Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Solfatara, Campania, Italy

Watch as I explore an active volcano! Fun for the entire family!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Palace of Caserta, Campania, Italy

The palace of Caserta, product of the ill-fated Kingdom of Naples, is a sight to behold. Many of the water features around St. Louis are inspired by palace grounds such as these.The palace gardens make perfect use of the sloping terrain that stretches to the north from the palace.Waterfalls and cascades supplement the long pools of water along the walk up the hill.Watch out for your hunting dogs if you're ever turned into a stag by an angry goddess!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paestum #4: A Circle and an Ellipse

Paestum began its life as a Greek city, and the original circular civic meeting space is preserved, though later built over by a Roman building. This is where early democracy of sorts played out over 2500 years ago.In contrast, the amphitheatre built by the Romans illustrates the change in government as the city became more and more Latinized. Gone is the circular meeting space, and in its place is a civic space for gladiatorial games paid for by powerful autocrats such as the Roman emperors.The distinctive stone work, which looks like a fishnet, was designed to absorb the shock of earthquakes.The nearby museum, built by Mussolini, holds treasures from both the Greek and Roman eras. This metope below is a great example of Archaic bas relief sculpture. We don't know why they're always smiling like that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paestum #3

The final of the three great temples at Paestum is located a quarter mile away from the other two, but still in the center of the city.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Paestum #2

Just south of Naples, Paestum is a great example of a Greek city that became Roman, but staunchly held onto its Greek architecture.The so-called Basilica, receiving its name because the first explorers to the site didn't think it was a temple, is another great example of early Doric architecture.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paestum #1

I thought it would be fun to look at famous buildings in Europe this week that influenced St. Louis architecture. This is one of the famed Doric temples of Paestum, a Greek colony on the mainland of Italy.
Can you identify what St. Louis landmarks are inspired by this style of architecture?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Slummin' It in Tower Grove East

My dearly departed neighbors in this long suffering house left behind quite the mess. It seems they didn't like getting evicted, and trashed the place on their way out.Why can't the slumlord who owns this place realize he's in the wrong line of business, and sell this poor house to someone who cares? Even in this economy, I know someone who wants to buy it who is also a responsible owner. Instead, our neighborhood is dragged down by a slumlord who has made such wonderful cosmetic changes as ripping out the stone lintels above the second floor windows, and placing a too small window in what was once a larger one.The greatest threat to the future and well-being of the City of St. Louis comes not from drug dealers or criminals, but from the "investors" who sweep into our city to make a quick buck and then hit the road, leaving a damaged neighborhood in its wake.Conversely, this last house, the first house's neighbor, is in the process of being converted into a single family house, waiting for a responsible, caring homeowner. The current owner, the rehabber, is putting hundreds of hours of work and tens of thousands of dollars into this house. Thanks for improving the neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Progress on the Skybridge

I saw the craziest thing last week coming down Washington around 18th St.I saw Illinois. And the now egregiously obvious I-70 elevated lanes.It's fun to see a building that has been entombed with another building for 25 years come out from beneath the newer structure.

A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.