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English architects do a lot of things well.  Lately, they’ve done a particularly swell job of designing bridges, and many of the best are just for people on 2 feet or 2 leg-powered wheels.  Above is London’s Millennium Footbridge, design by Arup, Foster and Partners and Sir Anthony Caro.  Nice image from here

This lovely thing was designed by Wilkinson & Eyre Architects and Gifford & Partners following a design competition held by Gateshead Council.  See here

Another view of the Gateshead “eyelid” bridge.  Every town with a body of water should have one.  Above image at nz20.

But nifty as these bridges are, I had to wonder what else British architects have been designing lately.

Above is a…design by Thomas Heatherwick. He founded Thomas Heatherwick Studio in 1994 and is interested in projects that combine architecture, art, design and engineering. He has also built a wonderful website, worth spending some time with

Above 2 Heatherwicks and and the one below via dezeen.

All Heatherwick photos are by Steve Speller.

This T. Heatherwick above is in Manhattan.  It’s a store.  For Longchamps (it looks great in person too, so I discovered).  See here

From Heatherwick to Chipperfield, David, above.

And Chipperfield again, this time in Valencia.  It’s the America’s Cup Building.  See this

More David C at dezeen, here.  For his remarkable museum folkwang, go here. Photos are by Christian Richters/VIEW.

And there’s more: above is Mr. DC’s Museum of Modern  Literature in Germany.  Oh wow

Time for one more of England’s finest: the much honoured Mr David Adjaye    Above is  Rivington Place, 2007. More here.

Have to finish with a bridge, though, so why not a bridge by the amazing Mr Heatherwick, in London.  It rolls up.

See the animation here.

Good to see England rising to the top again in design.  Inigo Jones, William Morris, Eileen Gray, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers….and now a new talented mob.  Good on ya.

Above is one of the best known tall buildings anywhere:  the Pirelli Building in Milan designed by Gio Ponti (1891 to 1979).  See here

Year after year, she just gets sweeter and sweeter, especially during fashion week in Milan shown here

Mr Ponti was prolific and one of a kind, just the way we like our designers. Above is Taranto Cathedral, go here

He designed houses too, like this above and 2 below.

Ponti’s villa in Venezuela, 3 above, seen at dailyicon.

Good article here on this remarkable artist/designer.

Chair designed in the year 1937 and produced by L’Abbate in massive beech wood lacquered in eleven different colours or stained.

Go here to get some.

Another very nice Ponti seating arrangement, seen here

All Crystal Dining Table by Gio Ponti for Fontana Arte designed in 1938, seen here

The multi-storey residential building speaks to the surrounding street.  Says Gio Ponti, here

Gio Ponti designed this hotel, and most everything inside, below, too.  Take a look here

Ponti did some wondrous ceramics in the 1920’2.  Above piece is at the MET, shown here

There’s a BOOK!  This is the Italian edition, seen here

This is designed by Álvaro Siza, Portuguese architect who won the Royal Gold Medal, British architecture’s most prestigious prize.  See here. He has led a remarkable flowering of design talent from his country in the last 25 years.

There is something about Portuguese architecture that, in our time, seems so right.

More on Mr Siza’s work here.

Above is a house he designed in Majorca, Spain. See here

But Siza has successors.  Above by Ana Reis, look here.

Portuguese architects Aires Mateus turned an old lighthouse into a sleek white museum. Two photos above by Joao Morgado, seen at notcot

A celebration of great Portuguese architects, including Ricardo Bak Gordon.  Go here for much more.

Saweet, this was found here. By Barbosa e Guimaraes Arquitectos

More wonderful stuff, from yet another Portuguese architect, João Palma Carreira Arquitectos, see here.

Whatever it is that Mr Siza discovered, he has led the way for a legion of architects from his small country whose influence travels around the world.  Above is the sublime interior of aIberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre, Brazil | Álvaro Siza Vieira.  Also from Ultimas Reportagens an amazing site by photographer Fernando Guerra.  Mmmmm.

This is the front entrance to the Shaw House.  It is located along a much desired strip of waterfront property in Vancouver.  It was designed by Canadian architects Patricia and John Patkau and their incomparable team.  Image seen here.

When you’re in the Shaw pool, you can look down and see who’s at the door, and you can look north to see the ocean and mountains that people come thousands of miles to see. Image here

Above is one of the first of the Patkau’s fabulous houses, the Barnes House.  It sits on acres of rugged land near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, looking back toward Vancouver.  It has won many awards. Image from their website here

Above are three photos of an amazing library in Montreal known as La Grande Bibliothèque du Quebec. It is essentially the national library of the Province of Quebec, serving both as a public library and a repository for important archival material.  Images here and here.

Model building is an important part of the design process for the Patkaus, and the models themselves become beautiful objects, not simply miniature versions of the building.  Above models for Church of the Assumption Coquitlam from here.

Above is the model for Seabird Island School, an important project in Canadian architecture and the architecture of Canada’s first people.  Image from here.

The Patkau major renovation and addition to Winnipeg Manitoba’s Centennial Library.  Just really really nice.  From their website again.

We’re not sure what you need to say about the work of John and Patricia Patkau and the superb, incredibly hard working architects and support people who, project after project, produce stunningly good work, from the big idea to the tiniest detail. It pretty much speaks for itself.

Maybe you just say Thanks and More Please.

Dan S. Hanganu is an architect based in Montreal. He is much admired by other architects in Canada and elsewhere, and he has earned just about every prize offered for architecture in this country. Above is the interior of a recently completed multi-unit residential project called SAX in the Nuns Island section of Montreal seen here.

The University of Quebec at Montreal invited him to design its design school (École de Design UQAM) which must be a sort of dream project that soon has you waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Results above. Image from here.

Above is Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History. The Eperon building designed by Dan Hanganu rises above the spot where the great city of Montreal was founded in 1642. The new building, along with other components of the museum, some above ground, many below, opened 350 years to the day after that historic birth announcement.

Among the many achievements of Mr Hanganu and his team at Pointe-à-Callière is the manner in which the new building shows respect to the older buildings in the area and particularly to the Victorian building that stood on this site for generations.

Many architects try this, and many achieve nothing more than a calculated gesture. What is here, in Montreal, is designed with uncommon understanding and sincerity.

Marking the entrance to the Museum, the Éperon building houses the reception desk, a multimedia theatre, a temporary exhibition hall, a restaurant and, in the basement, part of the permanent exhibition Where Montréal Was Born.

When respect, sincerity, knowledge, understanding, humanity, and creativity meet in a piece of architecture, whether it is humble or grand, the result is something that both design professionals and the rest of us can recognize as something special. Pointe-à-Callière, beautiful work, read more here.

This is a model made by Mr Hanganu as part of the design process for one of his projects. These days, we mostly see models of architecture done to promote the project (sell, raise financing, gain public opinion) rather than being done, , like this one, to work some ideas out. It is part of a traveling exhibit seen here

Above is the recent OPUS hotel addition, Montreal. On the left is the original structure built in 1914 in an Art Nouveau style. Dan Hanganu’s addition is something else. Some might find it dominating, others see it as protective of the smaller sibling.

In any case, it is a bold approach, nothing tentative. It is possible that in being so bold the architect may be showing greater respect than if he had moderated his design. After all, if you believe an old building has merit and purpose, then you believe it can hold its own, and you don’t need to handle it with white cotton gloves. Image here.

Above is the Abbey Church addition to the Monastery of St Benoit du Lac, Quebec. This project unfolded at monk’s pace, rather than designer’s pace. The result is wonderful. Interior photo by Alan Karchmer. Image from here.

Above is the Espace 400e Pavilion (cultural building) by Dan Hanganu and Côté Leahy Cardas architects, a recent prize winner here

Dan Hanganu is the subject of many articles in the architectural press, including these in Canadian Architect here and here, and a biography here.

He was born in Romania, studied architecture at the University of Bucharest and came to Canada, to Montreal, in 1970.  He has been making our country a better place to be ever since.

If you want to see more, there is a nice slide show here.


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