Crannogs: Neolithic Artificial Islands

Crannog on Loch Tearnait – By Peter Bond, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

A crannog is typically a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes, rivers, and estuarine waters of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Crannogs were used as dwellings over five millennia, from the European Neolithic Period to as late as the 17th/early 18th century. Crannogs took on many different forms and methods of construction based on what was available in the immediate landscape. The classic image of a prehistoric crannog comes from both post-medieval illustrations and highly influential excavations . The choice of a small islet as a home may seem odd today, yet waterways were the main channels for both communication and travel until the 19th century in much of Ireland and especially Highland Scotland. Crannogs are traditionally considered as simple prehistorical farmsteads. They are also interpreted as boltholes in times of danger, as status symbols with limited access and as inherited locations of power that imply a sense of legitimacy and ancestry towards ownership of the surrounding landscape. Today, crannogs typically appear as small, circular islets, often 10 to 30 metres (30 to 100 ft) in diameter, covered in dense vegetation due to their inaccessibility to grazing livestock.

info: Wikipedia

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Porto Flavia – A port suspended half way up a rock face

By noname – http://wikimapia.org/2056393/it/Porto-Flavia#/photo/716205, CC BY 3.0, Link

Porto Flavia is a sea harbor located near Nebida in the Iglesias comune of Italy. Built in 1923–24, it served as the mineral production hub of Masua in the west coast of the Sardinian Iglesiente area. It is named after Flavia Vecelli, the daughter of Cesare Vecelli, who engineered and designed the harbor. The harbor’s characteristics make it unique in the world, and at the time of its construction it was an outstanding engineering feat.

The mines’ owner asked the Italian engineer Cesare Vecelli to devise a solution to improve steamship loading time and cost. Vecelli surveyed the coasts of Masua, ultimately finding the perfect spot in the high cliffs in front of the Pan di Zucchero stack. Here, the sea was deep enough and well-protected from wind and waves to allow a safe mooring, while the ore could be loaded from the cliffs by gravity.

After one year of study, Vecelli devised a detailed plan to build two superimposed tunnels, each 600 metres (2,000 ft) long, that were linked by nine huge vertical reservoirs for the processed ore. In the upper tunnel an electric train was used to bring the load the reservoirs: the ore was unloaded by gravity into hatches on top of the reservoirs. In the lower tunnel a conveyor belt received the ore from the reservoirs and brought it to an extensible 16-metre (52 ft) long conveyor belt capable of fully loading a steamship moored at the base of the cliff in about two days.  The ends of the tunnels facing the sea were adorned with concrete towers and decorative nameplates. They were not necessary to the operation, but were asked to be constructed by the owner of the company as a mark of prestige. Vecelli’s daughter, Flavia, was born earlier in 1924 and the engineer obtained from the company to name the harbor after her.

Porto Flavia’s importance decreased in the 1960s after the decline of mining activity in Sulcis-Iglesiente, and it was closed in the 1990s when mineral production in Masua ceased. Today, it is owned by IGEA SpA, a public company charged with the restoration and preservation of the old mining plants.
info source: wikipedia

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verb: αποκτώ, προμηθεύομαι, βρίσκω, επικρατώ, εξασφαλίζω

The upside down hotel said to have inspired the sandcrawler vehicle of the Star Wars

By Neil RickardsFlickr: 004648, CC BY 2.0, Link

The Hotel du Lac in Tunis was designed in the Brutalist style by the Italian architect Raffaele Contigiani and built from 1970 to 1973. It was constructed on 190 reinforced concrete piles up to 60 m (200 ft) deep, and built from exposed concrete around a steel structure, creating a single long block with ten floors, with large windows. Projecting cantilevered stairs at each end create an inverted pyramid shape. The striking design, departing from traditional Arab and European architecture, made the hotel a symbol of modernism in Tunis. Its distinctive shape has prompted comparisons with the sandcrawler vehicle of the Star Wars films. The hotel closed in 2000. It was bought by the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO) in 2013, which proposed demolishing the building and spending up to $100m to replace it with a new five-star hotel tower. Concerns about imminent demolition were raised again in 2019.
info: Wikipedia
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World’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the Swiss Alps

Gemeinde Randa [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge is the longest hanging bridge for pedestrian use in the world. It is located in Randa, Switzerland ,and replaced  a previous bridge that had been damaged by rock falls.  The bridge spans 494 meters (1621 feet), and upon its inauguration in July 2017 became the longest suspension bridge built for pedestrian travel.  It employs 8 tonnes  of cables, and has a system that prevents it from swinging. It’s highest point is 85m and it’s only 65cm wide. It takes almost 10 minutes to cross it and in the middle, swaying walkers are at the highest point: 85 m.

Hawa Mahal – The Palace of the Winds

By Marcin BiałekOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Hawa Mahal (in English : “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”) is a palace in Jaipur, India. The red and pink sandstone from which it is built gives Jaipur its nickname, “The Pink City.”
The structure was built in 1799. Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey the strict rules of “purdah”, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings. This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer. Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but in reality it is the back of that structure.

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Organic Architecture Grown From Living Trees

Architecture made out of living trees  requires not only using nature as it is but also shaping it to the required form. The first examples of using trees to create living structures are bridges across Asia.

Tree Cathedral Bergamo, Italy
The Cattedrale Vegetale uses trees and branches to create a cathedral-like structure. The frame was completed in 2010 as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity, but beech trees take decades to fully mature.

Pava [CC BY-SA 3.0 it], from Wikimedia Commons

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Two giant hands lift Vietnam’s Golden Bridge into the sky

The Golden Bridge located in Vietnam, among the Ba Na Hills 1,400 meters above sea level,  appears to be held up by a pair of giant stone hands. The bridge is 150 meters long. Visitors can admire the infinite scenery  and majestic mountainscape.