Monday, October 16, 2006

A friend of mine is writing a journal about her experiences here in Nantes. One of the most amusing and fitting descriptions i came across was #15 in her list of observations:

The university appears to have been designed by the bastard child of George Jetson and the inventor of concrete.

...and i believe this is true for many universities in france. For a country that pretty much invented the idea of a university, they dont seem to have many old ones sitting around... or any old ones outside of paris, that i know of. What this means is that the universites are on the fringe of the cities and all in garish 1950s modernism. There couldnt possible be a better way to harmonize with 17th, 18th,and 19th century neighbors than to design a perfect concrete and glass grid painted orange.

Dont get me wrong, i find a lot of contemporary archiecture to be pretty rad...but the only good to come out of the 50s in the design world were Le Corbu’s rochamp (which, although hideous, is also pretty damn cool) Mies' coolly minimalistic towers and pavillions and a few works by my favorite aalto, saarinen and the Sydney opera house. After that there have been some really cool exceptional works too, but in the real world (always have to think about the real world) common architecture sucked until the 90s, and still sucks quite a bit since then. Its gotten a lot better in the last 5 years, so I am hopeful.

1 comment:

Robert Gable said...

I remember Nantes, sort of. We visited in 1998 to see the US lose a World Cup match. Although we were staying in some coastal town so didn't actually see much of the city.