Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Arquitectura Viva 71


El nuevo metro, la cúpula de Rogers y la Tate de H&dM
III-IV 2000

Millennium London. Emotionally rejuvenated by New Labour and generously endowed with the proceeds of the National Lottery, the British capital reaps the first fruits of its efforts to offer a new countenance. On an infra structural level, national figures have extended the Jubilee Line of the under: ground railway system, with eleven stations linking a controversial and ephemeral monument such as the Greenwich Dome to the Tate Gallery’s new venue for the exhibition of its modem art collection, an old electric power station on the banks of the Thames, in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral.


Keith Miller
A Hidden Face
Jubilee Line Extension
Nick Cohen
Collective Cult
The Millennium Dome
Luis Femández-Galiano
White Magic
Tate Modem at Bankside

Buildings: Projects and Realizations  

Metropolitan Networks. The new stations of the Jubilee Line have revamped the tube and improved its connection with other transport systems, calling up an image halfway between railway tradition and high technology.

Michael Hopkins, Westminster
Ian Ritchie, Berdmonsey
Norman Foster, Canary Wharf
John McAsland, Canning Town
An Ephemeral Landmark. The themes celebrating the British turn of the millennium unfold inside a gigantic textile dome erected over several formerly industrial plots of the meridian peninsula of Greenwich.   Richard Rogers, The Dome
Zaha Hadid, Mind Zone
Nigel Coates, Body Zone
Eva Jiricna, Faith Zone
Culture and Consumerism. The Tate displays high culture in an industrial setting, and the Peckham Library presents pop culture and showbiz architecture, while the Belgo and St. Martins Lane invite us to enjoy design.
  H&deM, Tate Modem
Will Alsop, Peckham Library
FOA, Belgo Restaurant
Starck, St. Martins Lane Hotel
Books, Exhibitions, Personalities  

New York Stories. The Guggenheim Foundation plans further growth in New York City with another Gehry building close to Wall Street, while the MoMA and the Whitney offer assessments of an of the 20th century.
  Art / Culture 

Martin Filler
Guggenheim Wall Street
Juan Antonio Ramirez
MoMA-Whitney: Assessments
Of Cities and Monuments. Massimiliano Fuksas chooses the city as the architectural theme for the 7th Venice Biennale, and Mario Botta reinteprets the idea of the monument with a replica of Borromini in Lugano.   Richard Ingersoll
Interview with Fuksas
Stanislaus von Moos
Botta’s Quasi-monuments
Images of a Century. The signature photograph is the best trump card of a publishing industry that constantly pursues the scoop, but which also endeavors to present renewed perspectives of historic architectures.
  Focho’s Cartoon
Kazuyo Sejima
Various Authors
Interiors, Design, Construction 

Museum Urbanity. One American and three European projects coincide in paying as much attention to context as to program. If the Houston museum strikes up an urban dialogue of opacities and transparencies, the Biel building plays with neighboring alignments; and if the construction in Machelen reproduces the plan of the city, the project in Nijmegen perpetuates a tradition of ambiguity through the scale of public buildings. The commentaries are by Farès el-Dahdah, Hubertus Adam, Marc Dubois and Ludger Fischer.
  Technique / Style 

Rafael Moneo
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Diener & Diener
PasquArt Centre, Biel
Stéphane Beel
Raveel Museum, Machelen
Van Berkel & Bos
ValkHof Museum, Nijmegen
To close, Luis Femández-Galiano comments on the film, winner of five Oscars, that shows the dark side of life in the idyllic suburban housing developments embodying the American dream of the sprawling city.   English Summary
Millennium London
Luis Fernández-Galiano
American Beauty
Luis Fernández-Galiano

Millenium London

London celebrates its longitude, but visitors enjoy its latitude. The bimillenary, which the city has decided to commemorate with the giant, textile Dome in meridian Greenwich, has turned out to be a cultural and organizational disappointment; whereas its newfound relaxed and young spirit, which seems to have pushed London to a parallel several degrees to the south, has crystallized well in the symbolic bazaar of art and trends of the Tate Modern. Both large-scale exhibition projects were launched by the previous, conservative government, but became emblems of New Labour’s two faces; both were funded with Lottery proceeds, but failed or succeeded in a way having little to do with the volume of the subsidy, ten times more in the case of the Dome; and both are situated on the deteriorated right bank of the Thames, but have proven as disparate in their capacity for urban regeneration as in the criticism they have sparked.

The Millennium Dome and the latest Tate are linked together by the tube’s new chain of stations, which prolongs the Jubilee line to service the offices of Canary Wharf and stimulate the development of other zones. In the end this project may well be the most important of all; to be sure, the underground railway system was the most debated subject in the elections for mayor, which with Ken Livingstone’s victory have seen the return à la Tom Jones of the former boss of the GLC (the planning authority of Greater London that Margaret Thatcher dissolved). But Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, another old leftist who withdrew his candidacy in favor of Red Ken, maintains that the big issues – such as the tube – will always lie beyond the jurisdiction of a mayor who would do well to concentrate on objectives like keeping the churches permanently open, “the only places left in London where you don’t have to buy anything.”

In fact, London’s renaissance is intricately tied to its consumerist and mediatic Americanization, by which civic culture has given way to the lifestyle packaged by Wallpaper. The prosperity of the nineties has created a cool Britannia not too unlike the swinging London of the sixties, although it might be that the sensationalist and cynical vacuity of many of its leaders is closer to the nihilistic punk of the seventies than to the innocent pop of the previous decade, and the butchered cows of Damien Hirst or dirty beds of Tracey Emin are more indebted to Johnny Rotten and Vivienne Westwood than to Peter Blake and Mary Quant. This mixed wonderland that spurns tradition for spin, composure for emotion, and tea for cappuccino has also built architectures as antithetical as the jovial circus of the Dome and the luminous rigor of the Tate. But these days the Brits bid farewell to Barbara Cartland and John Gielgud at the same time, and it may well be impossible to draw a contemporary national portrait without such a mixture of the trivial and the sublime.

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