|South Side Turn Verein, Indianapolis, Indiana (1900, Vonnegut & Bohn).|
|Interior of TWA Terminal, JFK International Airport, New York, 2015.|
Photo by Bogframe, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
|Apple Computer Retail Store, Fifth Avenue, New York City. Photo by Ed Uthman, MD, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons|
Yes, from 1998 to 2003 our present Prez co-owned with Conseco of Indianapolis the 1968 General Motors building (co-designed by Edward Durell Stone, famous for the Radio City Music Hall and the Museum of Modern Art) the cube sits on the grounds of. Trump filled in the sunken court there to create a free, open plaza—which may have been one of the few good things he did for this planet, for architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable had castigated the court in her review of the building. However, he also emblazoned his name in big brass letters in two prominent places on the building so it would be crystal-clear who was boss of the block.
But after Trump relinquished his stranglehold on that structure, Apple reopened the court to let in the sun and surrounds as a skylight to the store, an open invitation to freely peruse its products, and an architectural symbol of how Apple software frees us to explore the world without flying TWA.
|Pierce Boston, 188 Brookline Ave., Fenway, Boston.|
Photo by LittleT889, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
...that is, the convention of the roof over our heads that has been architecture's primary goal since primeval homo sapiens first sought the shelter from the elements that trees couldn't provide when natural caves and cantilevers weren't handy. By piercing the sky, Pierce Boston shows that the sky's the limit on the architect's freedom to think outside the box (by losing the lid, that is) and our freedom to breathe in the world around us. In that way architecture channels us to the world rather than shelters us from it.
But the question remains: in all of these examples, are we truly free, or do we merely feel free? Even when architecture reaches beyond the box, aren't we still, in Paul McCartney's words, "stuck inside these four walls"? After all, that is architecture's primary function, no?
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