Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I need an explanation

If someone had in mind to show how small are humans in front of the power of justice, this building, without any doubts, do the job!
Designed by the Architect Leonardo Ricci in the 70's of the last century and completed after various phases in 2012, the Palazzo di Giustizia di Firenze is the second biggest building of its kind in Italy with approx. 800.000m² floor area. The spires, the sharp angles, the colossal dimensions and the complexity of shapes and forms will make you think twice before you mess with the judges of Tuscany...scary... 

Sandy in New York

The damages that Hurricane Sandy left on the east cost of the US, especially in New York and New Jersey, show not only the forces of nature but also how fragile are the infrastructures and the transportation systems. The strong contrast between the massive development of the private sector (real estate and commercial) and the aging and rusting infrastructures makes one wonder how come in a city like New York, which is the world financial capital, the infrastructure is so silent and forgotten? well, maybe until the next hurricane...
From a world leader in new technologies and infrastructure, the US now finds itself now far behind in comparison to Europe, the "four Asian tigers" and of course China. The massive investment in transportation in the first half of the last century has decreased dramatically in the last 50 years. Only between 1903 - 1909 three iconic bridges were inaugurated in New York: Williamsburg bridge, Manhattan bridge and Queens borough bridge. Verrazano bridge, that was open to the public on 1964 was probably the last one of its kind.
Nowadays the city can hardly complete three subway stations that make part of the "new" Second Avenue subway, a project that was already planed and partly realized (only the tunnels) in the first half of the last century.
Meanwhile, the local authorities that run infrastructure: roads, bridges, rail and mass transit, are under severe financial strain because maintenance costs have increased faster than tax revenues. A February 2009 report from the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission warned that without policy changes, state and local governments would raise only about a third of the $200 billion needed each year to maintain and improve the roads and transit systems. 
Re-elected president Obama, something to think about...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Piero Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti is one of the artists which for me is most identified with city of Milan. His art works, prints and accessories decorate apartments and spaces which I always considered as part of the authentic bourgeoisie of the city. Fornasetti lived most of his life (1913 - 1988) in Milan except for a short period of exile in Switzerland during the end of the Second World War. During his life he created more then 11000 items, many are women portraits (he was especially inspired by the face of the operatic soprano Lina Cavelieri), the sun, architectural elements and cityscapes.
His son, Barnaba Fornasetti, continues to design in his father's name. For the official website here . 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gottfried Salzmann

is an Austrian artist, born in Salzburg in 1943. his initial passion was for water colors, a trend among german expressionists in the mid of 20th century. he also took part of a group of artists - "gang of four" who exhibit their works in Salzburg in the 60's. over the years Gottfried began to associate water color techniques with other disciplines as drawing, printmaking, photography and acrylic painting. 
as a skilled photographer he started to shoot pictures that were then integrated in his works. his early themes moved from landscape to cityscape with a special interest in the american city and its skyscrapers, first New York and more recently San Francisco. 
Gottfried a true postmodern artist and his works often include many characteristics of this definition: the prominent use of words, collage, simplification, the use of industrial materials and pop imagery. 
my impression, after seeing his works at the Franklin Bowels Gallery in NYC was that he really succeeds to transmit the essence of the city. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vertical gardens

i have to say that i'm quite skeptic about the long term results of this innovative gardening method. the maintenance, especially in out door conditions, seems to be to complicate and demanding: supporting structure, special irrigation system with fertilizers, dedicated equipment to reach and replace dying plants, in short - too manipulative. 
however, the vertical gardens are quite impressive (well, at least for the first few months...) and can be a particular feature in the space.
one of the botanists/gardeners/artists who is specialized in the construction of vertical gardens is Patrick Blanc. Blank, born in Paris in 1953, has developed and finalized the system that allowed him to install his gardens in private and public spaces around the world, among them the well-known collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron at the CaixaForum in Madrid. in Berlin his garden can be seen on the facade of Galeries Lafayette and inside Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus. to visit his website click here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


if you have been walking past Cast-Iron building without realizing it, you're not alone! most of the people (me icluded...) who walk through the streets of the SoHo in New York do not notice that many of the charming facades, which are so typical to the area, are actually made of Cast-Iron. the reason is, that the original owners and builders of iron structures wanted their buildings to look like stone. from the colors to the popular renaissance stone design and motives, every afford was made to give the facades a stone-made appearance.
the use of Cast-Iron in architecture began at the second half of the 19th century and the biggest concentration of Cast-Iron facades is in the Soho Area in New York, although some individuals stand alone in other parts of the city. most of the buildings were build for commercial activities: offices, warehouses and hotels which their owners were overwhelmed by the advantages that this new technology had offered-the speed and the economy of the construction. the prefabricated sections of the facade were easy to ship, they were assembled and bolted together, floor above floor, at the construction site. since the iron was cast in molds, it was easy to change the design of the components according to the on going fashion, from Italianate style to high Victorian.

the decline of Cast-Iron architecture began with the introduction of steel-frame building which developed then into the modern skyscraper.
for more essential info click here

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Design of the Year

Design of the Year (some even call it with the ambitions name - The Oscar of the Design...) is the London Museum of Design's annual Award for the most innovative and interesting Design from all over the world.
The Award is given to seven different categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphic, Product and Transport. It is sponsored by Brit Insurance (that probably uses the platform to show that Insurance companies are not only what we think...)
The winners of last year (2011) Award were the British Designer Samuel Wilkinson and the Product Designer Company - Hulger for Plumen 001. They won the Award for their stunning redesign of the low energy light bulb.
Category Award winners and the overall winner of the Year Award 2012 will be announced in April. To see the nominees for the different categories click here.

The winner of last year Award - Plumen 001

Nominated for the Year Award 2012 - Zaha Hadid with the Opera house in Guangzhou, China (she already won with it the 2011 RIBA Award)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Godwin's Law

it's hard to argue with someone that has this name, but Godwin's law is an interesting/humorous observation, made by Mike Godwin in 1990, about behavior in online discussions and threads. it states: "as online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1". it doesn't say if the comparison is appropriate or not, only that in a long-run online debate, regardless the topic or the scope, someone will eventually make it. two other observations were made later to the observation: first, that once it occurs, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost, whatever argument was in progress. second, any intentional use of Godwin's law in order to invoke a thread ending will be unsuccessful...go figure...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Holidays!

for all of you who bother to read, here for only for a short visit or comment, i wish Happy Holidays and amazing New Year! Buon Natale e Buon Anno! Schöne Feiertage und guten Rutsch! Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo! שנת 2011 מצוינת במיוחד

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Olafur Eliasson

Although i have some problems pronouncing the name, Olafur Eliasson is one of the well known contemporary artists at this time. born in 1967 in Denmark, Eliasson studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Art and graduated at 1995. few years later he moved to Berlin where he established his own studio. Eliasson is mostly famous for his big scale installations in which he uses light, water, fog, reflections and projections to redefine space. His work range includes also Design (Light fixtures, Sammlung Boros, Berlin) and Architecture (Harpa Concert Hall facade, Reykjavik, Iceland). For an interesting interview about Art and Architecture click here.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Luoyang is a small city in a Chinese definition, only 6,5 million inhabitants, situated in the central plains, somewhere between Beijing and Wuhan. What i found really remarkable about it, is that among the other cities i visited in China in the last couple of months, Luoyang is quite a 'normal' city. without getting into the discussion of what is 'normal' etc. i would say that that from my personal point of view as westerner, architect and a big fan of urbanism, Luoyang gave me the impression of a pleasant, relaxed and a well maintained city. something that is not really granted in today's China... it has a defined urban structure with tree lined boulevards, which can still be defined boulevards and not a highway streets (like in Beijing). it has many green areas, busy parks and gardens. the historic center is still there and it's quite authentic (not exaggeratedly refurbished) and the people seem to be relaxed and enjoying their city. hanging out in the park on a summer evening, listening to inspiring pop singers on the sidewalks, or just strolling around after dinner. so normal ant yet so unusual in China...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Roof is on Fire

this time, inspired by the Olympic flame (and not a TV cartoon series...), the architects at C.Y. Lee & partners in Taiwan designed the Pangu Plaza in Beijing (2008). just across the street from the amazing 'bird nest' stadium and the impressive aquatics center. an impossible hybrid of forms that makes you really wonder...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Aerotropolis is a name of a book written by John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay, about the future of the urban development in the age of globalization. according to its authors, the airports will become the center of the future urban development. surrounded by ring of malls and hotels, followed by a ring of residential neighborhoods, the airport will no longer be a disturbing, polluting and a noisy element, but the city's heart - the reason for its existence. the importance of the airports, as an economy driver, in the 21st century can be compared with the highways in the 20th century, the railroads in the 19th century and with the seaports in the 18th century. the authors base their theory on the fact that the new mega-airports attract numerous industries as logistics, retail, telecommunications, hotels, entertainment, business and exhibition.

i still haven't read the book, but as a big airports fan, i find this theory quite interesting. the increasing number of passengers makes more and more travelers who spend time at the airports. the airport developers on the other side, which are aware of this huge economic potential, provide more and more services to 'ease' our waiting for the next flight. some airports, especially on long distance routs (Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt), became 'Airlines hub's for connection flights and provide so many services, that it could even be fun to be stuck there for few days.

few factors however, might effect this theory: the increasing price of air fuel causes each year heavy loses for the airline companies. with no alternative fuel sources, the flying fares might raise significantly in the next future and the number of the passengers will decline.
and one more point, if you want to enjoy and walk around the city center of Aerotropolis you actually need a ticket...

Thursday, May 5, 2011


sometime the TV shows that we watch as kids influence too much our imagination. i also grew up watching the Transformers, but i guess i wasn't that impressed as the architects of this masterpiece. Tuntex Sky Tower is an 85 floors skyscraper in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. completed in 1997 and designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum.