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Special places: Architecture

January 2007

Tin tabernacles and other buildings

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Alasdair Ogilvie’s delightful photo essay for Pentagram Papers shows an aspect of corrugated iron prefabricated buildings that is new to me​—​the use of these buildings at home.

In Britain, between the 1860s and the Great War, the coun­try underwent extensive increases in the production of coal, iron and lead, triggering large population movements into previously isolated and rural areas, such as South Wales and County Durham.

With no existing infrastructures, these newly created com­mu­ni­ties had an urgent need for churches, chapels and schools. Corrugated iron buildings fulfilled this demand. The quantity of “Tin Tabernacles” built also reflects the missionary efforts of the Anglican Church, at the time in competition with the Nonconformist movements​—​Meth­od­ist, Wesleyan and other dissenters.
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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under England + Wales + Architecture + Photography
November 2006

Soviet roadside bus shelters

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From the web-based Polar inertia: journal of nomadic and pop­u­lar culture, a portfolio of photographs by Christopher Herwig​—​a set of 19 strange and varied bus shelters observed in rural parts of the former USSR.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Russia + Architecture + Landscapes
March 2005

Blackpool

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David Nightingale lives and works in the English seaside town of Blackpool. Each day in his photoblog Chromasia he publishes a photograph of the people, objects and places around him.

These are not the grey pictures I associate with the English seaside, thanks to David’s graphic sensibility, and his willingness to tinker with contrast and saturation.

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December 2004

Unrealised Moscow

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From the Schusev State Museum of Architecture comes the web exhibition Unrealised Moscow: the architecture of Moscow from the 1930s to the early 1950s: unrealised projects. From the introduction:

Moscow architecture from the 1930s to the early 1950s undoubtedly occupies a central place in domestic construction of the socialist epoch. Its specific nature and scope is the most outstanding illustration of the socialist Utopia in architecture. This period saw the work of the greatest Soviet architects; B. Icfan, A. Schusev, I. Zholtovsky, the Vesnin brothers, I. Fomin, L. Rudnev, I. Golosov, V. Schuko. Among the far-reaching projections of the first stalinist “five year plans”, the 1935 General plan for the reconstruction of Moscow overshadowed all others. According to this plan, Moscow was to become, in the shortest possible time, the showpiece capital of the world’s first socialist state. The General plan envisaged the development of the city as a unified system of highways, squares and embankments with unique buildings, embodying the ideas and achievements of socialism.
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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Russia + Architecture
October 2004

Barcelona Pavilion

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The website of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe includes a virtual visit to the reconstructed German National Pavilion of the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. The original pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was dismantled in 1930. The new building, rebuilt on the same site, was opened in 1986.

The website elegantly presents this icon of modern architecture, through text, plans, photographs and a set of linked VR panoramas.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Spain + Architecture
August 2004

Hundertwasser weblog

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Dutchman Rogier van den Berg is the author of this weblog that records the work of the artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000). Hundertwasser’s quirky architectural work is to be found in his native Austria, elsewhere in Europe, in Japan, and in New Zealand where he settled late in life.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Austria + New Zealand + Architecture
April 2004

Art Deco Napier

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The port and resort city of Napier, on the east coast of the North Island, was heavily hit by an earthquake in 1931. 162 people died in Napier, and another 93 in nearby Hastings. Most of Napier’s commercial and institutional building stock was destroyed. A few skillful local architects designed a suite of new buildings in then-fashionable styles — Art Deco, Spanish Mission, Stripped Classical. Within a few years the city had been rebuilt.

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December 2003

The Farnsworth house

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This is the website of the friends of the Farnsworth house — activists who successfully campaigned to preserve this icon of modern architecture. This month the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, the National Trust of Historic Preservation and the Friends of the Farnsworth House bought the house at auction. Plans are being made to conserve and open the building as a house museum.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under USA + Architecture
November 2003

Virtual German synagogues

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Researchers in the architecture department at Darmstadt University of Technology have studied the documentary evidence of Synagogues that were destroyed in the holocaust.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Germany + Architecture
February 2003

Unified vision: the architecture and design of the Prairie School

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This website is an online showcase for the Prairie School collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There are tours of buildings (surviving and demolished) and of the many associated objects in the institute’s collection.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under USA + Architecture
November 2002

The changing of the avant garde

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An online catalogue of visionary architectural drawings from the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The drawings come from the Howard Gilman collection, and are shown in a slick Flash presentation. Here’s an example of one drawing, with its explanatory notes:

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under World + Architecture
August 2002

Lighthouses of Australia

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A collection of images, facts and stories maintained by Malcolm Macdonald with other members of Lighthouses of Australia Inc.

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July 2002

Public lettering: a walk in central London

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Enjoy a rich variety of public lettering found along a route from the new British Library to the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery. Phil Baines and Catherine Dixon are your expert guides.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under England + Architecture
December 2001

Fremantle Prison

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Built to house British convicts in the 1850s, and adapted for colonial prisoners in the 1880s, Fremantle Prison was closed in 1991.

This web site tells the history of the prison and the people associated with it. Conservation planning documents are included, along with a searchable database of inmates, and plans in AutoCAD format.

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August 2001

Mies in Berlin/Mies in America

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This is a web catalogue for a pair of exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum, New York. You’ll need the flash plug-in to see this slick hagiography of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) and his buildings.

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July 2001

The amber room

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Another colourful place with a Russian connection. A sumptuous chamber lined with amber, designed in 1699 for Friedrich I of Prussia’s Great Royal Palace in Berlin. It has been dismantled, packed up, shipped from palace to palace, installed and restored many times. There were several moves during the Second World War before it was again dismantled, packed into crates and taken in an unknown direction. Since then the room has been lost.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under Russia + Architecture
May 2001

Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

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Called an on-line guided tour, this web site shows you room by room through a lavish temple of freemasonry. There are photographs, descriptions, virtual reality panoramas, even music. Try to find the Masonic apron of Brother George Washington (yes, that George Washington) — it’s in the building.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under USA + Architecture
April 2001

Modern ruins

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Phillip Buehler’s dossier of ruined ships, railway stations, stadiums, hospitals, Worlds Fair sites, U-boat bunkers and other remarkable places. The author has a sharp eye​—​look at the other sections of his site too (linked from the home page).

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February 2001

Wilkommen bei cityscope — Berlin

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Watch the old German capital being made new. See panoramic views of key neighbourhoods (Potsdamer Platz, Spreebogen, and Kurfürstendamm), updated regularly, with an archive of images since 1994. There are also links to cameras covering Stuttgart and Expo2000 in Hannover.

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October 2000

reCyclorama

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For a Gettysburg sequel (see July 2000 below), reCyclorama presents a campaign to save architect Richard Neutra’s 1961 visitor centre at Gettysburg National Military Park. The building houses Paul Philippoteaux’s 1883 cyclorama painting of the Battle of Gettysburg.

This web site argues against plans to demolish the building and ‘restore’ the battlefield landscape. See pictures of this important modern building, read news of the conservation campaign and background pieces about 1960s park visitor centres. Pan around the huge circular battle painting with QuickTime VR.

Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under USA + Architecture + War
May 1999

Great Buildings Collection

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.. a gateway to architecture from around the world and across history … documents hundreds of buildings and lead­ing ar­chi­tects with 3D models, photographic images and archi­tec­tural drawings, plus commentaries, bibliographies, and web links, for famous designers and structures of all kinds ​—​the 3D mod­els are in DesignWorkshop format and viewing software for Windows 95/NT or Power Macintosh is free for downloading.

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Permanent URL. Use it to bookmark or link to this item.   filed under World + Architecture
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On this page
Tin tabernacles and other buildings
Soviet roadside bus shelters
Blackpool
Unrealised Moscow
Barcelona Pavilion
Hundertwasser weblog
Art Deco Napier
The Farnsworth house
Virtual German synagogues
Unified vision: the architecture and design of the Prairie School
The changing of the avant garde
Lighthouses of Australia
Public lettering: a walk in central London
Fremantle Prison
Mies in Berlin/Mies in America
The amber room
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
Modern ruins
Wilkommen bei cityscope -- Berlin
reCyclorama
Great Buildings Collection

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