Ask the Architect: San Gimignano Architecture

San Gimignano

A few weeks back I got my second question from a reader. (Thank you, Emily!) Sorry to say I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to post an answer for you yet, but here it is! The question: Hi Connie, In your opinion, how does San Gimignano’s architecture reflect its rise and fall of wealth and/or economic success and prosperity? Best, Emily My answer: Hi Emily, Thank … Continue reading

The Definition of Architecture


Architecture is… difficult to define, and even architects get confused when asked to come up with an unambiguous definition. If you are looking for an answer with two lines underneath, you might find it here (or not). Whether your first association is: “architecture is… fancy modern building-design”, or “… the collective human heritage of built environments throughout the world” you might reconsider. This is an attempt to explore the wealth … Continue reading

Back to Earth – The World´s Oldest Building Material

California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (CalEarth) designs

Throughout the history of mankind earth has by far been the most commonly used building material. Anyone with a piece of land have it, and it requires no huge transportation costs. With a shovel and some manpower, people throughout the ages have dug out caves, made earthbricks, rammed earth walls, and developed other ways to build with this abundant material. The picture above shows the Fairy Chimney Hotel in Turkey. … Continue reading

Architecture & the Love of Imperfection


The imperfect has a certain charm to it. A rugged brick wall, faded paint, buildings that have visible defects – not because no one cares, but because time has done its thing and left its mark. It stands as a testimony to the history of the building, as well as to the people who have shared their lives within its walls. It has not been discarded and demolished, but continues … Continue reading

The Marvels of Marble

A detail from the marble (Leaning) Tower of Pisa

Marble has been imitated, copied, and cultured, across the world and over the centuries, but nothing compares to “the real thing”. The stone has a porous outer layer, which allows the light to penetrate the stone, causing the typical waxy and glowing (skinlike) expression. Marble is somehow soft and solid at the same time, and thereby easy to shape and still strong enought to carry a heavy weight. These are … Continue reading

The Aqueduct of Lucca and The Tricky Business of Water Supply

The Aqueduct of Lucca

To provide water to a city, where all the wells are contaminated, was one of the great challenges the people of ancient times were facing. The result was the legendary aqueducts, and there are many examples of this ancient architecture around the world.The aqueduct of Lucca is a fine example. It was built as late as the 19th century in a neoclassical style designed by Luccese architect Lorenzo Nottolini. The … Continue reading

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