Tag Archives: architecture

Day Two: Lucerne, Switzerland

Today, I was in a conference room in Lucerne for eight hours.

No sunshine. No city views. No sightseeing.

Hotel des BalancesBut after dinner, I again was charmed by my hotel and the square it overlooks.

In the daylight, the front facade of the Hotel des Balances in Lucerne is awash with color, the figures and ornate border giving the building an almost candy-colored glow.

(They stand behind this sugary start by delivering a customized oval of chocolate on our pillows each night.)

When the sun sets, the hotel and the other painted buildings in the square loose their characteristic colors but not their charm. Most businesses close by seven o’clock, so there is only the sound of foot traffic on the cobblestone, and the street lights make the architecture appear more whimsical.

Lucerne Square

I took this photo from my hotel balcony, which overlooks the front entrance.

chocolate mint LucerneAnd because many of you couldn’t concentrate after you read the word ‘chocolate,’ here is that mint I mentioned.

Pretty snazzy, huh?

City of angles

My friend Suzanne takes beautiful photos of the architecture in Boston, often framing the buildings at interesting angles.

I’m visiting Los Angeles for a few days and thought I would give her method a try.

palm trees LA








Huh…looks way different here.

On target

I have thoroughly enjoyed our guessing game.

Have you?

white and red dotsFor those of you just joining us, I posted this picture in yesterday’s Egg and asked for guesses as to the building’s identity.

The entries have shown range and creativity — everything from a pig to a museum, a ship to a stomach ulcer.

So close, and yet so far.

Actually, the photo depicts one of the shooting arenas at the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in London.

Now, before you say, “No fair!  I would have never seen that,” the shooting events at the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held here.  So you might have spied it on NBC’s Olympics coverage.

And if you did, you would no doubt remember.  I mean, how cool is that?

Day Two, Milan: There she is

I came to Milan to work, and today was the day.

I spent most of it in a conference room conducting a training session…and it went very well.  But at 4:30pm the work was done, and my official vacation began.

We started by heading to Milan — the city itself, not the outskirts where my hotel is located.  Luckily there is a subway stop just down the road, so off we walked, much to the chagrin of the taxi drivers lined up outside the entrance.

Our first stop was the Duomo, which is literally at the top of the station steps.  It is even more majestic then it appears in photos, and I joined the groups of people gathered ’round, head tilted way back to soak it all in.

We arrived at the very moment they closed the Duomo to tours each evening, but we still had time to take the elevator ride to the top and walk across the roof.

I don’t know how the two tours compare, but the view from the roof is pretty incredible.

We could see the entire city  — the beautiful architecture, the ugly new buildings that mar the landscape, all the people teeming about in the square, and of course, the amazing detail of the Duomo itself — both the existing structure and the extensive amount that is still under renovation.

After our tour, we strolled through the shops in the historic galleria — where children were spinning on a fresco of a bull for luck — and wandered the streets until a sidewalk cafe caught our eye for dinner.  Later we had gelato and headed to the subway to make our way back.

It was all and all a lovely evening in Milan.

Tomorrow?  We are thinking of making an unplanned day trip.  Where could it be??

Stay tuned…

Point the finger

Officers, I have your thief.

Or a pretty good theory, anyhoo.

Someone stole almost 400,000 toothpicks from a manufacturer in Athens, Georgia.

Since there were no signs of forced entry, the owner thinks a former employee might be the culprit.

Sure, that would explain it.  Or maybe it was Stan Munro, the mastermind behind…

Toothpick World

Munro says he buys his toothpicks from a wholesaler to create his toothpick replicas of famous landmarks from around the world.

Look at the detail — they are incredible.  And that is why I think he’s a prime suspect.

After his endless hours of sitting in one spot and holding a steady hand to create these masterpieces, I’ll bet Stan would enjoy making a run down South and organizing a toothpick heist.

Don’t you?

Praise chocolate

The Mayan calendar predicts the world’s end in December.  But in case it’s wrong…

Some ‘architects’ have built a Mayan pyramid out of chocolate big enough to kill us all.

In fact, this model of the Kukulcan Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico broke the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Chocolate Sculpture.

California dessert and pastry school Qzina labored more than 400 hours to create the six-foot high structure which weighs over 18,000 pounds.

That’s one-thirtieth the size of the original Mayan temple.

The chocolate sculpture will be destroyed on December 21 — the last date on the Mayan calendar.  According to the Qzina website, they haven’t decided exactly how to dismantle the thing.


I know a lot of folks who would volunteer to help make that baby disappear.

See thru

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Or pick their noses or walk around naked…or watch Swamp People on the History Channel.

No one should watch that.







This ‘transparent house’ is located in Tokyo.  Designed by Sou Fujimoto architects, the multi-level structure occupies 914 square feet and features lots of ramps and cool built-ins.

And glass walls.

Now, your first concern might be the lack of privacy.  And sure, there aren’t that many solid walls in the place.  But I think you would get used to the constant exposure.

The Internet has prepared us for that, right?

Personally, I would be more concerned about the light.  Unless the photos are hiding retractable awnings or shades, the sun would be your almost constant companion.

So. Much. Light.

The vampire in me says no.

Head down

The ceilings in the terminal at Miami International Airport are so low, I feel like I’m gonna bump my head.

I’m only 5’7″, folks.


Why would any airport, your last stop before flying off into the ‘wild blue yonder,’ be so claustrophobic?  Wouldn’t it try to inspire, to remind you of the trip ahead with grand vistas and high ceilings?

This terminal is so cramped, the airplane I will soon board is gonna feel roomy.

Oh — maybe that’s the plan.

Favorite places

While re-watching 500 Days of Summer recently, I found myself wondering…

What are my favorite buildings in Manhattan?

The lovesick architect Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was able to find inspiration in Los Angeles.  I live in New York City, home to some of the most iconic buildings in the world.  What speaks to me?

The Lucerne Hotel

When I was looking for my first apartment in the city back in 2006, this Upper West Side building immediately caught my eye.  The realtor had made an appointment for me at a nondescript high-rise across the street; I just wanted to talk about this beautifully ornate structure.

I soon learned it was a boutique hotel with a decidedly European influence — a French restaurant occupies the entire ground floor — and that had it just undergone a major renovation.

But at the turn-of-the-century, The Lucerne was a residence hotel.  Eugene O’Neill is one of its more storied occupants.  I’m sure it was less grand back then, but the man knew his architecture.

I wish the darn thing would go co-op now!