Monday, March 1, 2010

Architectural Feast

I've been blessed to see many amazing architectural works all over the world.  My husband and I love to travel and it's fascinating to me to see not only iconic historic buildings, like the Coliseum in Rome and Big Ben's hands atop the legislature in London but also the newest structures that are quickly gaining notoriety.

I am always astonished at the results when an endless imagination blends with logistical engineering necessities.   Most recently I had the opportunity to see Las Vegas' newest marvel, the City Center.  It includes various new residences and hotels such as Aria, Mandarin Oriental and Vdara which are grounded by Crystals retail center at the nucleus.  I love that in the desert there is such vast room (both vertically and horizontally) which allows for voluminous spaces that would dwarf an airplane hangar.  The sky literally is the limit here, and alongside the adult Disney-esque hotels we are all familiar with for their gimmicks and themes there are more sophisticated structures taking up residence.   I took a couple of photos with my iPhone, hence the somewhat low resolution, but here they are for you to see. The wooden skeleton tube you see houses a fantastic restaurant, Mastro's Ocean Club, in it's "belly".

We visited Dubai two years ago and I was astounded at what I saw recently constructed, what was still under construction, and what is planned for the coming decade.  The photos below were taken across Dubai Canal looking at the cityscape as the sun was going down - notice how many construction cranes are visible atop the buildings even at this distance.  The photo on the right is the Burj Al Arab Hotel, the world's only 7-star hotel (ok, self-proclaimed 7-star, but quite exquisite just as you'd expect).  As a little note of interest, the tiny oblong pod you see near the top of the hotel is the restaurant where we enjoyed dinner on Christmas night 2007.  As much as my passion is the interior finishing, I love that I have been able to see some of the world's greatest architectural wonders - and who knows what among them will still be standing and be the Roman Coliseum of the next millennium.

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