Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

Cob house within solar geodesic dome in the Arctic Circle

January 6, 2017

The Hjertefølger  family has been living on Norway’s Sandhornøya island, where they started their journey into sustainable living, since 2013. Their three-story cob home—built from sand, water, clay, and other organic materials—is encased in an aesthetically pleasing, and functional, solar geodesic dome by Solardome.

Placing the 25-foot-high dome around the five-bedroom, two-bathroom home gave the six-person family protection from strong winds and heavy snow loads, as well as cutting down on heating costs. The geodesic dome, which also covers a garden area, gives the family the necessary greenhouse environment to grow much of their food.  Apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash, and melons are just some of what they can grow in an area that is without sunlight for three months a year.

Tower of the Winds

October 17, 2016
Tower of the Winds

Tower of the Winds

The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes is an octagonal Pentelic marble clock tower within the Roman Agora in Athens that functioned as a horologion or clock.

The structure features or did a combination of sundials, a water clock, and a wind vane.

It was supposedly built by Andronicus of Cyrrhus around 50 BC, but according to other sources, might have been constructed in the 2nd century BC before the rest of the forum.

The water clock may have taken the form of a waterwheel.

The roof is a series of triangular slabs locked in place by a circular keystone.

Around the periphery is represented the eight winds.

Saint Vitus Cathedral

May 11, 2016
figures on main doors

figures on main doors

one clock shows the hour another the minutes

one clock shows the hour another the minutes

Prague Castle, seen from across the river, dominates the skyline,  especially  Saint Vitus Cathedral  and Lobkowicz Palace.

Saint Vitus Cathedral is situated  within the Prague Castle complex.

To pay to walk around inside, but can enter the main doors and enjoy the stunning view looking down the nave.

Had I paid, I would have learnt contains the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors.

Two key features are the figures on the main doors and above the doors, and the clocks.

The figures on the doors, cast in metal, are amazing.

I was puzzled by the clocks, why one above the other? Why two clocks?  The time was such, they both appeared to be showing the same time.

It was only after observing over a period of several minutes, I realised one was showing the hour, the other the minutes.

Prague Castle

May 10, 2016
Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace

stunning views over Prague

stunning views over Prague

steps leading down from Prague Castle

steps leading down from Prague Castle

No 22 tram took me up to Prague Castle.

Novel way of paying. Pay for time not distance.

Ticket has to be bought in advance from a machine.

I alighted at the right palace and wandered in.

Police and soldiers on guard with semi-automatic rifles.

Very cold.

Prague Castle is a castle complex, many streets and buildings including churches, Saint Vitus Cathedral, museums, monasteries and palaces, including Lobkowicz Palace.

Stunning views over Prague.

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Starbucks at Prague Castle

Prague Castle, the location with the most stunning view over Prague, occupied by Starbucks. A grass terrace, a spiral stone staircase. They were even queuing.

Steps lead down from Prague Castle.

Church of the Infant Jesus

April 14, 2016
font

font in the Church of the Infant Jesus

cloak worn by the Infant Jesus

cloak worn by the Infant Jesus

Strictly speaking  Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana but commonly known as Church of the Infant Jesus for the little infant Jesus wearing a cloak.

The infant Jesus is 16th century. Legend has it that the statue once belonged to Saint Teresa of Avila.

Up a spiral stone staircase, a museum of various cloaks.

When I visited, I was struck by a girl in her twenties, her face was lit up with joy as she looked at the statue.

I caught up with her as she left. She told me she was a student in Prague.

When Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was unknown, he had yet to write, he travelled Europe. He asked the Infant Jesus to help make his dream come true to become a writer. He noticed the Infant Jesus was wearing a shabby cloak. He promised, that if he became a writer, he would return with a cloak.

Paulo Coelho marks St Joseph’s day with his friends. This year it was at Lobkowicz Palace in Prague  Castle. During the morning he visited the church and presented the Infant Jesus with a  new cloak.

The Infant Jesus is credited with miracles. Hence the pilgrims.

I was appalled at the disrespect shown by the hordes of visitors to the church.  Two women having a very noisy conversation on the stairs leading up to the museum, the noise echoing up and down the staircase. Two women walking down the aisle having a loud conversation. Then bang, crash, a tourist group erupted through the doors, their tour guide, Italian, laughing and shouting. I wish I gone after her and took a picture of her as she left, as she was unfit to be a tour guide. Then it got worse and worse.

I walked out in disgust.

Why do they not bar tour groups?

A shop near the church entrance, but closed when I left.

Across the road, shops selling tourist tat, images, replicas of the Infant Jesus.

Obecní dům

April 11, 2016
Municipal House

Municipal House

Municipal House or Obecní dům is a stunning Art Nouveau concert venue.

Construction started in 1905. It opened in 1912.  It was  constructed on the site of the former Royal Court Palace.

As you walk in through the double doors, there is a restaurant or cafe to either side.

Stairs lead downstairs, where can be found a bar and a restaurant which appears to run the length of the building.

Municipal House houses the Smetana Concert Hall. which is home to ….

When I looked in three weeks ago on Sunday, was giving a concert that evening wirth half a dozen outside broadcast TV trucks outside.

Also within the building is a museum of glass.

Municipal House stands next to Powder Gate, one of the original entrances to Prague Old Town.

Try the virtual tour.

Charles Bridge

March 30, 2016
Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Construction of Charles Bridge (Karlův most) started in 1357, so named because built in the reign of Charles IV, connects Prague Old Town to Prague Castle. It was completed in 1402.

Either side of the bridge is lined by saints.

Either end of the bridge are Bridge Towers.

On the bridge people touting their wares, musicians.

Bridge Band and Electroshock are very good.  Their CDs a must to buy. Or so I thought. Buying CDs off the street always a risk. On later listening, I sadly found something of a disappointment.

Bridge Band were selling CDs like hot cakes. But then they were good.

Electroshock need to improve their repertoire.

Charles Bridge early hours of the morning

Charles Bridge early hours of the morning

During the day, the bridge is very crowded.  Early hours of the morning the bridge is deserted.

The bridge is pedestrianised.

Old photos of Charles Bridge show trams running across the bridge.

One of the best views of the bridge is at night from the downstream bridge, with stunning views of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.

St Nicholas Church

March 28, 2016
St Nicholas Church

St Nicholas Church

A fine example of a Baroque church that dominates one corner of the Old Town Square in Old Prague.

St Nicholas Church was completed in 1735, and replaced a parish church mentioned in records dating back to 1273. Its construction was by the Jesuits, designed by Giovanni Domenico Orsi.

A Gothic parish church consecrated by Prague Bishop Tobiáš in 1283 stood at the site until 1743.  Construction lasted approximately one hundred years, and three generations of Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law – worked on the church: Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago.

The Baroque organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six metres in length and was played by Mozart in 1787. His Mass in C was first performed in the Church of Saint Nicholas shortly after his visit. Jesuit Thomas Schwarz built the small and main organs as well as many others in Bohemia. Built in 1745-47, the main organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six metres in length.

St Nicholas Church hosts many excellent concerts.  I regrettably attended not one.

This would be an excellent venue for The Sixteen, performing music of the period, especially if using the original manuscripts held in The Lobkowicz Collection in The Lobkowicz Palace.

San Cristóbal de La Laguna

March 16, 2016
Cathedral

Cathedral

San Cristóbal de La Laguna, was founded in 1500, the original capital of Tenerife.

It is an old colonial city of grand mansions, plazas, churches, convents, museums and a cathedral.

It was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.

The layout of La Laguna was the concept of Governor Fernandez de Lugo following a trip to the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. He wished to create a modern Renaissance city, with wide royal streets running parallel to each other, criss-crossed by narrower streets forming a grid.

The relationships between many of the open spaces and the churches have a mathematical and mystical relationship. For example the alignment of the churches of Concepción and San Miguel and the Cathedral and the geometric centre located in the San Agustín Church.

What was unusual about the city, apart from its planned layout, was that it lacks a city wall, it is open to the surrounding countryside.

La Laguna formed the model for cities in Latin America, for example Old Havana in Cuba, Lima in Peru, Cartagena de Indias in Colombia and San Juan de Puerto Rico.

From Puerto de la Cruz, take 102, direct bus to Santa Cruz calling at Tenerife Norte and La Laguna.

construcción de castillos en la arena

March 9, 2016
castillos en la arena

castillos en la arena

Day 1

First day of the construction of a new castle in the sand at Playa Jardín.