I love looking at building construction, but particularity houses, with an eye toward good ideas from each country I visit. I’ve always been fascinated with the different ways home construction techniques vary from country to country. I have many friends in the US who own businesses and love to hear of my findings and sometimes incorporate them into their own procedures. These will also show up in the blog.
This page will focus on the Architecture from Amsterdam, Bangkok, and Sydney.
This was the city that inspired me to create more memories by taking lots of pictures. Amsterdam is a fascinating place with a very unusual and large variety of architecture and waterways to admire. The Het museum is a maritime museum that contains many artifacts related to sailing and shipping in the area. It includes paintings, weapons, maps, and scale models just to name a few. The paintings focus on historic battles and feature Dutch naval officers. The maps are fascinating and include a surviving copy of the first edition of the De Moluccis Insulis, a document that details Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage around the world.
Outside the museum is a replica of an 18th century ship, named the Amsterdam (not surprisingly), which sailed between the Netherlands and the Indies.
The museum was really considered to be a cultural institution for centuries, but in trying to attract more visitors added attractions that were considered to have turned it into more of an amusement park, focusing too much on entertainment rather than pure history. There was even a shooting here in 2013 that drew a great deal of negative attention to it.
It is struggling to this day with management being replaced a couple times. But it is a beautiful structure and well worth a visit.
But lets step back and look at the beginnings. Amsterdam is where modern architecture slowly developed between the historical buildings. It is not a very big city so there is a lot packed into a relatively small area, making it very attractive to lovers of architecture.
Of course Amsterdam is known for its canals and the homes that are constructed right in them. The “old centre” was originally formed by rings of canals with unusual homes owned by wealthy politicians, doctors, lawyers, craftsmen, and financiers. Due to the very limited space available, the houses are very narrow but tall. They tend to have tall, narrow windows, beautiful decorative tops, and a pulley outside to get larger objects into the upper floors. A lot of these were actually businesses. The shopkeepers would store their possessions and inventory in the attics and basements. The canals were the primary conduits for transportation.
Amsterdam, like most cities, advanced in architectural prowess and as the 20th century crept on, more modern buildings started showing presenting a stark contrast with the prevailing architecture styles. Eventually lower cost housing started showing up, however this is still well kept and attractive.
Unlike Amsterdam, Bangkok is a sprawling and modern city loaded with skyscrapers and all the modern accommodations, though the city really came into its own in the early 15th century. By the beginning of the 20th century, rural markets began showing up in residential areas. A large bridge, called the Memorial Bridge, was built in 1932 in order to promote economic growth and to help modernize the city. The military and political elite struggled for power during this period at the country moved away from monarchy. The Japanese occupied the city and it was subjected to Allied bombing in World War II. After the war, British and Indian troops disarmed the remaining Japanese troops .
Bangkok grew rapidly in the post war period, helped by US developmental aid and government investment. Airports and highways were built, and Bangkok became a rest spot for American sailors, enhancing its popularity as a tourist spot. Gradually more and more people poured into the city from the outlying areas causing the population to soar.
Eventually Japanese businesses took over as investment leaders, and export manufacturing led to growth in the cities financial markets. There was a lot of unrest in the 1970’s and 80’s as students protested all kinds of things.
Sydney is one of my favorite cities. Its history goes way back to near-prehistoric times when Aboriginals inhabited the land. It went for a century as the capital of New South Wales, after which New South Wales joined the Australian Federation and became part of Australia. It is now Australia’s largest city and a focal point of world finance and culture.
The early years of Sydney’s history were rough, as the settlers tried to integrate with the Aboriginals there. To make matters worse, prisoners were being sent there by the shipload from countries that didn’t want them. Sydney transformed from a penal colony to a nascent free society in the years from around 1810 to 1822 when a British Governor.
In the 1850’s gold was discovered and resulted in large numbers of immigrants poured into the city in search of riches. The population grew from around 39,000 to a couple hundred thousand in about 25 years.
The infrastructure of the city was built out in the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
Sydney kept growing from there until it was awarded the 2000 Summer Olympic games, an enormously prestigious acknowledgement. A huge stadium was built and the Games went off without a hitch. The city now hosts a large number of cultural and religious events, and is a popular tourist attraction. It now has a nice modern metro system and is simply a beautiful city rich is culture and diversity.