When a local mayor asked Costa Rican architect Álvaro Rojas to build a community center for the small village of El Rodeo, about ten miles west of San Jose, Rojas quickly understood that the commission would be a tall order despite the small size of the proposed project—about 8,000 square feet, in a town of around six hundred.
In the summer of 2013, when the architects Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa first visited the 11,500-acre Montana cattle and sheep ranch that’s now home to Tippet Rise Art Center, an hour southwest of Billings, they thought it looked like a lunar landscape.
Against the backdrop of a brush-covered hilltop in central Malawi, women in brightly colored clothing gather to cook, chat, or simply rest amid a cluster of small buildings that rises from the sparsely vegetated landscape.
Walking through Louis Kahn’s Center for British Art—where sunlight streams in from skylights, and concrete, wood, metal, and stone combine in precise yet monumental ways—leaves one yearning for the days when museums, quite honestly, weren’t so sterile.
Rumor has it that the quaint town inspired the architecture in Disney’s animated film Beauty and the Beast. But in a recent renovation of the city’s Musée Unterlinden, Herzog & de Meuron made a conscious effort to avoid the preciousness of a Disney film.