domingo, 28 de mayo de 2017


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.

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. 

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.

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 it, 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 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. 

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.

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. 

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.