Built in Buenos Aires as a performing arts theater in 1919, El Ateneo Grand Splendid's content has undergone several revisions, with its current purpose being a 21,000 square foot bookstore. Despite the switching of functions, the architecture has remained true to the early 20th century vision of Peró and Torres Armengol, the building still boasting ornate frescoed ceilings and detailed trimmings that line the ceiling, handrails, and walls.
The stage and balcony seating is also intact, the spaces now used as reading areas where guests can peruse the store’s many books in front of thick velvet curtains. These attributes were almost destroyed in 2000 when the building was slated for demolition, however before the historic theater could be taken away it was leased to Grupo Ilhsa who built out the bookstore. Now over 1,000,000 people walk through Al Ateneo Grand Splendid’s doors annually keeping the tiered theater very much alive. If you liked this, also check out the Waanders in de Broeren bookstore built inside a cathedral. (via Twisted Sifter)
Since 1963, a man named Justo Gallego has dedicated his life to building a cathedral on the outskirts of Madrid almost entirely by himself. Despite the lack of any formal training in construction or architecture, Gallego has continued work on the giant church into his 90s and works on it even today. Driven solely by his faith, he admits the project will never be finished in his lifetime and he has yet to make plans for what happens after he dies. Great Big Story gives us a quick glimpse of this unusual man and his towering cathedral.
In this fantastic short titled Spatial Bodies, actual footage of the Osaka skyline is morphed into a physics-defying world of architecture where apartment buildings twist and curve like vines, suspended in the sky without regard for gravity. The film was created by AUJIK, a collaborative of artists and filmmakers that refers to itself as a “mysterious nature/tech cult.” From their statement about Spatial Bodies:
Spatial Bodies depicts the urban landscape and architectural bodies as an autonomous living and self replicating organism. Domesticated and cultivated only by its own nature. A vast concrete vegetation, oscillating between order and chaos.
The film seems to draw inspiration from the architectural experiments of Victor Enrich who similarly toys with the idea of structures behaving in impossible ways. Music composed by Daisuke Tanabe. (via Vimeo)
We’ve long enjoyed the work of painter and architect Maja Wronska (previously) who depicts unique vantages of architectural sites through detailed watercolors. Not only does Wrońska capture these buildings in their entirety, but also focuses on the specific details of their construction and environment such as chandeliers that hang within an ancient church, or the pigeons found circling its exterior. These elements are all produced with an eye for how to capture the character of a space rather than just its aesthetic, imbuing her paintings with the rich history found within each location.
Many of her pieces are available as prints and other objects on Society6. You can see more of Wronska’s works and pieces in progress on her Instagram.
Architect and illustrator Rafael Araujo (previously) drafts beautiful three-dimensional spaces in a studio without technology, connecting himself back to nature while he meticulously demonstrates the Golden Ratio’s role in the natural world. In an attempt to pass on this meditative quality about his process and work, Araujo is creating the Golden Ratio Coloring Book. This book is currently on Kickstarter along with video documentation of Araujo’s process, which he has been fine-tuning for the last 40 years.
“I was 15 when I started noticing intelligent patterns in the world of nature—spirals, sequences, proportions,” said Araujo. “This secret of nature’s beautiful designs unfolded before my very eyes. Everything I draw is by hand. I don’t use a computer, just a pencil, compass, and a protractor.”
Araujo’s prints are also available in the Colossal Shop.
With hundreds of yards of wire mesh artist Edoardo Tresoldi has built an interpretation of an early Christian church that once stood in its place at the current Archaeological Park of Siponto, Italy. Built with the assistance of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and the Archaeology Superintendence of Puglia, the installation connects ancient archaeology with contemporary art. The sculpture stands on the former church’s site with a ghostly presence, looking almost like a hologram illuminated in the park. Despite its sheer appearance the installation contains detailed architetural elements including tiered columns, domes, and statues that stand within the structure.
You can see more of Tresoldi’s work on his Facebook and Behance. (via Designboom)