Featured Image: Apse from San Martin at Fuentidue – The Cloisters – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Courtesy of Spanish
Towering high atop the bluffs above the Hudson Heights and Inwood neighborhoods of Manhattan, The Cloisters museum is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s stunning collection of medieval sculpture, architecture, and decorative art.
Constructed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the towering ramparts of this Romanesque castle were built from the ruins of a number of French abbeys that were painstakingly transported stone-by-stone to this location on the northern edge of New York City. Situated in historic Fort Tryon Park, with its gardens and breathtaking views of the City and the Palisades, The Cloisters offers a peaceful sanctuary from city life and is itself a work of art.
Deep inside its galleries, in a small and otherwise unremarkable display, stands an ivory cross that legendary Met director Thomas Hoving considered it to be the single most fantastic and unique work of art to survive the Dark Ages. Hoving became obsessed with acquiring the cross, with its elaborate motifs and delicate figures carved in deep relief, that he would pay the largest sum of money the Met had ever paid for any single work of art at the time.
When I saw that Architectural Digest was doing a piece entitled “The Most Beautiful Public High School in Every State in America”, I was anxious to see if it would be one with which I am familiar. Buffalo is internationally renowned for its 19th and 20th Century architecture but I didn’t have any expectations of seeing a Buffalo school chosen, so this came as a pleasant surprise for a few reasons.
First, when I think of Buffalo’s treasures, public high schools don’t jump out me.When I think of the wonderful architecture we have in Buffalo, I can visualize the H.H. Richardson complex with its soaring Romanesque spires, the sprawling green spaces of Olmstead’s parks system. I can see the view from the top of the city’s art deco centerpiece, City Hall. While living downtown, I would loiter in Sullivan’s Guaranty Building and Burnham’s Ellicott Square and try to act nonchalant while photographing the country’s earliest “skyscrapers”, built in the time when America was deciding what it was going to be; how it would look.
Ornate lobby looking out. The marble has the color of pink lemonade and was quarried in Tennessee – Adler and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building – Buffalo, NY
Hallways adorned with rich woods, pink marble and countless pieces of stained glass – The Guaranty Building – Buffalo, NY
While FLW’s Buffalo body of work garners the majority of the attention, the 1895 Guaranty Building is a bit of better-kept secret. Consider one of the first skyscrapers, every inch of the building is adorned with elaborate filigree, plaster, art glass and arresting featuers that has left me struggling for air.
Exterior arch on Adler and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building – Buffalo, NY
Originally, the Taylor Building, the entrance is emblazoned with the building’s second name which was given to it while still being constructed – The Guaranty Building – Buffalo, NY
Exterior carved terra cotta details on Adler and Sullivan’s Guaranty Building – Buffalo, NY
The level of detail was said to have be born from Sullivan’s proclamation that “must be every inch a proud and soaring thing.” – Doorknob from the Guaranty Building
While FLW’s Buffalo body of work garners the majority of the attention, the 1895 Guaranty Building built by Adler and Sullivan is a better-kept secret. Considered one of the first skyscrapers, every inch of the building is adorned with elaborate filigree, carved terra cotta blocks, and art glass amaze mask what was sophisticated construction for its time.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art in Cape Town, designed by Thomas Heatherwick will open to the public next week. The structure served the better part of a century as both a grain elevator and Africa’s tallest building upriver of the pyramids and it has been reincarnated as the first major contemporary art museum in Africa dedicated to African art.
While cities like Montreal, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo struggle to figure out what to do with these massive and obsolete buildings, Heatherwick has architected a beautiful and environmentally conscious option (aside from a rock wall or a light show).