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Medieval: The Latest Architecture and News

AD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb

04:30 - 16 June, 2017
AD Classics: Red House / William Morris and Philip Webb, The L-shaped footprint of the building allows it to focus in on the garden. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Gabrielle Ludlow (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The L-shaped footprint of the building allows it to focus in on the garden. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Gabrielle Ludlow (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

In the heart of a suburb just east of London stands an incongruous red brick villa. With its pointed arched window frames and towering chimneys, the house was designed to appear  like a relic of the Middle Ages. In reality, its vintage dates to the 1860’s. This is Red House, the Arts and Crafts home of artist William Morris and his family. Built as a rebuttal to an increasingly industrialized age, Red House’s message has been both diminished by the passage of time and, over the course of the centuries, been cast in greater relief against its context.

This stained glass window, depicting Love and Hate, was one of many designed by friends and family of William Morris throughout Red House. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user KotomiCreations (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The painted front door is undeniably medieval in character; the stained glass window panes are not original. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user KotomiCreations (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) Courtesy of Flickr user KotomiCreations (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The L-shaped footprint of the building allows it to focus in on the garden. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Gabrielle Ludlow (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) + 14

AD Classics: Himeji Castle / Ikeda Terumasa

04:00 - 30 May, 2017
AD Classics: Himeji Castle / Ikeda Terumasa, The white plaster walls and sweeping terraces of Himeji-jo inspire its other name, “Castle of the White Heron.” . ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Oren Rozen (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)
The white plaster walls and sweeping terraces of Himeji-jo inspire its other name, “Castle of the White Heron.” . ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Oren Rozen (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

With its gleaming white walls and elegantly terraced roofs, it is easy to forget that Himeji Castle was built as a fortress . Standing on two hilltops in the city of Himeji, the old fortress, also known as Himeji-jo, is the greatest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture from the early years of the Shogunate, which governed the island nation from the late 1500s to the 19th Century. Although never tested in battle, the castle’s elaborate defensive measures represent the best strategic design the period produced. While these measures have since been rendered obsolete, the same cannot be said for the castle’s soaring, pristine aesthetic, which earned it the nickname Shirasagi-jo – “Castle of the White Heron.”

Courtesy of Flickr user Ben Kubota (licensed under CC BY 2.0) Courtesy of Flickr user alisdair (licensed under CC BY 2.0) A period image depicts the labor needed to construct Ikeda Terumasa’s grand new Himeji Castle. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user ブレイズマン (Public Domain) This map from the Himeji City Castle Laboratory Collection depicts the concentric lines of defense surrounding Himeji Castle. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user ブレイズマン (Public Domain) + 14

AD Classics: Palais des Papes / Pierre Poisson & Jean de Louvres

04:00 - 9 March, 2017
AD Classics: Palais des Papes / Pierre Poisson & Jean de Louvres, An elevation of the palace’s eastern façade by Eugène Viollet Le-Duc. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (Public Domain)
An elevation of the palace’s eastern façade by Eugène Viollet Le-Duc. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (Public Domain)

While the Roman Catholic Church is synonymous with the Eternal City (and Italian capital), the greatest monument from its medieval heyday actually stands in southern France. The relic of the Papacy’s brief departure from Rome, the Palais des Papes (“Palace of the Popes”) in Avignon is the largest Gothic palace ever built. Constructed in two main phases by two of its residents, the Palais des Papes is a grandiose architectural expression of the wealth and power of the eleven popes who called Avignon their home and base of power.

Photo by Jean-Marc Rosier; courtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) Bounded by the papal apartments and the two wings of the New Palace, the Cour d’Honneur is substantially larger than the courtyard defined by the cloisters of the Old Palace. ImagePhoto by Jean-Marc Rosier; courtesy of Wikimedia user Ampon (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) A 15th Century drawing of Avignon by Étienne Matellange; the Palais des Papes dominates the skyline at the top right. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Aa77zz (Public Domain) A plan of the Palais des Papes drawn in 1921. The Palais Vieux, or Old Palace, is at the left, while the Palais Neuf, or New Palace, is on the right. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user François GOGLINS (Public Domain) + 19

The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built

04:00 - 24 January, 2017
The Unexpected Stories Behind 10 Skyscrapers That Were Actually Built, Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco
Torre Velasca. Image © José Tomás Franco

As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.

Ryugyong Hotel. Image © José Tomás Franco Robot Building. Image © José Tomás Franco CCTV Headquarters. Image © José Tomás Franco Cayan Tower. Image © José Tomás Franco + 21

AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger

04:00 - 2 December, 2016
AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger, West Façade. Image © Wikimedia user Thomas Clouet (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)
West Façade. Image © Wikimedia user Thomas Clouet (licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

The origin of Gothic architecture, a style which defined Europe in the later Middle Ages, can be traced to a single abbey church in the northern suburbs of Paris. The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis (Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis), constructed on the site of an abbey and reliquary established in Carolingian (800-888 CE) times, was partially rebuilt under the administration of Abbot Suger in the early 12th Century; these additions—utilizing a variety of structural and stylistic techniques developed in the construction of Romanesque churches in the preceding centuries—would set medieval architecture on a new course that would carry it through the rest of the epoch.

Félix Benoist (Public Domain). ImageEngraving (1861) Rose Window. Image © Wikimedia user Diliff (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) Tomb. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) West Façade Portal Detail. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) + 9

AD Classics: Forbidden City / Kuai Xiang

05:30 - 3 October, 2016
AD Classics: Forbidden City / Kuai Xiang, The Forbidden City, Beijing. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia user pixelflake (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Forbidden City, Beijing. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia user pixelflake (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)

As the heart of Imperial China from 1421 until 1912, the Forbidden City—a palatial complex in the center of Beijing—represented the divine authority of the Emperors of China for over five hundred years. Built by the Ming Emperor Zhu Di as the centerpiece of his ideal capital city, the palace would host twenty-four different emperors and two dynasties over the course of its history. Even after the subsequent democratic and communist revolutions that transformed China in the early 20th Century, it remains as the most prominent built relic of a cosmopolitan empire.[1]

A scale model of the Forbidden City, viewed facing south. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user Can Pac Swire (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The golden tiles of the roof, the ends of which were adorned with auspicious icons and characters, were a key symbol of the Forbidden City’s imperial status. ImageCourtesy of Flickr user See-ming Lee (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0) The Meridian Gate, through which visitors would pass on their way to an audience with the emperor. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Jorge Lascar (licensed under CC BY 2.0) The Hall of Supreme Harmony viewed from the south. ImageCourtesy of Wikimedia user Daniel Case (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0) + 10

Explore the Fascinating Overlap of Architectural Styles Throughout History With "The Piranesi Project"

08:00 - 19 September, 2016
Explore the Fascinating Overlap of Architectural Styles Throughout History With "The Piranesi Project", Courtesy of Olympio Augusto Ribeiro
Courtesy of Olympio Augusto Ribeiro

Driven by an intrigue in the ruination of Roman architecture, Brazilian architect, and photographer Olympio Augusto Ribeiro has undertaken a fascinating comparative analysis of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's architectural etchings and the scenes as they stand today. Travelling to each of the Italian sites brought to life in Piranesi's drawings, Ribeiro has managed to recreate the original angle and shot, eventually compositing them together to create collages which cross time periods.

Piranesi's drawings show different architectural styles side by side, and it was this coexistence that urged Ribeiro to investigate what has changed in Rome and Tivoli since their conception. The project, officially dubbed "Piranesi Project (In search of Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s Rome, 1720-1778)" took Ribeiro two months to photograph, meticulously recreating the images across Rome, Villa Adriana, and Tivoli.

Courtesy of Olympio Augusto Ribeiro Courtesy of Olympio Augusto Ribeiro Courtesy of Olympio Augusto Ribeiro Courtesy of Olympio Augusto Ribeiro + 35

AD Classics: Palazzo Santa Sofia / The Ca d’Oro

05:00 - 15 February, 2016
AD Classics: Palazzo Santa Sofia / The Ca d’Oro, The Ca d'Oro from the Grand Canal. Image © Wolfgang Moroder
The Ca d'Oro from the Grand Canal. Image © Wolfgang Moroder

Sitting on the northern bank of Venice's Grand Canal is a great house whose ornately carved marble facade only hints at its original splendor. The Palazzo Santa Sofia—or the Ca D’Oro (House of Gold), as it is also known—is one of the most notable examples of late Venetian Gothic architecture, which combined the existing threads of Gothic, Moorish, and Byzantine architecture into a unique aesthetic that symbolized the Venetian Republic’s cosmopolitan mercantile empire. Built to serve as the grand residence of wealthy Venetian businessman and politician Marin Contarini, the palazzo has seen a number of owners and renovations over its lifetime before ultimately coming to serve as a museum for medieval painting and sculpture.[1]

© Jean-Pierre Dalbera Image of the Ca d'Oro via shutterstock.com. Image via Shutterstock user InavanHateren Courtesy of Wikimedia user Madpack Courtesy of Wikimedia user Godromil + 10