sábado, 16 de septiembre de 2017


The first written record of Borgund Stave Church is from 1342, but the actual building has been dated to the period 1150-1200. The timber was felled during the winter of 1180-81, according to tree-ring dating. It is one of the country's best preserved stave churches and has been used as model for the restoration of other churches of the same type. It was still in use as a church until 1868.

The new Borgund church was inaugurated in 1868, to a design by Christian Christie, who also built the nearby Hauge Church. The motivation to build a new church was in the interest of preservation but also because the old church had become too small.

The visitor centre was finished in 2005, by architects Askim Lantto. Other works by them include the Gurisenteret Outdoor stage and Visitor Centre on Edøy, which is close to a stone church dated to around 1190.

domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017


The National Museum of Singapore was opened as the Raffles Library and Museum in 1887. The museum was founded in 1849 and the collection was previously housed in the Singapore Institution, which is considered the oldest school in Singapore. It was briefly moved to the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, which then existed as the city hall. The new building was commissioned in 1882 and was designed by architect Henry McCallum, but was built to a revised and scaled-down version by JF McNair. A modern annexe by W Architects was added in 2004-06, featuring a glass-clad rotunda inspired by IM Pei.

The former Attorney-Generals Chambers, which is now part of the Parliament Building, was originally built in the 1880s, though the current design dates from 1906. The first building on the site seems to have been completed in 1839, as an annex to Maxwell's House (also known as the former Parliament House), which is considered the oldest surviving building in Singapore.  

The General Post Office, which also housed the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and other government office, was built in 1924-28. It was the largest project launched for the occasion of the centennial celebrations in 1919. The design was by architect Keys & Dowdeswell, who also built the Capital Theatre and Singapore General Hospital. It was the third GPO on the site, the first was built in 1873 and the second in 1885. The post office had previously been housed in a building near the city hall, since 1854. The GPO was rebuilt to become a hotel in 1997-2001 and is now the Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

The Bank of China building was built in 1954 by architects Palmer & Turner. It was one of the first towers in the central business district and the first to include central air-conditioning. The same architects were behind similar towers for the Bank of China in Hong Kong (1952) and Shanghai (1937). 

The Asia Insurance Building was built in 1953-55 to a design by architect Ng Keng Siang. At 87 metres, it was the tallest building in Singapore at the time. It was converted to serviced apartments in 2008 and has been renamed Ascott Raffles Place.

The Concourse was completed in 1994 after a redesign in 1987 of an earlier project called the Hong Fok Centre. The latter first began construction in 1981 but was halted due to an economic downturn. The redesign was by Architects 61 and Paul Rudolph. It is located in the strip between Beach Road and Nicoll Highway known as the Golden Mile. The office tower reaches 175 metres.

UOB Plaza was completed in 1995 to a design by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. It consists of two towers joined by a podium. The earlier tower is from 1974 but was redesigned as a smaller twin to UOB Plaza 1, which became the second tower in the CBD to reach 280 metres in 1992. The Bonham Building was one of the earlier buildings on the site of the smaller UOB Plaza 2.

OUE Bayfront at 50 Collyer Quay was built in 2007-11 to a design by DP Architects. It replaced the Overseas Union House from 1971, which was an 8-storey office and car park building with shopping facilities. 

Reflections at Keppel Bay is a residential complex completed in 2011 to a design by Daniel Libeskind. The complex consists of six high-rises and 11 low-rise villa apartment blocks. It followed the earlier Caribbean at Keppel Bay, which was the first residential development in Keppel Bay in 2006. A development named Corals at Keppel Bay was also completed to Libeskind's design in 2016.

Marina Bay Financial Centre was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and built in two stages. The first two office towers and Marina Bay Residences were completed in 2010. The largely subterranean mall was also first opened at that time. The third office tower and Marina Bay Suites were officially completed in May 2013. The towers are between 192 and 245 metres.

Oasia Hotel Downtown was completed in December 2016, to a design by Singapore-based WOHA Architects. The 190-metre tower is clad in a red aluminium mesh to allow the integration of vines, plants and flowers. It includes four open-sides sky terraces that provide vistas and cross-ventilation. The design has been presented as a prototype for land use intensification in tropical urban environments.  

Marina One (left) is a scheduled for completion in 2017. The project consists of two office towers and two residential towers, with a retail podium and garden roof. It was designed by Ingenhoven Architects.

viernes, 10 de marzo de 2017


The old town of Fredrikstad was founded in 1567 after the previous settlement of Borg had been burned to the ground by Swedish forces during the Northern Seven Years' War. The new location was chosen to make it easier to defend, though the Swedes succeeded in burning down the fledgling town in the 1570s. The construction of the fortifications, including a moat and ramparts, began in the 1660s. The fortified town began to lose influence to new settlements on the opposite side of the river already in the 18th century, and the city administration and cathedral was finally moved at the end of the following century. Apart from some military buildings, The oldest houses are from after the fire of 1764 while several parts of town were also rebuilt after a fire in 1830. Some minor fires and rebuilding later in the century also added some later housing stock, though the town otherwise became frozen in time.

The borough on the opposite side of the river to the old town is named Cicignon after a fort built in the late 17th century. Demolition of the fort began in 1903 and a the villas at the end of J.N. Jacobsens gate have been dated to the same year. One of the brick mansions later became the residence of the bishop of the diocese of Borg.

The villa of Lykkeberg was built in 1873-75 by architect Paul Due, possibly in collaboration with Bernhard Steckmest. The architects had a similar villa built in Oslo during the same period (Onsumslottet), but this was demolished in 1905. The property has been known as Lykkeberg since 1780.

The main church of Fredrikstad was built in 1879-80 to a design by master mason Waldemar Ferdinand Luhr. It was previously called Vestre Fredrikstad kirke to distinguish it from the church in the old town. It has been a cathedral since 1969, when the diocese of Borg was created.

This villa was originally built in 1889 and has just been restored as a private house, with an interior design inspired by the period, after many years as an office building. The building on the left was designed by architect Herman Backer, indicating that it was built around the same period. 

The Cicignon area has several houses in wood with corner turrets, built in imitation of the brick buildings of the late 19th century. This particular example, on the corner of Ridehusgata and Bjarne Aas gate, was built in 1898 by Nils Brynhildsen, who ran a timberware company. It was threatened with demolition in the 1980s.

Storgaten 15, at the end of the main square, was built in 1909 to a design by architect Ole Sverre. The previous building had been destroyed in a fire in 1908 that destroyed 23 houses in the area. It had housed a pharmacy since 1883, and this continued when the new building was completed. 

Glemmen New Church was inaugurated in 1949 to a design by architect Arnstein Arneberg. The previous church was originally built in 1853 and was extended in 1887-88, but was destroyed in a fire in 1944. Glemmen was a separate municipality until 1964, when it was merged with Fredrikstad. Glemmen Old church is considered the oldest building in the city and is dated to 1182.  

The modern complex at one end of Dampskipsbrygga consists of a housing unit from 2005-06 and a riverside commercial unit from 2013. The latter was completed to a design by architect Christian Cleve Broch. The yellow brick building on the right was originally built in 1872, though the current facade is from 1901, by Gustav Gulbrandsen. 

Litteraturhuset was completed in 2013 to a design by architect Griff Arkitektur. The building houses a  bookshop, book café and an institute of journalism. On the right can be seen a commercial building from 1903-04, originally built for Fredrikstad og Omegn sparebank, by architect Gustav Lorentz Gulbrandsen.

martes, 7 de marzo de 2017


The church of San Miniato al Monte was originally begun in 1018 on the site of a 4th century chapel. The adjoining bishop's palace was built in 1295-1320 while the unfinished bell tower is from the 15th century. 

The baptistery of St John was built between 1059 and 1128 as the third baptistery on the site. The first was constructed in the late fourth century or early fifth century. The marble supposedly came from Fiesole, which was conquered by Florence in 1078, while the rest came from ancient structures. The lantern was added in 1150, while the entrance porch is from 1202.

Palazzo Vecchio was originally built in 1299-1314 as the city hall of Florence. The design is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio, who also gives his name to the 94-metre bell tower Torre d'Arnolfo. The tower was built on top of the previous Torre della Vacca, and this is supposedly the reason why it  is off-centre relative to the main facade. The palace was extended in 1342-43 and the courtyard was redesigned by Michelozzi Michelozzo in 1453. Further extensions were completed toward the end of the 15th century, including a second courtyard by Cronaca (Cortile della Dogana) and the main hall (Salone dei Cinquecento). Both Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were commissioned to fresco the walls of the main hall, but neither one of the completed the task. The Salone dei Cinquecento was instead decorated with frescoes by Giorgio Vasari in 1563-65. Vasasri was also involved in the re-decoration of the first courtyard and the extension of the building to Via dei Leoni. This extension, which included a third courtyard, was completed by Buontalenti in the late 16th century. Also known as Palazzo della Signoria, which is still the name of the square, the name vecchio refers to the Palazzo Pitti as the Palazzo Nuovo.

Orsanmichele was originally built as a grain market in 1337 by Francesco Talenti, Neri di Fioravante and Benci di Cione. It was converted into a church for the craft and trade guilds in 1380-1404. The statues are copies of the originals, which were commissioned by the guilds in the early 15th century. 

The design of Palazzo Rucellai has been attributed to Leon Battista Alberti and dated to 1446-51, though this is still subject to debate. Actual construction was probably piecemeal and not completed until 1460s when the Rucellai family succeeded in buying the neighbouring properties. In fact, the facade should have been one bay wider than what was built and lacks symmetry as a result. A very similar design is used on Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza by Bernardo Rosselini, which could be the architect for both palaces. It is seen as the first consistent attempt to apply classical orders to palace front, an inspiration which probably came from the Colosseum. The use of a richer Corinthian order on the first floor doesn't match the classical model but is consistent with the contemporary idea of a piano nobile being the most important part of the building. 

The facade of Santa Maria Novella was built in 1458-70 and was likely designed by Alberti in the 1450s. The architect seems to have compromised on his classical ideas due to the gothic forms of the church, which had been begun in 1246. Some work on the facade had started in 1310. His choices in design may also be due to respect for local tradition, as exemplified in the church of San Miniato. Alberti had previously used classical columns on the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini, which was also a pre-existing church, and on the Rucellai chapel in San Pancrazio. The facades of the later churches of S. Sebastiano and S. Andrea in Mantua are loosely modelled on temple fronts.

Construction of Palazzo Gondi was begun in 1490 and had been completed by 1498, to a design by Giuliano da Sangallo. It is similar in style to the earlier Palazzo Medici but the surface treatment of the facade is smoother as had become common toward the end of the century. 

The Palazzo Grifoni or Budini-Gatai was originally begun in 1557 to a design by Giuliano di Baccio d'Agnolo, who also was responsible for the Palazzo Grifoni for the same client in San Miniato.  It was continued after the death of d'Agnolo by Bartolomeo Ammanati in 1563, possibly on the basis of designs by Michelangelo. Parts of the facade were only completed in the 18th century, however. The facade of Palazzo delle Due Fontane (left) is from the early 19th century and was made to harmonise with Grifoni. A similar consideration determined the design of the loggia of the Servites (right), which was begun in 1616 to mirror Brunelleschi's Foundling Hospital from 1419-36. This work also involved d'Agnolo as well as Antonio Sangallo the Elder. A similar loggia was added to the church front of Santissima Annunziata in 1601 by Giovanni Battista Caccini in 1601. The equestrian statue in the middle of the square is of Grand Duke Ferdinand I.

San Frediano in Cestello was built in 1680-89 to a design by Gherardo Silvani. The dome was added in 1689 by Antonio Maria Ferri. It replaced a previous church from the 1450s.

The columns on the facade of San Pancrazio were moved to the present location after the deconsecration of the church in 1808, but originally stood inside. They were made to a design by Alberti to support the entrance to the Rucellai chapel. The passage to the chapel was bricked up in the early 19th century and was only recently reopened. It houses the Rucellai sepulchre, which is a marble shrine designed as a miniature of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The chapel is dated to 1458-67.

The facade of Santa Croce is dated to 1857-63 to a design by Niccolo Mata. Construction of the church first began in 1294 or 1295 and the design has been attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio on stylistic grounds. It is known that the nave was still unfinished in 1375 and consecration was delayed until 1442. The slow progress was possibly due to opposition within the Franciscan order, from factions wishing to observe the rule of absolute poverty. Unlike Santa Maria Novella, the church was not built with a stone vault but has an open timber roof instead. The chapter house in the adjacent convent, known as the Pazzi chapel, was originally designed by Brunelleschi around 1429-33. It wasn't completed for 40 years and changes were made to the exterior.