Thursday, August 24, 2017

Herzog & de Meuron Troll L.A. Starchitecture

A sphere may be the least efficient way of enclosing architectural space, but L.A. is getting two more of them. Herzog & Meuron's initial designs for the planned Berggruen Institute include a spherical water tank and a partly glass-enclosed lecture hall that is sure to draw comparisons to Renzo Piano's controversial sphere for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Founded by billionaire art collector Nicolas Berggruen, the Institute is to be a think tank/monastery/whatever devoted to thinking deep thoughts about the future of humanity. There will be some public programs as well. It is to be located on a 447-acre site to the north of the Getty Center. The landscape design, a big part of the project, is by Michel Desvigne and Inessa Hansch.

In the L.A. Times, Jacques Herzog compares the project to the Parrish Art Museum in the Hamptons. But the architects seem to be trolling Richard Meier and Robert Irwin too. One rendering shows a garden labyrinth of sorts with Getty-like travertine(?), bougainvillea, cactus, and stone pine. It echoes the circular maze at the center of the Meier v. Irwin concert of wills. No Mickey Mouse maze, the Beggruen design looks Minotaur serious, like the existential puzzles confronting us today.

2 comments:

greg.org said...

that's no labyrinth; aren't they the sunken, private gardens of the 15-residence, visiting scholar village?

William Poundstone said...

Agreed, it's not a literal labyrinth (though the rendering looks a little like one). A more correct term might be secret garden, a walled and private space for the scholars.