Local Essex woman Julie Cope never lived or died, but sure enough, in a peaceful Essex field you can find a building that commemorates her life in every detail. Tapestries, tiles, statues, and other objects use various symbols and imagery to communicate the story of her life: her gradual rise up Britain’s socioeconomic ladder, her marriages and children, and her untimely demise at the hands (wheel?) of a food delivery motorbike. This shrine, which doubles as a vacation home, is part of a unique series of architectural experiments being commissioned in Britain by the organization Living Architecture. Read on learn about their undertaking, the house’s design, and how it was created through a close collaboration between artist Peter Grayson and architect Charles Holland.
Link to Architectural Record Article
Top Image: A House for Essex, Photo © Jack Hobhouse
“Only a very small part of architecture belongs to art: the tomb and the monument. Everything else that fulfills a function is to be excluded from the domain of art.” These words were written by modernist architect and critic Adolf Loos more than one hundred years ago. Loos was a man of complex opinions but he hit on an essential idea: there is something so glorious, so freeing, and perhaps so vain, about a tomb or a monument that sets it apart from normal architecture. We can judge it as an artwork without the functionalist critiques we might level against another structure.
Forty years ago, Louis Kahn died in Penn Station with the final designs for a monument in his briefcase: the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. FDR had played a major role early in Kahn’s career when his the New Deal programs funded houses that Kahn would design. This work sustained Kahn and his family when he was just beginning to practice. In 1972, two years before Kahn’s death, the architect was asked to design a monument to commemorate FDR’s a famous speech on the human freedoms of speech and worship, as well as human freedoms from fear and need. While Kahn is renowned for his enduring geometric forms, something in no short supply here, this particular design is comprised of two simple spaces: a room and a garden. These were, in Kahn’s words, the point of departure for the monument.
Seeing the Tribute in Light over Manhattan these past few days put 9/11 on my mind and I felt I had to write something to commemorate its 13the anniversary. With the recent topping-out of WTC 1 and the opening of the 9/11 museum, it only seemed appropriate to celebrate New York City’s ability to build, to build big in ways that reinvented the city and gave it today’s architectural icons.
Link to Article
Top Image: Photograph by Charles L. Ritzmann, Image via wikipedia and the Library of Congress