domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2014

Russell Square

The Duke of Bedford was authorised by Parliament in 1800 to develop his estate, and the developer James Burton soon became involved in the scheme. The first stage was to demolish Bedford House, a 17th-century mansion which fronted Bloomsbury Square, and replace it with two rows of terrace houses on each side of a street named Bedford Place. To the north was laid out a new square in 1800-17 called Russel Square, taking its name after the duke's surname.

Few of the original buildings remain and many of the ones that have survived are much altered in appearance, but the houses in the southwest corner of the square give a flavour of the style during Burton's time.  
James Burton had already taken part in the development of the Foundling estate to the north-east, where he had built almost 600 houses, and a piece of land leased from the Skinner's company where Burton Crescent was created, later to be renamed Cartwright Crescent.    

The houses on the south of Russel Square has been overlaid with Victorian terracotta, but its recorded that Burton originally had the western fronts decorated with thin Ionic pilasters and a pediment, apparently inspired by Bedford Square.  In the back can be seen Imperial Hotel, which in the 1960s replaced a hotel designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1911-13. This had originally been the site of Bolton House, which was built in 1759-63, probably by John Vardy. Fitzroy Doll is also responsible for Russel Hotel from 1898, which still stands in the northeastern corner of the square, 

domingo, 9 de noviembre de 2014


Construction of the present St. Mark's Basilica started some time around 1073 and appears to have been completed in 1117. The facade was added in the 13th century with the construction of a narthex around the western arm of the church. Most of the mosaics were also completed during this period and the domes were covered with taller ones in lead-covered wood. The facade was originally in brick but was gradually clad in marble, often using decorative features taken from Byzantine buildings in the newly conquered lands in the east. The final appearance of the west front was achieved some time in the 15th century, resulting in the upper parts being completed in gothic style. St. Mark's has two predecessors, the first was built in 828-32 and was destroyed during a rebellion in 976, while the second was demolished to make way for the third.  

The current bell tower of St. Mark's is a replica of the renaissance tower that was completed in 1513. It was finished in 1912 after the original had collapsed ten years earlier. The design has been attributed to Giorgio Spavento, whose work replaced an older tower built between the 9th and 12th centuries. The logetta at the base of the tower was designed by Jacopo Sansovino, was added in 1549 and also had to be reconstructed after 1902.

The church of San Giorgio Maggiore was built to a design by Andrea Palladio in 1566-1610. The bell tower from 1467 was left unchanged from a previous church but collapsed in 1774 and was rebuilt in its current style by 1791. The site of the earlier church was further back from the coastline and was built after an earthquake in 1223, which had destroyed the first church on the island, originally constructed around 790. 

The basilica of Santa Maria della Salute was built in 1631-81 to a design by Baldassare Longhena. The construction of a new church was prompted by an outbreak of plague in 1630, which led to a decision by the Republic of Venice to build a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Longhena won the commission in competition with ten rival submissions.