Free time is one of the few things that New York City doesn’t offer its denizens, and many living there look to commute times as one reason why. In New York, mass transit systems tend to take more time than they save. For those living on Manhattan’s east side, that’s finally about to end.
In terms of style, brutalism is to architecture what Hemingway is to literature. Taking an axe to
Fusing together modern and classical styles, this building in Valparaiso, Chile serves as an apt example of “façadism,” or the practice where a building’s façade is designed or constructed separately from the rest of the building.
Pending your tastes, façadism exemplifies the rewards of compromise (an existing space can be developed without sacrificing its historical elements) or proof that compromise doesn’t work (façadism tries to bring together two distinctive styles into one building and thus produces little more than visual confusion). In any case, the CSAV headquarters–featured above–in Valparaiso’s Sotomayor Plaza is sure to generate strong opinions.
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda was infatuated with being unusual. He would only use green pens to draft his poems, and he even gave himself his own name. His parents had chosen to call him Ricardo Eliezer Neftali Reyes y Basoalto, but Ricardo Reyes re-christened himself as Pablo Neruda as a teenager.
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Neruda said, “I did not learn from books any recipe for writing a poem.” The same holds true for designing his homes. Full of strange collections of shells, beetles, colored glass, and mementos of life on the sea, Neruda’s three spectacular houses – Isla Negra, La Sebastiana, and La Chascona – are profoundly odd. They are as original as his silky verse.
The author of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, The Book of Questions, The Captain’s Verses, and dozens of other books spent his twenties as a diplomat. His posts included Burma, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Spain. When he returned to Chile at the age of thirty-three, he wanted a home where he could write. He found it on the Pacific coast, south of Valparaiso in central Chile.
Neruda called his coastal chateau Isla Negra. It isn’t on an island, and the house is painted blue, but Neruda gave the place this name because of its black rocks and because, for him, it was an isle of isolated calm. He lived there, off and on, from 1937 until his death in 1973.
Set on a sandy knoll on the edge of the ocean, Isla Negra reflects Neruda’s devotion to the deep. The house itself is designed as ship, with narrow passageways and wood-plank floors. Sails, tusks, ships-in-bottles, shells, and artifacts from the poet’s world travels brim from the shelves and nooks of each room. Neruda collected ship figureheads, and these carved wooden women, mermaids, and sirens appear throughout the sprawling home. When he entertained guests, he would call himself the “Captain” and sometimes even dressed in costume.
Neruda also kept a private bar at Isla Negra. Decorated with the same nautical knickknacks as the rest of the house, the bar has another distinguishing feature. When a friend died, Neruda would carve his name into the support beams above the bar. Visitors to the house today can see seventeen names scratched into the wood.
Architectural firm Domenack Arquitectos have played with space and enclosures to generate the perfect, open home for Peruvian climates. From the architects:
The house is the result of dealing with three important variables: satisfying the functional needs of the family, adapting the design to a difficult sloping topography without resorting to complicate and expensive structures, and capturing the views towards a golf course despite the fact that the plot is not adjacent to it.