Architects from many European countries came together in Paris during the last week of October to celebrate the 20th anniversary of AIA Continental Europe, and to take a look at the changes that have given new vitality and architectural identity to the City of Light. The conference featured discussions about recently-opened buildings such as the Fondation Louis Vuitton by Frank Gehry and STUDIOS Architecture, and at La Défense, the Carpe Diem Tower by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), and Tour First by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF).
For many present, the highlight of the Paris convocation was a visit to the much-publicized cultural “vessel” in the Bois de Boulogne created by Gehry and team for the cultural foundation created by Bernard Arnault and LVMH. An intersection of sail-like shed roofs and prismatic icebergs, the endearing “nauffrage” is animated by an exhilarating series of interconnected exterior stairs and terraces. The latter offer panoramic views of the perimeter park and the not-too-distant city, and complement a well-lit collection of artwork, including newly-commissioned work by Ellsworth Kelly.
But it was also good to break away in the City of Vélib to see the new, intensely active installation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, called “Musing on the Glass Box,” at Jean Nouvel’s Fondation Cartier, also celebrating its 20th anniversary. The temporary show, done in collaboration with David Lang and Jody Elff, whimsically reflects on the original architecture, and remains open until 02.22.15. You can scoot under a low, luminous ceiling on a chaise longue roulante. Continue reading “Musings on AIA in Europe”