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Modern Architecture

Art and Architecture, Travel

Something Old, Something New

1914 structure of the Royal Ontario Mueseum and Daniel Libeskind’s 2007 addition known as the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal

We traveled to Toronto for a wedding this weekend, which was my first time in this bustling Canadian metropolis. I got to enjoy some of the things I expected there, like sipping coffee in outdoor cafes and staring up at road signs that bore equal parts French and English, but the most delightfully unexpected part of our trip was the architecture. Toronto is a big city as well as an old one, which means it is constantly supplementing it’s 18th century architecture with modern structures to accommodate its population of approximately 2.5 million. This means the streets are packed with a blend of Gothic and Victorian brick buildings as well as new glass towers that crop up every day. My favorite such blending is the Royal Ontario Museum which features several brick-and-terracotta galleries built in the early 1900s and a recent addition designed by celebrated modern architect, Daniel Libeskind…

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Art and Architecture

Futurism and Other Pipe Dreams

Old power plant in Austin, TX, that looks like it was transplanted from World War II Europe

Austin has an old power plant of stark concrete and graphic signage that looks like a Socialist factory from the mid 1900s. Seeing it gets me thinking about an architectural movement called Futurism, which preceded World War II and placed emphasis on impossibly long lines as well as images of movement and strength. Futurism was primarily Italian and Russian, and – due to the political and financial instability going on in those countries at the time – precious few Futurist buildings were ever constructed. This means almost all Futurist architecture was relegated to an existence on paper, and this week I’ve been haunted by thoughts of what it must have been like for those architects to never see their buildings erected…

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