Architect Barbara Bestor

Architect Barbara Bestor

By Aaron Britt
The latest in our Three Buildings series is an architect we've admired for some time: Barbara Bestor. Keep an eye out for a Bestor–designed house in the My House section of our February 2010 issue, but for now you'll have to settle for what keeps this Los Angeles designer inspired.
Anahuacalli Museum in Mexico City by Diego Rivera, Ruth Rivera, Heriberto Pagelson and Juan O'Gorman

This is an amazing, huge edifice in suburban Mexico City that Rivera built to house both his collection of Mayan and Zapotec artifacts as well as his studio (on the upper levels). It's a load-bearing black lava rock thing—a real engineering museum in its construction!— that I thought at first was inspired by the Shogun legacy in Japan. But after going to Oaxaca and Monte Alban I realized it is deeply Zapotec. It has gargoyles and a very strong symbolic and political presence. It was Rivera's response to and evidence of his withdrawal from imported European modernism (e.g the moderne almost Hejdukian his-and-hers studio building in Mexico City that most people know).

The works of Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi's Sao Paulo Art school building. Or maybe her Sao Paulo Museum of Art (above). Or maybe her own little studio building in her yard. I just heart Lina Bo Bardi so.

Taliesin West and Ocatillo Desert Camp in Scottsdale, Arizona by Frank Lloyd Wright

And third, well, I wanted to do something in Japan ( I love Atelier Bow Wow for instance) but I just saw the (weird!) Wright show in New York a few months ago and though there was a lot of scary stuff, there was a great piece that turns out to be also the 'prequel' to one of my favorite places—Taliesin West. So I guess my third entry would be BOTH the campsite Wright and co. built to house themselves while building Taliesin—which was called the Ocatillo Desert Camp, I believe, and which is fantastic—half buidings/half tents. Then Taliesin West itself—a truly original, western building/site-specific, understated but monumental work. I especially love how it is sited. I actually studied Taliesin West in college with Wright scholar Neil Levine but didn't get to see it live for over 10 years. When I did, I was just blown away. It's so great—you should go see it ASAP if you haven't been to Phoenix!


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