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Goodbye to “Modern Architecture” 2011-04-26

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities.
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Next to London Bridge station, a glass monster is rising from the ground. At 72 storeys — 310 metres  including a spire on top — The Shard will be the tallest skyscraper in Europe when it is completed in 2012.

Guests of the hotel chain Shangri-La on the 52nd floor will enjoy spectacular views, and passers-by will see an impressive sight; The Shard is made up of 11 200 panes of glass, each cut to a slightly different size, slotted together into nine sections of façade that appear to prop each other up.

It is a ‘work in progress’, but developer Mr. Irvine Sellar’s magnum opus could already be one of the last monuments from an era when building with generous amounts of glass was possible.

Building regulations enacted 2010-10 mean developers have to make projects 25 per cent more carbon efficient.

Glass structures that leak heat in winter and require cooling in summer are increasingly tough to get past officials — so they are more expensive.

‘We believe the gas-guzzling glass box is dead,’ said Mr. Ken Shuttleworth (‘Ken the Pen’),who designed the London’s iconic ‘Gherkin’ (The Swiss Re Building at 30 St Mary’s Axe)  for Foster + Partners, and who left to create Make Architects and declare the skyscraper dead in London.

‘This is a “sea change” in modern architecture and the only responsible way forward in a world of increasing concern about climate change and global warming.’

(more…)

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RIP OSCAR PETERSON 2007-12-27

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities, In Memoriam.
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Jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson has died of kidney failure at his home in Toronto, at the age of 82.

Peterson was one of jazz’s most recorded musicians, and was famous for his fast-playing virtuoso style.

He made more than 200 albums and won eight Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement honour in 1997.

He released his first single at the age of 19 and performed with greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Nat ‘King’ Cole.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame announced last month that it was to present the star with its Founder’s Award in 2008.

This was to celebrate ‘a brilliant jazz pianist and composer’ who showed ‘musical dexterity and energetic performances’, it said.

Peterson, who had a working-class upbringing in Montreal, won a talent contest organised by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) when he was 14 years old.

‘The world has lost an important jazz player,’ Ms.Hazel McCallion, mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, and Peterson’s close friend said.

‘He’s been going downhill in the last few months, slowing up,’ she added.

His studio and live partners included Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Stan Getz.

Basie once described Peterson as someone who ‘plays the best ivory box I’ve ever heard’, while Ellington referred to him as ‘Maharajah of the keyboard’.

Gifted at improvisation, Peterson said in 2005 how live free-form jazz could enable ‘moments of great beauty to emerge’.

He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, and he was the first living Canadian to be depicted on a stamp.

Mr.Peterson was married four times and had six children from his first and third marriages and one daughter, Celine, with his fourth wife, Kelly.