Saturday, October 29, 2011

ArcellorMittal Orbit by Anish Kapoor, Cecil Balmond and Kathryn Findlay

Kapoor’s tower revels in its ugliness, mocking the reserved spirit of the rest of the Olympic site
To date, London’s Olympic venues have been notable for their quiet restraint and structural simplicity – slender frames, pared back to an efficient minimum, in line with the flat-pack, austerity Games. The velodrome roof uses only 100 tonnes of steel, the main stadium is the lightest ever of its kind.
But it seems no one told Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond. On Friday afternoon, the final loop of their ArcelorMittal Orbit was installed, completing the vast tangle of steel – 2,000 tonnes of it – which now looms a mocking 115m above the Park, the lunatic red twin of Populous’s white essay in leanness.
Boris Johnson dreamt up the idea for a tower in 2008, fearing our Olympics needed “something extra … to arouse the curiosity and wonder” of visitors to the Games, in light of Beijing’s bombastic bird’s nest. Keen for a similarly catchy nickname, he has already likened the Orbit to “a giant treble clef” and “supersized mutant trombone,” yet it clearly fits more into Kapoor’s scatological oeuvre...
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Originally published in BD, 29 October 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Maggie’s Centre Gartnavel by OMA

OMA wilfully subverts expectations at its Glasgow Maggie’s Centre, which melts unassumingly into the background.
‘Fluorescent tube lights reflected in the shiny vinyl floor, swing doors in vomit-shaded veneer and armoured kickplates, sickly green walls and the omnipresent dado of protection hardware — protection from trolleys, wheelchairs, architecture.”
This is the language of the contemporary hospital, as described in the Architecture of Hope, Charles Jencks and Edwin Heathcote’s recent book on the Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres initiative — and one of the main motivations to start the programme in the first place.
More precisely, it is a description of a photo of a corridor in Glasgow’s Gartnavel General Hospital, within whose grounds a new £2.6 million Maggie’s Centre by OMA has just opened, funded by cancer charity Walk the Walk...
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Originally published in BD, 5 October 2011