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Alien Architecture by fleur_de_lis

Ferrari World Theme Park I didn't know anything at all about this unusual piece of architecture until just a couple of months ago when our son informed us that he was going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a job. He will be a project coordinator for the installation of some of their lighting systems from what I understand, although what he does for a living has never really quite penetrated my technologically challenged brain. Oh, the stories I could tell of this boy's adventures around the world.... Personally, it looks like a giant alien life form, sucking us dry to me--although it is supposed to represent the double curve side profile of the Ferrari GT body. Either that, or a giant bio-hazard symbol. Hmm... The theme park itself is located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and is very near completion. Here are some fast facts: World's largest indoor theme park World's fastest roller coaster--traveling at speeds in excess of 124 mph Racetrack that will host the Formula 1...

18 Towers by fleur_de_lis

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain One of my favorite works of architecture just happens to be La Sagrada Familia, an unfinished Catholic Basilica that has been in the making since 1882. The lead architect was Antoni Gaudi, a man inspired by strong religious and nationalist feelings. La Sagrada became his work for over 40 years, with Gaudi at times living as a virual hermit in a workshop on the site. After his unexpected death in 1926 (he was run over by a tram) construction continued for a time, was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, and didn't resume until the 1950's. Today's plans for completion are a mixture of old plans and modern adaptations under the direction of Jordi Bonet i Armengol, and still the work is not progressing much faster than it did under Gaudi! Speculations on completion dates range anywhere from 2017-2041. La Sagrada Familia is a beautiful example of Gaudi's Art Nouveau architecture and is full of religious symbolism and meaning. Some of the...

New Swan Stone by fleur_de_lis

New Swan Stone is the English translation for Neuschwanstein, probably the most famous castle in the world. Perched atop a peak in the Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein is mysterious, haunting, and fantastically beautiful. Ironically, this structure, built to be a private refuge, 'sacred and out of reach', was only occupied for 11 nights by King Ludwig ll of Bavaria. The Swan King, the Mad King of Bavaria, the Dream King, and Mad Ludwig were all nicknames for King Ludwig ll. He was a strange man that came into his kingship at the age of 19. For many reasons, his reign as king did not go well from the start and he withdrew into his beloved mountains where he built several castles and related structures as well as Neuschwanstein. Instead of an architect, Ludwig commissioned a stage designer, Christian Jank, to come up with the plan for the castle. Ludwig was fascinated by the music of Wagner with whom he enjoyed a long though rocky friendship, and Neuschwanstein was built largely as...

The Pearl of the West by fleur_de_lis

Mont St. Michel-- the Pearl of the West, mysterious, ethereal, heavenly battleground, spiritual inspiration, mighty fortress. All of these phrases describe the first of several posts I will be doing on Architectural Wonders . Mont St. Michel is a beautiful, mystical abbey built at the top of a rocky islet one mile off the French coast in the English Channel. It is separated from the mainland by a mile of sand and quicksand at low tide, or a mile of water at high tide. In the past, the journey across the sands was treacherous, and frequently pilgrims lost their lives in the quicksand or the rapidly rising tides before they could complete their journey. It is said that the tides race in at the speed of galloping horses! Today there is a causeway that connects the mainland to Mont St. Michel, and guides if you insist on making the journey on foot. Legend has it that the archangel Michael appeared to the bishop of Avranches in 708 A. D. For 3 nights in a row, the bishop had the same strange...
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