modern architecture, art and design around the world
Europe’s design capital
I'd visited Copenhagen before but somehow missed Superkilen,anurban park in the Nørrebroarea. This time it was right at the top of my list.
Superkilen was designed by superstar architects Bjarke Ingels Group and arts group Superflex and opened in 2012. It celebrates the diverse nature of Nørrebrothrough design and artefacts from around the world.
The park is divided into three main areas: Den Røde Plads (red square), Mimers Plads (black square) and The Green Market. Each plays its own role in creating a diverse playground for locals.
Because it's in Copenhagen, of course, cycling is at the centre of Superkilen's design, with lanes winding their way through the park, offering commuters a more scenic route.
Most of the shots below were taken on Fujifilm X-T20 which I'd highly recommend as a small, powerful and retro-styled camera ideal for urban shoots where you don’t want to carry too much gear around.
During a trip to the Basque Country staying in San Sebastian, we planned day trip to visit Frank Gehry's masterpiece in Bilbao.
What we didn't realise is that we'd spend the entire day here, leaving only briefly to enjoy a birthday lunch at the in-house Michelin star restaurant.
We came back after our meal and explored some more.
And we stayed until we realised it was time to take the bus home.
Probably the most spectacular building I've been in.
I need to come back and see the rest of the city sometime.
What would you do with a billion dollars?
John Paul Getty chose to build this place, high up in the Santa Monica hills in L.A. Designed by legendary modernist architect Richard Meier, the sprawling complex houses world class art and most of it is free to visit.
Taking the silent white shuttle bus up the hills feels a little like going on the start of a journey to another planet. Watch the highways and hills unfold below you as you arrive at the center.
We spent hours here exploring the beautiful mix of modern white angles and Getty’s favourite neo-classical stone, 16,000 tons of which was imported from Bagni di Tivoli, Italy.
Visit early in the morning and you might get some of the place to yourself.
High up, away from the bars, restaurants, cinemas and TV studios by the river you'll find some of Britain's finest brutalist architecture.
What's even better is that there is no one here.
Not a soul.
If you need a break from the busy banks of the Thames, and concrete floats your boat, follow one of the many staircases up to the top of these magnificent buildings.
You'll be surprised at how quiet central London can be.
Jogjakarta is a historic city in the heart of Java, Indonesia, known for its rich cultural heritage and close proximity to many world wonders including Borobudur Temple, which I was lucky enough to visit at sunrise and was a truly spectacular experience.
Anyway enough about that - you came here for modern architecture, right?
The Greenhost Hotel in Jogjakarta is an eco-friendly hotel in Prawirotaman, a quiet and quirky neighbourhood with plenty of good cafés and street art nearby.
The hotel is built around a central atrium with a swimming pool in the centre. All the rooms have windows on one side with doors opening onto this atrium, providing a social feel to the place. Green plants drape down from the balconies which is pretty spectacular set against the brushed concrete and softens the slightly harsh ‘prison’ vibe a little.
By night, you’ll here the prayer call across the rooftops of Jogja. The breakfast here is excellent, offering a range of local and continental options, and the restaurant is located right by the pool, which you can use anytime.
I loved staying here and would highly recommend a visit to this incredible part of Indonesia.
There’s also an arts and crafts store here with local designs from the community here. The hotel is a hub of sorts for the burgeoning local and international arts scene here.
I'd seen this place on Instagram a few times and it caught my eye.
The Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown is the home of Fundação Champalimaud, a private biomedical research centre.
Its buildings were designed by Charles Correa Associates and span a main modernist office building with unique cut out 'eyes' plus a series of outdoor spaces, including an amphitheatre which faces out onto the sea.
The day we visited was extremely foggy which provided a beautiful crisp white backdrop for these photographs.
Scotland’s first dedicated design museum is the first building in the UK by the celebrated Japanese architect and has smashed visitor number predictions upon its opening.
The museum was constructed from 2,500 sheets of concrete and provides some beautiful reflections in the Tay river and the pond which surrounds part of the building itself. Inside is a permanent space dedicated to telling the story of Scottish design, plus a rotating space with a major show appearing every few months.
Though it’s relatively small, I loved visiting this place and also enjoyed exploring both its interior, which features softer wooden cladding and some angular corners and windows. There are a couple of restaurants and cafes inside where you can enjoy the building and relax for a while.
Highly recommended on your next visit to Scotland. I’ll be back to see the next show in spring 2019 🙌
I lived in the beautiful neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru, Singapore for a glorious, sweat-drenched year back in 2013.
It was the first housing estate built in the city during the 1930's Art Deco heyday. The style is a mix of residential and traditional shophouses, with spiral staircases, curved balconies and flat rooftops.
Prior to its completion as an affordable housing area, Tiong Bahru was known as Mei Ren Wo (den of beauties) as it was thought many rich men kept their mistresses here.
Today, Tiong Bahru is still a traditional Chinese neighbourhood in many ways with its famous food market serving up local delicacies and even hosting a visit from Anthony Bourdain a few years back. It’s also one of Singapore’s hippest neighbourhoods, with some of the best coffee shops, bakeries and bookshops in the city. I’d recommend Forty Hands, Two Face and Books Actually for your coffee/brunch, pizza and book fix.
Spending my weekends walking around this place was a real pleasure.
As you can see from these photos, my little boy enjoyed running around the site and he also provided a handy model, for scale. I also enjoyed visiting, and as a grey day in Berlin it felt quite fitting.
This place is one of my favourite buildings in Scotland. Architecture students Angus Ritchie and Daniel Tyler designed this class cabin in the Trossachs, Scotland for only £5,000.
The Lookout is barely visible from afar but changes appearance when viewed up close, depending on where you view it from and the lighting conditions.
The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) is a new centre in the west of Lisbon which is formed by an old Electricity Power Station and a brand new building, pictured here.
The new portion of MAAT was designed by English architect Amanda Levete and opened in October 2016.
The enormous roof swoops right down to ground level which allow visitors to walk across it and take in the curves as well as the view out to sea. Apparently they hold gigs and open air cinema up on the roof too.
Constructed on the site of an old gin distillery, Fondazione Prada is a gem of modern architecture and design on the outskirts of Italy's style capital.
The complex houses various permanent works of art and exhibitions and is home to a mix of old regenerated buildings and modern structures that meld together in a sea of mirrors, orange trims and gold paint.
Fondazione Prada is also home to Bar Luce, designed by Wes Anderson and quite possibly the most Instagrammed cafe in the world.
I loved how every building was so different yet they seem to fit together somehow and there are endless angles and artistic flourishes to admire.
Train stations can be magnificent places, and this one is right up there.
Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the station opened in 1998 and is located in a former industrial area of Lisbon close to the sea.
Lisbon’s flagship rail terminal features a beautiful and enormous 120m x 100m glass roof towers 19 metres above street level. Its lower levels are surrounded by concrete staircases and columns, making for a fairly brutalist and minimal feel.
The surrounding area in Parque das Naçõesis worth a stroll for modern architecture lovers and you can take the cable car down the coast for birds eye views of the complex.
I always try to fit a visit to the Tate Modern whenever I'm in London, especially if there's a big show on but also because I just really like the scale of the place.
Switch House, the extension to the main building, was opened in June 2016 and adds around 60% more space to the Tate Modern.
The brickwork is in keeping with the main building and there are some amazing 'new' views across from the top floor viewing deck (which some of the neighbours aren't too happy about).
I loved the spiral staircases and strong concrete interiors. It's worth taking the long slog on foot up the top floor so you can enjoy every nook and crannie of the space.
Despite having opened 16 years ago, I'd never been to to Glasgow Science Centre. On a typically rainy grey day, I took the chance to go for a short wander to see it for myself.
The multi-award winning centre was designed by architects BDP and is the largest Millennium-commissioned project in Scotland. It houses an IMAX movie theatre, the science centre itself and also the country's largest free standing structure.
I love the new wave of structures by the Clyde, especially the curved steel design first seen across the water at the Armadillo.
The Quayside lies by the river Tyne in Newcastle/Gateshead.
Formerly an industrial area, the banks by the river had fallen into disrepair and were mostly abandoned wastelands by the 1990's.
Following some major redevelopment, the Quayside is now a major attraction for locals and visitors with the Baltic Museum, Sage concert hall and striking Millennium Bridge.
These images were taken in December 2015 during a Bill Murray retrospective at the Baltic, one my favourite buildings in the world and home to some amazing exhibitions all year-round.
I love to visit whenever I'm in Newcastle and I never get bored of this amazing architecture.
Wildly over budget and hugely controversial, the Scottish Parliament building is one of Scotland's most ambitious 21st century buildings.
The Parliament sits at the foot of Arthur's Seat next to Holyrood, and has dramatically changed the landscape. Locals have warmed to the building (or set of buildings?) over time and it is now considered by some to be a triumph.
For one, I am pleased that Edinburgh has such a bold and striking structure taking pride of place on the edge of the Old Town.
parc fel forum, barcelona
Parc del Fòrum is a sprawling urban festival site in Diagonal Mar on the east side of Barcelona. The park opened in 2004 as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures, with much of it located on reclaimed land by the sea.
There are a number of striking and unique structures here including the Forum Building itself, plus the Photovoltaic Cell, an enormous solar panel made of 2668 mono-crystalline panels set at a spectacular sloping angle, jutting into the sky by the ocean.
The park hosts a number of events around the year including Primavera Sound, which I attended a few years ago. It felt a little different being here without 60,000 other people enjoying sunshine and music. This time it was only me, standing in the rain, taking photos at 7am. The structures feel very much a secondary thought during the festival but take on a striking presence of their own when its empty.
If you have time, I’d recommend cycling or walking here along the seafront and enjoying the architecture along the way. This part of the city has some incredible modern architecture, including modern parks, museums and open air spaces to cycle, run and hang out near the beach.
To get here, walk or cycle from the centre of town right down Avenue Diagonal towards Diagonal Mar. You can also take the L-4 metro here - directions here.