All posts by brow0008

Il Duomo di Firenze

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Now called the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers, the main church of Florence, Italy is architecturally astounding to me. I visited it in the summer of 2010 when a student group I was part of visited Italy. When we entered the city, it immediately stood out on the skyline. The construction of the Duomo began in 1296 and was not completed until 1436. What really amazed me about this building was the dome, which was engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. I was only 15 at the time I visited, but even then I was amazed at how something so grand and enduring was standing 574 years after it was constructed.

I could not focus on the engineering and technicality as much when I was climbing because the spiraling, steeply inclined stairs made focusing on anything but my feet in front of me difficult, but while at the top and climbing down I could really soak it in. The sheer size of the dome and building itself was incredible, but thinking about how it was created before all the technology and tools we use today made it even more so. Before I visited Italy, I never really looked at architecture in depth, but only thought of the utility of buildings. After Italy and climbing the Duomo, I really started seeing the art and thought that goes into architecture.

Everything from the incline of each stair, to the arched doorways, to the increasing slope of the walls, had to be thought out and planned to a tee to make the structure stand. The cathedral was not just built to be a building where worship happened, but more a building for people to appreciate and enjoy. The stairs may have been a tough climb, but seeing the inside and outside of the dome, the stairwells and viewing windows in between the walls, and the view of Florence on the top made it well worth the climb.Duomo_(inside)_Santa_Maria_del_Fiore,_Florence,_Italy

Holmenkollbakken Ski Jump

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When I visited Oslo, Norway in 2015, my family took a trip around the city to see significant buildings and structures. That is when I had the privilege to visit the Holmenkollbakken Ski Jump. Built into the mountainside in the 1890s, this structure has been the site for many important skiing events in history, most notably the 1952 winter Olympics. Because of how it is built into the mountain, it is hard to take in its vastness from one angle. When I first came up to it, all I saw was the metallic top, with a gift shop and coffee bar underneath.

Ignoring the modern additions, it was amazing, as a sports management major and general sports fan, to see something that brought so many people together. It was still standing at its original location over 100 years after it was initially built. It has seen 19 restructuring/expansions, and has acted as not only host to major skiing events, but served as a military artillery when Germany took over during the Second World War. This now modern icon of the city can be seen from the center Oslo, and represents, somewhat, their independence. It is still used for sport today, and continues to bring money as both a national arena and a popular tourist attraction.

The grandstands, built for the 1952 Olympics, hold upwards of 70,000 spectators. The most recent design of the actual jump, built in 2006 for the 2011 World Championships, was meant to be modern but retain the classical allure. It’s simple facade of class and metal and its silhouette keep with the simplicity of the sport and the city.  Its height and width make it stand out. The most amazing aspect of the recent design however is the lighting. Although I was not able to see it at night, the somewhat overcast day allowed me to get an idea. The use of spotlights both inside the jump and from the outside runway highlighted the Holmenkollbakken in a way that allows spectators to view both the simplicity of its base structure and the grandeur of its overall design.

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