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  • Kathryn Van Dinh

Building Bucket List - Part 2

MEL/ARCH studio


We are starting the new year excited for new opportunities. We hope to continue expanding our knowledge on all the amazing buildings in the world. With that in mind, here is another installment of our building bucket list. It still may be a little difficult to travel to these architectural marvels this year but we are hoping you are inspired to check them out virtually and start planning a visit for as soon as possible!

Salk Institute - Louis I. Kahn, 1965, San Diego, California, US

Canston’s Pick


If you’re familiar with the Kimbell in Fort Worth, or if you saw Kathryn’s pick in the last bucket list entry, then you already know some of Kahn’s designs. If you’re impressed so far, I’ll point you in the direction of another successful project. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is recognizable for its harmonious courtyard design and its outstanding biological research accomplishments. I've included two images to give you a bit more, but one view from this courtyard really says it all. You see the expanse of the Pacific Ocean framed by concrete walls, punctuated with teak windows, and connected by a symbolic river down the middle of the space. My optional bucket list item is to take a photo just like this one.



Thorncrown Chapel - E. Fay Jones, 1980, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, US

Kathryn’s Pick


Within the beautiful woods of outside Eureka Springs, the Thorncrown Chapel sits proudly. It does not impose on the surrounding nature but enhances it. Even though it is an enclosed space, one still feels as if they are truly in nature, meditating among the trees. The structure has hundreds of glass panes and repeating trusses and columns, which together create an amazing visual. A humble but stunning building. I have wanted to visit this building ever since I first saw it. As one of the top buildings in my bucket list, I hope to be able to cross it off soon!



Thermal Bath (aka Therme Vals) - Peter Zumthor, 1996, Graubünden, Switzerland

Matthijs’ Pick


In our daily lives, we are inundated with continuous sensory experiences. Some are perceived as audio, while others are visual. Even though as human beings, we are dependent on these stimuli for our sanity and well-being, too much of something can be equally hurtful. Therme Vals exudes a sense of tranquility and timelessness. The primary forms and use of earthy materials provide for a soothing and transcending experience. All of this is perfectly aligned with the idea of what a spa or retreat should be.


One World Trade Center - David Childs, 2014, New York City, NY, US

Jason’s Pick


If you are as tall as I am (6’-7”), you tend to like tall buildings. The best place to go is New York City and the tallest building to see is the One World Trade Center. Actually the One WTC is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the seventh tallest in the world at 1,792 ft. Formerly known as the Freedom Tower, this main building was built as part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex on 9-11. It incorporates new high rise safety and technology never used before. It is on my bucket list to visit and experience the multitude of emotions connected with this iconic architecture.




Colline Notre Dame du Haut - Le Corbusier, 1954, Ronchamp, France

Rocio’s Pick


Le Corbusier is a name familiar to both students and the general public, when talking about architecture. His projects generate many conversations while in school, having completed seventy-five projects worldwide, and his architectural influence is present in many buildings around us. Of his many projects, one unique building piques my interest, Colline Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France. It is a major departure from Le Corbusier’s modernist “Villa Savoye” and “Unite D’Habitation”, composed of thick curved masonry walls and concrete roof. The chapel captures unique lighting conditions with an intentional gap in the roof allowing a sliver of light to enter and tapered perforations of varying sizes and colored glass on the exterior wall. The building stands almost as a sculpture, atop the hill that had been a site of pilgrimage for the Catholic Church and now hosts a new pilgrimage for architecture enthusiasts.





Biblioteca Vasconcelos - Alberto Kalach, 2006, Mexico City, Mexico

Avery’s Pick


Although there are many buildings on my bucket list, the Biblioteca Vasconcelos is definitely at the top. The exterior of the building is surrounded by a lush botanic garden, creating a screen between the harsh man-made structures of the city and the organic flow of nature. Upon entering the library, the book stacks appear to float above the lobby creating a complex network of pathways that are inspired by plant roots. The building, although harsh on the exterior, creates an environment meant for encouraging people to gain knowledge through books and the nature surrounding them.




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