Category Archives: Architecture

THE DARK SECRET OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART’S CROSS

Featured Image: Apse from San Martin at Fuentidue – The Cloisters – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Courtesy of Spanish


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The Cloisters

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.

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Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan

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.

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The Bury St. Edmunds Cross

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.

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AD has chosen Buffalo’s Lower West Side’s PS198 as the most beautiful High School in NYS – The Plane was inspired

Paper Airplane

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.

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.

Continue reading AD has chosen Buffalo’s Lower West Side’s PS198 as the most beautiful High School in NYS – The Plane was inspired

Grain Elevators: Lights are alright, Zeitz is better

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).