RIBA Royal Gold Medal
Award ceremonies are taking place left, right and centre. The Brits, The Baftas, The Grammys and so on. It is a chance for talent to be given well deserved recognition. In the world of architecture, the highest form of recognition for a lifetime’s work is presented in the form of the Royal Gold Medal, approved by the Queen herself. This year the well deserved winner of this award went to Herman Hertzberger.
I would like to talk about my own choice for favourite architect. However, the more I ponder over this, the more of an impossible task it seems. Is it possible to even choose? Architects, like all other humans, go through phases. The work of an architect is shaped and moulded by his/her life’s experiences. Earlier work may differ so completely from later/current designs, that sometimes it is hard to pin point if it has been designed by the same architect! Thus, it is so difficult to say you like the entire work of just one architect, as the spectrum can be so broad.
Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright
Initially, when I started to study architecture, I was exposed to a selection of buildings that were EVERYONE’s favourite. By everyone, I mean to say Architect students. You will find Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water to be the most popular of that list for Favourite Building/Architect for Architect students. Whilst having seemingly clever dialogue between one architect student and another, one would casually name such a building to prove to your fellow colleague that you had all the knowledge about architecture. But this of course, was nonsense, because to be honest, you could probably not name a single other building designed by this so called favourite architect of yours. You were only following the crowd and appreciated the work that you were asked to appreciate. As I delved deeper and deeper into my studies, I was given the opportunity to start looking into work by architects I had never heard of, yet had substantial skill in my opinion. I also began to familiarise myself with patterns of architects in their work, their philosophy. I found analysing precedent studies a vital part of the design process. No, this was not about copying someone else’s idea. This was about constructively learning about another architect’s point of view and taking from it what you understood. Last year, I studied Adolf Loo’s Raumplan. The idea that buildings should not be restricted to floor levels, and placing rooms of higher importance at a higher altitude than the other rooms. I read the debate of two conflicting architect’s ideas in the book “Raumplan versus Plan Libre”, and I must admit, that was one of the most interesting books on architecture I have read so far. I was engrossed completely, and made quick notes and sketched as I read page upon page. Therefore, I have to include this as one of my favourite philosophies within Architecture.
My analysis of Adolf Loos's Muller House Section: Drawing
Currently, I have been swept away by the later works of Frank Gehry. I admire the dynamic and organic nature of his designs, making it seem that whatever abstract idea you may jot down at the back of a napkin, is not at all impossible to build. In my opinion, Frank Gehry is the epitome of the phrase “Nothing is Impossible”. However, when you look behind these crazy works of art, and listen to him speak, Gehry will tell you 9/10 times that his inspiration came from Fish. Absurd? Possibly.
Frank Gehry's Hotel Bodega Marques de Riscal
Is the admiration of an architect’s work only because it could be connected to your design? Does the time span for admiration only last as long as your design project? This is most likely the case at the very start of one’s studies. However, as you familiarise yourself with more and more works, you begin to find a pattern. A pattern of architects that you like. Really really like. You wish to imitate whole or aspects from such work, to learn from it. I suppose what I am trying to say is that there is no singular favourite architect of mine, and this is the case for many many others. There are too many to choose from, and even then, there is not a single architect that posses all the qualities I like. The works of architects themselves transform with age, and our choices do the same. In fact, if it is so difficult for one person to pick and choose their favourite, it is ten times more difficult for a group of judges to pick a combined favourite. I believe that Architecture is, or should be, a form of art. The only issue is of course, that how each person perceives art is different from the next. It is not a maths equation, that has a right or wrong answer. It depends on your liking, your knowledge, your culture, your experiences etc. Therefore, the award for People’s Favourite Architect goes to….whoever may be your choice!