone 2014, it's interesting that one can fairly easily discern which pieces were architect-generated versus those that were created by industrial designers. The latter are trained (and paid) to produce commercially viable furniture collections, while the former are free to indulge in the making of domestic monuments.
The much-maligned building at 290 Mulberry Street—called Mulberry House—is trying to show that its whats on the inside that counts. SHoP Architects have filled their heavily-critiqued rippling brick residential structure with a bright interior awash in wood, black lacquer, and polished white surfaces. The new development is a conclusive step in a project that once appeared destined to fall victim to the recent recession. Saddled with zoning regulations that demanded a "predominantly masonry" facade, the New York–based firm responded by designing an undulating brick curtain wall that has drawn decidedly mixed reviews from locals and critics alike. With its controversial exterior in place, the project was beset by economic difficulties that forced the initial developers to sell the property in 2011. Under the guidance of Karass Development the former condos were reimagined as rentals, and SHoP returned to complete their design. Whereas its facade speaks to the 19th century brick buildings that populate Manhattan's Nolita (North of Little Italy) neighborhood, the interior of Mulberry House seems to look across the Atlantic for its inspiration. The luxe materials, color scheme, and geometric patterns scattered throughout the lobby and across the surfaces of furniture all evoke the architecture of the Vienna Secession. If stylistically the space is evocative of the stylistic innovations of Josef Hoffman and Otto Wagner among others, the building is well-equipped with modern amenities like private keyed elevators, radiant-heat walnut flooring, and over-sized windows.
When a bucolic cemetery in Minneapolis began to near capacity, its owners worried a large expansion might dampen the landscape’s pastoral charm. Despite its comparatively large footprint, the 24,500-square-foot Garden Mausoleum in Minneapolis’ Lakewood Cemetery is in harmony with the existing mausoleum and chapel that it sits between, as if in meditation. The 141-year-old non-sectarian cemetery occupies 250 acres in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. Designed by Joan Soranno and John Cook, both with HGA Architects and Engineers, the Garden Mausoleum peeks out of a south-facing hill along the northern edge of the site’s “sunken garden.” Mahogany and charcoal granite walls complement white marble and onyx floors that alternate between honey yellow, jade green, and coral pink. The handsomely understated spaces are prime for spiritual exploration and self-reflection. Elegant and quietly powerful, the mausoleum is an authentic union of materials and design.