architecture

Von Knobelsdorff and the Sanssouci Palace

Von Knobelsdorff and the Sanssouci Palace

On February 17, 1699, Prussian painter and architect Hans Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff was born. Influenced as an architect by French Baroque Classicism and by Palladian architecture, with his interior design and the backing of king Frederick the Great, he created the basis for the Frederician Rococo style. Von Knobelsdorff is best known as architect of Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam just outside Berlin for Frederick the Great. Actually, I lived in the direct…
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The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House

On October 20, 1973, the Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II. It is identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in a modern expressionist design, it features a series of large precast concrete roof “shells”, each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres radius. Planning for the opera house started in the 1940s when the director of…
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Herostratus burning down one of the Seven Wonders of the World

Herostratus burning down one of the Seven Wonders of the World

On July 21, 356 BC, Herostratus, in an attempt to immortalise his name, set fire to the to the wooden roof-beams of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. For this outrage, the Ephesians sentenced Herostratus to death and forbade anyone from mentioning his name. Eversince this time, the term “Herostratic fame” relates to Herostratus and means, roughly, “fame at any cost”. Modern archaeologist found that three successive…
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Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rodolphe Perronet (1708-1794) On October 27, 1708, French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born. He is best known for his many stone arch bridges, among them his most popular work, the Paris Pont de la Concorde. Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born in Suresnes, a suburb of Paris, the son of a Swiss Guardsman. At 17 he entered the architectural practice of Jean Beausire, “first architect” to the city of Paris, as…
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Squire Whipple – The Father of the Iron Bridge

Squire Whipple – The Father of the Iron Bridge

On September 16, 1804, US-American civil engineer Squire Whipple was born. He who provided the first scientifically based rules for bridge construction and has become known as the father of iron bridge building in America. The civil engineer was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts in 1804 the son of a farmer. He was exposed to construction sites and materials from early age, since his father designed, built and ran a cotton-spinning mill in…
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El Escorial – The World’s largest Renaissance Building

El Escorial – The World’s largest Renaissance Building

A distant view of the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial Image by Ecemaml On September 13, 1584, the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of the Spanish capital, Madrid, is finished. El Escorial is the world largest Renaissance building. Philip II of Spain appointed the Spanish architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, to be his collaborator in the design of El Escorial. The architect…
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Louis Henry Sullivan – the ‘Father’ of the Skyscaper

Louis Henry Sullivan – the ‘Father’ of the Skyscaper

Chicago Auditorium Building by Sullivan and Adler On September 3, 1856, American architect Louis Henry Sullivan was born. Sullivan is identified with the aesthetics and innovation of early skyscraper design. Called the “Father of Modernism”. Sullivan studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology starting at the age of only 16. Already one year later, he moved to Philadelphia and was hired by architect Frank Furness. Sullivan continued his career in Chicago, where he…
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