Saturday, August 5, 2017

Looking at: Places and Buildings


Sigiriya, Sri Lanka:

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress near the town of Dambulla in Sri Lanka. A massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high, it was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital upon which he built a fortified palace. For the next 18 years it was the new Sinhalese capital with a thriving city operating at its base. The remains of those structures remain today. Also remaining halfway up the rock are two giant sculpted paws, all that remains of a monumental lion sculpture. The remains show the surface was plastered. Stairs led up through the lion’s mouth and wound up the rest of the rock face to the palace at the summit. The name of this place is derived from this structure - the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death and It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

Imagined reconstruction of the lion monument, based on smaller Sinhalese sculptures of lions.


Water Temple of Tambomachay, Cusco, Peru:

Tambomachay is an Inca site at Cusco in Peru that dates from the year 1500. It had a religious function honouring water as a vital part of agriculture and regeneration of the earth. The monument consists of three sectors: 
  • the fountains, with waterways and platforms on several levels;
  • the canals, and 
  • the agricultural sector that is a collection of platforms used to control irrigation.
The temple has Incan water irrigation systems that are still working.


56 Leonard Street:

56 Leonard Street is a 250 metre / 821 feet tall, 57-story skyscraper on Leonard Street in Tribeca, New York City, United States. Herzog & de Meuron describes the building as "houses stacked in the sky." The tallest structure in Tribeca, it was completed in 2016 and has 145 condominium residences priced between US$3.5 million and US$50 million. 

Due to its cantilevered balconies it has been nicknamed the Jenga building by the media.


Whilst looking at quirky big buildings, here are a few more:

Mahanakhon, Bangkok, Thailand:

The MahaNakhon is a mixed-use skyscraper in Bangkok, Thailand. It opened in December 2016 and features a pixelated ribbon that swirls around the exterior, peeling back its surface layer to expose an inner layer, creating balconies with views of the city. It is the tallest building in Thailand and is one of the most expensive condominiums in Bangkok.

Crown Hotel, Sydney:

Not yet built, the Crown Hotel is part of Jamie Packer’s Crown Resorts casino and hotel tower in the Barangaroo redevelopment in Sydney. According to the architects Wilkinson Eyre, “The organic design finds its roots in an abstracted form of nature, like three stems growing out of the ground slightly twisting as they reach the crown of the structure. The height corresponds to the increasing scale of the adjacent towers, extrapolating a visually significant structure that offers unparalleled views of the city. Its characteristic white skin will stand as a testament to the James Packer’s – crown resorts chairman – call for a design that would become the ‘talk of the world’.”

Just don’t expect to see Mariah Carey perform at the opening.

Liuzhou Forest City, China:

Another that is under construction and part of the worldwide trend for “vertical forests”, Liuzhou Forest City takes it to a whole new level by making the entire city green. Being built in southern China’s mountainous Guangxi area, the city will have 30,000 inhabitants, over 40,000 trees and 1 million plants covering every building. It is scheduled for completion in 2020 and, according to the architects, each year the trees will absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of pollutants, and will produce about 900 tons of oxygen a year. The greenery will also decrease the average air temperature, create noise barriers and boost biodiversity by creating a habitat for birds, insects and small animals.

Sydney has its own example at One Central Park . . . 

. . . but I must admit that whenever I see the building, and photos of similar, it reminds me of images from post-apocalyptic movies where the cities are derelict and uninhabited and vegetation has taken over. . . 

A scene from I am Legend.

I also wonder whether, if I had spent mega bucks buying an apartment in a fancy building, I would want my windows and views covered or obstructed by greenery . . .

Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy

What do others think?

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