Thursday, December 23, 2010

Venice, Italy II

Magical November light in the Most Serene Republic.

Venice, The Arsenal

In the early Middle Ages, the Venetian Arsenal was the largest industrial complex in the world, employing as many as 16,000 workers and producing one warship a day. Ships were built and equipped on a production line using standardized parts, making this effectively the first modern manufacturing facility in the world. The gate seen here dates from around 1460, and the lion statues were pilfered from Constantinople, which the Venetian Republic conquered in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade.
The Arsenal was operational from 1104 to 1797, when Napoleon destroyed it during his conquest of Venice.

Venice, St. Mark's

Venice in Sepia

Venice, Italy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Warnemunde: Obsolescence

Warnemunde, Germany (the former East): One volume of Lenin's complete works, used to prop up a coffee table in the window of a junk store. Which pretty much speaks for itself, I think.

Pebble Beach Tour 2010: Ghia madness

Three examples of wild design from Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin—all of which show an interesting interplay between American and Italian automotive styling.
From top, the 1954 Plymouth Explorer Ghia Coupe, the 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic Ghia Coupe and the 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II Ghia Coupe. All were designed under the direction of Luigi Segre, who was then in his early 30s and had been hired by Ghia specifically to work on its Chrysler accounts.

San Francisco: The Embarcadero

Here's a piece of sculpture that makes me really happy, not least because it resembles both that iconic Alessi juicer and a 1950s toy rocket. And as a bonus, it's really big!

San Francisco: The Embarcadero

I've always loved the piers along the Embarcadero, especially their monumental scale and Industrial Romanesque arches.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Halle, Germany

Halle, Germany

The old Rathaus is a gorgeous piece of neo-Gothic architecture, and it's fairly typical of the buildings in Halle that survived the war and then the Communist period. In this city, the latter was more physically destructive -- most of the town escaped serious damage by Allied bombing, but a lot of it was cleared to make way for grim Stalinist apartment blocks. It's still got plenty of architectural gems like this, however, most in a sad state of repair and far too many unoccupied. Like most cities in the former DDR, not to mention the small towns, Halle is a pretty depressing place these days.

Halle, Germany

For real alienation, however, try living in a Stalinist apartment block. This one in Halle is actually vacant, and presumably awaiting demolition.

Halle, Germany

The Rasthof of Halle, in the former DDR. Nothing like some nice Stalinist architecture to reinforce the power of the state, even in the Socialist Worker's Paradise.


And Wartburg Castle begat the Wartburg car...made in the factory where BMW once made 328s! This was a distinctly different animal, a product of the former DDR, with all that implies.

Wittenburg, Germany

Herewith the church in Wittenburg, Germany to the door of which Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses in 1517. (Presumably, it was made in wood back then; today's door is bronze, and the Theses are cast into it.) Shortly thereafter, he was imprisoned in Wartburg Castle, which overlooks the town of Eisenach...where BMW 328s were built in the 1930s.

Cottbus, Germany

Shot from the road in Cottbus, which the Sorbs call Chosebuz, an anonymous but rather interesting building. If anyone knows what this is, please let me know. I like it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PDX: They don't call it the Rose City for nothing!

Late June in the Rose Garden of Portland's Washington Park. They do grow well here, don't they?

Lewis and Clark College, the nostalgia tour

The leafy campus of my youth. Dorm room in Stewart Hall at bottom!

PDX Art Deco

The magnificent Charles F. Berg department store, from which I bought many a piece of clothing before it closed.

Portland, OR: City of ghost advertising