Santiago Calatrava

The Most Beautiful Olympic Stadiums Ever Built

The 2012 London Summer Olympics kicks off today, and all eyes are on the capital of tea and toast for Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s three-hour opening ceremony extravaganza that includes, according to our friends at HuffPost, Paul McCartney, cricket, and sheep. After reading a fascinating article about the Architecture Olympics, explaining International Olympic Committee founder Baron de Coubertin’s vision for “a global event that incorporated not only athletics but also art competitions, giving equal importance to works of architecture, painting, music, sculpture and literature,” we felt compelled to take an in-depth look at the stunning design afforded by the biannual competition.

Starting with a look at the most stunning stadiums constructed for this year’s events, and then going back in time to the striking simplicity of the first stadium in Greece, click through to check out the most beautiful Olympic architecture ever built. Then, nominate your favorite stadium in the comments below! … Read More

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The Most Beautiful Train Stations in the World

In 1972, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and The New York Times’ very first architecture critic, Ada Louise Huxtable observed that “nothing was more up-to-date when it was built, or is more obsolete today, than the railroad station.” A comment on the emerging age of the jetliner and a swanky commercial air travel industry that made the behemoth train stations of the time appear as cumbersome relics of an outdated industrial era, we don’t think the judgment holds up today — at all. Like so many things that we wrote off in favor of what was seemingly more modern and efficient (ahem, vinyl records and Polaroid film), the train station is back and better than ever. So, we’re taking the time to look back at some of the greatest stations still standing.

From New York’s grande dame of a terminal to a station complete with its own indoor rainforest to the home of the world’s most luxurious train, the Orient Express, here’s our roundup of the most beautiful train stations in the world. Let us know in the comments what we’ve missed! … Read More

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The World’s Most Eye-Catching Modern Museums

With the rise of starchitect culture in recent decades, there has been a subsequent rise in the number of museums designed by celebrity architects. (It was believed that if a big name was behind a building, it would attract more attention, and in turn, visitors. Makes sense.) Click through to check out 10 of the most eye-catching modern museums on the planet — including a few that are still currently in progress — and we think you’ll see why it works. … Read More

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10 of the Most Beautiful Bridges in the World

Holiday travel will bring millions of people back and forth across bridges over the next few days. Most of them, we’ll be honest, are boring, pedestrian ones that barely deserve notice. Seen from many a car and bus window, I-95’s span across the Delaware River gets a nod for height and length, but offers only views Delaware and New Jersey’s grim industrial decay. So, in other words, nothing to write home about. On the opposite end of the spectrum: the 10 striking feats of engineering combined with picturesque locations that we’ve compiled after the jump. … Read More

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More Than Just a Pokerface: Lady Gaga as Architectural Cipher

“I don’t feel like I look like the other perfect little pop singers. I think I’m changing what people think is sexy.” Immortal words from Lady Gaga, 2009’s poster child for avant-garde pop and the Ambassador of No Pants Land. Surrounded by a latex-clad coterie nicknamed Haus of Gaga (loosely modeled after Warhol’s Factory), Gaga’s remarkable wardrobe is like architecture from outer space. So what cutting-edge designers and architects might the Lady be referencing? Our speculations after the… Read More

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This Morning’s Top 5 Cultural Stories

1. Five J.J. Abrams surprises you might have missed in Star Trek [via MTV]

2. Lily Allen gets church giggles performing censored lyrics on the BBC [via Daily Mirror]

3. The Hollywood madam who “makes Heidi Fleiss look like Mary Poppins” [via NYDN]

4. Warner Home Video wants to help you find… Read More

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Forget Building a New WPA, What We Need Is Another Robert Moses

It’s twelve o’clock in the afternoon in sunny L.A., and you’ve got a plane to catch to Barcelona in four hours. The taxi arrives at your Cahuenga Boulevard split-level on the spot of half past; you lump your luggage into the trunk, toss yourself into the backseat, and settle in for the short hop downtown to Union Station. No, you’re not headed to LAX. Your flight departs at 5 p.m., Mountain Standard Time, from Skyharbor  International Airport — in Phoenix.

In a high-concept scheme for the future of air travel from architects Thom Moran and Rustam Mehta, you could make your connection in a flash by way of a magnetic levitation train, checking-in onboard and alighting directly at your terminal. The LA-Phoenix link would be complimented by a Las Vegas spur, making up a vast regional transportation network that would reduce congestion system-wide. And where the three lines meet, Mehta and Moran imagine an enormous city straddling the shared border of California, Nevada, and Arizona, a transit metropolis planned on an irregular grid running along as well as on top of the tracks. … Read More

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Open Letter to Chicago: Stop Santiago Caltrava’s Spire

According to TIME‘s RICHARD LACAYO, the slow real estate market has halted the progress on famed Spanish architect SANTIAGO CALATRAVA‘s CHICAGO SPIRE, a project which was originally slated to be completed in 2011. If it’s canceled this will be Calatrava’s second skyscraper to get the ax in recent months — the first was a residential building in Lower Manhattan where 10,000 square foot “cubes” were priced at 30 million dollars a piece.

Is it just us, or could this be a possible silver lining to the current economic mess? And what is it with starchitects and phallic buildings? If this one gets built, it will be the tallest building in America; right now the construction site is home to a 110-foot wide hole.

We’re stopping there before the double entendre becomes too much, and turning the tables on you. … Read More

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