Tag Archives: Architecture

Cheateau of Versailles

The Chateau of Versailles was the extravagant palace  and estate that was the home of the kings of France from 1662 to 1789. The opulent residence became a symbol of the French Revolution which saw the abolition of the monarchy through violent revolution that lasted from 1789 until 1799, brought on radical social change, and saw the rise of Napoleon Baonaparte. Continue reading Cheateau of Versailles

Prada Flagship Store Tokyo

The Prada Flagship Tokyo store is a strikingly unconventional 6-story glass crystal structure that is soft despite its sharp angles. It costed Prada a whopping 10 billion yen to build. The store was built by the Swiss architecture team of Herzog & de Meuron, who wanted to reshape the concept and function of shopping, implementing  pleasure and communication to encourage the meshing of consumption and culture. The most striking aspect of the structure is the diamond-shaped steel latticework which wraps both the glass walls and glass roof of the building. The exo-skeleton of the building is the primary load-bearing structure of the building. This means there was no need for interior columns or walls, all support comes from the external steel facade. The lack of structural clutter allows views out to the city in every direction, and gives the floors a feeling of tremendous spaciousness.

The facade comprises of a diamond-shape grid filled with hundreds of glass panels in 4 different types. There is the usual flat and transparent glass, the etched glass for modesty in the changing rooms, bulging convex glass and sucked in concave glass that seemingly draws the passer bys off the street and into the shop. The only interruption of the 360 degree openness inside is presented by the slim vertical cores containing lift, stairs and ducts for cabling and plumbing. Shoppers will perceive the building as one continuous space which offers a cool unique aspect as well as technical complexities in terms of fire safety, structure and glazing solutions. The ceilings are finished in perforated metal with a series of black holes for light fittings. The low, moulded, see- through fibreglass tables that are illuminated from within are quite eye catching, and some are even filled with fibre optics that glow like the tentacles of a jellyfish.

The Prada Aoyama has set new standards of innovation and architectural beauty. It sets out to redefine the traditional distinction between glass curtain wall, structure and facade, in the process eliminating the traditional differentiation between architecture, shop window and display. The building is a spectacle perfectly suited to its purpose that oozes sophistication and has definitely made shopping a comfortable and memorable experience. I just need to save up for the next 9 months so I can buy a pair of Prada socks.

Stave Church

A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church once common in north-western Europe and extremely popular in Norway. The stave churches are Norway’s unique contribution to the worlds cultural heritage. Most were built between 1130 -1350 when the Black death brought all the new buildings to an end. Similar churches have existed throughout Europe but only the Norwegian ones have survived. Of the 1000 Stave churches that have been built only 28 still exist. The only surviving Stave churches outside of Norway exist in Sweden, Germany and Poland. There have been replicas built in Denmark and the USA.

The name derives from the buildings structure of post and lintel construction. Post and lintel being a building system where strong horizontal elements are held up by strong vertical elements with large spaces between them. This is usually used to hold up a roof, creating a largely open space beneath, for whatever the building was designed for. This type of timber framing used load-bearing posts to help support the upper parts of the building and transfer the loads throughout. Timber posts were used as supports in their early design and then they were set on stone foundations. Similar in design to the post church and equally as magnificent, its amazing too see how these iconic pieces of the architectural past have been maintained until today.

Harpa (Reykjavik) Concert Hall

Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects and Batteriio Architects designed the striking Harpa concert hall which opened in May 2011. It’s a 28,000 sqm building situated on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean. The LED lit facade is magnificent and adds a compelling dimension to the builds already unique design. Danish artist Olafur Eliasson worked with the architects to come up with the $150 million stunning design. The steel framework is clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colours. The quasi bricks (which is a 12 sided space filler of glass and steel) and multifaceted glass facades are based on a geometric principle. Inspired by the crystallised basalt columns commonly found in Iceland, the Southern facades create kaleidoscopic reflections of the city and the surrounding landscape. The building appears as an ever changing play of colour reflected in more than 1000 3D bricks and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Iceland.