On a recent trip to Brazil to Neymar gaze, I found myself Niemeyer gazing instead. Whilst the Brazilian football team has two talents players named “Oscar” and “Neymar”, it is the late Oscar Niemeyer who is one of Brazil’s true heroes. A exemplar of true modernism, Palacio Itamaraty is one of Niemeyer’s greatest achievements. The concrete structure appears delicate and lightweight and the integration of landscape and interiors is breathtaking.
Our nation’s capital has some of the most elegant examples of public architecture in Australia. Commonwealth Place, designed by Durbach Block Jaggers in 2002 is a timeless example of building as landscape. Robust, beautifully detailed and timeless, the building grows from the banks of Lake Burley Griffin to frame Parliament House beyond.
Most people would think of Machu Picchu when asked about ancient architecture in Peru, however Sacsayhuaman predates the Inca civilization. The complex an amazing example of engineering and stonemason skill. Located on the outskirts of Cuzco, the atmosphere is mesmerizing for its craftsmanship, its commanding location overlooking the ancient city and the Andes and the occasional visiting llama.
Imagine gazing out the window each day over the roof tops of this ancient Royal city. Patan’s Durbar Square in Nepal is one of seven groups of monuments in the Kathmandu Valley recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage list for their cultural significance. Architecturally, the striking forms are complemented by rich terracotta tiles, bricks and elaborate wood carvings. The square has a vibrant atmosphere frequented by tourists and locals alike.
Every even numbered year La Biennale di Architettura is held in Venezia and draws thousands of international visitors to the mystical city. In 2012 Irish architects O’Donnell and Tuomey created an installation made from timber planks, designed to speak to the brickwork of the historic building in which it was positioned.
In 2007, Palazzo Grassi won a contest held by the City of Venice to transform Punta della Dogana (the historic customs house) into a centre of contemporary art. Tadao Ando was engaged to design and document the restoration and adaptive reuse of the building to accommodate part of the Francios Pinault Foundation collection of art.
Opened in 2009, the building is a must see for lovers of Ando, contemporary art or historic buildings.
I believe everyone has a little bit of “closet architect” in them and in my daily life, I strive to bring this out in clients. Through this blog each week I will share one inspirational building or detail from my travels over the years in the hope you might also find some inspiration.
I often wonder what non-architects look at when they go on holidays……….