Wednesday, 27 February 2013

PINK CHURCH























I don't always go to church on Sundays, but when I do, it's a pink church.

I really wish that was true.

Chesme church by architect Yury Felten in St. Petersburg, Russia. Picture credits: Wikimedia Commons (where it was the picture of the day today/yesterday, depending on where in the world you are).

Saturday, 23 February 2013

MY FAIR LADY/LONDON BRIDGE

"You disgrace to the noble architecture of these columns!" - Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, the play on which the musical and film My Fair Lady is based






















The other day, a friend of mine suggested we should go see the new Oslo production of this timeless piece of musical silliness, and suddenly, I was humming the old children's song with lines that go like this:

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

According to Wikipedia's excellent article about this verse, which is referencing Studwell, 1996, this is probably (???!?) where the musical took its name from. The rhyme is part of an old song about building a bridge using all sorts of materials (wood and clay will was away, iron and steel will bend and bow, etc.). A charmingly illustrated note sheet from 1877 looks like this:

























I'm not really sure which one of these guys is the architect, but the old architect's symbol can be found on top of the stone plate being carried by that really muscular man. Maybe it's him?

London Bridge in the late 19th century




















London Bridge is a name that has been carried by several bridges throughout the ages. The one pictured on the note sheet was only 40 years at the time, replacing a medieval bridge which stood 30 m downstream. The 1831 bridge was later bought and moved to Arizona, USA, by Robert McCulloch, for a new planned community called Lake Havasu City, after this bridge had been slowly sinking into the Thames since the end of the 19th century. (Nasty rumors have it that he thought he was buying the iconic Tower Bridge.)

Not London Bridge

















The reconstructed bridge was finished in 1971, and was in London replaced by a neutrally looking concrete bridge.

The reconstructed London Bridge in Arizona






The current London Bridge










The coolest bridge, though, was the medieval one. Construction began in 1176, but wasn't finished before 1209, 33 years later. Then again, this bridge would last for another 600 years.
















From the very beginning, houses with shops, dwellings, water wheels, squares and chapels were built on top of London Bridge, almost forming a continuous street instead of giving the feeling of walking on a bridge. This was partially done to pay for the extremely expensive construction, but also looked really neat.
















The infamous Nonsuch house (as in 'nothing quite like it') was perhaps the most outstanding building on the bridge, and can be seen in the middle of this picture. (It's the one with the red, yellow and white facade, topped by four blue onion domes.) To cross the bridge, you actually had to go right through many of the houses, out of which several leaned as far as seven feet out over the water.
















The bottom picture shows London Bridge c. 1750, shortly before all the houses were demolished to make way for traffic. The bridge itself stood until 1831, when it was replaced by the bridge now standing in Arizona.

And then only one question remains: Who was this Fair Lady? There are several suggestions, but here's the one I found a picture of, Matilda of Scotland. She was a consort of King Henry I, and oversaw the building of several bridges in 12th century England:

























(Picture credits: Wikimedia Commons, except the ones of Audrey Hepburn and Nonsuch House, which I frankly don't quite know who owns.)

Friday, 22 February 2013

FICTIONAL FRIDAY: HELL HALL



















In the Disney classic 101 Dalmatians, the said dalmatians are kidnapped and kept in the old country house of the film's villain, Cruella de Vil. Hell Hall is the name of the manor, and the architecture seems to be quite eclectic, mixing gothic, elizabethan and rococo. An interior view:















I also tried finding the clip where the puppies are rescued from the manor, but that wasn't very easy to find. However, if you're a real fan of Cruella and her house (or if your children are(in which case you should probably call you local exorcist)), you can buy the Hell Hall toy house:

























I actually think I wouldn't mind living there, considering how I love houses that look like they have been added to again and again. I'd prefer miss de Vil to move out first, though.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

LIVING BRIDGES



I stumbled upon this video in the Facebook group of my school. It describes the ingenious bridges made from live ficus plants that can be found in Meghalaya, Northeast India. Have a look!

Monday, 11 February 2013

JIM KAZANJIAN AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE SURREALLY POSSIBLE

The works of artist Jim Kazanjian, these amazing pictures are compiled from images of buildings found online. Although dreamlike and amazing, what I like the most about them, is that the majority of these structures actually could be built. I truly wish contemporary architecture was more like this.



















Friday, 8 February 2013

FICTIONAL FRIDAY: CARTIERIAN ODYSSEY




A bit to much? Perhaps. But also: Loads of lovely architecture, fictional and factual.

In the "behind the scenes"-film, you can also see how the filmmakers actually used a real panther, and filmed on location such places as Prague, Arag√≥n and Grand Palais, Paris.


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