Category Archive 'Architecture'
07 Jul 2017

Oldest Wood-Frame House in the United States

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Vintage News says that the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts is the oldest:

The west wing of the house was built around 1654, and the east wing was added in the 18th century. After its construction, a chimney was built at its top, and around 1800 expansion of the parlor was made on this side. At the same time, a new wing with two rooms was added to the west side, and behind this side, a toilet was made as the last addition to the house.

The early inhabitants of the house carved hex signs into the mantle in order to protect themselves from witches. Also, shoes have been found in the attic to chase away evil spirits. In 1895, one of the heirs, Rebecca Fairbanks, was in a difficult financial situation, so she sold the house to John Crowley who after the selling allowed her to live there.

Later, Rebecca sold many of the family items including a unique wooden chest which was made by John Houghton in 1658. This item was purchased back by the family in 2003.

When Crowley wanted to tear down the house in 1897, it was immediately purchased by Mrs. J. A. Codman and her daughter. In 1904, the newly established Fairbanks Family took the house over, and in 1905 it became a museum. In 1960, it was declared a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Two buildings, the La Maison Puisseaux and La maison des Jésuites in Quebec City, date from 1637, but it unclear if they were wood-frame houses.

27 May 2017

La Maison d’Adam, 1491

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From the French Wikipédia:

La maison d’Adam, also known as La maison d’Adam et Ève or La maison de l’Arbre de Vie, is a half-timbered [in French: maison à colombages] house located in the heart of the city of Angers, at the intersection of the rue Montault and the place Sainte-Croix, just behind the cathedral. It is one of the architectural relics of the medieval heritage still existing today, built around 1491. Today it is home to the Maison des Artisans d’Angers.

The date of construction was determined by dendrochronology, which placed its date of building shortly after 1491. According to the archives, it was an apothecary, Jean Lefevre or Jean Lebreton, who paid for the construction. It was still in the same family in 1526, when Renée Lefèvre was listed as the second owner.

Around 1544, it became the property of Jacques Richard, merchant and notable of Angers. It was subsequently occupied by several notables of Angers: Jean Jolivet, woolen cloth merchant, circa 1686 and Michel Adam, son-in-law of Jean Jolivet, a silk cloth merchant.

During the French Revolution, the revolutionaries destroyed the figures of Adam and Eve with the serpent, leaving only the apple tree in place.

The building consists of a ground floor surmounted by three floors, plus two floors of attic, for a total of six levels. In addition, there is a barrel-vaulted [voûté en berceau] basement. It occupies a corner lot of 8 by 10 meters.

The wooden panel façade is decorated with numerous sculptures and consists of a diamond-shaped paneling, the slabs of which were originally made of bricks.

20 May 2017

Chateau de Morsan

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7 bedrooms, 6 full baths, 9-10 acres. Only €1,000,000 for the Chateau de Morsan, nestled in the midst of the forests of Normandy, one of the few remaining folies in France. Originally built around 1760 as a hunting lodge by the Marquis de Morsan, a confidant to Louis XV, for the King’s visit. The architect was Ange-Jacque Gabriel who was also the architect of the petit Trianaon at Versailles and the Folie of Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of the King.

The current owner rhapsodizes:

The house is a national monument, a summer house, not built for all seasons. There are two Renaissance towers, standing and three stables, all needing to be restored, and the windows and shutters on the house should be replaced by double glass, etc. The roof which is slate, needs rebuilding, as it is original, that can be done correctly with slate for around 200,000 euros. It has a nice servants cottage and quite a lot of land, it is very safe and protected there, two hours from Paris, and no one could find it. The land is quite fertile for growing vegetables, flowers, and herbs, and there is a very choice parcel of land with trees to build a large guest house, There are about nine or 10 acres, and is great for horses, it is horse country. It has everything.

With a good and responsible buyer who loves the l8th Century, and period furniture, the house can be sold more or less furnished at a very reasonable price. The furnishings are the right period for the house, so it could be sold furnished or semi furnished, to the right person.

A lovely couple reside onsite as caretakers. We have known their family for years, and the young man can do everything, he is very skilled and diversified, and does extra projects. She is very artistic, and keeps the house up.

It has important wood paneling and fireplaces, and it should not be changed or damaged, We can not sell the property to anyone who would destroy any of the original details, it has been maintained for nearly 300 years, and is a summer house. Central heating can be revived, there are radiators that function, and the plumbing should be brought up to date. This is not a house for the faint hearted, it is for a French history buff, and someone who wants to live in the beauty and charm of the l8th Century. I think that it would not appeal to most Americans, it is a romance with the past, and absolutely incredible in the summer… let’s say to die over… and absolutely unique. There are less than six of these l8th Century folies left in the country.”

Handsome Properties International has the listing.

02 Apr 2017

Book Tunnel

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Boing Boing: Chinese bookstore Yangzhou Zhongshuge in Zhen Yuan, China has arguably the most breathtaking bookstore entrance in the world.

My Modern Met:

The dizzying space contains a grand optical illusion that you only see once you’ve set foot inside. Its lobby is a cavernous tunnel that most notably features striking black mirrored flooring. Together, the reflective ground and curved shelving creates the feeling that you’ve stepped into a perfectly circular room, making you question which way is up. Luckily, there’s help in finding the path forward. The shelves are split by a lightning bolt-shaped gap in the ceiling that leads you into the rest of the store.

Shanghai-based studio XL-Muse were the ones to come up with this clever configuration. Inspired by Yangzhou’s proximity to water, they designed the ground to mimic liquid. “In the past, guided by water, many literati and poets visited and gathered here,” they told Dezeen. “[The bridges] used to be the guiding factor of culture and commerce, and they represent that the bookstore is the bond between humans and books at the same time.” The mirrored flooring acts as a water current that draws you further into Yangzhou.

29 Mar 2017

A Room With a View

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Daily Mail:

A New York architecture firm has unveiled designs for a skyscraper that is out of this world.

Deemed the ‘world’s tallest building ever’, Analemma Tower will be suspended from an orbiting asteroid 31,068 miles (50,000 km) above the Earth– and the only way to leave is by parachute.

The orbital path would swing the tower in a figure eight pattern between the northern and southern hemispheres each day, taking residents on a tour through different parts of the world – all in just a 24 hour orbital cycle. …

The design will use a system called the Universal Orbital Support System (UOSS), which attaches a high strength cable to an asteroid that is lowered to Earth and then attached to the tower.

‘Since this new tower typology is suspended in the air, it can be constructed anywhere in the world and transported to its final location,’ Clouds Architecture Office shared on its website.

‘The proposal calls for Analemma to be constructed over Dubai, which has proven to be a specialist in tall building construction at one fifth the cost of New York City construction.’ …

The massive skyscraper will be setup in sections and each with a designated purpose.

Business will be conducted at the lower end of the towers and sleeping quarters will be positioned two-thirds of the way up the building.

Residents will also have access to a gardening area, a place for worship and in the bottom level will be sections for dining, shopping and entertainment.

The architects plan to take full advantage of the skyscraper’s location and will place solar panels at the upper most levels to generate power from the sun.

And residents will enjoy fresh water from condensation of clouds and rainwater, which will be collected and purified. …

The tower would travel on a figure eight path over certain major cities in the northern and southern hemispheres – this includes New York City, Havana, Atlanta and Panama City.

And the amount of daylight increases by 40 minutes at the top of the tower due to the curvature of the Earth.

‘Analemma can be placed in an eccentric geosynchronous orbit which would allow it to travel between the northern and southern hemispheres on a daily loop,’ Clouds Architecture Office explained.

‘The ground trace for this pendulum tower would be a figure eight, where the tower would move at its slowest speed at the top and bottom of the figure eight allowing the possibility for the towers occupants to interface with the planet’s surface at these points.’

‘The proposed orbit is calibrated so the slowest part of the towers trajectory occurs over New York City.’

while researching atmospheric conditions for the project, the team discovered that there is most likely a height that people could not tolerate due to the extreme conditions.

‘For example, while there may be a benefit to having 45 extra minutes of daylight at an elevation of 32,000 meters, the near vacuum and -40C temperature would prevent people from going outside without a protective suit,’ shared Clouds Architecture Office.

‘Then again, astronauts have continually occupied the space station for decades, so perhaps it’s not so bad?’

Read the whole thing.

23 Aug 2016

Double-Helix Staircase

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Chambord

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ChambordStaircase2
model illustrating the staircase’s design

Wikipedia:

The royal Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France, is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France.

Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, who maintained his royal residences at the châteaux of Blois and Amboise. The original design of the Château de Chambord is attributed, though with some doubt, to Domenico da Cortona; Leonardo da Vinci may also have been involved. …

One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular open double spiral staircase that is the centerpiece of the château. The two spirals ascend the three floors without ever meeting, illuminated from above by a sort of light house at the highest point of the château. There are suggestions that Leonardo da Vinci may have designed the staircase, but this has not been confirmed. Writer John Evelyn said of the staircase “it is devised with four (sic) entries or ascents, which cross one another, so that though four persons meet, they never come in sight, but by small loopholes, till they land. It consists of 274 steps (as I remember), and is an extraordinary work, but of far greater expense than use or beauty.”

07 Aug 2016

Whale-Mouth Pulpit

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Dobroszow
Baroque pulpit in the form of a whale’s mouth, Church of Saint Hedwig, Dobroszów, Poland. Apparently a similar pulpit exists in Duszniki-Zdrój.

01 Jun 2016

Art Nouveau Stairway

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Stairway
Musée National Gustave-Moreau, Paris, view of the stairway, Albert Lafon architect, 1895.

26 Apr 2016

Disgruntled

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DisgruntledGargoyle

30 Mar 2016

Folk Architectural Detail

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HandDoorknob

18 Jan 2016

Le Curieux aka Kilroy Was Here

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SainteFoy
Abbey of Sainte Foy, Conques, France, c. 1050.

20 Nov 2015

Light Reflected from City Skyscraper Buckles Bodywork and Mirror of Businessman’s Car

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Daily Mail story

11 Jul 2015

Eschenheimer Turm

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Amazing Planet:

Standing right in the middle of downtown Frankfurt, surrounded by modern high-rises, is an early 15th century tower called Eschenheimer Turm. The tower was once part of a massive fortification that consisted of nearly sixty towers and walls that encircled the city. Most were demolished between 1806 and 1812 when the old city walls were torn down. Eschenheimer Turm, along with two other towers, were saved from demolition at the request of French ambassador Count d’Hédouville. Today the tower is one of Frankfurt’s most famous landmarks.

Read the whole thing.

06 Apr 2015

A Dozen British Buildings Which Were Around When Richard III Was King

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SaltfordManor
Saltford Manor House, near Bath, Somerset

Saltford Manor House claims the title of Britain’s oldest continuously occupied home. The house has details, particularly in the ornate windows, which date it to around 1148 – the same completion date of Hereford Cathedral, which has similar Norman features. It is believed that the house originally consisted of a large single room on each floor with a vaulted chamber on the ground floor. Remodelling was carried out in the 17th century. Important features in the house include a rare fragment of a medieval painting and a Norman window in the main bedroom.

Abroad in the Yard profiles a dozen British buildings still surviving today which date back to the time of Richard III or even earlier.

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