Sunday, March 10, 2013

Miami Nice

Colony Hotel, Miami, FL
Courtesy Colony Hotel by Daniel Siskind
Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Florida - (BTT) Few places in the world are so intrinsically linked to an architectural style as Miami Beach is to Art Deco. Cruising down Ocean Drive is an experience the exists no where else on earth, and among the pastel-colored Streamline Moderne hotels that line the street, the Colony stands especially iconic. Built in 1939, the hotel and the neighborhood weren't always as glamorous as they are today - in a bit of irony, it was thanks in part to shows like Miami Vice and movies like Scarface depicting the rather seedy state of the area in the 1980's that helped renew interest in South Beach and assuring landmark status for gems like this.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hermit Habitats

Cliffside Monastery
Courtesy Cliffside Monastery by Paul Vermeesch
Chastity Cliff - (BTT) It's one thing to want to get away from it all and find a nice little place to yourself by the sea to unwind as a vacation - it's another thing to make it your life. Further from society but closer to his creator, this lonely monk has just the sounds of the ocean below to keep him company. Fortunately, he also has a humble abode that might be small in footprint but is big on details. The clean, white stucco walls give a nice contrast to the surrounding landscape and provides the perfect blank backdrop for a lifetime of meditation.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Seaside Stay

Courtesy Hotel Creators by OliveSeon
Ocean Drive - (BTT) While we have done our fair share of covering the very best in hospitality over the year, I dare say this might be the most opulent let, if only for the site alone. Perched just feet away from the ocean, the Hotel Creators dwarfs the buildings around it, including the adjacent lighthouse. Thankfully it does its guests a great service is being beautiful in addition to big - a grand entry sets the stage at the ground floor, while the rest of the building's massing is playfully broken up with a series of setbacks, towers, and balconies.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Microscale Monday 02-18-2013

Another mini LEGO house
Courtesy mini LEGO house by ninbendo
Tinytown - (BTT) After a some recent (and stunning) examples of modern single-family residences, it's nice to return to a more traditional little slice of suburbia. This one-story charmer might be small in footprint, but is large on details - especially nice are the gardens and bay window overlooking the driveway. For this happy couple and their dog, it might not make the cover of the next issue of Mansions Monthly, but it is home.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Microscale Monday 02-11-2013

Courtesy Basilika by moctown
Abbey Road - (BTT) Religion is a touchy subject, as proven with the announcement that the Pope decided he's had enough of wearing pointy hats and riding around in Tupperware cars. Still, regardless of your own personal relationship with the higher power of your choice, it's hard to deny that some of the most important architecture is divinely inspired. This basilica, beautifully topped with striking blue roofs, exemplifies this point as well as any structure.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

C'est Magnifique

Avenue Saint-Jacques
Courtesy Avenue Saint-Jacques by snaillad 
Paris, France - (BTT) When you close your eyes and imagine Paris, likely the second thing to come into frame after the Eiffel Tower are the broad avenues lined with classical buildings such as the stunning example above - shops and restaurants on the bottom to encourage an active streetscape, apartments above to keep the buildings active at all hours of the day. While never becoming the household name that Gustave Eiffel has, at least not internationally, Georges-Eugène Haussmann deserves just as much credit for giving the City of Light its iconic look. Conveniently located right at the entrance of a Metro station, this building is more that just a pretty facade. Go inside you will find a lot going on - restaurants and cafes, dentist offices, and apartments that are the height of luxury.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Geometric Gem

Courtesy Schröder House by TechnicNick 
Utrecht, The Netherlands - (BTT) We seem to be on a bit of a modernist kick at the moment, and for good reason - not everything needs moldings to be a masterpiece. The Schröder House, designed by Dutch architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld and completed in 1924, proves this to be true. Quite possibly the best architectural expression of Neoplasticism (De Stijl to the locals) ever created, the Schröder House is made up of a series of intersecting planes with key elements highlighted in primary colors. Inside the building is almost completely open with a virtually wall-free interior - quite radical at the time, when the concept of loft apartments were still decades away from being trendy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Scandinavian Simplicity

Courtesy Villa Whiteout by birgburg
Scandinavia - (BTT) Looking just as good now as when it was first built back in the 1930s, this modern dwelling is newly renovated and ready for the next eight decades. The pure white facades punctuated by black trim on the windows and doors is a classic look for the era, but a bit of brickwork helps bring a little color and contrast to the composition. On the ground floor in a beautifully open plan is a living room wonderfully detailed with ample seating and a cow skin rug in addition to a kitchen sure to please any aspiring chefs in the family. Head up the spiral stairs to the upper level to find the master bedroom, complete with a walk in closet and private terrace.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Parcel Police

Post office / Police depot - front
Courtesy Post office / Police depot by Maciej Drwięga
Over by the train tracks - (BTT) Every so often the post office raises the cost of a stamp by a penny, and every time they do people get in a panic as if the idea of something increasing in price over the years is unique to the evil mind of the Postmaster General. The ability to stuff any document in an envelop and have it delivered by hand to any address throughout the entire country in no doubt worth 45 cents, but now they want 46 cents!? Truly this is an injustice for the ages! This charming little building has the right idea - should any irate customer throw a tantrum about a service that still costs less than a gumball, all that the great employees of the post office need to do is knock on the party wall and the neighboring police will rush in to help defuse the situation. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Microscale Monday 01-28-2013

Bank Complex
Courtesy Bank Complex by Luap31
Downtown Brickville - (BTT) Holding down an important spot on the river, this Bank Complex is a shining example of the International style. While this site tends to skew towards the traditional and the ornate, like a raccoon fixated on a shiny object, make no mistake - a simple, clean, wonderfully proportioned Modernist building is just as compelling.