Every city has an architectural landmark, but not all landmarks are made equal. What makes a landmark as famous as the Burj Khalifa? It’s not height (although it could be with the Burj), not grandeur, not beauty. Andrea Minini, today’s featured illustrator, thinks it might be speed. “What I love in graphic design is speed”, she says. “Good projects have to appear clear and powerful at first sight”. These fifteen are certainly that: a stunning set of monochrome illustrations that convey the genius of the architects behind them. See the minds of Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry at work, conveyed through Andrea Minini’s abstracted design lens.
Experience the multi-cultural luxury of Marina Bay Sands. Singapore’s finest resort was once the world’s most expensive standalone casino (beating Macao), and features a mall, museum, two theatres and floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink and of course, a casino. This illustration illuminates the building’s grandiose public platform sitting atop its three pillars, the largest platform of its type in the world.
Take a trip to the sunny ports of Sydney, with this monochrome illustration of Australia’s Sydney Opera House. Designed in the 70’s by Jørn Utzon, its curved arches have held many an opera, dramatic performance or famous singer in its wings. Rendering its shape in black and white highlights the curved beauty of its form.
Dubai’s oil wealth has funded one impressive building. The tallest building and structure in the world, the Burj Khalifa has beaten many out many opponents (such as the Taipei 101) to earn the title. Its pyramid style is inspired by Islamic architecture, while its concrete Y maximises space for homes and offices running along its length. Minini’s illustration shows its frame in simplistic black and white.
Notable events provide a good reason for great buildings. In Beijing, the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics brought a hive of activity that required a beautifully-built stadium. Working with noted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, this $428 million dollar building was inspired by Chinese ceramics and (in an effort to hide its retractable roof) ended up with a distinctive birds’ nest look. Officially named the Beijing National Stadium, today it lights up like a lantern at night or, in Minini’s representation, as an innovative shape in monochrome colouring.
The Guggenheims are known for building the world’s most beautiful museums, and the Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao) is no exception. Famously uniting critics, academics, and the public with its beauty, it sits proudly along Spain’s Nervion River and houses some of the country’s most important works. Minini’s two black and white renders bring us up close and far away from this prominent structure. From afar, its leaves look as if they turn away from one another; up close, like they are forming a meeting of minds. Monochrome striping exacerbates the effect.
Another world record-holding piece of architecture, the Millau Viaduct over France’s River Tarn is the tallest bridge in the world. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, its construction in 2004 led to its consistent ranking as one of the greatest engineering achievements of all time. In 2006, its concrete and steel frame received the Outstanding Structure Award from the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering. In Minini’s illustration, she emphasises the cable-stays and high peaks that this French bridge is famous for.
The Falling Water or Kaufmann Residence was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s evergreen masterpieces. Constructed partly over a waterfall in Bear Run, Pennsylvania, it brought Lloyd Wright’s genius back in the public eye after Smithsonian rated it one of 28 places “to visit before you die”. Owners Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann, the owners of the same-name department store, relished their American weekend home. Minini’s render shows its synchronicity with its natural surroundings, as long lines mark the waterfall and horizontal and vertical fixtures.
Named after Azerbaijan’s pre- and post-Communist leader, the Heydar Aliyev Centre is noted for its absence of sharp angles and flowing, curved lines. Boasting a conference hall, gallery and museum, it was designed for the intellectuals of Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital and well-richest city. Fronted by glass and designed by much-missed architect Zaha Hadid, its folds drape like a floppy hat in Minini’s black and white representation.
New York’s Guggenheim Museum is completely different to the last. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (rather than Gehry), it appears as a giant beehive on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Starting from the bottom, museum visitors wind up its sloped staircase viewing exhibits, as they slowly make their way to the top. Minini shows the uniqueness of its large, circular wrap-around structure in a series of curved lines and monochrome hues.
Built on a Moscow street no-one can pronounce (it’s Sharikopodshipnikovskaya, if you dare), another one of Zaha Hadid’s creations wows. Built like a Jenga stack with many interlocking levels, The Dominion Office Building is more video game than real life worthy. Multiple layers of square storeys create a dazzling jigsaw that over- and under-laps the levels above and below. This monochrome render by Minini shows these iconic levels, from the perspective of someone looking up from the ground floor.
Take a trip to the islands with our next architectural piece. The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Noumea, New Caledonia, is shaped like a traditional Kanak hut. Using wood bark, timber, coral and more modern materials, it was a fusion of new and old for Piano and his team, as well as a structure of considerable political controversy (being a centre for the indigenous now under French rule). Minini’s simplified black and white shows the hut structures as a group and closer-up, evidencing their location with shadowed trees.
Everyone recognises the architectural brilliance of the Louvre. France’s home to the Mona Lisa, the pyramid outside the main gallery is the brainchild of architect Ieong Ming Pei. Minini shows it up close and personal – and as a lone structure in free space – to give it full impact.
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