Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Some urban photographs by Robert Frank

These pictures by photographer Robert Frank are the ones I liked most, from America and England. They were downloaded from Google images.

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924, Zürich), is an important figure in American photography and film. His most notable work, the 1958 book titled The Americans, was influential, and earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and nuanced outsider's view of American society. Frank later expanded into film and video and experimented with manipulating photographs and photomontage. His work has been represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York since 1984. 


 "When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice." Robert Frank, Life (26 November 1951), p. 21 

 "Quality doesn't mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That's not quality, that's a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy - the tone range isn't right and things like that - but they're far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he's doing, what his mind is. It's not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It's got to do with intention." (Elliott Erwitt) in James Danziger and Barnaby Conrad, 'Interviews with Master Photographers', 1977, Paddington Press, p 87

Excerpt from:

Santa Fe, New Mexico. By Robert Frank

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Selection of beautiful gardens

In Japan the nighttime viewing of cherry blossoms in spring, like these at Kyoto’s Hirano Shrine, is a special event. “The cherries’ only fault: the crowds that gather when they bloom,” wrote Saigyo, a 12th-century poet. National  Geographic

Jade spires of bamboo flank a path curving up to Kodai-ji Temple in Kyoto. The murmur of wind filtering through a bamboo grove is one of a hundred sounds the Japanese want preserved. National Geographic

An Islamic garden, it is said, is a palace without a roof. Enthralled with the art of Islam, heiress Doris Duke created Shangri La, her estate in Honolulu. The central courtyard, with its antique Persian tiles, separates public and private space.

With permission of Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. National Geographic

When a freak freeze killed the orchid collection on his Mexican estate, English eccentric Edward James created Las Pozas, a garden with surreal follies like the concrete Bamboo Palace—durable and immune to the vagaries of weather. National Geographic

Part of the gardens in San Juan Capistrano, California. Photo by Myriam B. Mahiques
April 2013

See a beautiful gallery of Las Pozas pictures in Facebook:

Las Pozas. San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Google images

Las Pozas. San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Google images

The Rock Garden At Leonardslee Gardens In England. From

Kew Gardens, Surrey, England. From

The garden of beautiful speculations. By Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswixk, Scotland. From

The garden of beautiful speculations. By Charles Jencks and Maggie Keswixk, Scotland. From


From Beautiful gardens in Japan 20

Google images

Enchanted garden. From

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The beauty of ethereal structures

Let us remember some definitions of "ethereal:"

Of or relating to the regions beyond the earth
celestial, heavenly c : unworldly, spiritual
lacking material substance : immaterial, intangible
 marked by unusual delicacy or refinement
suggesting the heavens or heaven 
Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; 
intangible, airy
Of the celestial spheres; heavenly. 
Not of this world; spiritual. 
Chemistry: Of or relating to ether. 
light, intangible
Existing in the air; resembling air; looking blue like the sky; aerial: as, “ethereal mountains,”  Pertaining to the hypothetical upper, purer air, or to the higher regions beyond the earth or beyond the atmosphere; 
celestial; otherworldly; as, ethereal space; ethereal regions. 
tenuous; spiritlike 
characterized by extreme delicacy, as form, manner, thought, etc.

It seems to me that after some years of a continuous fashion of organicism in architecture, not the one emulating Wright´s forms, but the literal shapes of the animals and plants, there´s a movement in architecture that´s more spiritual, sustained by the lightness of materials and as a revival of the Asian beauties. The metaphor of ¨ethereal¨ in all its references, is always present.
I´ve compiled these examples from the last weeks, and there´s more to come. Enjoy.

Cantonese Opera. Bamboo structure designed by architect William Li. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Cantonese opera is one of the major categories in Chinese opera, originating in southern China's Cantonese culture. It is popular in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Malaysia. Like all versions of Chinese opera, it is a traditional Chinese art form, involving music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting.

London architecture collective Softkill Design has joined the race to build the world's first 3D printed house, announcing plans for a plastic dwelling that could be built off-site in three weeks and assembled in a single day.
The single-storey Protohouse 2.0 will be eight metres wide and four metres long and will be printed in sections in a factory. The parts will be small enough to be transported in vans and then snapped together on site.

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto has been named as the designer of this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which will be a cloud-like structure made from a lattice of steel poles.
The semi-transparent pavilion will occupy 350 square-metres of lawn outside the London gallery. Two entrances will lead inside the structure, where staggered terraces will provide seating for a central cafe.
Sou Fujimoto describes his design as "an architectural landscape" where "the vivid greenery of the surrounding plant life [is] woven together with a constructed geometry".

Stockholm 2013: talks at last week's Stockholm Furniture Fair were held beneath an installation of 11,000 patterned paper sheets by Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh and Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi.
Wingårdh and Saksi staggered the pieces of paper up from the corners of the rectangular area to create a dome accessed by an arch on each side.
Steilneset memorial. By Peter Zumthor

Architect Peter Zumthor designed this memorial on an island in Norway to commemorate suspected witches who were burned at the stake there in the seventeenth century. Via dezeen magazine. 

This disappearing Church - one of the 14 winners of the "Building of the Year Awards" for 2012. See them all at

Friday, February 8, 2013

From ¨In wealthy Hong Kong, poorest live in metal cages¨

Hong Kong: Victoria Peak

This is an excerpt from the article written by Kelvin Chan. All pictures from AP:

HONG KONG—For many of the richest people in Hong Kong, one of Asia's wealthiest cities, home is a mansion with an expansive view from the heights of Victoria Peak. For some of the poorest, like Leung Cho-yin, home is a metal cage.
The 67-year-old former butcher pays 1,300 Hong Kong dollars ($167) a month for one of about a dozen wire mesh cages resembling rabbit hutches crammed into a dilapidated apartment in a gritty, working-class West Kowloon neighborhood.
The cages, stacked on top of each other, measure 1.5 square meters (16 square feet). To keep bedbugs away, Leung and his roommates put thin pads, bamboo mats, even old linoleum on their cages' wooden planks instead of mattresses.
"I've been bitten so much I'm used to it," said Leung, rolling up the sleeve of his oversized blue fleece jacket to reveal a red mark on his hand. "There's nothing you can do about it. I've got to live here. I've got to survive," he said as he let out a phlegmy cough.
Some 100,000 people in the former British colony live in what's known as inadequate housing, according to the Society for Community Organization, a social welfare group. The category also includes apartments subdivided into tiny cubicles or filled with coffin-sized wood and metal sleeping compartments as well as rooftop shacks. They're a grim counterpoint to the southern Chinese city's renowned material affluence.
Forced by skyrocketing housing prices to live in cramped, dirty and unsafe conditions, their plight also highlights one of the biggest headaches facing Hong Kong's unpopular Beijing-backed leader: growing public rage over the city's housing crisis.

Leung Chun-ying took office as Hong Kong's chief executive in July pledging to provide more affordable housing in a bid to cool the anger. Home prices rose 23 percent in the first 10 months of 2012 and have doubled since bottoming out in 2008 during the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said in a report last month. Rents have followed a similar trajectory.
The soaring costs are putting decent homes out of reach of a large portion of the population while stoking resentment of the government, which controls all land for development, and a coterie of wealthy property developers. Housing costs have been fuelled by easy credit thanks to ultralow interest rates that policymakers can't raise because the currency is pegged to the dollar. Money flooding in from mainland Chinese and foreign investors looking for higher returns has exacerbated the rise.

Read more:In wealthy Hong Kong, poorest live in metal cages 

Monday, February 4, 2013

New York. By Andreas Feininger

Hudson river

Chelsea rooftops in the snow

Masses of tombs

Brooklyn bridge. 1940

Andreas Bernhard Lyonel Feininger (27 December 1906 - 18 February 1999) was an American photographer and a writer on photographic technique. He was noted for his dynamic black-and-white scenes of Manhattan and for studies of the structures of natural objects. Feininger was born in Paris, France, to Julia Berg and Lyonel Feininger, an American of German origin. A painter, his father was born in New York City, in 1871. His great-grandfather emigrated from Durlach, Baden, in Germany, to the United States in 1848. His younger brother was the painter, T. Lux Feininger (1910-2011), who had begun his professional career as a photographer.  Feininger grew up and was educated as an architect in Germany, where his father painted and taught, at Staatliches Bauhaus. In 1936, he gave up architecture and moved to Sweden, where he focused on photography. In advance of World War II, in 1939, Feininger immigrated to the U.S. where he established himself as a freelance photographer. In 1943 he joined the staff of Life magazine, an association that lasted until 1962. Feininger became famous for his photographs of New York. Other frequent subjects among his works were science and nature, as seen in bones, shells, plants, and minerals in the images of which he often stressed their structure. Rarely did he photograph people or make portraits, however, when he did, they became iconic. Feininger wrote comprehensive manuals about photography, of which the best known is The Complete Photographer. In the introduction to one of Feininger's books of photographs, Ralph Hattersley, the editor of the photography journal Infinity, described him as "one of the great architects who helped create photography as we know it today." In 1966, the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) awarded Feininger its highest distinction, the Robert Leavitt Award. In 1991, the International Center of Photography awarded Feininger the Infinity Lifetime Achievement Award. Today, Feininger's photographs are in the permanent collections of the Center for Creative Photography, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.


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