All posts tagged: classic

Hélène Binet’s Chinese Landscapes

Architectural photographer Hélène Binet’s new book capturing her photographs of Suzhou Gardens of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site has portrayed something which very few photographs can convey- the transcendental meditative qualities of these gardens. While paging through the photographic essay, I found myself immersed in the tranquil nature of the gardens around the stucco walls, telling stories of yesteryears. It reminded me of the importance of shadow. With modern aesthetic obsession with everything neat and clean and white, we have lost the charm of growing old with ageing. The walls of Suzhou Garden are reminiscent of graceful ageing and that is what make them so timeless. The ephemeral quality of photographs have a dream like imagery which take the viewers beyond what is seen. It is upto us to dream, imagine and dwell in what Gaston Bachelard has called revery.

Compositions in Architecture by Dan Hanlon

Compositions in Architecture provides students and educators a unique opportunity to grasp architectural problems and create exclusive solutions. The book is intertwined with architectural design process as well as necessary theory but not overburdening creative nascent minds. Author Dan Hanlon explains architectural compositions through lucid diagrams and elucidate concepts which are rooted in different cultures and traditional beliefs. The interesting point here to be noted is that the author doesn’t simply illustrate the problem with only one kind of example but he brings back compositions from different cultures to solve a problem and thereby making it a very unique method to see what options different civilizations and some brilliant minds of their time has tried upon. The book focuses on vernacular traditions as well as doesn’t compromise to elucidate the designs of most contemporary architects of our age which makes it very special. It will surely go a great length in kindling interest in architecture to this young generation. More details can be found here: Photo Courtesy: Wiley

Josep Lluis Sert: Father of Urban Design and Peabody Terrace Complex

Josep Lluis Sert: Father of Urban Design and Peabody Terrace Complex “I’ve always been interested in architecture as an extension not only of technical problems, but also of human problems. That aspect interests me very much: how that represents a way of life and a vital gesture. I am probably more interested in a less abstract expression of architecture than some of my colleagues.” —Josep Lluis Sert Biography: Born in Barcelona, Josep Lluis Sert showed keen interest in the works of his uncle, the painter Josep Maria Sert, and of Gaudí. He studied architecture at the Escola Superior d’Arquitectura in Barcelona and set up his own studio in 1929. That same year he moved to Paris, in response to an invitation from Le Corbusier to work for him (without payment). Returning to Barcelona in 1930, he continued his practice there until 1937. During the 1930s, he co-founded the group GATCPAC (Grup d’Artistes i Tècnics Catalans per al Progrés de l’Arquitectura Contemporània, i.e. Group of Catalan Artists and Technicians for the Progress of Contemporary Architecture), which later …

The Buddhas of Bamiyan by Llewelyn Morgan

Interesting history of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, tracing their story and people’s reaction to them from the Buddhist period, through the Islamic period, and into the 19th and 20th centuries, and even beyond their infamous destruction by the Taliban. It is well-researched and authoritative, with a good selection of illustrations and quotes from different encounters with the Buddhas. The early history particularly interested me, with some really interesting descriptions from the travelling Chinese monk Xuanzang in the 7th century. It was then interesting to read of the tolerance, and indeed a certain amount of appropriation of the Buddhas, in the early Islamic period. He discusses the gradual transition from Buddhism to Islam in the area of Bamiyan, showing that it wasn’t a sudden conversion, and explaining that it was most likely due to commercial interests (which had been central to Buddhist Bamiyan too). The next cultural encounter with the Buddhas at Bamiyan that Morgan goes into in depth is that of the British, and a series of British imperial adventurers in the 19th …