Thursday, December 23, 2010
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.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
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.
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.