Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint has been the site of a Greek colony, a Roman city and a bishopric. Following a period of prosperity under Byzantine administration, then a brief occupation by the Venetians, the city was abandoned in the late Middle Ages after marshes formed in the area. The present archaeological site is a repository of ruins representing each period in the city’s development.
The city of Butrint is one of the fragments which form the fabric of Albania’s ancient cultural landscape. Nestling in the highlands in the far south of the country and surrounded by dense vegetation, Butrint was linked to the Mediterranean by the Vivari canal, which runs from the Butrint Lake to the Ionian Sea.
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Church of the Colónia Güell Santa Coloma de Cervelló – Spain
This church was for the workers of the Colónia Güell industrial village (Santa Coloma de Cervelló,Barcelona), from which it gets its name. The church of Santa Coloma became one of the most-loved of Gaudí’s project’s, and was a type of laboratory for technical tests, of which he later made use of in the Sagrada Família.
Gaudí’s idea is extremely complex, and the church was designed and detailed with the utmost care. Once again the architect thought about the need to unite the monument with its natural setting, and this is the only compositional element used in this work. According to Ràfols the commission for the job dates back to 1898, but it was not until 1908 that the first stone was solemnly laid. The work continued at a very slow pace until 1917, when they were stopped due to the difficulties arising from the Great War. In 1918 Eusebi Güell died in his home in Park Güell, which also meant the end of the work on the church of the industrial village since his heirs, particularly Santiago Güell, were not at all keen on finishing the building. By then the crypt was covered and the stone doorways of the upper church in place. The conception of this church followed lines until then unknown by the architectural profession. Gaudí did not limit himself to drawing and sketching, but tested out a completely new procedure.Firstly he outlined the ideal form of the church that had to have a concentrated ground plan and acute towers; over this first draft Gaudi composed a structure by means of a very simple, but quite brilliant, procedure. He calculated the loads that would have to rest on the arches and pillars and made some small canvas bags filled with pellets, with a weight ten thousand times lighter than the calculated load. He hung these bags from strings that described the forms of the arches at a scale of 1:10. With this, and using a geometric property of this type of curve, he discovered a form called catenary. He took a photograph, which on reversing, produced the suitable and functional form of the arches. In other words, he built the arch precisely from the form of the curve of the pressures.
The crypt of the Colónia Güell brings together Gaudí’s artistic plenitude. A portico with paraboloid vaults precedes the church and below another is in the form of a grotto, a constant element in the architecture of Gaudí. The windows, which seem like the open mouths of giant fish, are hyperboloids, and inside the pillars alternate between circular section brick and inclined natural basalt stone from Castellfollit de la Roca (Garrotxa), hardly smoothed down, giving an impressive expressionist effect. Gaudí explained that in the book of Exodus, God, from the burning bush, said to Moses, “If you make me an altar of stone do no carve it with a chisel because metal makes stone impure”. For this reason the pieces of basalt were worked with wooden mallets. Continue reading “Church of the Colónia Güell – Spain“
When, at the of 1905 Josep Bayó Font was finishing the decoration of the Batlló family residence for Milà, he was visited by Pere Milà Camps. Bayó showed him the flat and on bidding farewell, Milà gave him a pat on the back, saying, “Now we must star on my house on the corners of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer Provença and I want it in stone but vith the joints gilded, something that has never been done before”. It is true that Gaudí built Casa Milà, called the La Pedrera, or the quarry, with stone, but the gilded joints were no more than a frivolity of the stylish client.
On the 2 February 1906 Gaudí signed the project contract for the house of his new client and began his second big civil work in the stately Barcelona avenue. According to José Bayó, an eyewitness, Gaudí put his fingers in the hexagonal wax model of the paving stones, which werw made on the site of Casa Batlló itself. The piece of hydraulic mosaic in relief and of a pale green colour draws, when seven units are pieced together, a triple drawing representing an algae (Sargassum species), a snail (cephalopod of the Ammonites family) and a sea star (Equinodermus, of the Ophiroideus family). Pere Milà Camps married Pilar Segimon Artells, a lady born in Reusand widow of a rich indiano, a Spaniard who returned to Spainhaving made his fortune in Latin America. The lady was not keen on Gaudi’s ideas, but to keep her husband happy, she lived in the first floor flat of La Pedrera without complaining but, on Gaudi’s death, she changed the decoration for another Louis XVI style, more to her taste. Continue reading “La Pedrera Barcelona – Spain“
His palace completed, Eusebi Güell entrusted Gaudi with the construction of a building for the Guell Bodegas, on the Garraf coast, south of Barcelona. It is a rocky, wild area overlooking the Mediterranean Sea where there had been a building used as a bodega, which was owned by the Cathedral Chapter of Barcelona. Continue reading “Guell Bodegas – Sitges – Spain“
From the Oceanarium, a cable car takes visitors to the futuristic Vasco da Gama Tower.
The Vasco da Gama Tower (Portuguese: Torre Vasco da Gama, is a 145 m lattice tower in Lisbon, Portugal, built over the Tagus river. It is named after Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who was the first European to arrive in India by sail, in 1498.
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