Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Panoramic Eye

David Cohn
The Panoramic Eye
Llotja Theater and Convention Center, Lleida (Lérida), Spain.
Mecanoo Architects, Delft.
architektur.aktuell 34, 2010-07-08, July 2010.
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Mecanoo's design for Lleida is frequently compared to the auditorium built in 1966 by Van der Broek and Bakema at the Delft Technical University. But by setting the Llotja building on a paved plaza stocked with urban amenities, Francine Houben has given the project a solid Spanish pedigree. And by converting Van de Broek and Bakema's frontal, hovering design, expressive in its time of a new degree of freedom from gravity, into a three-dimensional form, she has created a thoroughly contemporary architectural object. Like a spinning top or an alien spacecraft, it incongruously meets the ground with slanting walls, while its continuous window scrutinizes the surroundings like a panoramic eye.

Photo courtesy of the architects.