Arriving into Milan Central railway station you immediately know that you have entered a most elegant European city. Modeled after Union Station in Washington, DC the impressive Milano Centrale station was completed in 1931. Adorned with numerous sculptures, this grand stone structure has no particular architectural style.
The city’s principal landmark, the Milan Cathedral or Duomo di Milano, prevails as a Gothic masterpiece. Soaring over the piazza that bears it’s name, the Duomo, took six centuries to complete and even today is in a constant state of refurbishment and repair.
The second largest Italian church with a nave height of the nave of over 147 feet, it boasts the highest Gothic vaults of a complete church in the world.
A profusion of carved statues, stained glass and marble adorn The Altar of San Giovanni Buono, a 7th Century bishop in Milan.
Sharing space on the Piazza del Duomo find the shopping arcade known Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Pass though the magnificent triumphal arch to a glass covered shopping and dining promenade.
Built in the 15th century on the remains of a 14th Century fortification, the Castello Sforzesco, was renovated and enlarged in the 16th and 17th Centuries, making it one of the largest castles in Europe.
Away from the bustle of the main tourist areas, find the lovely Brera district of Milan. This upscale residential area is comprised of beautiful town homes, shopping and dining.
Nestled in the Brera neighborhood, on the Piazza del Carmine, find The Church of Santa Maria del Carmine. The church structure was completed in 1446 while the Baroque style facade was added in the 17th Century.
While in Italy, I discovered my new favorite cocktail, the electric orange Aperol Spritz.
Combine 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol, and 1 splash soda on the rocks. Garnish with an orange slice. Molto Bene!
Mr. H says: Do your heart a favor an travel-Enjoy!
At the recent ASID Chapter Leadership Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, we were able to carve out some time from the training sessions, to visit with this modern yet historic city.
Brookline artist Janet Echelman’s ethereal spider web rope sculpture “floats” between it’s supporting buildings over the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
A personal tour of Boston’s hip North End by a local architect and developer highlighted some of the unique structures around the area. The Skinny House is the narrowest house in Boston, measuring a mere 10 feet at its widest point.
The North End lays claim to being the city’s oldest residential community, having been continuously inhabited since it was settled in the 1630s. Red brick tenements housed the waves of immigrants that flooded the city at the turn of the 20th Century.
Built in 1723, The Old North Church, is the location from which the famous “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal is said to have been sent in Paul Revere’s midnight ride, on April 18, 1775.
A histrionically Catholic Italian neighborhood, the North End of Boston is home to many elaborate pop up shrines.
And of course, cannolis can be found around any street corner
Mr. H says: You see a lot of things in Boston when you’re dancing in the streets-Enjoy!
Set against the backdrop of snow capped peaks, the charming mountain village of Breckenridge, Colorado contains a wealth of historic Victorian architecture. Now considered a world class ski resort, Breckenridge was originally a mining town that provided services for the profitable mining district that surrounded it.
It was during the summer of 1859, when miners discovered gold along the Blue River, that the development of the small Breckenridge community was established. While none of the original camp exists, the historic structures that remain are marvelous building archetypes of a town born from the gold fever era.
Along the Main Street, facades display architectural ideals of the Victorian age of this once mining town now resurrected as a resort ski village. The town’s period of historic significance spans from its settlement in 1859 to the closure of the last gold dredging operation in 1942.
In 1980, the Secretary of the Interior designated the greatest concentration of the town’s historic structures as a Local National Register Historic District. The over 300 significant structures are protected through development and design standards that insure compatible infill construction.
Typical false front, painted clapboard commercial buildings along Main Street.
The merchants wealth is evident in the Victorian details of the widow’s walk and adjoining tower with stained glass windows.
Known as a “rough and ready” town, built for function, Breckenridge does boast some elaborately detailed structures. A wide variety of building ornamentation can be found including brackets, decorative window surrounds and ornamental cornices.
Victorian filigree and whimsy is evident on this facade
In keeping with the Victorian edict of saturated color in multiple intense shades, residences and business alike flaunt eye popping color schemes.
Both economic activity and population declined with the cessation of mining although Breckenridge, as the Summit County seat, never became a ghost town. In 1961, Rounds and Porter Lumber Company of Wichita, Kansas opened a new ski area breathing new life into the mountain town.
The town of Breckenridge is a celebrated example of preserving the past while maintaining a viable purpose.
Mr. H says: Architecture can be considered frozen music-Enjoy!
On a recent trip to High Point Furniture Market I was pleased to spend some time in charming Winston-Salem. Even though its the fifth largest city in North Carolina, it harbors a wealth of charm and history. From skyscrapers to the 1700 era structures of Old Salem, Winston Salem is a sojourn worthy city.
Completed in 1929, as the headquarters for the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, The Reynolds Building was the design inspiration for the much larger and more famous Empire State Building in New York City that was built in 1931.
The tallest building in the Piedmont Triad region is found in Winston-Salem. The Wells Fargo Center or 100 North Main Street is a 1995 postmodern 34 floor skyscraper designed by Petronas Towers architect César Pelli.
The area of Old Salem was originally settled by members of the Protestant Moravian Church in 1766. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1966, the town’s restored and reconstructed buildings, staffed by living-history interpreters, present visitors with a view of Moravian life in the 18th and 19th centuries.
A trip is not complete with dining at the Tavern in Old Salem.
For the duration of my stay, I was happily ensconced in fellow ASID interior designer Susan Carson’s home. Built in the 1920’s, it was a joy to behold her design of the interiors.
A stunning Zuber inspired hand painted wall mural in the entry
The elegant faux painted dining room with a cheetah patterned rug.
Mr. H says: Seeing art and engineering as separate is not seeing the world as a whole-Enjoy!
With the media attention on their unsuccessful independencevote and the wildly popular Starz TV series Outlander filmed on location at Doune Castle, the Scots are enjoying a bit of a renaissance in their ancient country.
There are thousands of castles dotting the Scottish landscape in various state of use and ruin. On a recent trip to Scotland, we experienced the history and romance of a few Scotland’s architectural treasures first hand.
Dominating Edinburgh’s skyline, the city’s namesake castle, sits high atop Castle Rock. Since the 12th Century, a royal residence and stronghold sat on the this site housing notable Scottish monarchs such as Queen Margaret (later St Margaret), who died there in 1093, and Mary Queen of Scots, who gave birth to James VI in the Royal Palace in 1566. Now a museum and function venue, Edinburgh Castle safeguards the Stone of Destiny, on which kings and queens were enthroned for centuries, along with the Scottish Crown Jewels.
At the other end of the Royal Mile (literally it is a mile) is the active royal residence of Holyrood Palace. Since the 16th Century the structure has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots and is still in use by Queen Elizabeth for state occasions and official entertaining. With its ruined 10th Century Abbey to the rear, the existing Baroque palace structure was re-constructed in between 1671 to 1679 which was designed by the architect Sir William Bruce.
Along the coast, just South of the city of Aberdeen, Scotland sits Dunnottar Castle. Commanding a sweeping view of the North Sea, this Medieval castle ruin evokes Scotland’s mystical past. William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II, all slept there. According to legend, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels from destruction by lowering them into a boat below the castle.
While many of us our looking forward to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the official kick off to summer, we often forget just what this coming Monday is really about: To remember the men and women of our armed services who have died in a United States War. Find some of the United States most moving and iconic tributes to our nation’s fallen heroes.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Honoring the men and women who served in the controversial Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country.
While there are several parts to this memorial site, including “The Three Servicemen” statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, the most famous part is simply known as the wall. The Memorial (wall) was designed by an undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin, born in Athens, Ohio in 1959. Her parents fled from China in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China, She acted as a consultant with the architectural firm of Cooper- Lecky Partnership on the construction of the Memorial.
Completed in 1983, The Wall consists of two 246 feet and 9 inches gabbro stone which were sunk into the ground, with earth behind them. It looms 10 feet high at the apex point and tapers to 8 inches on either end. This India quarried stone was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality, so that when a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, symbolically bringing the past and present together.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Located in a natural crater, The Punchbowl, consists of military cemetery along with 60 memorial boulders for those that fought in various United States conflicts around the Pacific Ocean. Although there are various translations of the Punchbowl’s Hawaiian name, “Puowaina,” the most common is “Hill of Sacrifice.” Continuously expanding since 1949, this vast breath taking site houses the remains of over 13,000 soldiers and sailors who died during World War II alone.
The famously striking grand stone staircase is flanked by the ten marble slabs of the Courts of the Missing which list the names of the 28,788 military personnel who are missing in action or were lost or buried at sea in the Pacific during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Designed by the architecture firm, Weihe, Frick, & Kruse, and completed in 1964 this solemn space is watched over by Lady Liberty.
World War II Memorial
Honoring the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home it is the only 20th Century event commemorated on the National Mall’s central axis in Washington, DC. Designed by Rhode Island architect, Friedrich St.Florian, this memorial site was created by a team of artisans assembled by Leo A Daly, an international architecture firm. With St.Florian as the design architect, the eam also included George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects, landscape architect Oehme van Sweden & Associates, sculptor Ray Kaskey, and stone carver and letterer Nick Benson.
The final design consists of fifty-six, 17 foot tall granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two 43 foot triumphal arches on opposite sides. Two-thirds of the 7.4 acre site is landscaping and water. Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the 48 US States of 1945, as well as the District of Columbia, the Alaska and Hawaii Terrritories, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, American Somoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. The northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic” and the southern one,”Pacific”.
USS Arizona Memorial
This unique memorial site is a structure built over the remains of USS Arizona that sunk upon the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Designed by Honolulu architect, Alfred Preis, who had been detained at Sand Island enemy at the start of the war due to his Austrian birth. The US Navy specified that the memorial be in the shape of a bridge and the architect complied by creating a 184 foot long structure withe two peaks at each in connected by a sag in the center of the structure. Representing the height of American pride before the war, the sudden depression of a nation after the attack and the rise of American power to new heights after the war.
On the inside, the shrine lists the names of the 1102 men that died in the attack
USS Bowfin Submarine Waterfront Memorial
As the daughter of a 28 year veteran submariner, this site was especially poignant to me. The Waterfront Memorial stands in tribute to the 52 U.S. submarines and more than 3,500 submariners who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation during World War II. The fifty-two monuments chronicle the wartime career of each of the lost submarines and list the names of the officers and enlisted men who are “on eternal patrol” with their vessels.
The USS Bowfin Waterfront Memorial is the end result of of four years of hard work by a talented team of historians, architects, graphic designers, landscapers and skilled craftspeople.
It is no surprise that their are countless memorials scattered across the United States including battlefields, monuments, cemeteries and parks and for good reason since a staggering 1,321,612 Million of men and women lost their lives in US conflicts since the founding of our country in 1775.
Mr. H says: Never forget that those that died for their country was someones child, spouse, sibling, relative, friend and coworker. Let us give thanks to those they left behind.
In Charleston, and through out the United States, we treasure are 200 year old history and the structures that have survived. The Middle East however boasts some of the earliest signs of man’s handiwork on planet Earth. We were thrilled to encounter such places on a recent trip to Israel and Jordan.
The Tomb of Absalom’s construction and first stage of use occured during the 1st Century CE. The monument is said to house Adsalom, the rebellious son of King David of Israel. Rising in the background is The Mount of Olives which has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves.
The equally impressive Second Century B.C. Tomb of Benei Hezir and neighboring Tomb of Zechariah has been ascribed a First Century CE construction date
Dating from possibly the 12th Century, the Cenacle marks the site where the Last Supper was to have taken place.
Dedicated in 1910, the Hagia Sion or Abbey of the Dormition, claims to be the spot that the Blessed Virgin Mary ended her worldly existence.
An important Christian pilgrimage site, the circa 1048 Church of the Holy Sepulchre is venerated as this site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, buried and resurrected.
The basalt stone ruins of the 3rd century CE Synagogue at Bar’am is in remarkable condition.
The amazing sandstone rock carved tombs of Petra, Jordan were possibly begun as early as 312 BCE. The Nabataean custom of burying their dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves has left us with one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Mr. H says: In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods, somehow they have not forgotten this-Enjoy!