sábado, 28 de febrero de 2015



The Forbidden City was built in 1406-20 and served as the main imperial palace for the Ming and Qing dynasties for almost 500 years. The complex consists of around 980 buildings and is 961 metres from north to south and 753 metres from east to west. 


St Joseph Cathedral was built in 1913-16 in the French concession area, using brick imported from France. It was the tallest building in Tianjin for around 80 years. The three towers were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution but was rebuilt in the 1980s. It is also known as Lao Xilai Catholic Church.

The Tianjin Tower, also known as Jin Tower or Tianjin World Financial Centre, is a 337-metre office skyscraper. It was built in 2007-11 to a design by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. At the foot of the skyscraper can be seen a bridge across Haihe river. This was built in 2003-04 to a design by Deng Wenzhong. 


A laughing Buddha statue at the Feilang Feng grottoes at Lingyin temple. According to legend, the mountain into which the carvings were made flew from India to Hangzhou as demonstration of the power of Buddhist teachings. Most of it was created in the 10th century when the Lingyin monastery was at its peak. The monastery was originally founded in 328 and has been rebuilt many times. The current buildings are modern restorations of late Qing buildings. The temple includes an 800-year old Buddha statue as well as the largest wooden Buddha statue in China.  


The governor's mansion was built in 1905-07 as the official residence of the German governor-general of Jiao'ao, referring to Jiaozhou bay. The area became German territory on a 99-year lease in 1898 though the Germans had shown interest in the area since 1860. It was taken over by the Japanese after WWI. The governor was reportedly fired due to the high cost of his mansion.

St Micheal's Cathedral was built by a German catholic missionary society called Divine Word Missionaries, which had been present in Shandong since 1882. A mission hall and chapel was completed in 1902 and there were originally plans for a gothic style church but this was disrupted by the German surrender of Qingdao in 1914. The project was picked up again in 1928 and building was completed in 1934. 

The Qingdao Protestant church was built in 1908-1910 to a design by architect Curt Rothkegel as Qingdao's parish church. It has previously been called the International church or the Qingdao Gospel Church. 

Construction of the 140-metre Qingdao Custom House began in 1992, according to information by skyscraperpage. The little building on the right is a restaurant.

There are few tall buildings in the oldest part of Qingdao, mostly situated around Zhongshan road. This includes the 213-metre Parkson plaza completed in 1998 (left). The other buildings appear to be a complex of bank buildings and a government building. 

Signal Hill in one of the 10 major hill parks in Qingdao and is named after a signalling station from the German colonial period. An observation pavilion offers 360 degree views of the city.


Tai Shan is the eastern of the of the sacred mountains recognised in Chinese culture as the five great mountains, destinations of pilgrimage and ritual sites of imperial worship. The mountains are mostly associated with Taoism and Buddhism, while two other separate groups of mountains are known as the four sacred mountains of buddhism and the four sacred mountains of taoism. Tai Shan has been a place of worship for at least 3000 years. The tallest peak is the Jade Emperor Peak. The largest temple complex in the area is located at the foot of the mountain in the city of Tai'an. The complex is built on the pattern of an imperial palace and is only one of three such remaining in China, the other being the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Confucius temple in Qufu. Another temple complex, near the top of the mountain, is the Azure Clouds Temple.  


The Hanging temple of Xuankongsi was originally built over 1500 years ago. According to legend, the structure was built by one single monk. Successive repairs and extensions have resulted in the temple as it stands today. It is built on a cliff face 75 metres above the bottom of a canyon basin and is located near Heng Shan, one of the five sacred mountains of China. It is the only remaining temple to unite the three religions of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.


The HSBC building on the Bund was built in 1921-23 to a design by architects Palmer & Turner. It was the Shanghai headquarters of HSBC until 1955. The bank was first established in Shanghai in 1865 and moved to the former Foreign Club in 1874. The bank purchased some of the neighboring properties in 1912 before redevelopment began around 10 year later. Palmer & Turner also designed the Yokohama Specie Building, the Yangtze Insurance Building and Bank of China Building, which are also all on the Bund.

The tower on the left was completed in 2002 to a design by John Portman and Associates. Its distinctive crown is in a shape of a lotus flower.

Tomorrow Square was built in 1997-2004 to a design by John Portman and Associates. The architectural firm was one of the first American companies to establish a China office in Hong Kong in 1979. A Shanghai branch was set up in 1993, by which time the Shanghai Centre had been completed in 1986-1990. At 165 metres, the central of the complex was the tallest in Shanghai at completion. Tomorrow Square reaches 285 metres and twists 45 degrees from the 37th floor to mark a change of function from flats to hotel. The lower section was originally intended for office space.

The Jin Mao Tower (420.5m) was the tallest building in China from 1999 to 2008, when it was surpassed by the nearby Shanghai World Financial Tower (492m). The latter held the title until the Shanghai Tower was completed in 2015, and taller skyscrapers have since been completed in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Tianjin. Jin Mao was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; while the Shanghai World Financial Centre is by Kohn Pedersen Fox.

miércoles, 25 de febrero de 2015


Construction of Rheims cathedral began shortly after the previous cathedral was destroyed in a fire in 1210. The chancel was completed and used for services in 1241 while the nave was completed in 1299. The west front was completed in several stages, resulting in differing styles for some of the sculpture. The upper part was finished in the 14th century, but in keeping with the previous concept. The cathedral was used for coronations of French kings. 

domingo, 22 de febrero de 2015


Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford was built in 1160-1200, originally as the church of St Frideswide's Priory. There were plans to replace the priory with a college in 1522-29 but this was stopped in 1532 when the crown took over the property. It became the cathedral of Oxford in 1546 when the diocese was transferred from Osney Abbey after only four years. The diocese of Oxford was created in 1542 and previously belonged to the diocese of Lincoln. Christ Church has been said to be the smallest cathedral in England.

The Sheldonian Theatre was designed by Christopher Wren and built in 1664-68. The building was originally intended to be used for graduation and degree ceremonies but is today also used for music concerts and lectures. On the right can be seen the Old Ashmolean museum built in 1683 and Exeter College built in 1833-34 and 1856-59 by H.J. Underwood in the first stage of building and George Gilbert Scott in the second. The oldest part of this college is Palmer's tower from 1492. 

The Clarendon building (right) was built in 1711-15 to a design by Nicholas Hawksmoor. It was commissioned to house the Oxford University Press, previously located in the basement of the Sheldonian Theatre. In the back can bee seen the Old Indian Institute building, completed in two stages in 1884 and 1896. The institute was created to educate aspiring civil servants of the British Raj. The architect was Basil Champneys. The gable on the right belongs to an extension of Hertford College.

Radcliffe Camera was designed by James Gibbs and built as a library in 1737-49. In the back can be seen the Bodleian library on the left and All Souls College on the right. The Bodleian has its origins from the 14th century, though most of the existing building is from the 17th, including the tower of the five orders completed in 1613-19. The oldest parts of All Souls was built in the middle ages, though much of it was designed in neo-gothic style by Nicholas Hawksmoor and built in 1714-34. 

The new Ashmolean Museum was built in 1841-45 to a design by architect Charles Cockerell.

The building on the corner of Beaumont and St Giles Street, housing the Taylor Institution, was also designed by Cockerell and built in 1845-48. An extension in Bath stone was completed in two stages in the 1930s.

The oldest parts of Balliol College are dated to 1431 but the front on Broad street was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and built in 1867-68. The college chapel was designed by William Butterfield in 1857.  

sábado, 14 de febrero de 2015

Cologne and Dusseldorf


St. Andreas is one of the 12 romanesque churches in Cologne. It was originally consecrated in 974 and rebuilt in the 12th century. The gothic choir and chapel were added in the following century.

Gross Sankt Martin was originally built between 1150 to 1250, after a fire destroyed the previous abbey.  Restorations were undertaken during the 19th-century and rebuilding took place after WWII, as the tower and nave had burnt to the ground in 1942. The exterior had been restored by 1965 while the interior was completed in 1985. Most of the buildings on Fischmarkt were built in "historical style" after the war destroyed 90% of the buildings there.

Construction of the cathedral of Cologne was begun in 1248. The eastern arm was completed in 1322  and sealed off from the rest of the construction site so it could be used for services while work continued. Construction came to a halt in 1473 and work only resumed in earnest in 1842. Surviving plans and drawing were used and the cathedral was finally completed in 1880.

The tower of the Cologne city hall was built in 1407-14 on a commission from the city's guilds. The rest of the building dates from 1330, having replaced a previous building from 1135.

The renaissance loggia (Rathauslaube) of Cologne city hall was built in 1569-73 to a design by Wilhelm Vernukken and replaced a previous loggia on the same location. The building on the left is known as Spanischer Bau. This was originally built in Dutch renaissance style in 1608-15 but was entirely rebuilt in 1953 due to war damage. 

The Jesuit church of St Maria Himmelfart was built in 1618-89 to a design by architect Cristoph Wamser. It is the biggest church in Cologne apart from the cathedral and may have incorporated parts of an earlier medieval structure. The rebuilding of the church after WWII destruction was completed in the 1980s.

The head office of the archbishop of the archdiocese of Cologne is located in this building, which seems to have been part of the monastery complex of St Maria Himmelfahrt.

Dom-Hotel was built in 1893 to a design by architects Heinrich Joseph Kayser and Karl von Grossheim. The hotel opened already in 1857 and the current building is the third Dom-Hotel on this site. The principal facade is on Roncalliplatz. The building suffered severe damage during WWII but was restored in the 1950s.

The building at the address Unter Fettenhennen 11 was restored to its original design in 1966 by architect Friedrich Wilhelm Kramer.

The Hohenzollern bridge was built in 1907-11 by engineers Fritz Beer and Friedrich Dirksen. It replaced the previous cathedral bridge from 1859. The new bridge was originally intended for rail and motor traffic but has only been used for rail and pedestrians since it was rebuilt after WWII.


St Lambertus is possibly the oldest building in Dusseldorf. It was originally built as a chapel in the 700s by Anglo-Saxon monks, and replaced by a church in the 1200s. Further extensions and changes from romanesque to gothic were completed in 1394. Storms and a nearby explosion caused damaged in the 17th century and tower was rebuilt in 1815. It was rebuilt again after WWII in imitation of the previous leaning tower. In front of the the church stands the Schlossturm, the only remaining part of the city palace. This was originally built in 1260 and developed into a renaissance-baroque palace in the 17th to 18th centuries but was destroyed by fire in 1872. On the corner of Burgplatz is the old Arts and Crafts school built in 1883 by architect Eberhard Westhofen. The modern section is from the 1980s.

The catholic church of Saint Maximilian, usually referred to as Maxkirche, was built in 1735-37, replacing a previous Franciscan church from 1666-68.

The building that now houses the justice ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia was built in 1866-70 by architect Carl Ferdinand Busse. The high-rise in the back was built in 1960-64 and given a redesign in 2000 by Ingenhoven architects.

Johanniskirche was built in 1875-81 to a design by architects Walter Kyllmann and Adolf Heyden. The decision to build had been taken in 1859 and a site was found in 1874.

Rothes Haus in Josephinenstrasse is one of the rare 19th-century buildings to survive WWII. It was built in 1887-88 by architect J. Gorres.

Haus der Universität on Schadowplatz was originally built in 1896-97 for the Niederrheinischen Bank to a design by architects Heinrich Kayser and Karl von Grossheim. As the architects were based in Berlin, the actual work was carried out under local architect Max Wohler. The ground floor was built for offices while the upper floors were flats for the two bank managers.

The Rhine promenade was originally built around 1900 by moving the embankments and creating two levels with the lower level used for shipping. After WWII, there were plans to turn the promenade into a road for cars but a tunnel was built in the 1990s instead and the promenade was redesigned. The buildings in this section was mostly built around 1910.

Steigenberger Parkhotel was built in 1901-02 to a design by architects Heinrich Kayser, Karl von Grossheim and Max Wohler. It was completed in time for the Industry and trade fair in Dusseldorf in 1902. The north and south wings were extended by Max Wohler in 1912. The hotel was rebuilt after WWII without the original mansard roof and dome. On the left is a modern extension to the Galeria Kaufhof Dusseldorf. This was originally built for the department store Leonhard Tietz in 1909 by architect Joseph Maria Olbrich. 

Neuer Zollhoff is a building complex in the Media Harbour designed by architect Frank O. Gehry and completed in 1998. The three buildings are clad in white plaster, brick and stainless steel respectively. 

The western section of Schadowstrasse is a pedestrian street and one of the leading shopping destinations in the city. Landmarks include Schadow Arkaden designed by architect Walter Brune in 1994 and the Peek & Cloppenburg flagship store designed by Richard Meier in 2001. 

The office complex KoBogen was completed in 2013 to a design by the architect Daniel Libeskind. The high-rise in the back is the Dreischeibenhaus from 1957-60 by architects Hentrich and Petschnigg. The park on the left, Hofgarten, is regarded as Germany's first public park.