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Architecture

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If there has ever been a country defined by wealth and power, in both positive and challenging ways, it is Azerbaijan. Though independent now, the country has been occupied by multiple conquering hordes: those of Cyrus The Great, Alexander The Great, the Seljuks, the Mongols, the Persians, the Russians, the Ottomans and the Soviets. But since 1991, Azerbaijan is free, and exceptionally wealthy due to their vast oil and gas reserves. The country is on the western tip of the Caspian Sea, and is literally at the crossroads between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, as it borders Russia to the North; Georgia and Armenia to the West and Iran to the South. It is generally Muslim, also with deep roots in Zoroastrianism and Fire Temple worship. To Understand the Design, Understand The Baku Flame Towers History This précis of Azebaijani history is a necessary precedent to understanding the architectural design…

If there is one condition of modern architecture, it’s that the construction must prevail standing. Yet some architects push the limits, obviously challenging with Newton’s universal law of gravity, to design structures that not only seem to defy reasoning but are excellent at that. From a cantilevered shed created by the Dutch-based firm MVRD to an impressively accumulated construction in Hanover, by the Stuttgart-based firm Behnisch Architekten, these modern architecture buildings seem impracticable to conceive, let alone produce. Of course, all of these architectural constructions passed stringent zoning laws before they were built. Here are some examples of impressively designed structures: Building: Museum of Tomorrow Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Architect: Santiago Calatrava Completed in 2015, 1.4 million people visited the Museum of Tomorrow during its inaugural year, far surpassing the predicted 450,000 visits. It is currently the most-visited museum in Brazil. Building: Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank Location: Udine, Italy Architecture firm: Morphosis Architects The architects tilted…

Lulu Group’s Twenty14 Holdings (the same group the recently bought Great Scotland Yard) announced its £85 million acquisition of Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian. As part of their commitment to preserve the history and grandeur of the hotel, as well as adding value to the community, Twenty14 Holdings will create new jobs in the UK by hiring local artisans to renovate the hotel’s Historical Caledonian Suites, expand the already illustrious food and beverages offering and extend the reach of the hotel to include an additional 50 keys. Built directly above the Princes Street Station building, The Caledonian has played host to well-known faces from around the world including film stars, entertainers and royalty. Today the hotel is the only part of the old station to have survived along with the cast iron entrance gates on Rutland Street. Guests are able to relive the rich history and heritage of this elite…

At the southernmost point of the Norwegian coastline by the village of Båly, in the Lindesness area, Snøhetta, a world renowned architecture group, has designed Europe’s very first underwater restaurant, called UNDER.  There are underwater restaurants in other areas of the world, but Under will be Europe’s first. With its immediate proximity to the ocean’s underwater world, the restaurant will also function as a research center for marine life. It is an architectural tribute to the Norwegian coast – and to its colourful, various undersea life. Under will open in early 2018. Under’s namesake holds a double meaning in Norwegian: ‘under’ can also be translated as ‘wonder.’ Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s form breaks the water surface to lie against the craggy shoreline. More than an aquarium, the structure will become a part of its marine environment, coming to rest directly on the sea bed five meters below the…

Classified as an historic monument, the George Stephen House, erected in 1880 by an ultra-wealthy railway pioneer in Canada, George Stephen, 1st Baron Mount Stephen, is the affluent residence that subsequently housed the prestigious private Mount Stephen Club for nearly a century. Just in time for the 375th anniversary of Montreal, a gem of Montreal’s urban heritage is reborn today in all its splendour. It opens its doors to the world as a very special mansion hotel, Le Mount Stephen. Owned by the Tidan Hospitality & Real Estate Group, 1440 rue Drummond has been the object of an investment of more than $20 million to confer a brand-new vocation on this prestigious address in the heart of the Golden Square Mile. This exclusive luxury hotel with contemporary comforts on the technological cutting edge addresses an upscale business and leisure clientele. It is one of the only three Canadian hotels among…

INTERVIEW Guilhem Eustache The Design of FOBE House, Morocco A client introduced me to a Belgian film director and producer who commissioned me to draw the plans of several houses on a property he had bought in Marrakech, Morocco. For many years, I had regularly visited Morocco. From my first trip, I was bewitched by the country and the three projects studied to date are certainly inspired, to varying degrees, by all the images and impressions gathered during my stays there. The main difficulty was to define the program with the client. Originally we had planned to build three houses on this site. In order to preserve the land and its stark landscape, the project gradually decreased in size to finally implement only the smallest of the three houses: the Fobe House. The client informed me that he had bought a second larger plot (5 hectares) located closer to the…

The palace of Versailles was often referred to as “The New Rome”. Influences of Greek and Roman antiquity and mythology can be seen throughout the palace as much in its architecture and decoration as the antique pieces chosen by the Kings for their collections. For the first time since the revolution, the most prestigious antiques find their place in the palace again for the unique occasion of the exhibition “Versailles and Antiquity”. Over two hundred works (sculptures, paintings, drawings, engravings, Tapestries, pieces of furniture and objects d’art) have been selected from the major French collections, the Louvre museum and Versailles, and displayed in A superb setting. Versailles was a New Rome in Many Ways Its grandiose size, its ambition to last through the ages, and the many references to the great models of Antiquity. In the 17th century Antiquity was considered the most emblematic model, which the most ambitious monarch…

Ancient architecture and history-rich homes for many, replete with fabulous art, like tapestries, fine paintings, sculpture and antiquities. A Peek at Castle Life These centuries old monuments are the thing of fairy tales and seemingly far away from modern life. Many of them remain not only because of the craftsmanship of their creation, but due to the dedication and efforts of many to preserve them and keep them for future generations. Have you ever wondered what they look like on the inside? They are fascinating places to peer into; while they peruse them. We think these are important to preserve because they are pieces of history marking great accomplishments of man and great pieces of beauty in architecture. Private tour of exclusive chateau from 1734 near Toulouse in the South of France Gorgeous castle with a splendid frontage, a pool and a fabulous soaker tub! We can just imagine luxuriating…

Just a few nibbles to whet you appetite for travel to Europe! While many of us dream of travelling through Europe, few of us have given much thought to how we would make our travels special and unique. Avoid the crowded galleries and tourist-filled restaurants by planning ahead and making your destination a once-in-a-lifetime experience. PARIS, FRANCE Paris is likely on the top of most lists but after touring the Louvre and Moulin Rouge, why not do something to improve your French cooking technique? Book a lesson with celebrity chef Patricia Wells and learn the secrets of French cooking that will last a lifetime. ROME, ITALY Rome is a mecca of fashion and style. Plan your visit to coincide with one of the semi-annual Fashion Weeks. Although you may not receive an invitation to attend the runway presentations you will spend your Roman vacation rubbing elbows with the most sought…