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MOST PHOTOGENIC BUILDINGS

In today's digital age, travelers are increasingly looking for 'Instagrammable' locations. Who better to ask about the most special architectural buildings than artist duo Studio Drift? Lonneke and Ralph shared 100 (!) luxury destinations, hotspots, festivals and locations for LXRY Magazine. An anthology 'concrete poetry'.

Text: Susan Poeder

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Lonneke: “A mega-sized cultural center, designed by international architectural firm Snøhetta. Part of the center opened at the end of 2017. We were one of the first to hold an exhibition there. And we have created a work there that will remain there permanently. It is such a mighty beautiful building. Culture is experienced there very differently than here: in the past you were not taken to museums from childhood, but that is only now starting to emerge. Art culture has always been very intertwined with religion, but these are slowly becoming seen as separate. The government wants to change the entire cultural landscape. It is very exciting for us to be involved.”

Holocaust memorial, Berlin, Germany

Ralph: “A field with 2710 undulating concrete blocks, varying in height from 20 cm to 4,70 meters, with a spacing of 95 cm. According to its creator, the American architect Peter Eisenman, it evokes a feeling of disorientation and isolation. The beauty of that block shape is also very much in our work.”

Lonneke: “We wandered for hours in that concrete forest. Minimal resources, huge effect: you feel small, trapped, you can't find your way... Because of how that works and what it does to you, you can move better in such a camp.”

Geisel Library, San Diego USA

Ralph: “The library of the University of California – San Diego is a brutalist building. I love that architecture, which had its heyday between the fifties and seventies. Brutalism is derived from French béton brut, 'rough concrete', and is characterized by a style of blocky geometric and repeating shapes. Examples of brutalist buildings in the Netherlands are the whale-like auditorium of the Technical University in Delft from 1966 and the warship-like town hall of Terneuzen from 1972. Real concrete monsters. Although Catherine Ince, curator of the Victoria and Albert Museum, has a sweeter name for it: concrete poetry.”

Sharifa-ha House, Tehran, Iran

Lonneke: “This multifunctional house – a design by architect Alireza Taghaboni from Nextoffice – can adapt to the seasons. In the summer the rooms are turned outside, in the winter they are closed so that the heat remains inside. All three floors can rotate individually from each other.”

World Expo Hannover, Germany

Ralph: “I went to the world exhibition at the time Expo 2000 in Hannover gone. Mega cool! That was also the futuristic building of the architectural firm MVRDV, with its forest on the third floor, open in all directions. The Expo turned out to be a fiasco: far fewer visitors attended than expected. Afterwards, the pavilions were to house tech companies, but due to the bursting of the dot-com bubble, tenants dropped out and the buildings remained empty. Later I visited the site again. Very strange: it is overgrown, junkies have taken up residence there. The 'Holländer', as the MVRDV building is also called, has become a photogenic ruin. A modern building that has been conquered again by nature. Beautiful. I skated in there.” 

Oculus, New York, USA

Ralph: “The new metro station at the WTC complex was designed by Santiago Calatrava. Cost: $4 billion. This makes it the most expensive station in the world, and also a monument to the victims of the attacks. It is a cathedral-like space of white marble, steel and glass, which, according to the Spanish architect, symbolizes a bird taking off from a child's hand. There is a hole in the roof through which daylight reaches the platforms. Every year on September 11, the sun shines through the hole at exactly 10.28:9 a.m., a reference to the moment of the collapse of the last tower on 11/XNUMX.”

Bank of Georgia, Tblisi, Georgia

Ralph: “A beautiful example of brutalist Soviet architecture: the former Ministry of Transport and since 2007 the headquarters of the Bank of Georgia. A fascinating game of cross-stacked blocks. The architecture by George Chakhava and Zurab Jalaghani is based on the so-called Space City Method, which uses less ground space.”

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