Friday, June 15, 2012

Architecture of London

London is not characterised by any
particular architectural style, having
accumulated its buildings over a long
period of time. Few structures predate
the Great Fire of 1666, notable
exceptions including the Tower of
London , Westminster Abbey, Banqueting
House and several scattered Tudor
survivors in the City of London .
In itself, the City contains a wide variety
of styles, progressing through Wren's
late 17th century churches and the
financial institutions of the 18th and 19th
century such as the Royal Exchange and
the Bank of England , to the early 20th
century Old Bailey (England and Wales'
central criminal court) and the 1960s
Barbican Estate . Notable recent buildings
are the 1980s skyscraper Tower 42 , the
Lloyd's building with services running
along the outside of the structure, and
the 2004 Swiss Re building, known as the
London's generally low-rise nature
makes these skyscrapers and others such
as One Canada Square and its
neighbours at Canary Wharf and the BT
Tower in Fitzrovia very noticeable from a
distance. High-rise development is
restricted at certain sites if it would
obstruct protected views of St. Paul's
Cathedral . Nevertheless, there are plans
for more skyscrapers in central London, including
the 72-story "Shard of Glass" , which is
nearing completion and will be the
tallest building in the European Union.
Other notable modern buildings include
City Hall in Southwark with its distinctive
ovular shape, the British Library in
Somers Town , the Great Court of the
British Museum , and the striking
Millennium Dome next to the Thames
east of Canary Wharf. The disused (but
soon to be rejuvenated) 1933 Battersea
Power Station by the river in the
southwest is a local landmark, whilst
some railway termini are excellent
examples of Victorian architecture, most
notably St Pancras and Paddington (at
least internally). London County Council
was responsible for public housing
projects such as the Edwardian Bourne
Estate in Holborn.
Several monuments pay homage to
people and events in the city. The
Monument in the City of London
provides views of the surrounding area
whilst commemorating the Great Fire of
London which originated nearby. Marble
Arch and Wellington Arch , at the north
and south ends of Park Lane respectively,
have royal connections, as do the Albert
Memorial and Royal Albert Hall in
Kensington. Nelson's Column is a
nationally recognised monument in
Trafalgar Square , providing a focal point
for the whole central area.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

When i was a kid i used to love it i dont know exactly why, I suppose i liked it because it is leaning at one side. So i thought it would be a nice subject for this blog-post. 
First of all some pictures:

This tower in Pisa is famous because it leans even if it was designed to be perfectly vertical!
This leaning started during construction processes. But leaning or no leaning this would still be one of the most beautiful constructions in Europe. 
Tower of Pisa is more accurately referred to as the bell tower, or campanile. The Pisa tower is one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex in Pisa, Italy, called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli, which means Field of Miracles.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the piazza's crowning glory. Although only a third as high as the Washington Monument, it was a miracle of medieval engineering, probably the tallest bell towers in Europe.
The leaning Tower of Pisa was designed as a circular bell tower that would stand 185 feet high. It is constructed of white marble. The tower has eight stories, including the chamber for the bells.
The bottom story consists of 15 marble arches. Each of the next six stories contains 30 arches that surround the tower. The final story is the bell chamber itself, which has 16 arches. There is a 297 step spiral staircase inside the tower leading to the top.

Many ideas have been suggested to straighten the Tower of Pisa, including taking it apart stone by stone and rebuilding it at a different location. In the 1920s the foundations of the tower were injected with cement grouting that has stabilized the tower to some extent.

I hope you enjoyed the post please fell free to comment.

The earliest surviving written work on the subject of architecture is De architectura, by the Roman architect Vitruvius from the early 1st century CE. By Vitruvius, a good building should satisfy the three principles of firmitas, utilitas, venustas, which translate as:
§  Durability – it should stand up robustly and remain in good condition.
§  Utility – it should be useful and function well for the people using it
§  Beauty – it should delight people and raise their spirits.
According to Vitruvius, the architect should strive to fulfill each of these three attributes as well as possible. Leone Battista Alberti, who elaborates on the ideas of Vitruvius in his treatise, De Re Aedificatoria, saw beauty primarily as a matter of proportion, although ornament also played a part. For Alberti, the rules of proportion were those that governed the idealised human figure, the Golden mean. The most important aspect of beauty was therefore an inherent part of an object, rather than something applied superficially; and was based on universal, recognisable truths. The notion of style in the arts was not developed until the 16th century, with the writing ofVasari. The treatises, by the 18th century, had been translated into Italian, French, Spanish and English.

Architecture (Latin architectura, from the Greek ἀρχιτέκτων – arkhitekton, from ἀρχι- "chief" and τέκτων "builder, carpenter, mason") is both the process and product of planningdesigning and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements.
"Architecture" can mean:
§  A general term to describe buildings and other structures.
§  The art and science of designing and erecting buildings and other physical structures.
§  The style and method of design and construction of buildings and other physical structures.
§  The practice of the architect, where architecture means the offering or rendering of professional services in connection with the design and construction of buildings, or built environments.
§  The design activity of the architect, from the macro-level (urban designlandscape architecture) to the micro-level (construction details and furniture).
§  The term "architecture" has been adopted to describe the activity of designing any kind of system, and is commonly used in describing information technology.
In relation to buildings, architecture has to do with the planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration. As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, architecture defines the structure or behavior of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.