Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando is a Japanese self-taught architect whose approach to architecture and landscape was categorized by architectural historian Francesco Dal Co as "critical regionalism". He is the winner of the 1995 Pritzker Prize. Ando was born a few minutes before his twin brother in 1941 in Japan. At the age of two, his family chose to separate them, have Tadao live with his grandmother, he worked as a boxer before settling on the profession of architect, despite never having formal training in the field. Struck by the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Imperial Hotel on a trip to Tokyo as a second-year high school student, he decided to end his boxing career less than two years after graduating from high school to pursue architecture, he took correspondence courses on interior design. He visited buildings designed by renowned architects like Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn before returning to Osaka in 1968 to establish his own design studio, Tadao Ando Architects and Associates.

Ando was raised in Japan where the religion and style of life influenced his architecture and design. Ando's architectural style is said to create a "haiku" effect, emphasizing nothingness and empty space to represent the beauty of simplicity, he favors designing complex spatial circulation while maintaining the appearance of simplicity. A self-taught architect, he keeps his Japanese culture and language in mind while he travels around Europe for research; as an architect, he believes that architecture can change society, that "to change the dwelling is to change the city and to reform society". "Reform society" could be a change of the identity of that place. Werner Blaser has said, "Good buildings by Tadao Ando create memorable identity and therefore publicity, which in turn attracts the public and promotes market penetration"; the simplicity of his architecture emphasizes the concept of sensation and physical experiences influenced by Japanese culture. The religious term Zen, focuses on the concept of simplicity and concentrates on inner feeling rather than outward appearance.

Zen influences vividly became its distinguishing mark. In order to practice the idea of simplicity, Ando's architecture is constructed with concrete, providing a sense of cleanliness and weightlessness at the same time. Due to the simplicity of the exterior and organization of the space are potential in order to represent the aesthetic of sensation. Besides Japanese religious architecture, Ando has designed Christian churches, such as the Church of the Light and the Church in Tarumi. Although Japanese and Christian churches display distinct characteristics, Ando treats them in a similar way, he believes. As he explains, We do not need to differentiate one from the other. Dwelling in a house is not only a functional issue, but a spiritual one; the house is the locus of heart, the heart is the locus of god. Dwelling in a house is a search for the heart as the locus of god, just as one goes to church to search for god. An important role of the church is to enhance this sense of the spiritual. In a spiritual place, people find peace in their heart, as in their homeland.

Besides speaking of the spirit of architecture, Ando emphasises the association between nature and architecture. He intends for people to experience the spirit and beauty of nature through architecture, he believes architecture is responsible for performing the attitude of the site and makes it visible. This not only represents his theory of the role of architecture in society but shows why he spends so much time studying architecture from physical experience. In 1995, Ando won the Pritzker Prize for architecture, considered the highest distinction in the field, he donated the $100,000 prize money to the orphans of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Tadao Ando's body of work is known for the creative use of natural light and for structures that follow natural forms of the landscape, rather than disturbing the landscape by making it conform to the constructed space of a building. Ando's buildings are characterized by complex three-dimensional circulation paths; these paths weave in between interior and exterior spaces formed both inside large-scale geometric shapes and in the spaces between them.

His "Row House in Sumiyoshi", a small two-story, cast-in-place concrete house completed in 1976, is an early work which began to show elements of his characteristic style. It consists of three equal rectangular volumes: two enclosed volumes of interior spaces separated by an open courtyard; the courtyard's position between the two interior volumes becomes an integral part of the house's circulation system. The house is famous for the contrast between appearance and spatial organization which allow people to experience the richness of the space within the geometry. Ando's housing complex at Rokko, just outside Kobe, is a complex warren of terraces and balconies and shafts; the designs for Rokko Housing One and for Rokko Housing Two illustrate a range of issues in traditional architectural vocabulary—the interplay of solid and void, the alternatives of open and closed, the contrasts of light and darkness. More Ando's noteworthy engineering achievement in these clustered buildings is site specific—the structures survived undamaged after the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995.

New York Times architectural critic Paul Goldberger argues that: Ando is right in the Japanese tradition: spareness has always been a par

Donnie Ray Albert

Donnie Ray Albert is an American operatic baritone who has had an active international career since 1976. Born in Baton Rouge, Albert graduated from McKinley Senior High School in 1968, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Louisiana State University in 1972. He went on to earn a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University where he studied with Thomas Hayward. Albert made his professional opera debut in May 1975 at the Houston Grand Opera in Scott Joplin's Treemonisha; the following year he returned to that house to sing the role of Jake Wallace in Giacomo Puccini's La Fanciulla del West and portray Porgy to the Bess of Clamma Dale in a lauded production of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The production was transported to Broadway in New York City where it ran for a total of 122 performances from September 25, 1976 to January 9, 1977; the production's recording won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. In 1978 he made his debuts at the New York City Opera and the Washington National Opera, in 1979 he gave his first performance at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

During the 1980s Albert was active with regional opera companies in the United States. From 1981-1983 he made several appearances at the Vancouver Opera. In 1982 he made his debut at the Opera Company of Boston and sang at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1984 he sang for the first time at the San Francisco Opera, that same year sang Porgy for his debut at the Teatro Comunale Florence, he performed for the first time with the Canadian Opera Company in 1986. In 1987 he made his debut at the Michigan Opera Theatre and in 1989 he made his first appearance at the Florentine Opera. In 1988 he embarked on a major tour of Bess in Europe. In 1996 Albert sang the title role in Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman at the Cologne Opera. At La Scala, he has performed the roles of as Amonasro Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, Hidraot in Christoph Willibald Gluck's Armide, the title role in Verdi's Macbeth. Other roles he has performed on stage include Varlaam in Boris Godunov, Basilio in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Count Monterone in Verdi's Rigoletto, Don Carlo in Verdi's Ernani, Don Fernando in Beethoven's Fidelio, Escamillo in Georges Bizet's Carmen, Ferrando in Verdi's Il trovatore, Iago in Verdi's Otello, Jack Rance in Giacomo Puccini's La fanciulla del West, Jochanaan in Richard Strauss' Salome, Nourabad in Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, Timur in Puccini's Turandot, Valentin in Charles Gounod's Faust, the title role in Verdi's Nabucco, the title role in Louis Gruenberg's The Emperor Jones.

Albert has had an active career as a concert singer. He has sung in concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic among others

Princess Victoria of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 20th Duchess of Medinaceli

Princess Victoria Elisabeth of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 20th Duchess of Medinaceli, GE is a Spanish-German noblewoman. Princess of the House of Hohenlohe-Langenburg since birth, styled Serene Highness in Germany and The Most Excellent in Spain, she is the head of the ducal House of Medinaceli, with 43 titles, she is the most titled person in the world. Victoria is the eldest child of Prince Marco of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 19th Duke of Medinaceli, her younger brother, Prince Alexander Gonzalo, is the 14th Duke of Ciudad Real, 13th Marquess of Navahermosa and a dynast of the House of Hohenlohe. Victoria was born in Málaga on 17 March 1997, the eldest child of Sandra Schmidt-Polex, a German, Prince Marco of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a German-Spanish aristocrat. Victoria is trilingual and was raised in Munich, prior to moving to Madrid to study International relations at IE University, her paternal grandmother was Ana Luisa de Medina, Marchioness of Navahermosa, Countess of Ofalia, who died in 2012. Victoria inherited her grandmother's countship in 2016.

Upon the death of her father in 2016, she became the heir to about 40 titles of nobility related to the House of Medinaceli. From 2017 she has been confirmed by the Spanish Ministry of Justice as the holder of five duchies, 16 marquessates, 17 countships and 4 viscountcies. With 43 titles, she is the most titled aristocrat in Spain, she holds ten Grandeeships. Medinaceli, with Grandeeship of Spain Alcalá de los Gazules, with Grandeeship of Spain Camiña, with Grandeeship of Spain Denia, with Grandeeship of Spain Tarifa, with Grandeeship of Spain Cilleruelo San Miguel das Penas y la Mota Aytona, with Grandeeship of Spain Camarasa, with Grandeeship of Spain Torrecilla, with Grandeeship of Spain Priego, with Grandeeship of Spain Alcalá de la Alameda Comares Denia Navas Malagón Montalbán Tarifa Villafranca Vila Real Ofalia San Martín de Hoyos Santa Gadea, with Grandeeship of Spain Alcoutim Amarante Castrogeriz Ossona Prades Risco Aramayona Buendía Castellar Cocentaina Medellín Molares, Adelantada mayor of Andalusia Moriana del Río Valenza y Valladares Villalonso Bas Cabrera Linares Villamur 17 March 1997 – 26 May 2016: Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria of Hohenlohe-Langenburg 26 May 2016 – 8 May 2017: The Most Excellent Countess of Ofalia 8 May 2017 – present: The Most Excellent Duchess of Medinaceli. The Heirs of Europe: Medinaceli