Monday, March 29, 2010

overcast days

Rainy, cold, dreary days like today in Brooklyn feel fairly haunted, especially in empty Prospect Park. Gauzy mist often rolls along the open long meadow making the scene like something out of The Wicker Man. Like you may approach a clearing and face this figure towering overhead:



Speaking of spectral presences towering overhead on overcast days, today it was announced that the Japanese firm SANAA won The Pritzker Architectural Prize. When working at an art book publishing house, I conducted fairly extensive archival research on this firm for books on modern houses, museums, and retail spaces. The entire NPR slide show above reveals the totemic structures are perfect for viewing and photographing on dingier, gray days.

To be fair, there are stunning images of the structures on clear blue days when the buildings look like structural clouds on the ground:


But I prefer them set against hum-drum, drizzly backgrounds.

Whether set against bruised or blue skies, or in urban or provincial settings, their constructs stand as luminescent, pristine, and at times, spooky contrasts to their environs. Everything, even nature, looks like it needs a trip to the laundry mat in comparison.

To me they kind of look like calm, translucent space stations that gently landed in their designated locales overnight where they quietly, harmoniously proceed with their order of the day.

Still deciding whether I am a fan.

I *do* like this quote from a 2005 interview I read with SANAA's two founding architects, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizama:

When you were a child, did you want to become an architect?
N: I would never have imaged myself being architect.
S: Me too.
N: She wanted to be a grandmother! Kind of funny! Grandmothers always look like...
S: They are relaxed.
N: Happy and relaxed.
S: Yes, when I was a child I really wanted to be a grandmother.
N: To sit on the terrace and enjoy the sunlight.


In a way, SANAA's structures reflect this regal grandmotherly, white-haired, beatific, sitting in a flat-backed white wicker terrace chair sensibility: Their constructs sit pacifically situated in outside spots, sagely taking in and reflecting on their surroundings.

In all, I think Prince's Raspberry Beret sums up this scene better than I can: Now overcast days never turned me on, but something about the clouds and her mixed.

1 comment:

james said...

i love the new museum building. one of my favourites.