By Karrie Jacobs
A hundred years ago, naming the world’s most beautiful buildings was easy: the Parthenon. Sure. The Taj Mahal. Absolutely. Hagia Sophia. No argument. But now, in part because
the whole notion was chewed up and spit out by those troublemaking Modernists, we’re just learning to think about architecture in terms of beauty again. It’s open season.
Certain themes are evident in our choices of the world’s most beautiful buildings. We love buildings surrounded by water; the interaction between water and daylight is always
magical. (Why do you think the Lincoln Memorial has a reflecting pool at its doorstep?) And we are head over heels for flamboyant uses of pattern and color. The Netherlands
Institute for Sound and Vision, for example, is positively psychedelic.
So are we consistent? Nope. But however capricious our choices may seem, we don’t take beauty lightly. After all, the ongoing search for beauty is what travel is all about.
It’s certainly the best reason we know to leave the house.
While many architects prefer the smoothest, clearest glass, Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron specializes in texture. This technologically sophisticated university library, in an
obscure corner of Eastern Germany, is clad in frosted glass—and embossed with letters from the world’s alphabets. Shaped like an amoeba, with its central spiral staircase in
bright magenta and green, the seven-story building looks like a carnival ride.
Relativity Theory: The free-form building looks especially impressive because it’s surrounded by long, dull, rectilinear buildings of the sort the East Germans were
Sagrada Família, Barcelona Photo: Kelly Kollar
Visionary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí spent more than 40 years of his life on this glorious, chaotically complex, and still unfinished Gothic-Art Nouveau cathedral. After
his untimely death in 1926 (he was hit by a streetcar), his associates continued his sculptural masterwork, and despite the fact that the original drawings were destroyed during
the Spanish Civil War, construction continues today. Completion is scheduled for sometime between 2017 and 2026.
Authenticity Alert: The east-facing Nativity façade was the only one completed by Gaudí himself.
Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE Photo: Courtesy of Burj Al Arab
This 60-story sail-shaped hotel, which sits on its own private island, was designed to be a national icon. But the interior is where the beauty lies: a nearly 600-foot-tall
atrium—the world’s tallest. The undersides of tier after tier of semicircular balconies reveal a spectrum of colors. And the tower’s powerful diagonal braces, like the flying
buttresses of the past, inspire awe.
Insider Tip: Non-guests can gain access to the Burj Al Arab’s private island by booking a meal at one of its restaurants; try afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar or a
buffet lunch at Junsui.
Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum, The Netherlands Design by Neutelings Riedijk Architecten/Photo by Scagliola Brakkee
The work of Jaap Drupsteen, the graphic artist responsible for the building-size media collage, used to be everywhere in the Netherlands. This building is his comeback. Along
with architecture firm Neutelings Riedijk, he covered the façade of the massive media archive and museum with images from Dutch television, abstracted into a giant four-sided
mural and baked directly onto cast glass. The effect is stunning inside and out.
Experiential Beauty: Tour the history of Dutch broadcasting, or simply gaze up at the stained glass from a table at the atrium’s Grand Café.
The Golden Temple, Amritsar, India Photo: Geetesh Bajaj
This most sacred Sikh shrine sits in the middle of what was once a wooded lake. The Buddha came here to meditate, and so did Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, some
2,000 years later. The Harimandir, or “Temple of God,” was built and destroyed many times before the current version was erected in the late 1700s. The radiance of this gilded
building, a mixture of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles, is amplified by reflections in the surrounding water and the devotional music that emanates from the temple day and
Night Owls Welcome: The temple is open 20 hours a day, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, and is illuminated (and especially lovely) at night.
National Congress Hall, Brasilia, Brazil Photo: Courtesy of EMBRATUR
Brasilia probably works better as a Modernist sculpture garden than as a city, but if there is one piece of it that best represents the whole, it’s Congress Hall. Architect
Oscar Niemeyer’s colonnaded marvel, with its grand sci-fi entrance ramp, skinny twin towers, and two bowl-shaped meeting halls (one for the Chamber of Deputies and one for the
Federal Senate), treats the business of government as a monumental work of art.
Not Just Skin Deep: Go inside and check out the Green Hall (named for the color of the carpet and the Brazilian flag), with its collection of paintings, sculptures,
and decorative screens by renowned Brazilian artists.
The Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain Photo: Aitor Las Hayas
The Frank Gehry–designed, titanium-clad phenomenon that upstaged the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright transformed the way the world understands architecture, art museums, and
the strategies for reviving depressed industrial cities. Today, the shiny undulating museum doesn’t look as shocking as it once did, but it does embody a certain kind of late
20th-century thinking—the thrill of formal complexity and high art.
Small Is Beautiful: Alternatively, we could make a case for Frank Gehry’s first major building, the diminutive white Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany.
The Chrysler Building, New York City Photo: Ralph Grunewald
Designed by architect William van Alen, the Chrysler’s shiny, filigreed Art Deco spire is the most indispensable piece of the New York City skyline, perfectly balancing the
primal thrust of the classic American skyscraper with the desire for a little bling. (It was the world’s tallest for less than a year in 1931 before that zeppelin-masted tower
eight blocks south took the spotlight.) Day or night, its stainless-steel crown still dazzles like nothing else.
Icon Alert: This is possibly the only building in the world that is decorated with automotive hood ornaments: the big eagles on the 61st floor were copied from a 1929
Mont St. Michel, Normandy, France Photo: Julius Fekete / Alamy
Though not as lavish as some landlocked cathedrals, this abbey is certainly the most dramatically situated, enjoying prime real estate just off the coast of Normandy. The
first abbey was built in 709, with construction continuing for hundreds of years. Spurning the safety of the causeway (built in 1879 and currently being reconstructed), pilgrims
still scamper across the sands at low tide to reach the Mont, and risk being overtaken by fast-moving waters.
Dining Tip: Try the , a local specialty made from meat from the lambs that graze on the nearby salt meadows.
Nelson-Atkins Museum’s Bloch Building, Kansas City, MO Photo: Andy Ryan
Unlike many modern additions to historic museums, Steven Holl’s 21st-century companion doesn’t overwhelm the 1933 Beaux Arts original. His string of iridescent frosted-glass
boxes pop out of the grassy lawn—they are absolutely magical at dusk when they begin to glow—and filter sunlight into a series of dramatic underground galleries.
Special Attraction: Check out the Noguchi Sculpture Court, a minimalist space created by the famed Japanese-American artist that cleverly blurs the line between
indoors and out.
The sun can be seen as the universal icon for all life on planet earth. Without it, there would be no life on earth. The sun is one of the most fascinating mysteries of the universe and its beauty is unparallel. However, not many of us take the time to appreciate its beauty and all it offers us. The sun could be a source of great inspiration , if we’d only stop for a moment to realize it.
The sun has been worshipped and revered by people throughout the ages. Each day starts and ends with a beautiful natural sight. The sun brings a new day to us in the form of a sunrise, and brings each day to a close with a sunset.
We have consolidated for you, 60+ amazing photographs showcasing this much overlooked natural phenomenon; the sunset and the sunrise .
There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. - Bern Williams (American programmer and consultant)
At the start a brand new day, as the sun starts to appear over the horizon, rays of hope shine down upon us and gives us an amazing sight reminding us of all the things the new day has to offer us. We hope that these beautiful photographs of the sun rising will brighten up your day, put a smile on your face, and warm your heart. Every day is a new adventure.
Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.
As each day draws to a close, a sunset reminds us that yet another day is about to pass and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the day and be thankful for everything we have. The sunset is one of the most romantic and inspiring sights nature has to offer us as it reminds us that there is beauty even at the end. We hope that these amazing photographs capturing the sun as it sets will invigorate you and help you remain hopeful.
We just witnessed the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing recently. To stay in the spirit of space exploration, we’ve rounded up some stunning digital art illustrations of sunrises taken from space. Feast your eyes on these beauties from above.
Artist: Fernando Rodrigues
Artist: Fernando Rodrigues
Artist: Fernando Rodrigues
Artist: Fernando Rodrigues
Artist: Josef Bartoň
Artist: Sami Mattila
Artist: Thrasos Varnava
Artist: Rob Graham
Artist: Michel Merza
Artist: Kalle Törmä
HDR can make the ugliest, run down, industrialized cities seem appealing, and if you take quality HDR photographs of the most beautiful cities in the world thay seem to be captured from a different perspective, you seem to be able to view different elements of a familiar scene that you had never noticed before. Below, you will find 50 Beautiful HDR Images from 50 World Cities. Are any of these your city?London, EnglandSource: The Eyes Of LondonÁvila, SpainSource: ÁvilaTempe Town Lake, USASource: This is not a mirage …Monaco, MonacoSource: Lava StreetsLiverpool, EnglandSource: ..cause this land's the place I love…Frankfurt, GermanySource: Frankfurt SkylineGeneva, SwitzerlandSource: Geneva on FlickrSydney, AustraliaSource: Opera HouseBrisbane, AustraliaSource: Brisbane SunsetReykjavik, IcelandSource: On Frozen PondAthens, GreeceSource: Acropolis of AthensVenice, ItalySource: Red boat – VeniceRome, ItalySource: Roma. Semana Santa 2008Berlin, GermanySource: Kreuzberg – BerlinVienna, AustriaSource: Wien SkylineParis, FranceSource: The Eiffel Tower HDRChicage, USASource: The Neo Monoliths of ChicagoMiami, USASource: Downtown Miami at SunsetSeattle, USASource: Seattle Pan HDRBoston, USASource: Boston in RedLouisville, USASource: Louisville Up CloseAustin, USASource: Downtown Austin SkylineSan Francisco, USASource: Golden Gate HDRDallas, USASource: Dallas on FlickrLong Beach, USASource: Long Beach at nightToronto, CanadaSource: Toronto ~ 5:09 a.m.Vancouver, CanadaSource: English Bay at nightTokyo, JapanSource: Tokyo NightscapeYokohama, JapanSource: ReflectionBangkok, ThailandSource: The Veins of BangkokCity of Singapore, SingaporeSource: CBD, SingaporeAsturias, BrazilSource: Asturias panoDenver, USASource: Denver Skyline HDRYork, EnglandSource: River OuseBruxelles, BelgiumSource: Skyline of BruxellesStockholm, SwedenSource: Söder MälarstrandWarsaw, PolandSource: Warsaw – Skyline with PKiNMarrakech, MoroccoSource: Sur les Jardins de MajorelleNaples, ItalySource: napoli on FlickrInverness, ScotlandSource: Inverness on FlickrPalermo, ItalySource: Palermo PanaramaDüsseldorf, GermanySource: Düsseldorf Hafen Colorium HDRCairo, EgyptSource: Nice Day in CairoBuenos Aires, ArgentinaSource: Puerto Madero – Buenos AiresDublin, IrelandSource: Dublin HDRMoscow, RussiaSource: HDR Moscow Russia KremlinLisbon, PortugalSource: Tram Tracks in LisbonAmsterdam, HollandSource: Zuiderkerk – Amsterdam HDRSantiago, ChileSource: HDR-Santiago,Chile
Narrow-minded architecture can be brilliant, indeed
1. Ramen shop in Sangenjaya, Tokyo, photo via -- 2. Sandwiched between the highway and the rice paddy, city of Kochi, thinnest part 30 cm! maximum thickness 1.5m, via -- 3. Or just camouflage it with ivy, via
In Robert A. Heinlein's short story "—And He Built a Crooked House—" rogue architect Quintus Teal builds a cross-shaped house that, because of a classic Los Angeles earthquake collapses not into 3 dimensional rubble but instead into a four-dimensional tesseract.
While we've yet to see any buildings with extra-rooms that cross space and time there are plenty of other houses out there that certainly look like they do.
4. Single Family House in Tokyo by F.O.B.A (Katsu Umebayashi with Kazuo Kobayashi) - 3 m wide and 20 m long, via
Some call them "Godzilla's Dominoes", others "Pancake Houses"
The designers and builders have had a myriad of reasons for their creations' remarkable lack of the dimension we call width -- not a lot of room, not a lot of money, not a lot of sanity -- but the one thing all these crazy houses have in common (beyond a lack of closet space) is their eye-catching just-plain-weirdness. Tokyo, particularly, has a long tradition of squeezing as much as possible into as little space as available. A lot only a few dozen feet wide but fifty or so long left to go fallow? Not in Japan. Look at the first image below - a definition of cute and cozy...
Another view of this incredibly thin house in Nagasaki:
14-15. Osaka, photos by M. Terada
16. Minato-ku, Tokyo, photos via
A Lack of Dimension We Call Width
Just take a look at these exceptionally lovely, and surrealistically narrow buildings. Some of them, sure, look like they were shoehorned into whatever empty space was available -- but others look less like seizing every opportunity, and inch of land, and more like jewels of design and elegance ... if a bit too thin.
23, Tokyo "tombstone building", photos via Tokyo Times
Fold it into the other dimension, or take off into space
When you need to "park" your house on a thinnest strip of land imaginable, consider the design by Atelier Tekuto company, bearing a humble name "A House in Tokyo". It is more of the cathedral, a spiritual experience, especially warmly illuminated at night:
It is a "squeezable" structure, which extends a ladder for the entry like some fantastic spaceship...
34. images credit: Atelier Tekuto
"Skinny Living" Around the World
One of my favorites - and what I hear is the world's narrowest (1 meter wide by 10 meters tall) -- is Helenita Queiroz Grave Minho's place in Madre de Deus (translated as "Mother of God!..") (more info). If you ever happen to find yourself in Brazil you should definitely walk by and check it out. But be careful, at only six feet wide you just might miss it. What's remarkable about her creation isn't just the bizarre dimensions but how she's worked real magic into making it an actual, functional, and quite elegant home -- truly the sign of a great architect if ever there was one.
Across the globe, in London, there's another slip of a real estate: at about nine feet wide in front it's almost a mansion compared with Helenita Queiroz Grave Minho house in Brazil.
36. Silver House, London, photo by Boyarsky Murphy Architects 37. 5 feet at its narrowest, and 10 feet at its widest, and was sold for nearly a million dollars.
Of course, New York City density provides a few skinny examples (besides a well-known Flat Iron building): here is one neatly sandwiched between two skyscrapers:
38. West 46th Street between 5th and 6th, photos by NY Scout
Not that Europe has somehow escaped the race to slim-down their real estate. If you travel to the wonderful city of Amsterdam, for instance, you'll see almost a plethora of narrow apartments and houses. The
being like that in Tokyo: without a lot of usage land the canal-hugging Amsterdam residents had to cram as many people into what little space they had ... even if they have to step outside to change their minds. One of the narrowest buildings in the world is located in Amsterdam, at ( more info)
39. photos via
"The tiny house is only one meter wide and not much wider than its front door. The people who live here must be on a never-ending diet... Admittedly, this is the back of the house; the front is quite a bit wider." Even the light fixture on the ceiling is almost as wide as the building itself:
40. photo by stepcire
, Amsterdam (left) and on the right - (the owners turned it into a museum):
Kloveniersburgwal, 26 is also called "Trippen House", or ‘The House of Mr. Trip’s coachman’. "Legend has it that Mr. Trip’s coachman exclaimed: 'Oh my, I would be happy if I had a house that was only as wide as the front door of my master’s house.' Mr. Trip overheard him and made sure that his wish came true."
Try to haul up furniture up these incredibly narrow stairways (on the right is yet another "narrowest" house in Amsterdam) -
Across the channel and up into the cold gray loveliness of Great Cumbrae, Scotland is what is considered to be the thinnest house in Great Britain ("The Wedge" in Millport) with an face just shy of 47 inches. 'Cozy' and 'intimate' would best describe the place -- and 'claustrophobic' and 'confining' being the worst.
Other very narrow buildings can be found in Boston (left image) and Cologne, Germany, architects Brandlhuber & Kniess (right) -
You're Building It Wrong
So what happened here?.. maybe these people got tired of living in a narrow cramped house and decided to expand a little? or do they simply have a very wide bed on the second floor? -
47. photo by Kristov Krusjev
Another really miserable example... they should cover it with something like this (see right image), or chop it into bricks already.
As the world's population grows and land becomes more and more scarce, having a place to call your own becomes a very special thing when many have nothing but the dirt between their toes and the storm clouds up above. Who knows, "skinny living" in narrow houses just might become the way of the future.
paintings bring people to life
Oct. 16, 2010 ( 12:01 pm) By:
Having the ability to paint or draw is a gift not all of us have. But even among those that can draw well, some people just excel at it.
The people you see in these photos are not real. They are in fact a painting on a wall done so well the characters look as though they are popping out of the wall and even standing in front of it. There is no camera trickery or computers involved here, this is just paint on a flat surface.
The artist who created these paintings is David Kassan. There are several more examples from him over at the Mighty Optical Illusions site linked to below as well as many more drawings and videos on his website.
Here’s a time-lapse of an hour and a half demonstration he did in Portugal last year showing this guy is not only talented but fast too:
HDR ( High Dynamic Range ) is a set of techniques that allow a greater dynamic range of luminance between light and dark areas of a scene than normal digital imaging techniques or photographic prints. When applied, it creates fantastic pictures that blur our senses of the difference between reality and illusion.Although this post isn’t related to technology or social media, but I’ll still like to share with you guys “ 120+ Exceptionally Beautiful HDR Pictures of Airports Around the World “. Get ready you mouse wheel – it’s going to be a really long list!**** Singapore Changi Airport:Denver International Airport:Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok, Thailand:Hong Kong International Airport:Kuala Lumpur International Airport:*Miami International Airport:Dubai International Airport:**Amsterdam Airport Schiphol:Frankfurt Airport:Beijing International Airport:**London Heathrow Airport:**Madrid Barajas International Airport:Munich Airport:**Helsinki Vantaa Airport – Finland:Haneda Tokyo International Airport:Copenhagen Airport:Shanghai Pudong International Airport:ZÃ¼rich Airport:**Incheon International Airport:**Hartsfield-Jackson Airport – Atlanta:**Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport:**Liverpool John Lennon Airport:Riyadh Airport – Saudi Arabia:Kansai International Airport – Osaka, Japan:**********VancouverÂ International Airport:************Dresden Airport – Germany:************Portland International Airport – Oregon:********Chicago O’Hare International Airport:**************************************Keflavik International Airport – Iceland:****************Hamburg Airport – Germany:****************Ninoy Aquino International Airport – The Philippines:***********
Winter season is going on, so we thought why not to collect some beautiful snow photographs. So today we have collected some beautiful snow photographs
ATTENTION RETURNING USERS: Use your original alivenotdead.com login and password to convert all your blogs and friend connections to the new site. After confirming your account you must authenticate with at least one verified identity (Facebook, Weibo, Twitter, Gmail, etc). Click here to proceed.
First time users can create a new account from scratch by authenticate using any of the following trusted services:
WARNING: If you disconnect all your social media accounts your profile will be locked and you will not be able to access it again. If you want to keep your page, please add another social media account and then remove this one.
If you understand the risks, click this box to deauthorize your account.
Note: Return visitors should use the same authentication service as their previous visit(s) to avoid creating multiple accounts.
Tip: You can add multiple authentication services to one alivenotdead.com account to avoid this.