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a life in architecture lars nittve

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On a recent trip to California, Lars Nittve, formerly director of Tate Modern and now director of the Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, visited Herzog & de Meuron's Dominus Winery in Napa Valley, California.'The innovative aesthetic solution, using gabion walls, creates a natural climate - like a deep cellar.The building's almost paradoxical character, stern and uninviting yet filled with sublime light, reflects the content - the superb but uncompromising Dominus wine.'

Another building in California that Nittve admires is R M Schindler's Kings Road House, West Hollywood (pictured).'All aspects of the building convey a degree of transparency, both physically and socially - it was built for a new type of communality.A totally radical building for a totally radical life.

And, of course, this house was the beginning of the great Modernist architecture in California.When Neutra came to America he joined in the open community that was the Kings Road House.'

One piece of architecture that inspires him, both academically and aesthetically, is Mies' Barcelona Pavilion. 'I have always wanted to write an essay about it as a picture, or even a painting. Actually, to me it is so much more a painting than a building - about surfaces and planes in a composition.'

Nittve is transfixed by the exquisite execution of Sigurd Lewerentz's last project, the Flower Kiosk in Malmo. 'An absolutely uncompromising building designed by an 84-year-old master.'

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