Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Frames rule   1 comment

Slap a piece of wood around a painting, and you’ve created a border  — a signal that the viewer is leaving one kind of space and moving into another.  Carve and gild that border and you’re declaring that what is inside is special, very special.

And sometimes the frame itself can grow so exuberant, so loudly and proudly does it proclaim the specialness of what it contains that viewers have to work really hard to tear their attention away from the  border…to the special object it is framing.

Altar in a baroque church in Lecce -- is there any other kind?

Altar in a baroque church in Lecce — is there any other kind?

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Crossing over   1 comment

The whole notion of thresholds and borders between the sacred and profane got me to thinking about facades of churches and how they signal this border/threshold and perhaps none more loudly than baroque facades designed with Counter-Reformation zeal in the Italian town of Lecce.

Lecce’s Chiesa di Santa Croce

Talk about a border teeming with life forms…

detail from the facade

At first glance, not as terrifying as some thresholds, but as you step closer and let your eyes sweep upward they are pretty awesome —  as in daunting, impressive and not a little fearsome.  There is no question that you are leaving the familiar world behind.

Borders   1 comment

One reader commented…

“And the “borderland” is often the richest, most productive and releaving place to be. In ecology, scientists study and celebrate the “edge” — the edge between sea and land, between fresh and salt water, between one climatic zone and another. There they find not only an incubator for distinctive forms of life occupying that borderland niche, but a particularly revealing place from which to look at and understanding the places on either side of the border.”

Think of the borders we create between the sacred and the profane–

main entrance to the Duomo in Orvieto, Italy

Posted October 19, 2012 by leeadairlawrence in architecture, Art, Religion

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TERRIFIC THRESHHOLDS   2 comments

causeway into Angkor Thom

Whether or not the ancient Khmer had a word for it,  they certainly knew how to express the power of transitions and threshholds in stone.  Sure wish “liminality” had some of that oomph.

gate into Angkor Thom

nature adds its own drama  in Ta Phrom

doorway in Preah Ko temple

Memorials   Leave a comment

It was the falling that hit me first: the reflection of buildings in the smooth water along the parapet then their dissolving into water that  plummets first to one level then, through the center, to unseen depths.  Then came the particularity: the parade of names carved into the black stone and, just as powerful, the splitting of the water into individual streams. 

Have you ever seen Maya Lin’s memorial to the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama?  A smooth sheet of water streams across a table of granite and down its sides, continuous and unstoppable.  Through it you read the names of people and the dates of events while the water steadily flows.  There, the memorial is to the movement.  Here at the 9/11 Memorial, with its individual threads of water, the memorial is to the people who lost their lives — first responders, people in the trade center, the Pentagon, Flight 77…

Posted January 10, 2012 by leeadairlawrence in architecture, memorials, sculpture

Somewhere between sculpture and architecture — even landscape   1 comment

They’re sculptures, but you walk through them and experience them the way you experience a building.  I’m talking about the work of Richard Serra, whose  “Junction” and “Cycle” are — what? on view? open? available for hiking, the way gorges carved by time and the elements are?  — at Gagosian Gallery in NY.  

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Posted November 9, 2011 by leeadairlawrence in architecture, Art, sculpture

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DOWN THE EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN   Leave a comment

Why on earth would one walk from 148th street down the East side of Manhattan?  Because…. it was a friend’s birthday and this is what she really, really wanted to do… because when else do you get the chance to see the city unfurl before you….  because when you walk 10 miles from Harlem to Zuccotti Park, you cross border after border after border…

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Posted November 1, 2011 by leeadairlawrence in architecture, Art, New York