world architecture

World Architecture

World Architecture is a art or practice of designing and constructing buildings.
1. Abomey Royal Palaces
Benin, Africa
The Royal Palaces of Abomey in the West African Republic of Benin formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey, on the Gulf of Guinea, are a substantial reminder of a vanished kingdom. From 1625 to 1900 Abomey was ruled by a succession of twelve kings. With the exception of Akaba, who created a separate enclosure, each built a lavish cob-wall palace with a high, wide-eaved thatched roof in the 190-acre 44-hectare royal grounds, surrounded by a wall about 20 feet 6 meters high. There are fourteen palaces in all, standing in a series of defensible courtyards joined by what were once closely guarded passages. Over centuries, the complexreally aa city within a citywas filled with nearly 200 square or rectangular single-story houses, circular religious buildings, and auxiliary structures, all made of unbaked earth and decorated with colorful bas-reliefs, murals, and sculpture it was a major and quite unexpected feat of contextual architecture in a preliterate society. According to tradition, in the twelfth or thirteenth century a.d., Adja people migrated from near the Mono River in what is now Togo and founded a village that became the capital of Great Ardra, a kingdom that reached the zenith of its power about 400 years later. Around 1625 a dispute over which of three brothers should be king resulted in one, Kokpon, retaining Great Ardra. Another, Te- Agdanlin, founded Little Ardra known to the Portuguese as Porto-Novo. The third, Do-Aklin, established his capital at Abomey and built a powerful centralized kingdom with a permanent army and a complex bureaucracy. Intermarriage with the local people gradually formed the largest of modern Benins ethnic groups, the Fon, or Dahomey, who occupy the southern coastal region. Abomey is their principal town. The irresistible Fon armiesthey included female warriorscarried out slave raids on their neighbors, setting up a trade with Europeans. By 1700 about 20,000 slaves were sold each year, and the trade became the kingdoms main source of wealth. Despite British efforts to stamp it out, it persisted, and Dahomey continued to expand northward well into the nineteenth century. King Agadja 1708?1732 subjugated much of the south, provoking the neighboring Yoruba kingdom to a war, during which Abomey was captured. The Fon were under Yoruba domination for eighty years from 1738. In 1863, in a bid to balance Fon power, Little Ardra the only southern town not annexed by Agadja accepted a French protectorate. France, fearing other European imperialists, tried to secure its hold on the Dahomey coast. King Behanzin 1889?1893 resisted, but France established a protectorate over Abomey, exiled him, and made his brother, Agoli-Agbo, puppet king under a colonial government. By 1904 the French had seized the rest of present-day Benin, absorbing it into French West Africa. Tradition has it that the first palace was built for King Dakodonou in 1645 and that his successors followed with structures of the same materials and similar designin architectural jargon, each palace was contextual. King Agadja was the first to incorporate 40-inch-square 1-meter panels of brightly painted bas-relief in niches in his palace facade. After that they proliferated as an integral decorative device for example, King Gleles 1858?1889 palace had fifty-six of them. As esthetically delightful as they were, the main purpose of the panels was not pleasure but propaganda. An important record of the preliterate Fon society, many documented key events in its rise to supremacy, rehearsing in images the probably exaggerated deeds of the kings. Just as history books might do in another society, they held for posterity the Fons cultural heritage, customs, mythology, and liturgy. When French forces advanced on Abomey in 1892, King Behanzin commanded that the royal palaces were to be burned rather than fall into their hands. Under Agoli-Agbo I, the buildings were restored. Although contemporary documents describe the compound as avast camp of ruins, the exact extent of both the damage and the reconstruction is unclear. The palace of King Glele known as the Hall of the Jewels was among the buildings to survive. Although there are doubts about the age of the existing bas-reliefs, which may be reproductions, those from that palace are probably original and the oldest of the remaining works. In 1911 the French made an ill-informed attempt at architectural restoration, particularly in the palaces of Guezo and Glele. Further inappropriate work in the early 1980s included replacing some of the thatched roofs with low-pitched corrugated steel. Denied the protection of the traditional wide eaves, the earthen bas-reliefs were badly damaged. The palaces seem to have been under continual threat. After damage from torrential rain in April 1977, the Benin government sought UNESCOs advice on conserving and restoring them. In 1984 the complex was inscribed on the World Heritage List and simultaneously on the List of the World Heritage in Danger because of the effects of a tornado. The royal compound, the Guezo Portico, King Glele s tomb, and the Hall of the Jewels were badly damaged. Several conservation programs have been initiated subsequently. In 1988 fifty of the fragile reliefs from the latter building, battered by weather and insect attack, were removed before reconstruction was initiated. After removal, they were remounted as individual panels in stabilized earth casings, and between 1993 and 1997 an international team of experts from the Benin government and the Getty Conservation Institute worked on their conservation. The Italian government has financed other projects. Today the glory of the royal city of Abomey has passed. Most of the palaces are gone only those of Guezo 1818?1858 and Glele tenuously stand. Their size gives a glimpse of their splendid past: together they cover 10 acres 4 hectares and comprise 18 buildings. They were converted into a historical museum in 1944. Apart from them, the enclosure of the Royal Palaces is abandoned. Many buildings, including the Queen Mothers palace, the royal tombs, and the so-called priestesses house remain in imminent danger of collapse.
2. Afsluitdijk
The Netherlands
The 20-mile-long 32-kilometer Afsluitdijk literally,closing-off dike, constructed from 1927 to 1932 between Wieringen now Den Oever and the west coast of Friesland, enabled the resourceful Dutch to turn the saltwater Zuider Zee South Sea into the freshwater IJsselmeer and eventually to create an entire new province, Flevoland. Like their successful responses to similar challenges before and since, it was an audacious and farsighted feat of planning, hydraulic engineering, and reclamation. Throughout their history, the Netherlanders have fought a battle against the water. Much of their tiny country is well below average sea level, in places up to 22 feet 7 meters. The threat of inundation comes not only from the sea but also from the great river systems whose deltas dominate the geography of Holland. Over centuries, literally thousands of miles of dikes and levees have been built to win agricultural land back from the water, and having gained it, to protect it. From the seventeenth century Amsterdam merchants invested their profits in building the North Holland poldersBeemstermeer, the Purmer, the Wormer, the Wijde Wormer, and the Schermerreclaimed through the ingenious use of the ubiquitous windmill. In 1250 the 79-mile-long 126-kilometer Omringdijk was built along Frieslands west coast to protect the land from the sea, and as early as 1667 the hydraulic engineer Hendric Stevin bravely proposed to close off the North Sea and reclaim the land under the Z uider Z ee. His scheme was then technologically impossible. The idea was revived in 1891 by the civil engineer and statesman Cornelis Lely. Based on research undertaken over five years, his plan was straightforward: a closing dike across the neck of the Z uider Z ee would create a freshwater lake fed by the River IJssel and allow the reclamation of 555,000 acres 225,000 hectares of polder landin the event, 407,000 acres 165,000 hectares were won. Despite Lelys assurances about the feasibility of the plan, his parliamentary colleagues were unenthusiastic. But attitudes changed after the region around the Z uider Z ee was disastrously flooded in 1916 moreover, World War I in which Holland remained neutral convinced the Dutch government that internal transportation links needed to be improved. The Z uiderzee Act was passed in 1918. The Z uiderzeeproject commenced in 1920 with the construction of the Amsteldiepdijk, also known as the Short Afsluitdijk, between V an Ewijcksluis, North Holland, and the westernmost point of the island of Wieringen. There were some initial foundation problems and a financial calamity for the contractor, but the dike was completed in 1926. There followed the construction of the small test polder Andijk 1927 and the Wieringermeer 1927?1930. The key element in the daring plan was the construction of the Afsluitdijk across the Waddenzee, an arm of the North Sea. The project was undertaken by a consortium of Hollands largest dredging firms, known as N. V . Maatschappij tot Uitvoering van de Z uiderzeewerken. All the work, involving moving millions of tons of earth and rock, was carried out manually by armies of laborers working from each end of the structure. Built during the Great Depression, the Afsluitdijk was a welcome source of employment. It was completed on 28 May 1932. It was intended later to build a railroad over the broad dike, but as the volume of road traffic increased in Holland, priority was given to a four-lane motorway. The railroad was never built, although adequate space remains for it. The closure of the Afsluitdijk enabled the eventual reclamation of three huge tracts of land formerly under the sea: the Noordoostpolder 1927?1942, East Flevoland 1950?1957, and South Flevoland 1959?1968. They were later combined to become a new province, Flevoland, with a total area of over 500 square miles 1,400 square kilometers. Its rich agricultural land supports two cities, Lelystad and Almere, although the latter is more properly a dormitory for Amsterdam. Flevoland is on average 16 feet 5 meters below sea level. The great freshwater body south of the Afsluitdijk was renamed IJsselmeer. Its balance, carefully controlled through the use of sluices and pumps, is determined by inflow and outflow rates, rainfall and evaporation, and storage level changes. With a surface of nearly 500 square miles 131,000 hectares, it is the largest inland lake in the Netherlands. A proposal to reclaim a fifth polder, the 230-square-mile 60,300-hectare Markerwaard, behind a 66-mile-long 106-kilometer dike between Enkhuizen and Lelystad was not pursued, mainly because of ecological concerns. In February 1998 the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Waterways, and Communication published the Waterkader report, setting out national water-management policies until 2006. Aiming to keep the Netherlands safe from flooding, it presents a case for reserving temporary water-storage areas controlled floodingagainst times of high river discharge or rainfall. The government, recognizing that raising the dikes and increasing pumping capacity cannot continue forever, has adopted the mottoGive water more space. The document Long-Range Plan Infrastructure and Transport of October 1998 promised to invest 26 billion guilders approximately U.S.$13 billion in the nations infrastructure before 2006. Part of the money is earmarked for waterways, including links between Amsterdam and Friesland across the IJsselmeer.
3. Airplane hangars
Orvieto, Italy
The Italian engineer and architect Pier Luigi Nervi 1891?1979 was among the most innovative builders of the twentieth century and a pioneer in the application of reinforced concrete. In 1932 he produced some unrealized designs for circular aircraft hangars in steel and reinforced concrete that heralded the remarkable hangars he built for the Italian Air Force at Orvieto. None have survived but they are well documented: more than enough to demonstrate that they were a tour de force, both as engineering and architecture. Nervi had graduated from the University of Bologna in 1913. Following World War I service in the Italian Engineers Corps he established an engineering practice in Florence and Bologna before moving to Rome, where he formed a partnership with one Nebbiosi. Nervis first major work, the 30,000-seat Giovanni Berta Stadium at Florence 1930?1932, was internationally acclaimed for its graceful, daring cantilevered concrete roof and stairs. The revolutionary hangars followed soon after. There were three types, all with parabolic arches and elegant vaulted roofs that paradoxically conveyed a sense of both strength and lightness. The first type, of which two were built at Orvieto in 1935, had a reinforced concrete roof made up of a lattice of diagonal bow beams, 6 inches 15 centimeters thick and 3.7 feet 1.1 meters deep, intersecting at about 17-foot 5-meter centers. They supported a deck of reinforced, hollow terra-cotta blocks covered with corrugated asbestos-cement. The single-span roof measured 133 by 333 feet 40 by 100 meters, and its weight was carried to the ground through concrete equivalents of medieval flying buttresses. The 30-foot-high 9-meter doors that accounted for half of one of the long sides of the hangar were carried on a continuous reinforced concrete frame. In the other types Nervis fondness for structural economy led to the prefabrication of parts, saving time and money. Type two was his first experiment with parallel bow trusses assembled from open-web load-bearing elements, spanning the 150-foot 45-meter width of the hangar. A reinforced-concrete roof covering provided stiffening. The third type combined the diagonal configuration of the first and the prefabrication techniques of the second. He built examples of it six times between 1939 and 1941 for air bases at Orvieto, Orbetello, and Torre del Lago. The massive roofs, covered with corrugated asbestos cement on a prefabricated concrete deck, were supported on only six sloping columnsat each corner and the midpoints of the long sidesthat carried the weight and thrust beyond the perimeter of the hangars. All the components were cast on-site in simple wooden forms. The Germans bombed these amazing structures as they retreated from Italy toward the end of World War II. Nervi was delighted to learn that, even in the face of such a tragedy, the prefabricated joints had held together despite the destruction of his hangars. He later included them amongst his mostinteresting works, observing that their innovative forms would have been impossible to achieve by the conventional concrete technology of the day. In the early 1940s Nervi extended his experiments to ferrocimentoa very thin membrane of dense concrete reinforced with a steel gridwhich be used to build a number of boats. He next combined that material with the prefabrication techniques he had developed for the hangars. For Salone B at the Turin Exhibition of 1949?1950, he designed a 309-by-240-foot 93-by-72-meter vaulted rectangular hall with a 132-foot-diameter 40-meter semicircular apse at one end. The main hall roof and the hemidome over the apse consisted of corrugated, precast ferro-cimento units less than 2 inches 5 centimeters thick, supported on in situ buttresses, creating one of the most wonderful interior spaces of the twentieth century. Nervis designs were too complex to be calculated by orthodox mathematical analysis, and he developed a design methodology that used polarized light to identify the stress patterns in transparent acrylic models. A few unbuilt projects were followed by three structures for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. He built the Palazzo dello Sport 1959, with Marcello Piacentini, the Flaminio Stadium 1959, with Antonio Nervi, and the Palazzetto dello Sport 1957, with Annibale Vitellozzi. The last is a gem of a building whose rational structure is so transparently expressed that the observer can almost see the loads being shepherded to the ground in a way redolent of late English Gothic fan vaulting.
4. Airship hangars
Orly, France
The French dominated the early history of human flight. In September 1783 the Montgolfier brothers launched a hot-air balloon carrying farm animals to show that it was safe to travel in the sky, and a few weeks later Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis dArlandes took to the air for a 5.5-mile 9kilometer trip over Paris. In 1852 another Frenchman, the engineer Henri Giffard, built the first successful airshipa steam-powered, 143-foot-long 44-meter, cigar-shaped affair that flew at about 6 mph 10 kph. About thirty years later Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs constructed an electrically powered airship that was maneuverable even in light winds. By 1914 the French military had built a fleet of semirigid airships, but they proved ineffective as weapons in the Great War. On the other hand, nonrigid airships were widely used for aerial observation, coastal patrol, and submarine spotting. Their advent generated a different type of very large building: the airship hangar. The first zeppelin shed at Friedrichshafen, Germany 1908?1909, had been 603.5 feet long, 151 wide, and 66 high 184 by 46 by 20 meters. Like most others built Europe, it was a steel-lattice structure with a light cladding. Much more inventive and spectacular were the parabolic reinforced concrete hangars built in from 1922 to 1923 on a small military airfield among farmlands at Orly, near Paris. They were a major achievement of engineering and architecture. The French engineer-architect Marie EugM ne Leon Freyssinet 1879?1962 studied at the N cole Polytechnique and the N cole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris. After serving in the army in World War I he became director of the Societe des Enterprises Limousin and later established his own practice. A great innovator, he worked mainly with reinforced concrete, building several bridges. By 1928 he was to patent a new technique, prestressing, that eliminated tension cracking in reinforced concrete and solved many of the problems encountered with curved shapes. Simply, steel reinforcing cables were stretched and the concrete poured around them when it set the cables were released and because it was in compression the structural member acquired an upward deflection. When it was loaded in situ the resulting downward deflection brought it back to the flat position while remaining in compression. At Orly, Freyssinet was presented with a brief that called for two sheds that could each contain a sphere with a radius of 82 feet 25 meters, to be built at reasonable cost. He responded by designing prestressed reinforced concrete buildings consisting of a series of parallel tapering parabolic arches that formed vaults about 985 feet long, 300 wide, and 195 high 300 by 90 by 60 meters. The internal span was about 266 feet 80 meters, and each arch was assembled from 25-foot-wide 7.5meter stacked, profiled sections only 3.5 inches 9 centimeters thick those at the base of the arch were 18 feet 5.4 meters deep and those at the crown 11 feet 3.4 meters. Placed side by side, they formed a very stiff corrugated enclosure. Starting at a height of 65 feet 20 meters, reinforced yellow glass windows were cast in the outer flanges of the arches. Freyssinet specified an easily compactable concrete to ensure that the hangars would be waterproof. It was reinforced with steel bars and poured into reusable pine formwork that was itself stressed with tension rods to create prestressed concrete. The concrete was also designed to flow into every corner of the complicated molds, and it was fast-setting so that formwork could be quickly stripped and reused. The structure was temporarily supported on timber centering, and a network of cables held the formwork in tension until the concrete developed its full strength. In other structures lateral wind loading could be resisted by cross bracing, but because clear spans were imperative, Freyssinet provided the necessary stiffening byfolding the concrete on the component arches. The selfweight of the massive structure was accommodated by increasing the cross-sectional area of the arches as they approached the ground, where the foundations consisted of deep horizontal concrete pads laid with an inward slope toward the center of the hangars. Tragically, in 1944, U.S. aircraft bombed these revolutionary and beautiful structures.
5. Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Kobe, Japan
The graceful Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, linking Kobe City and Awajishima Island across the deep straits at the entrance to Osaka Bay, was opened to traffic on 5 April 1998. Exploiting state-of-the-art technology, it formed the longest part of the bridge route between Kobe and Naruto in the Tokushima Prefecture, completing the expressway that connects the islands of Honshu and Shikoku. With a main span of 1.25 miles 1.99 kilometers and a total length of nearly 2.5 miles 3.91 kilometers, it was then the longest suspension bridge ever built. With the growing demand for faster land travel, more convenient links over water obstacles become necessary. If long-spansay, over 1,100 yards 1,000 metersbridges are to be politically, economically, and structurally viable, design must be optimized. Because a bridges selfweight increases in direct proportion to its span, the structure must be as light as possible while achieving minimum deformation and maximum stiffness under combined dead, wind, and traffic loads. A cable-supported suspension bridge is an ideal way to achieve that. Alternative designs were developed for the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, considering a range of main span lengths. The most economical length was between 6,500 and 6,830 feet 1,950 and 2,050 meters the final choice of 6,633 feet 1,990 meters was constrained by geological and topographical factors. The length of the side spans was fixed at 3,200 feet 960 meters, enabling the cable anchorages to be located near the original shorelines. The clients insisted that, because of its immense span, the form of bridge had to assure the public that it would withstand all kinds of loads, including typhoons and earthquakes. Also, it had to express the essential beauty of the Seto-Inland Sea region and evoke a bright future for the Hyogo Prefecture. The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge would be painted green-gray because it was redolent of the forests of Japan. Construction began in May 1988. The reinforced concrete anchorages for the cables on the respective shores are of different sizes, because of different soil conditions. As an indication, the one at the Kobe end has a diameter of 283 feet 85 meters and is 203 feet 61 meters deep. It is the largest bridge foundation in the world. Huge cylindrical steel chambers caissons form the foundation of the main towers. Fabricated off- site, they are 217 feet 65 meters highmore than a 30-story buildingand 267 feet 80 meters in diameter each weighs 15,000 tons 15,240 tonnes. To provide a level base, an area of seabed about as big as a baseball field was excavated under each of them. They were floated into position, and their exterior compartments were flooded to carefully sink them in 200 feet 60 meters of water. This was achieved to within a 1-inch 2.54-centimeter tolerance. Each was then filled with 350,000 cubic yards 270,000 cubic meters of submarine concrete. The foundations of the bridge were seismically designed to withstand an earthquake of Richter magnitude 8.5, with an epicenter 95 miles 150 kilometers away. On 17 January 1995 the Great Hanshin Earthquake magnitude 7.2 devastated nearby Kobe its epicenter was just 2.5 miles 4 kilometers from the unfinished bridge. A careful postquake investigation showed that, although the quake had lengthened the bridge by about 3.25 feet 1 meter, neither the foundations nor the anchorages were damaged. As the builders boasted, it wasa testament to the projects advanced design and construction techniques. The towers rise to 990 feet 297 meters above the waters of the bay for comparison, those on the Golden Gate Bridge are 750 feet O 230 metersP high. They have steel shafts, each assembled in thirty tiers, generally made up of three prefabricated blocks that were hoisted into place and fixed with high-tensile bolts. The shafts are cruciform in cross section, designed to resist oscillation induced by the wind. The main cables, fixed in the massive anchorages and passing through the tops of towers, were spun from 290 strands of galvanized steel wirea newly developed technologyeach containing 127 filaments about 0.2 inch 5 millimeters in diameter. Their high strength does away with the need for double cables, and because they achieve a sag:span ratio of 1:10, the height of the main towers could be reduced. To prevent corrosion of the cables in the salt atmosphere, dehumidified air flows through a hollow inside them, removing moisture. The towers and the suspended structure are all finished with high-performance anticorrosive coatings to suit the demanding marine environment. From the main cables, polyethylene-encased, parallel-wire-strand suspension cables support the truss-stiffened girder that carries a six-lane highway with a traffic speed of 60 mph 100 kph. The preassembled truss members were hoisted to the deck level at the main towers, carried to their location by a travel crane, and connected then the suspension cables were attached. This construction technique was chosen because it did not disrupt activity on the water, where 1,400 ships daily pass through the straits.
6. Alberobello trulli
The Murgia dei Trulli, with its communes of Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Cisternino, and Alberobello, is located in the Apulian interior at the upper part of the heel of Italy. Although trulli are scattered throughout the region, more than 1,500 of them are in the Monti and Aja Piccola quarters, on the western hill of Alberobello. This unique conical house form is significant in the history of architecture because it perpetuated well into the twentieth century a construction technique practiced throughout the northern Mediterranean since prehistoric times. The name derives from truddu, Greek forcupola. The clustered stone dwellings of Alberobello, small by modern Italian housing standards, are built by roofing almost square or rectangular bases although some tend toward a circle with approximately conical cupolas of roughly worked flat limestone slabs, stacked without mortar in corbeled courses. These gray roofs, no two of which are quite the same, are normally crowned with a whitewashed pinnacle in the form of a sphere standing on a truncated inverted cone. Some are painted with symbols: astrological signs or Christian ones, and even some of older pre-Christian significance. As is often the case with vernacular architecture, geometrical precision is not a priority: nothing is truly right-angled, nothing truly plumb. Bernard Rudofsky describes the roof as a retrocedent wall, because it also encloses habitable space that is traditionally used for storage. Typically, the inside of the roof is a parabolic dome, formed by packing the gaps between the larger structural stones. The walls of the ground floor are thick enoughthey can be up to 10 feet 3.27 meters in older housesto include alcoves for a hearth or cupboards, or even a curtained-off recess for a bed. Doorways are low, and the interior, though whitewashed, is usually quite dingy because the windows are small, possibly for structural reasons. Curved walls make furnishing difficult. More recent trulli, the last of which were built in the 1950s, are interconnected with others to gain more living space. The oldest documented Alberobello examples date from the fifteenth century, coinciding with the foundation of a permanent agricultural community centered in the town. However, the essential building technique and the consequent house form are much older. The type, clearly related to the prehistoric nuraghi of Sardinia and the rather more sophisticated Mycenaean tholos, has been archeologically linked to both the nomadic pastoral Early Bronze culture and permanent agrarian communities in the Apennine region. Remarkably, similar constructions can be found in the middle of Scotland and on the west coast of Sweden. A plausible and somewhat romantic tradition dates the development of trulli as the house form of Alberobello to a single historical event. It is said that in the eighteenth century the local ruler Count Girolamo II of Acquaviva compelled the peasant farmers to build their houses with mortarless stone roofs. Because drywall structures were tax-exempt, and because they could be relatively easily dismantled before the regular visits of inspectors from Naples, he chose this method of tax avoidance. Although the people were freed from his regulation by a decree from Ferdinando IM of Bourbons in May 1797, the house form persisted, perhaps because of rural conservatism. Trulli are no longer built by the traditional technique and in the traditional style, but some of the master builders are still living, and the craft skills have not yet been lost. After the mid-1950s the romantic trulli were noticed by tourists and real-estate agents, and that has been to the detriment of many of them. Since the inclusion of the Alberobello precinct on UNESCOs World Heritage List in 1996, serious archeological study has been undertaken, and the old craft skills have been applied to an extensive restoration program.
7. Alpine railroad tunnels
Switzerlands governmentowned, 3,100-mile 5,000-kilometer railroad network is world renowned for its efficiency, despite the difficulties imposed by the mountainous terrain. Two of the four major rail links that pass through the small, landlocked country to connect northern Europe and Italy cross the 13,000-foot-high 4,000-meter Swiss Alps. That access was made possible only by the remarkable engineering feats embodied in the construction, between 1872 and 1922, of the St. Gotthard, Simplon, and LR tschberg Tunnels, drilled through the rock thousands of feet underground. However, the Swiss were not the first to conquer the mountains. The earliest European alpine railroad tunnel, the Frejus Tunnel, was drilled through Mont Cenis to connect Bardonecchia in the Italian province of Savoy north of the Alps, through Switzerland, with Modena on the Italian peninsula. King Carlo Alberta of Sardinia championed the scheme in 1845, and his successor V ictor Emmanuel II took it up in 1849. Drilling did not begin on the 8-mile 13kilometer double-track tunnelover twice the length of any before attempteduntil late 1857, supervised by the engineer Germain Sommeiller 1815?1871, assisted by Sebastiano Grandis and Severino Grattoni. Sommeiller patented the first industrial pneumatic drill, which greatly expedited the work. Finished in 1870, the tunnel was opened, in 1871, just two months after his death. The following year, work began on a 100-mile 160-kilometer railroad, the Gotthardbahn, which crossed the Lepontine Alps in south-central Switzerland to link N urich, at the heart of the countrys northern commercial centers, with Chiasso at the Italian frontier. Before then the way across the Alps, used for 800 years, was over the 6,935-foot 2,114-meter St. Gotthard Pass. A road was built in the 1820s. Alfred Escher the founder of Credit Suisse, was the initiator of the Gotthardbahn, and as its president, with Emil Welti he negotiated German and Italian cooperation for the project in 1869?1871. Two feeder lines meet at Arth-Goldau from there the mountain section runs through Brunner, Fluelen, and Altdorf to Erstfeld. There it commences the steep climb to Goeshenen at the northern end of the St. Gotthard Tunnel. Designed by the Geneva engineer Louis Favre, the double- track tunnel is 9.25 miles 15 kilometers long, passing through the mountain 5,500 feet 1,700 meters below the surface. The southern ramp is even steeper, and at Giornico more loops take the line to Chiasso. The tunnel was drilled from both ends, and the bores joined in 1880. The railroad was opened in 1882, when the difficult approach lines were completed. Favre had accepted punishingly tight schedules for the contract. He drove his force of 4,000 immigrant laborers to cut almost 18 feet 5.4 meters a dayover twice that achieved in the Frejus Tunnelin horrifying working conditions: water inrushes, rock falls, dust, and because of the great depth temperatures up to 102P F 39P C. About 1,000 men suffered serious injury 310 were killed. Twenty years later, the safety record on the Simplon Tunnel, although far from perfect, was much better. From the thirteenth century, the 6,590-foot 2,009-meter Simplon Pass near the Swiss-Italian border was a key to trade between northern and southern Europe and in the beginning of the nineteenth century, probably for military reasons, Napoleon I ordered a road built over it. Begun around 1898, the Simplon Railroad connects the Swiss town of Brig with Iselle, Italy. Its 12.3-mile 19.8-kilometer tunnelin reality two tunnelsunder Monte Leone was conceived as a twin-tube single-track system by the German engineer Alfred Brandt separate galleries 55 feet 17 meters apart were linked with cross-hatches. Until the completion of Japans Seikan Tunnel in 1988, the Simplon Tunnel was the worlds longest railroad tunnel. Because of its depthup to 7,000 feet 2,140 meters below groundtemperatures exceeding 120P F 49P C were faced during construction. The first gallery, Simplon I, was completed by January 1905 and traffic commenced the following year. M arious problems, including the intervention of World War I, delayed Simplon II until 1921 it was opened in 1922. The LQ tschberg Tunnel, opened in 1913, is a 9-mile 14.6-kilometer double-track railroad tunnel between Kandersteg and Goppenstein in south-central Switzerlands Bernese Alps. It is part of the 46-mile 74-kilometer standard-gauge Bern-LQ tschberg-Simplon Railway connecting Spietz and Brig. The branch lines from Thun and Interlaken meet at Spietz, where the main trunk leads to Frutigen and begins a steep mountain section, much like the Gotthardbahns, to the LQ tschberg Tunnel at Kandersteg. South of the tunnel the line descends from Goppenstein to the Rhone valley, where it reaches Brig and the line to the Simplon Tunnel and Domodossola, Italy. Together, LQ tschberg and Simplon completed a through-route from Germany and France to Italy. In 1987, the Swiss government initiated further investment in its railroad network. The major part of the plan, estimated to cost EUR10 billion U.S.R 8.8 billion, is the largest construction project in Europe. Known as NEAT for Neue Eisenbahn-Alpen Transversale, i.e., New Alpine Railroad Crossing, it involves the creation of two new 30-foot-diameter 9-meter twin-tube alpine tunnels, suitable for high-speed trains, through the St. Gotthard and LQ tschberg Mountains, respectively. Built at lower altitudes than their predecessors, they will double rail-transit capacity and significantly reduce journey times between northern and southern Europe. The first axis is expected to be in service by 2006.
8. Amsterdam Central Station
The Netherlands
Amsterdam Central Station is in fact geographically central in the city. Although it conformed to the general pattern of many metropolitan railroad stations before and after, it was an architectural and engineering achievement in that it was built on three artificial islands in the River IJ, supported by no fewer than 26,000 timber piles driven into the soft river bottom. That was a feat perhaps remarkable to the rest of the world but quite commonplace to the Dutch, who for centuries had coped with too much water and too little land. Economic activity in Amsterdam revived with the railroads in the second half of the nineteenth century. New shipyards and docks were built. Extravagant public buildings such as P. J. H. Cuyperss National Museum 1876?1915 and H. P. Berlages famous Stock Exchange 1884?1903 celebrated both the financial boom and awakening nationalism. In 1876 Cuypers and A. L. van Gendt were commissioned to design the Amsterdam Central Station. It was the first time that such work had been trusted to an architect rather than to engineers, a decision taken because the building would hold an important place in the nations image. Indeed, the brief jingoistically demanded that it should be in the Oud-Hollandsche Old Dutch style. That qualification presented little difficulty to Cuypers, who had developed a personal historical- revivalist manner based on late Gothic and early Renaissance forms and ideas. His abundantly decorated National Museum was already under construction. Eclectically drawing on a wide variety of styles, it did not readily expose his rationalist architectural philosophy, gleaned from E. E. Violletle-Ducs theories. Cuypers wanted to restore the crafts to a place of honor and insisted on the honest application of traditional materials. He was responsible for the appearance of the station van Gendt, thoroughly experienced as mechanical engineer for the railroad, would take care of constructional aspects. Work commenced in 1882. The station was built on the artificial islands in the Open Havenfront of Amsterdams original harbor, which had been cut off from the River IJ by the railroad. Special engineering skill was needed to create a solid foundation for the massive building and the rolling loads imposed by trains. As noted, 26,000 timber piles support the structure. The four-story station building, of red brick with stone dressings, is unmistakably Dutch. It is 1,020 feet 312 meters long and 100 feet 30.6 meters deep. On the axis of Damrakthe main street leading to the dam in the downtown areaa central pavilion flanked with clock towers houses the main entrance to the concourse. Its facade is resplendent with ornament: the clock faces the arms of those European cities to which the railroad gave access and an assortment of allegorical relief sculptures wherever they could fit, aptly representing such themes asSteam,Cooperation, andProgress. Convinced that the building process needed the collaboration of all the arts, Cuypers sought the artistic advice and skill of others, especially J. A. Alberdingk Thijm and V. de Steurs, who had worked on the National Museum. Amsterdam Central Station, The Netherlands P. J. H. Cuypers, architect L. J. Eijmer, engineer, 1884?1889. Exterior view of platform sheds the roof on the left was added in 1922. Late in 1884 the architect produced two sketches for the platform roof they have been characterized asunassuming. But that part of the design was not in his contract, and the structureanything but unassumingwas designed by the railroads own civil engineer, L. J. Eijmer. Carried on a frame of fifty semicircular, open-web trusses of wrought iron, spanning 150 feet 49 meters, the original station shed covered about 3.75 acres 1.5 hectares. During construction, problems arose over anchoring the arches, no doubt due to the foundation soil, but rejecting a suggestion to build several smaller, lighter roofs, it was resolved to proceed with the monumental designon a scale that could compare with that of the great examples abroad. Cuypers designed the decorative elements of the rafters and the glazed gable end. The roof was completed in October 1889. In 1922, to cover new platforms, another similar arch was added beside the IJ. The final phase of construction was the Kings Pavilion at the stations eastern end in 1889in the event, an ironic title, since the kingdom of the Netherlands was to be ruled only by queens for more than a century. Coaches could be driven inside, where a stair led to the royal waiting room, all in Cuyperss individualistic neo-Gothic style and enriched with a color scheme by the Austrian G. Sturm and executed by G. H. Heinen. The room was restored in 1995. The building of Amsterdam Central Station,a palace for the traveler, clearly demonstrates two issues that confronted architects and engineers late in the nineteenth century. First, after sixty years of building railway stations, they were no closer to finding an esthetic that suited the building type, fitted the new materials and technology, and removed the unnecessary tension between utility and beauty. Second, and related to the first, the nature of architectural practice was changing as increased knowledge called for specialization and the eventual replacement of the omniscient, not to say omnipotent, architect by a design team: architect, yes, but also mechanical engineer, structural engineer, interior designer, and consultant artist. That idea would not be enunciated until Walter Gropius wrote the Bauhaus manifesto in 1919.
9. Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat, a temple complex dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu, was built in the twelfth century A.D. in the ancient city of Angkor, 192 miles 310 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh. It is probably the largest and, as many have claimed, the most beautiful religious monument ever constructed. Certainly it is the most famous of all Khmer temples. Angkor served as the capital of the Khmer Empire of Cambodia from a.d. 802 until 1295. Evidence uncovered since 1996 has led some scholars to assert that the site may have been occupied some 300 years earlier than first thought, obviously affecting accepted chronologies. Whatever the case, its powerful kings held sway from what is now southern Vietnam to Yunnan, China, and westward from Vietnam to the Bay of Bengal. The city site was probably chosen for strategic reasons and for the agricultural potential of the region. The Khmer civilization was at its height between 879 and 1191, and as a result of several ambitious construction projects, Angkor eventually grew into a huge administrative and social center stretching north to south for 8 miles 13 kilometers and east to west for 15 miles 24 kilometers. The population possibly reached 1 million. Apart from the hundreds of buildingstemples, schools, hospitals, and housesthere was an extensive system of reservoirs and waterways. The public and domestic buildings, all of timber, have long since decayed. But because they were the only structures in which masonry was permitted, over 100 temple sites survive. Earlier examples were mostly of brick, but later, the porous, iron-bearing material known as laterite was used, and still later sandstone, quarried about 25 miles 40 kilometers away. The city of Angkor was the cult center of Devaraja, thegod-king, and an important pilgrimage destination. The Khmer kings themselves, from Jayavarman II 802?850 onward, had come to be worshiped as gods, and the temples they built were regarded as not only earthly but also as symbols of Mount Meru, the cosmological home of the Hindu deities. The official state religion was worship of the Siva Lingam, which signified the kings divine authority. Jayavarman II had identified the kingship with Siva, and acting upon that precedent, King Suryavarman H 1113ca. 1150 presented himself as an incarnation of Vishnu. He built Angkor Wat as a temple and administrative center for his empire and as his own sepulcher which is why it faces west to celebrate his status, he dedicated it to Vishnu. Financed by the spoils of war and taking over thirty years to finish, the sandstone-and-laterite Angkor Wat occupies a 2,800-by-3,800-foot 850-by-1,000-meter rectangular site. Its layout provides an architectural allegory of the Hindu cosmology. The temple is surrounded by a 590-footwide 180-meter moat, over 3 miles 5 kilometers long, which represents the primordial ocean. A causeway decorated with carvings of the divine serpents leads to a 617-foot-long 188-meter bridge that gives access to the most important of four gates. The temple is reached by passing through three galleries separated by paved walkways. It is an approximately pyramidal series of terraces and small buildings arranged in three ascending storiesthey stand for the mountains that encompass the worldand surmounted at the center by a templemountain of five lotus-shaped towers, symbolizing the five peaks of Mount Meru. Four of the original nine towers have succumbed to time and weather. The temple walls are replete with wonderfully crafted bas-reliefs, many of which were once painted and gilded, including about 1,700 heavenly nymphs and others that depict scenes of Khmer daily life, episodes from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, the exploits of Vishnu and Siva, and of course the heroic deeds of King Suryavarman II. In 1177 Angkor fell to the Cham army from northern Cambodia, who held it until it was retaken early in the reign of the Khmer King Jayavarman VII 1181?ca. 1215. When he built Angkor Thom nearby he dedicated his new capital to Buddhism, and Angkor Wat became a Buddhist shrine. Many of its carvings and statues of Hindu deities were replaced by Buddhist art. The Thais sacked Angkor in 1431. The following year the Khmers abandoned the city, and it was left to the encroaching jungle for a few centuries. However, Theravada Buddhist monks kept Angkor Wat as intact as possible until the late nineteenth century, making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Southeast Asia. The French explorer Henri Mouhotdiscovered Angkor in 1860. After French imperialism imposed itself in Indochina in 1863, the site attracted the scholarly interest of westerners. In 1907, when Cambodia had been made a French protectorate and Thailand returned Angkor to its control, Lecole Fran?aise dExtreme Orient established the Angkor Conservation Board. It seems that for forty years the European colonizers were more interested in reconstructing Angkor Wat than in undertaking scholarly restoration. The prodigal use of reinforced concrete made many of the buildings unrecognizable. The vandalism was mercifully halted when Khmer Rouge guerrillas occupied the site, followed by the Vietnamese army. When an uneasy peace was restored in 1986, the Archaeological Survey of India took up the project, replacing much of the French work with more modern and less intrusive techniques. At the invitation of the Cambodian government, the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor began a four-year preservation and restoration project in November 1994, initially focused on the Bayon temple in Angkor Thom but extending to the outer buildings of Angkor Wat. Because of delays caused by the July 1997 conflicts in Cambodia, the program was extended into 1999.
10. Appian Way
The Appian Way Via Appia, the oldest and perhaps most famous Roman road, was built by the Censor Appius Claudius Caecus in 312 b.c. Enlarging a track between Rome and the Alban Hills and forming the main route to Greece and the eastern colonies, this so-called queen of roads regina viarumeters ran south from the Porta Capena in Romes Servian Wall to Capua. It passed through the Appii Forum to the coastal town of Anxur now Terracina, 60 miles 100 kilometers from Rome, to which point it was almost straight, despite crossing the steep Alban Hills and the swampy Pontine Marshes. In 190 b.c. it was extended to Brundisium modern Brindisi on the Adriatic coastmore than 350 miles 560 kilometers from the capital and eighteen days march for a legion. Parts of itnow called the Via Appia Anticaremain in use after more than 2,000 years. The medieval proverbA thousand roads lead man forever toward Rome was popularized in William Blacks Strange Adventures of a Phaeton 1872 asAll roads lead to Rome. That was probably once true: the Romans built about 50,000 miles 80,000 kilometers of paved roads throughout their empire, mainly to expedite movements of the legions. Inevitably, the system was put to wider use and eventually served all kinds of travelers: dignitaries, politicians, commercial traffic of all kinds, and even an official postal service. Roman engineers efficiently developed road-building techniques to create enduring structures. Usually but not always, roads were laid upon a carefully constructed embankment agger to provide a foundationrubble laid in such a way as to provide proper drainagefor the base. The dimensions of the agger varied according to the importance of the road. Sometimes it may have been just a small ridge, but on major routes it could be up to 5 feet high and 50 wide 1.5 by 15 meters. For very minor roads no embankment was built, but two rows of curbstones defined the carriageway the excavation between them was layered with stones and graded material, the topmost sometimes forming the pavement. Overall, the depth of a Roman road from the surface to the bottom of the base was up to 5 feet. It seems that road width varied according to function, importance, and topography. The widest decumanus maximus was 40 feet 12.2 meters wide, while a minor road might be only 8 feet 2.4 meters. Rural thoroughfares were generally 20 feet 6 meters, but all roads became narrower over difficult terrain: some mountain passes, at less than 10 feet, were too narrow and often too steep for carts. Although stone was sometimes transported from a few miles away, local material was normally used. Of course, that practice gave rise to differences in construction along the length of a road, as is evident in the Via Appia. At one place a 3-foot-thick 1-meter bottom layer of earth and gravel from the neighboring mountains was consolidated between the curbs and covered by a thinner layer of gravel and crushed limestone, also contained by parallel rows of closely placed large stones. Elsewhere, a base layer of sand was covered with another of crushed limestone into which slabs of lava up to 15 inches 50 centimeters thick were fixed. Stone surfaces were mandatory for urban streets after 174 b.c., but other roads were not always stone-paved, especially in difficult terrain. Like the substructure, surfaces varied according to what materials were locally available: gravel, flint, small broken stones, iron slag, rough concrete, or sometimes fitted flat stones were used. The pavement thickness varied from a couple of inches on some roads to 2 feet 0.6 meter at the crown of others. Surfaces sloped downas steeply as 1 in 15from the center, to allow rainwater runoff into flanking ditches. Roman roads were strong enough to support half-ton metal-wheeled wagons, and many were wide enough to accommodate two chariots abreast. Some roads were provided with intentional ruts, intended to guide wagons on difficult stretches. Under normal traffic a paved Roman road lasted up to 100 years. Beginning with the Appian Way, the ancient Roman engineers flung an all-weather communication network across Italy and eventually their empire. The poet Publius Papinius Statius wrote late in the first century a.d.: ? How is it that a journey that once took till sunset ? Now is completed in scarcely two hours? ? Not through the heavens, you fliers, more swiftly ? Wing you, nor cleave you the waters, you vessels.