City Spaces

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Casa Batlló is a renowned building located in the centre of Barcelona and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces. A remodel of a previously built house, it was redesigned in 1904 by Gaudí and has been refurbished several times. Gaudí’s assistants also contributed to the renovation project. The local name for the building is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones), as it has a visceral, skeletal organic quality.
Like everything Gaudí designed, it is only identifiable as Modernisme or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. The ground floor has unusual tracery, irregular oval windows and flowing sculpted stone work. There are few straight lines, and much of the façade is decorated with a colourful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of centre, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the lance of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí’s home), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.

Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France

Notre Dame du Haut is a Roman Catholic chapel in Ronchamp, France. Built in 1954, it is one of the finest examples of the architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier and one of the most important examples of 20th-century religious architecture. The chapel is a working religious building and is under the guardianship of the private foundation Association de l’Œuvre de Notre-Dame du Haut. It attracts 80,000 visitors each year.

The structure is made mostly of concrete and is comparatively small, enclosed by thick walls, with the upturned roof supported on columns embedded within the walls, like a sail billowing in the windy currents on the hill top. In the interior, the spaces left between the walls and roof and filled with clerestory windows, as well as the asymmetric light from the wall openings, serve to further reinforce the sacred nature of the space. The lighting in the interior is soft and indirect, from the clerestory windows and reflecting off the whitewashed walls of the chapels with projecting towers.

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, High Cathedral of Saint Peter, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. It is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day and currently the tallest twin-spired church at 157 m height.

The design of Cologne Cathedral was based quite closely on that of Amiens Cathedral in terms of ground plan, style and the width to height proportion of the central nave. The plan is in the shape of a Latin Cross, as is usual with Gothic cathedrals. It has two aisles on either side, which help to support one of the very highest Gothic vaults in the world, being nearly as tall as that of the Beauvais Cathedral, much of which collapsed. Externally the outward thrust of the vault is taken up by flying buttresses in the French manner. The eastern end has a single ambulatory, the second aisle resolving into a chevet of seven radiating chapels.

Binoculars Building

The Binoculars Building, originally the Chiat/Day Building, is located in Venice, Los Angeles, California, incorporating the public artwork “Giant Binoculars” by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen on its street-facing facade. Built between 1991 and 2001 for advertising agency Chiat/Day (now TBWA\Chiat\Day) as its West Coast corporate headquarters, it was designed by Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry, and was his last project in Los Angeles until the Walt Disney Concert Hall began construction in 1999.
The building is notable for the three different styles used in the main facade, particularly the massive “Giant Binoculars” sculpture covering both a car and pedestrian entrance. The entrance to the garage is between the lenses of the binoculars. The 75,000-square-foot building was delayed for a few years after hazardous materials were found on the site.
In January 2011, W. P. Carey & Co. announced Google was leasing 100,000 square feet of space in the building and two neighbouring ones, part of a major expansion to establish a larger employment presence in Los Angeles.

Dancing House, Prague

The Dancing House or Fred and Ginger, is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building on the Rašínovo nábřeží (Rašín Embankment) in Prague, Czech Republic. It was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996.
The non-traditional design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous, and in the opinion of some it does not accord well with these architectural styles. The then Czech president, Václav Havel, who lived for decades next to the site, had avidly supported this project, hoping that the building would become a centre of cultural activity.
Gehry originally named the house Fred and Ginger (after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the house resembles a pair of dancers).
The style is known as deconstructivist (“new-baroque” to the designers) architecture due to its unusual shape. The “dancing” shape is supported by 99 concrete panels, each a different shape and dimension. On the top of the building is a large twisted structure of metal nicknamed Medusa.

Lake Point Tower, Chicago

Lake Point Tower is a high-rise residential building located on a promontory of Lake Michigan lakefront in downtown Chicago, just north of the Chicago River. The building is the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago east of Lake Shore Drive.
Lake point tower literally stands alone, east of scenic Lake Shore Drive and surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides.