Best of 2015

In reflecting on 2015 I realized I had some amazing architectural experiences.  I thought I'd share them!

1. Maggie's West London Centre, by Rogers Stirk Harbor Partnership (RSHP)

It's a few years old but this is the best new building I've experienced in some time.  It's a cancer care facility---a medical institution---but meant to feel like a home.  I loved it: highly imaginative and beautifully designed at every level.  Who puts a diagonal roof structure on a square grid of columns?  Here it makes perfect sense.  I was also struck at how the design revealed the straight line of influence from mid-century California to the London School.  (It is not open to the public.)

2. Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, by Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Here, as at the Maggie's Centre, we were fortunate enough to have a private tour and be alone in the building.  A once-in-a-lifetime experience!  The rooftop reading room is the centerpiece of Piano's design, and it's one of the great rooms in Paris---a city with a lot of them!

3. Chartres Cathedral, mid-renovation

A major restoration is underway at Chartres Cathedral.  I couldn't miss the opportunity to see it in-progress.  (The left image shows the choir completed versus the South transept in its old state.)  I don't agree with Martin Filler that this is "scandalous" but it's certainly a departure from the dark and gloomy interior to which we are accustomed.

4. Le Corbusier: Mesures L'Homme exhibit at Centre Pompidou

Everybody loves Le Corbusier, and there's always more to learn about him!  I thought this exhibit was very well curated and the presentation was brilliant.

Also visited for the first time:
Lawn Road Flats (Isokon building), by Wells Coates
Kew Gardens (link)
St. Bride's Church, by Wren
Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, by O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects
Walkie Talkie Sky Garden, by Rafael Viñoly
Fondation Louis-Vuitton, by Gehry Partners
Musée du quai Branly, by Jean Nouvel
"la Caixa" Foundation, Barcelona, addition by Arata Isozaki (and Aalto exhibit - link)
Milwaukee Art Museum, old by Saarinen, new by Calatrava
Charnley-Persky house (SAH) and Madlener house (Graham Foundation)