She takes Shiloh island hopping, while he tours Spain's newest architectural wonder

By Peter Mikelbank
Updated September 01, 2009 08:45 AM
INF; Centro Niemeyer/Reuters/Landov

Like any couple with large family commitments and a late-summer vacation, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are seemingly making up for lost time with a pre-Labor Day getaway.

The couple – who have been ensconced in their South of France chateau for two weeks – took separate daytrips over the weekend, demonstrating that with access to helicopters and private aircraft, their interests are quite far-flung.

In a “Honey, take care of the kids! I’m off to see Napoleon’s birthplace” excursion Friday, Jolie took Shiloh to Ajaccio, on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. The actress and her daughter strolled around the palm-lined Place Foch, past the pastel-washed Napoleon Museum – and even squeezed in a little shopping before local photographers discovered them.

No sooner had she returned home, then it was Brad’s turn.

Architectural Holiday

On Sunday, he flew to northwest Spain to indulge his passion for architectural innovation. Wearing a hardhat, the happy Basterd toured the construction site of Aviles’s new International Cultural Center. Designed by legendary 101-year old Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (who also worked on Brasilia and the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan), the project is urban renovation and innovation on a scale close to Brad’s heart.

Scheduled to open officially in mid-2010, the $45-million project will involve a complete rehabilitation of the city’s neglected industrial portside. Built on a former steel-making site, the cultural center will be home to a 1,000-seat auditorium, 45,000-sq.-ft. gallery, cinema and panoramic tower built around a central waterside plaza.

“He is interested in supporting the project,” Aviles’s Mayor Pilar Varela told reporters after Pitt’s visit, “both from its cultural aspects as well as its architectural design.” The Mayor added that he’d spoken with Pitt about his further involvement in the ambitious project – which already counts Stephen Hawking, novelist Paulo Coehlo and Woody Allen among its artistic advisors – “but that it was a little early to announce anything concrete.”

‘Environmental Sustainability’

Pitt, 46, whose New Orleans Make It Right Foundation is involved in creating residential housing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, toured the site at length with Varela and architects on Sunday afternoon for several hours. During the visit, Pitt was “particularly interested in the project’s durability,” said Varela.

Key to the Niemeyer Center – which anchors an even larger, urban “Island of Innovation” plan – is its “environmental sustainability.” Added Varela: “That’s why he came to see the site for himself.”