Sanctuary of Mary Queen of Peace Church by Gottfried Böhm in Neviges, Germany
"I visited the Sanctuary of Mary Queen of Peace Church for the first time during a trip that Kevin Hui [Director at 4site Architecture] and I called 'archi-marathon.' I had never heard of Böhm when Kevin brought me to the church. It was staggering to see a building emerge from the hillside looming as a backdrop to the small town. The vast dark interiors (so dark that you had to wait for your eyes to adjust before venturing too deep) was unexpectedly moving. The layering both vertically and horizontally was wonderfully sophisticated, while the juxtaposition of broad open areas and small contemplative spaces described a place tailored to diverse community needs. Well-executed Brutalism is an inclusive form of humanism."
The High Court of Australia by Edwards Madigan Torzillo & Briggs in Canberra
"As a naive suburban Tasmanian child, my first visit to the High Court of Australia was a significant event. Its interior void is bigger than every building in Launceston (the city I grew up in). Politically it is extremely interesting as it demands transparency architecturally, thematically, and functionally. This is not a defended space. This is deliberately open and welcoming. If anything, it demands that you engage and interact with the constitution of Australia. A generous open, inclusive, and utopian gesture that has always functioned as intended, even through the age of terrorism.
Nakagin Capsule Tower by Kisho Kurokawa in Tokyo, Japan
"Capsule Tower, Metabolism, adaptable, small, a museum of old tech, a large form constructed from an assemblage of smaller objects; this is everything I love about Japanese architecture and everything that I want to emulate. After studying Nakagin Capsule Tower during university, I was lucky enough to visit it in 2007. It is soon to be demolished. I, and many others, will mourn its loss."
A sneaky fourth would be...
Tietgen Dormitories by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects in Copenhagen, Denmark
"Kevin Hui and I went there at the end of 2010. Brilliant student housing. A singular form made from numerous individual parts. Each room looks outwards for individual study/thought, while internally the dormitory community can get together."
Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.