The history of cities from high above lifestyle
Cities have had their size and capacity increased through new buildings and spaces with the rooftops being the main attraction.
From up there, you can see the rhythms and dynamics of society, and how we come to understand their continuous renewal. An aesthetic trend preserved by the art historian, Philip Jodidio, in his writings.
The growth of the population and its concentration in the cities has brought with it a new way of planning space. Current architectural trends have seen new buildings developed, where the use of natural and building resources, as well as the use of sustainable materials, have become two of the main objectives.
The art historian, Philip Jodidio, (Orange, New Jersey, 1954), analysed the evolution of cities and their transformation through their rooftops. That is the main thesis that is raised in Rooftops: Islands in the Sky (Taschen, 2017). “From the strategic location of the old fortresses to the most studied gardens of Le Nôtre – flushing a seemingly endless view of the king’s domain out; a view and hence a high place has been reserved for those powers that be”, claims the writer on these pages.
A new landscape morphology
Jodidio bases his analysis on two main axes: The new buildings and their effect on the population, and the reinvention of those that already exist. With the privacy and power granted by a terrace, the highest part of a house where one can look at the rest without being seen, the author defends that this type of space has created a new morphology of the landscape and the appearance of other social habits.
Through a selection of 50 bars, restaurants, art spaces, gardens and illustrations by Bayoun Kim, the author portrays different cultures and their impact through design. From Hong Kong to Oslo or Chicago, each of the terraces shown here are the living portrait of metropolitan life and the rhythms under which they move.
The work by Norman Foster (Pritzker Prize, 1999), Shigeru Ban (Pritzker Prize, 2014), Jeffrey Inaba and Julien de Smedt, serve as an example of this extension that cities live towards the sky. An urban panorama taken from the top floor of the cities. From air to air with no more limits than gravity.
An architectural tribute to modernity
Located in the centre of London, this building from the architectural studio, Fletcher Priest, is made up of 16 floors. There, we have: commercial premises, offices, private terraces and gardens. As well as that, a generic view of the Thames can be enjoyed among the frenetic pace of the city.
At 20 Fenchurch Street, known by Londoners as the “Walkie Talkie”, the highest public garden in the city is hidden away; where nature acquires special importance, dedicated to landscaping and the creation of social spaces. This work by the architect, Rafael Viñoly, is located between floors 35 and 37 in the building, and furthermore, it stands out because of its glass dome.
With free entry and it being open seven days a week, this space brings landscaped garden areas together with a panoramic viewpoint which offers a 180 degree view over London. Among its gastronomic offer, there are restaurants and bars with outdoor terraces that allow the city to be enjoyed from up above.
Between the 39th and 40th floor of The Gherkin is the Searcys restaurant (London), where cutting-edge design matches perfectly with the most modern gastronomy. Designed by the architect Norman Foster, this building stands out due to its elongated and curved axis with a rounded end.
Its dome is inspired by an upper lens where the city and its surroundings can be seen. With energy efficiency as the main pillar, each of its axes extracts the hot air from the building during the summer and uses the heat of the sun during the winter.
This exclusive bar is located on the 10th floor in the ME hotel in London. Its views of the River Thames and the most emblematic monuments in the city, namely: the bridge and the two towers (Tower Bridge), London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye; all merge with the most innovative dishes from both English and Mediterranean cuisine.
Created by the iconic Frank Gehry, this building in Paris has eleven galleries on its two floors, a 350-seat auditorium and terraces for events and art installations.
Throughout its 13.500 square metres, Gehry combines lines and curves, volumes and movement to coat the body of the building with glass. An iceberg that is nourished in a certain way from the 19th century French gardens.
Located in the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, the Louis Vuitton Foundation has been involved with the artistic movements of the 20th and 21st centuries since its creation. Its programming supports and promotes the cultural industry through the union of artists, intellectuals and the public. “This new space opens a dialogue with a wider audience and provides artists and intellectuals with a platform for debate and reflection. We wanted to show audacity and emotion by relying on Frank Gehry with the construction of an iconic building for the 21st century, “says Bernard Arnault”, president of the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
The Ken Smith architectural studio created this garden to cover the extension of the MOMA building, which was designed by Yoshio Taniguchi. The design team was inspired by the concept of simulated nature and they used recycled rubber chippings, glass, crushed marble stone, artificial boulders and artificial box bushes and shrubs to create this landscape.
He studied History of Art and Economics at Harvard University and was editor in chief of the Connaissance des Arts magazine for more than twenty years.
His work as an illustrator has been showcased at the American Illustration Society, the Society of Illustrators, and on publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Washington Post.