Sunday, March 31, 2013

IAC Building

IAC Building, InterActiveCorp's headquarters by Frank Gehry, New York
IAC Building, InterActiveCorp's headquarters by Frank Gehry
West 18th Street / Ninth Avenue
New York, September 2008

“For decades I’ve been whining about how far New York has slipped behind other world cities in the support of serious architecture. While Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Beijing and even Paris have been pushing the boundaries, churning out one adventurous building after another, our city was wallowing in a swamp of pseudohistoricism and corporate mediocrity that — to skeptics like me, at least — threatened to transform it into a dull theme park for the superrich. But this year the city may finally have turned a corner. In the past nine months alone New York has witnessed the unveiling of nearly half a dozen major architectural landmarks. Frank Gehry’s headquarters for IAC/InterActiveCorp along the West Side Highway, Jean Nouvel’s luxury residential building in SoHo, Bernard Tschumi’s Blue Building apartments on the Lower East Side and Renzo Piano’s tower for The New York Times may not rank as these architects’ greatest works. But they are serious architecture nonetheless, in an abundance the city hasn’t seen in decades.”
(Nicolai Ouroussoff, Manhattan’s Year of Building Furiously, The New York Times)

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Passers-by, place Igor Stravinsky, Paris
Passers-by, place Igor Stravinsky
4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2009

Friday, March 29, 2013

Campo del Ghetto Nuovo

Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, Venetian Ghetto
Venice, October 2012

“The ghetto consists of an open square surrounded by ‘skyscrapers’ on three sides. The lack of space in the ghetto resulted in many buildings having as many as seven stories (with no elevator). Venetian laws forbade the building of separate synagogues, so the synagogues were built on the top floors of the buildings - Jewish law says there should be no obstructions between the congregation and the heavens. Frequent tours of three of the five synagogues are given by the nearby Museo Comunità Ebraica.”
(Jewish Ghetto, Venice, Sacred Destinations)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lotus Fountain

Lotus-Brunnen, Lotus Fountain by Bernard and François Baschet, Europa-Center, Berlin
Lotus-Brunnen (Lotus Fountain) by Bernard and François Baschet, 1975
Europa-Center, Breitscheidplatz, Charlottenburg
Berlin, September 2011

“A pool in the second courtyard contains the Lotus Fountain, by the Parisian artists Bernard and Francois Baschet, a ‘water play’ with optical and acoustical elements. It was originally commissioned for the staircase of Berlin's New National Gallery and was installed there in 1975. It was deemed expendable in 1981 and was transferred to the Europa-Center in 1982 for free as an extended loan.”
(Europa-Center, Wikipedia)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clock Tower

Clock tower, British Library, Euston Road, St Pancras, London
Clock tower, British Library
Euston Road, St Pancras
London, October 2009

“Architect Sir Colin St. John ‘Sandy’ Wilson used to refer to the project that took up the bulk of his professional career as ‘the thirty years war’. There was no overall budget, and so from year to year, the architects never knew how much was going to be available for construction. That meant a constant process of re-design and re-assesment of priorities, as the eventual shape and size of the building always seemed to be in flux.”
(Building the British Library, currybetdotnet)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jules Ferry

Monument to Jules Ferry by Gustave Michel, Jardin des Tuileries, Tuileries Garden, Paris
Monument to Jules Ferry by Gustave Michel, 1910
Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden)
Paris, July 2009

In the 1880s, Jules Ferry implemented a series of strict measures to further weaken regional languages in France, as shown in Bernard Poignant's 1998 report to Lionel Jospin. These included children being given punishments by their teachers for speaking Occitan in a Toulouse school or Breton in Brittany. Art. 30 of Loi d'éducation française (French Teaching Law, 1851) stated that: “It is strictly forbidden to speak patois during classes or breaks.” As Pêr-Jakez Helias (1914-1995), the author of the 1975 best-selling novel Le Cheval d'orgueil (The Horse of Pride), recalls in this interview,
Now I know, I learned that there was a government policy which goal was obviously to make France one and indivisible, and as a result regional languages had to disappear. But I didn't know it then and maybe the teachers of the Third Republic did, though I asked some of them and they all denied it. Their own job was to teach us French. And consequently, while attending school, we were required to speak French. Whenever we used Breton instead, we weren't doing our share and so we deserved to be expelled. Period.
(Vergonha, Wikipedia)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lion of Saint Mark in Chains

Lion of Saint Mark in chains, Monument to Victor Emmanuel II by Ettore Ferrari, Riva degli Schiavoni, Venezia
The Lion of Saint Mark in chains after the defeat in the 1848–49 Revolution
Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II by Ettore Ferrari, 1887
Riva degli Schiavoni, Castello
Venice, September 2012

See also: Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II

“During the 1848 First Italian War of Independence, Venetia rose against the central Austrian government, forming the Republic of San Marco, which lasted 17 months. It asked to be annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia to form an Italian confederation against Austria, then using the Italian tricolour in its flag, but, after the other Italian states left the war (May 1848) and Sardinia surrendered (August 1848, then March 1849), Venetia stood alone. It surrendered on 24 August 1849, when the Siege of Venice ended.”
(Austrian Era, Venetia, Wikipedia)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quartier Schützenstrasse

Quartier Schützenstrasse by Aldo Rossi, Berlin
Quartier Schützenstrasse by Aldo Rossi
Schützenstraße / Charlottenstraße
Berlin, September 2011

“‘Quartier Schützenstrasse’ consists of a classical Friedrichstadt block defined by the Schützenstrasse, Markgrafenstrasse, Zimmerstrasse, and Charlottenstrasse. Aldo Rossi's used the historical urban structure of the division of land into small plots as his concept for Quartier Schützenstrasse. The individualized houses signal individual plots but the total number of facades exceeds the number of houses standing independently of each other. While two of the buildings are reserved exclusively for residential apartments the rest provide for a mixture of residential and commercial use.”
(Quartier Schützenstrasse,

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Statue of Christopher Columbus by Gaetano Russo, Columbus monument, Columbus Circle, New York
Statue of Christopher Columbus by Gaetano Russo, 1892
Columbus Monument, Columbus Circle
New York, September 2007

See also: Christopher Columbus - Columbus Circle - Columbus in Hamburg

“For his latest project, he enclosed Gaetano Russo’s 1892 statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus Circle within a living room on a scaffold more than 70 feet up. Visitors will be admitted into the 810-square-foot space for a carved-marble-eye view of Central Park.”

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lave émaillée

Pediment in enamelled lava, Church of Saint-Laurent, Église Saint-Laurent, Paris
Pediment in lave émaillée (enamelled lava) by Paul Balze
Church of Saint-Laurent (Église Saint-Laurent)
Boulevard de Strasbourg / Boulevard de Magenta, 10e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

“The adhesion of the enamel on the lava is total: after firing they become one indivisible body. On the enamelled surface a slight and uniform crazing appears (the craquelle, a similar effect to that on porcelain). It is an inevitable and characteristic feature, caused by the difference in dilatation between the enamel and stone during firing which does not affect colours or images and gives enamelled lava its natural ‘handcrafted’ aspect.”
(Enamelled Lava, Signs and Lava)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ponte dell'Arsenale

Ponte dell'Arsenale, Bridge of the Arsenal, Rio dell'Arsenale, Venice
Ponte dell'Arsenale (Arsenal Bridge), Rio dell'Arsenale
Campo dell'Arsenale / Fondamenta de l'Arsenale
Castello, Venice, September 2012

See also: Nell'arzanà de' Viniziani

“Many bridges were originally of timber, and a number can be seen today in the lesser communities as well as several in the city. Cheaper tu build initially, they naturally required maintenance, and from time to time complete rebuilding, so that there are no original medieval timber bridges today; however a number of those that we see today, such as the Arsenal bridge or the Castello bridge in Venice or the Pontelungo between Murano and Mazzorbo closely follow medieval patterns in their design.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lion with the Genius of Music

Löwe mit Genius der Musik, Lion with the Genius of Music by Christian Friedrich Tieck, Konzerthaus Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin
Löwe mit Genius der Musik (Lion with the Genius of Music) by Christian Friedrich Tieck
Konzerthaus Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Panther with the Genius of Music

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

South Quay Footbridge

South Quay Footbridge by Chris Wilkinson and Jan Bobrowski, Canary Wharf, London
South Quay Footbridge by Chris Wilkinson and Jan Bobrowski, 1997
Between South Quay and Heron Quays
Canary Wharf, West India Docks
London, October 2009

“In its original form when it opened in 1997, the bridge connected the quay walls of a dock basin at Canary Wharf in east London, providing an S-shaped walkway, each half of the 'S' suspended from an inclined mast. The two masts inclined in opposite directions, and the south half of the bridge could pivot open when water vessels needed to pass through (which was not often).”
(South Quay Footbridge, The Happy Pontist)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Emmanuel Frémiet

Monument to Emmanuel Frémiet by Henri Greber, Jardin des Plantes, Paris
Monument to Emmanuel Frémiet by Henri Greber, 1913
Frémiet is working on a model of “Le Dénicheur d'oursons” (The Bear Hunter)
Jardin des Plantes, 5e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Le Dénicheur d'oursons

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II, Monument to Victor Emmanuel II by Ettore Ferrari, Riva degli Schiavoni, Venezia
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II (Monument to Victor Emmanuel II) by Ettore Ferrari, 1887
Riva degli Schiavoni, Castello
Venice, September 2012

Saturday, March 16, 2013


El andar tierras y comunicar con diversas gentes hace a los hombres discretos, Miguel de Cervantes, Mehringplatz, Berlin
«El andar tierras y comunicar con diversas gentes hace a los hombres discretos.» (Miguel de Cervantes)
„Das Reisen in fremde Länder und der Umgang mit fremden Völkern schärft den Verstand.”
“Travelling and sojourning among various people makes men wise.”
Mehringplatz, Friedrichstadt, Kreuzberg
Berlin, September 2011

The plaques featured words of wisdom from European sages like Albert Einstein and Antoine De Saint-Exupery. At the time, Berlin's mayor expressed broad support for the project, writing, “Berlin (…) is where the various historical, cultural, and political experiences of a formerly divided continent come together. Our city is thus the ideal platform for encounters with Europe, for the exchange of ideas. The ‘Path of Visionaries’ is also committed to furthering the European dialogue.”

Friday, March 15, 2013


Statue of Siberian Husky Balto by Frederick Roth, Central Park, New York
Statue of Siberian Husky Balto by Frederick Roth, 1925
Near the Tisch Children's Zoo, Central Park
New York, September 2008

“Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of
the sled dogs
that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice,
across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from
Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the
Winter of 1925.
Endurance - Fidelity - Intelligence”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dragons Élysées

, Paris
Dragons Élysées, Chinese/Thai restaurant
Rue de Berri, 8e arrondissement
Paris, July 2009

“This mostly Chinese restaurant is a novelty. Below the tables and chairs perched on different levels and scattered about a large dining room is a glass floor beneath which various types of goldfish cavort. If you enjoy watching your dinner in action, than this is the place for you.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Holocaust Memorial

The seven bas-reliefs of the Holocaust Memorial by Arbit Blatas, Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, Cannaregio, Venice
The seven bas-reliefs of the Holocaust Memorial by Arbit Blatas, 1980
Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, Cannaregio
Venice, October 2012

“In April 1979, Arbit Blatas was invited to create the drawings for the nine-part TV film series entitled ‘Holocaust’. Blatas had been searching for a way to honor, not only the six million, but to pay homage to his mother, who died in the gas chambers of Bergen-Belsen, and his father who survived Dachau. The drawings led to the creation of the seven bas-relief sculptures which have now become historic sites to visit in Venice, Paris and New York. In 2004, the last editions were consecrated in the infamous Fort IX in Kaunas, Lithuania (birthplace of Blatas). In 1993 his last sculpture, entitled ‘The Last Train’, was consecrated by the President of Italy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Deportation. It stands permanently alongside the Monument of the Holocaust in the Historic Ghetto of Venice.”
(Monument to the Holocaust, Arbit Blatas)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Panther with the Genius of Music

Panther mit Genius der Musik, Panther with the Genius of Music by Christian Friedrich Tieck, Konzerthaus Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin
Panther mit Genius der Musik (Panther with the Genius of Music) by Christian Friedrich Tieck
Konzerthaus Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Lion with the Genius of Music

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quintin Hogg

Memorial to Quintin Hogg by Sir George Frampton, 1906
Portland Place
London, October 2009

“My first effort was to get a couple of crossing-sweepers whom I picked up near Trafalgar Square, and offered to teach how to read. In those days the Thames Embankment did not exist, and the Adelphi Arches were open both to the tide and the street. With an empty beer bottle for a candlestick and a tallow candle for illumination, two crossing-sweepers as pupils, your humble servant as teacher, and a couple of Bibles as reading books, what grew into the Polytechnic was practically started. We had not been engaged in our reading very long when at the far end of the arch I noticed a twinkling light. ‘Kool ecilop,’ shouted one of the boys, at the same moment ‘doucing the glim’ and bolting with his companion, leaving me in the dark with my upset beer bottle and my douced candle, forming a spectacle which seemed to arouse suspicion on the part of our friend the policeman, whose light it was that had appeared in the distance. However, after scrutinizing me for some time by the light of his bull's-eye he moved on, leaving me in a state of mental perturbation as to what the mystic words I had heard hollered out meant, and to ask myself, what I, who a year before had been at Eton, was doing at that time of night under an Adelphi Arch? Afterwards, when I became proficient in 'back slang' I knew that ‘kool ecilop’ was ‘look (out for the) police’ spelled backwards, the last word being evidently the original of the contraction ‘slop’, a familiar nickname for the police of London today. Altogether I did not think my first effort a very successful one, and I cast about in my mind how I could learn the language of those boys, and ascertain their real wants and their ways of life.”
(The Founder, Quintin School History)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Le Dénicheur d'oursons

Le Dénicheur d'oursons, The Bear Hunter by Emmanuel Frémiet, Jardin des Plantes, Paris
“Le Dénicheur d'oursons” (The Bear Hunter) by Emmanuel Frémiet, 1910
Jardin des Plantes, 5e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: Éléphant pris au piège - Statue de Jeanne d'Arc - Fame of the Sciences - France of the Renaissance

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Three Doors

Three doors, Campo San Giobbe, Cannaregio
Venice, October 2012

Friday, March 8, 2013


Weltkugelbrunnen, World Fountain by Joachim Schmettaus, Breitscheidplatz, Berlin
Weltkugelbrunnen (World Fountain) by Joachim Schmettaus, 1984
Breitscheidplatz, Charlottenburg
Berlin, September 2011

See also: Weltkugelbrunnen - World Fountain

“The fountain was designed by Professor Joachim Schmettaus and constructed as part of the architectural redevelopment of Breitscheidplatz between 1982 and 1984. The redevelopment of Breitscheidplatz, based on designs from architects Ivan Krustik and Oskar Reith, involved the breaking of road connections between Kurfürstendamm and Budapester Straße (1977-78). Since then, Breitscheidplatz has been a pedestrian zone.”
(World Fountain, Europa Center, Berlin)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Christina's World

“Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Christina's World” by Andrew Wyeth
Museum of Modern Art
New York, September 2007

“The only narrative artist of genius during the second half of the twentieth century was the Pennsylvanian Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917). His father came from the immensely professional illustrated paper tradition, painting covers for the Saturday Evening Post, like Rockwell. He taught his son himself, probably the best way of learning to paint, as the experience of Holbein, Dürer and countless others artists proves. Wyeth learned from his brother-in-law Peter Hurd how to make effective use of the old fifteenth-century method of egg tempera on a gesso foundation to get extremes of light and clarity, but he also used watercolour with a dry brush and other meticulous techniques. Wyeth was a true reactor to fashion art. He had no fashion. He painted what he saw, after countless preliminary studies and models, and he organised his compositions in ways which made them tell a story. As in Caravaggio’s masterpiece The Calling of Saint Matthew, the viewer is invited to become a co-narrator. Wyeth’s first successful work, Christina's World (1948, MoMA), depicted a crippled girl, seemingly abandoned in a deserted meadow, struggling towards a house on the horizon. It would be hard to think of a more compelling image created in modern times, to which the eye wanders again and again.”
(Paul Johnson, Art: A New History)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Quand tu Sonneras

Sundial, Quand tu sonneras, je chanteray, rue de l'Abreuvoir, Paris
“Quand tu Sonneras, je Chanteray” (When you will ring, I will sing)
Sundial on a wall, rue de l'Abreuvoir
Montmartre, 18e arrondissement
Paris, July 2009

“Not all the inscriptions are somber. A whimsical blue chicken on a sundial at 4, rue de l'Abreuvoir in Montmartre clucks, ‘Quand tu sonneras, je chanteray’ -- ‘When you ring, I sing,’ a humorous reference to the time when chickens were alarm clocks. Sundials ask us to contemplate, not only time and its passage, but also when and why humans began to divide time into hours, a development that was not, at first, universally embraced, as the Roman comic playwright Plautus (circa 200 B.C.) made clear, condemning the man who set up a sundial in the marketplace ‘to cut and hack my day so wretchedly into small pieces.’”
(Susan Allport, Solar-Powered Timekeeping in Paris, New York Times)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Giuseppe Zolli

Statue of Giuseppe Zolli, Monument toGaribaldi by Augusto Benvenuti, Biennale Gardens, Venice,
Statue of the Garibaldine Giuseppe Zolli
Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi by Augusto Benvenuti, 1885
Viale Garibaldi, Castello
Venice, October 2012

See also: Garibaldi in Venice

“In 1921, near Garibaldi’s statue in the gardens, a ghost appeared in a red shirt. It attacked passersby tripping people up and shaking them roughly. The ghost was recognised as one Giuseppe Zolli, 1838, who was a fervent Garibaldi follower and had sworn to protect his leader in life as in death. It was decided to commission a bronze statue of Zolli to put behind Garibaldi’s statue. From that day the ghost stopped appearing.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kreuzberg Tower

Kreuzberg Tower by John Hejduk, Charlottenstraße, Besselstraße, Berlin
Kreuzberg Tower and Wings by John Hejduk, 1988
Charlottenstraße / Besselstraße, Kreuzberg
Berlin, September 2011

“The design actually comprises three separate buildings, of which one is the central tower, the two others forming wings to a pre-exisiting building to the rear. All three are residential. As with many IBA projects, I wonder whether the design of the actual apartments, in particular the sizing and positioning of windows, played second fiddle to architectural formalist facade games. I assume Hejduk didn’t reckon on the visual impact of satellite dishes, a de rigeur feature of social housing. But anyway, I’m no expert on his work, so can only respond as I find here.”
(Kreuzberg Tower, architectureinberlin)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cleaning the Gherkin

Ready to start cleaning the Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London
Ready to start cleaning the “Gherkin” (30 St Mary Axe)
St Mary Axe, City of London
London, October 2009

Saturday, March 2, 2013


L’Art, Art by Laurent Marqueste, place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, Paris
“L’Art” (Art) by Laurent Marqueste
Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, 4e arrondissement
Paris, July 2012

See also: La Science

Friday, March 1, 2013

Color Like Music

Yellow house, Fondamenta della Giudecca, Burano, Venetian Lagoon
Yellow house, Fondamenta della Giudecca
Burano, Venetian Lagoon
Venice, September 2012

The decorated blue tile on the left of the door reads: “Il Colore come la Musica si serve di una scorciatoia per raggiungere i nostri Sensi e suscitare le nostre Emozioni - Color is like Music, it uses shorter way to come to our Senses to awake our Emotions”. A more literal translation of the Italian would be: “Color, like Music, uses a shortcut to get to our Senses and awake our Emotions.”

See also: Fondamenta della Pescheria - Fritto Misto - Rio de San Mauro