Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Icons under Construction

One of the paradoxes of progress is the ongoing building construction that cramps the style of cities, making them -- well -- construction sites, but also hindering movement as safety zones impede upon sidewalks and streets. But an upside of the boom-time presence of construction sites (something hard to imagine now as many sites in New York City lay dormant) is how views of the construction progress reveal the structure, the innards of the final building. In the case of today's iconic architecture, it is especially rewarding to get a glimpse of a Frank Gehry or some other starchitect's creation before it receives its skin, its polish.

In this sense Stanley Greenberg's latest book Architecture under Construction is definitely a treat. He captures a number of buildings by name architects during that stage of construction where the structure is giving the building shape, but where the materials that hang off of it are distant. It's a time when many qualities -- form, light, a certain vagueness of what the building will become -- can be found that disappear once the "final product" becomes a reality. The photos enable the reader to visit places at particular times that would otherwise be unfeasible; it's one thing to see Manhattan's iconic buildings take shape, but to also see ones on the west coast and overseas is close to impossible...unless you're Greenberg.

Below are some photos from Greenberg's book. Can you tell what the buildings are without their facades? For me the photos actually reveal who designed the building, yet without the exteriors that ultimately create the images disseminated in print and online -- the images that echo the renderings presented long before ground broke for construction -- the exact building isn't so clear. Answers are at the link at the bottom of this post.





[Answer key]