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USA: Architecture Above & Beyond

I would gladly define “above and beyond” as an exposition of expectation and experience.  My 4 Weeks in the Unites States of America was a fast paced, vortex of an Adventure. 70+ Houses, Sites, Landmarks, Buildings and Landscapes visited and a whole archive of drawings, memories, photographs and life changing events created. New York, Chicago & Los Angeles as well as cities like New Jersey, New Canaan, Pasadena and La Jolla. It was a parallel experience to that of Australia. Diving from 45 Degrees Celsius in Sydney to – 50 Degrees Celsius during the Polar Vortex in Chicago. An absolute seesawing atmosphere which conflicted with the viewing of each Site we visited. From bitter cold winds of New York to the snow consumed city of Chicago and to Sunny Los Angeles. The Modern American Architecture kicked off first towards the end of our New York part of the journey.

[Interior] Farnsworth House, Chicago

Architecture in our course is seen as a multitude of areas, covering elements of art, graphic design, philosophy, history and all of the above. There is no defiant singular nature in Architecture, however it can be seen through the lens of the different styles and timelines of architecture linked to the urbanity and cityscapes of the different parts of the world. Hence seeing three major cities within the Unites States allowed a flexible view on the sites we visited and explored how they could be deciphered and connected. Something which deeply sparked the elation of undertaking a global studio was to see the transition from understanding a site from a textbook or as reference point to its physical magnitude and presence. To be able to understand Architecture in its intended experience is a vital milestone in my university education and career as a Future Architect.

[Exterior] The Oculus, New York
Fisheye Lens [Interior] The Oculus, New York


Whilst in New York for 11 Days, It was previously made clear that it would be a self guided tour of the city. I made an itinerary with some of my fellow first year students and we set out onto our daily adventures to different destinations and sites. Some of these included the Rockefeller Building, Central Park, Empire State Building, one World Trade Centre, The Met, MOMA, SANA, The Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum, 9/11 Memorial, The Oculus, One World Trade Centre and several other destinations. Most days consisted of an 8am Wake up time, and a continued touring day till 4pm in which the sun would set. I would strongly recommend this amount of time for Students to successfully see almost everything within NYC. From my observation it was highly accessible, where Uber, Taxis and Subway transit systems are sewed into the very fabric of the city. The enriched metropolitan American culture thrives off the urbanity, and it truly never sleeps! On the day before the departure to Chicago, Our Global Studio met for the first time in Grand Central Station. It was a great experience in which we travelled to New Canaan to Visit the Glass House, A mile stone in American Architecture as it integrated both external nature and internalised landscape into the house. It was definitely a testament to the ideology of reverse ageing. Above and Beyond what it was for its time.

Unhistoric Townhouse – System Architects, Tribeca
Dumbo, Brooklyn – New York
The Met, New York


29th January 2018, Bye bye New York! Hello Frosty Chicago. Well where do I begin? Chicago was the original city of the modern skyscraper. At -50 Degrees celsius, there was a state wide warning for the dangerous temperatures outside. Two days of the trip to Chicago were cancelled due to the Polar Vortex which swept the city. Some of the highlights though include the visit to the famous Farnsworth house and the numerous sightings of the Frank Lloyd Wright collection such as Unity Temple. Consistently gazing at the Chicago Skyline, I deeply admired the communication between monumental, Historical and Modern architecture in which they simultaneously occupied the cityscape harmoniously, an unspoken dialogue.

Cloud Gate, Millennium Park – Chicago


At last, Sun. Welcome to tropical Los Angeles. Although very different to Chicago, the weather in Los Angeles felt eerily familiar to that of Sydney. Santa Monica was an absolute retreat from the cold and was a paradise of shopping, beaches and sun soaked boulevards. Taking a step back, the Architecture in Los Angeles dramatically shifted to the California Bungalow and expensive Hollywood houses. The excessiveness of these houses empower and go beyond the aim and standards of architecture in which are practiced today. This included the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, The Stahl House, Gamble House and the Gehry Residences. Speaking of Gehry (The creator of the UTS Paper bag building AKA Building 8), We took an exclusive tour of the Gehry Partners Studio where we were immersed into the several past, present and future projects. I uncovered the layers and depth of the design process which is involved in these projects, and the introduction of new materials, testing and approached to representation, relatively important to how I may pursue my work in my second year in Architecture School. After Taking a trip down to La Jolla, We visited the Sulk Institute. Architecture at its finest in a sense of perspectival consideration and deep ties with the natural and progressive thresholds of the site. On a different note, I was able to begin networking with the Alumni of UTS in the Penthouse of the Shangri-La with my fellow colleagues. There were so many interesting people that night. The conversation kept flowing and it was remarkable how much people can have in common when they share the same interests, values and origin point. Exciting yet daunting, it was overall a marvellous experience.

Salk Institute, La Jolla – San Diego
Sheats-Goldstein House, Hollywood

Ultimately, My time in America has been a once in a life time experience that will forever leave an influence on my work on a dramatic scale. To be enlightened and engaged in Architecture on a physical and tangible realm has been a rewarding sentiment for me. I would definitely recommend this to any student who wishes to pursue a deeper focus in Architecture, Art or History as it will play a huge role in how you see and interpret your own understanding of your own profession. To be able to take in what you have experienced in your life and then to be able to produce something out of it is truly remarkable.

Stahl House + Self

– Ricky Gagliardi

Architecture Student, DAB UTS 2019

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