But what amazes me is 2 things. First they are very livable. They would be considered tiny now in the US (sub 900 sq ft originally, with finished basement 1300), but it never feels cramped. The design and size lead to extremely efficient resource utilization and minimal maintenance as well.
Second, this place was targeted at middle income families. It was designed to compete with the suburbs being built at the time. Can you imagine a builder now paying for innovative design?
In any case I wish more people could live the lifestyle this home allows.
There's a random apartment building near downtown Pittsburgh that was designed by I.M. Pei  -- a little nicer than others in the area, but by no means a luxury building. It's indeed refreshing to see "normal" buildings for "normal" people designed by famous architects, even if the building itself isn't flashy by any means.
Construction photo. There were approximately 9 designs in one of the first major urban renewal efforts in the country. I live in the smallest.
Model of the biggest.
Architecture is wonderful as you get to live on through these incredibly beautiful buildings. I look at the stuff Zaha Hadid built and I feel like I can almost see her in the buildings she made. Great architects resonate through their structures.
It’s plain hideous. Sigh.
Unrelatedly, my grandfather lived in one of the Kips Bay Towers during the 70s when he was working in New York as a graphic designer. I have a soft spot for them.
As a resident of Boston who's had to travel to city hall many times on Business, I wouldn't call the interior "soothingly cavernous". Perhaps it was initially and has been modified since, but I find it dark sized to make both the visitor and the worker insignificant. Most open space is unusable and appears to have no purpose, but the spaces that are in-use, are somehow cramped and lifeless.
This is one of the things the greek - again - got right. Lot of the elements in classical architecture of stone buildings are there just to look nice and some of them even just copy elements that were necessary in wooden construction but were replicated in stone as well because they look nice.
That's not to say simple shapes cannot be pleasing. But making concrete look like concrete really isn't an achievement to speak off. It can be a stylistic choice of course.
I like Manuel Gagneux's commentary on the Kips Bay Plaza: https://youtu.be/08GChbQcWxI?t=164.
That's an interesting and somehow comforting way to look at it.
That being said, its placement in a courtyard surrounded by strikingly beautiful and unique French Renaissance architecture is a testament to modern arrogance. It does not complement the theme or contribute to the panorama, but instead steals the view and obscures the art already there. It was highly controversial and divided Parisians against each other. Clearly the man had talent, but it's a little disgusting how proud of where it was placed.
Controversy is difficult to quantify. But millions of people cheerfully photograph themselves together with the pyramid each year, which leads me to believe that those who smile seeing this building far outnumber those who scoff and yearn for the "striking beauty" of the brutal, decadent monarchy that built the original Louvre palaces in order to project dominance.
We live after the end of aesthetic teleology. There is no more objectively defensible aesthetic criteria. There is only a morass of yawning subjectivity, and hopefully a critical perspective regarding the ways and reasons that power utilizes the sort of rhetoric you perform here.
Oh, come now. There are lots of designs everyone would agree are objectively ugly. But they rarely get built these days. So if it seems like everything is subjective, it's because everything we see has passed the not-objectively-ugly filter.
Comme des Garçons is one of the most ubiquitously respected fashion houses, and the legendary designer who heads it had a show at The Met recently. Here is a look from their couture runway this year:
You could poll 20 HN readers and ask “is this objectively ugly?” And you might find total consensus. But almost everyone who devotes their life to the field of fashion design would at least grant that this look is typical of the style that made Comme so important, and would certainly deny any kind of “objective” characterization of it as ugly. Many, many brilliant, highly educated people would say it is beautiful.
There is no fact of the matter. People liking IM Pei’s pyramid doesn’t prove it’s beautiful any more than people hating certain critically respected brutalist buildings proves they’re ugly. There are no intrinsically ugly buildings.
I’m indifferent to it, personally. De mortis nil nisi bonum.
He argued that his glass pyramid was merely an updated
version of a traditional form, and that his redesigned
courtyard had been influenced by the geometric work of the
French landscape architect Le Notre. It was rigorously
rational, in other words, and in that sense classically
Also, I.M. Pei himself considered JFK Library the most important commission of his life, not the Louvre Pyramid.
What he merely said was he didn't think he made a wrong choice in designing the glass pyramid. And there were quite a bit of background info and context in his choice in the wikipedia article.
Looking at Google image search for "Paris", my suspicion is confirmed that the pyramid is almost the second most recognizable building in Paris now.
Merely imitating the old style of the surrounding buildings would have been phony, in my opinion.
> “If there’s one thing I know I didn’t do wrong, it’s the Louvre,”.
He famously had problems with wind: The Great Sail was placed in order to break up wind off the Charles, which (by Bernoulli effect) would lock the doors at the bottom of the Green Building.
The funny part was: The Hancock Tower on the other side of the Charles had pretty much the same problem, but was too tall for remediation-by-artwork. They had a devil of a time redoing the windows in that building.
Anyway: 66 was always my favorite. Living in EC, it was always fun to show visitors the sharp point of that building.
The legend about how the nearby Alexander Calder sculpture was placed to block the wind is apparently untrue, but the revolving doors on the ground level are very real.
But then with all the other construction in that area, including some very big buildings, Stata now gets almost lost amongst its various neighbors.
After moving to Hong Kong, I lived near the Bank
of China Tower and I would see it every day. I never failed to be awed by the striking design until the day I left. It always felt like it, and the HSBC building close by were competing for wow factor.
Seemed like a great guy.