Saturday, 15 March 2014

Friday, 7 March 2014


Soria Moria Castle, by Theodor Kittelsen. Wikimedia Commons.           

Finally, time for another painting! It's been a while, and this time I've chosen one where architectural forms are just hinted at, instead of being worked out in detail. I still find it to be an alluring and beautiful picture, which evokes many images in my mind.

The fairytale of Soria Moria Castle is one of the most poular Norwegian folk tales, and has triggered the imagination of artists through generations, especially since its publication as a part of Asbørnsen and Moe's collections of folk tales in the mid-19th century. Read the entire story here.

PS. Although the story doesn't involve any dwarves, it's supposed to be the source of Tolkien's name for Moria, the dwarf-kingdom of Middle-earth. Do not trust this information.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


To live in a stump house! How wonderful is this? From the Jim Linderman collection, who also published a book of arcane americana, with this picture and many others.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


Main facade

Earlier today, my friend Anita sent me an article about the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem. Dating back centuries, it was reconstructed and re-opened in 2010, after having lain in ruins since 1948.

Actually, the building has been torn down several times, thus earning its name, which means "ruin" in Hebrew. However, it's also been rebuilt, time and time again, not at least because of its importance as a symbol for Jewish presence in Jerusalem and Palestine throughout the ages.

This also meant that the reconstruction was seen as a provocation by parts of the Arab population, who protested the re-opening, claiming that it was the start of a campaign to conquer Jerusalem on behalf of the Jewish people, eventually leading to Israel destroying landmarks of Arab presence in the city.

For others, however, the reconstruction meant recovering a missing piece of the puzzle that is Jewish history. The old synagogue was a symbol of Jerusalem itself, and many later synagogues around the world were modelled on its neo-byzantine design. Getting it back, meant that a memory once again became reality.

This blog is mainly about architecture, not politics, but it's interesting to see how the erection of a building has very different meanings, depending on who you're asking. The Hurva Synagogue is also a prime example of how important historical buildings and cities are to our identities, even when they are (almost) completely rebuilt.

The ruin, 1967

Interior of the building, clearly showing where parts
of the old ruin were incorporated in the new structure.

All pictures: Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Picture by Wikimedia Commons

Eating delicious Phsyalis berries as an evening snack, I'm thinking it would be great to make a building with a structure based on that of a of a Physalis shell. A greenhouse, perhaps?

Sunday, 19 January 2014


Picture by Wikicommons

At the time when I started this blog, I wrote a few posts about the wonderful wooden architecture of Russia. Large manor houses, churches and villages are all part of a great tradition which is not well-known in the West, but includes both very classical buildings, and those inspired by vernacular architecture.

Rear view. Picture by Wikicommons.

The example of the day is the elegant and charming estate of Tarkhany, which was constructed around 1800 in the region of Penza Oblast, in Western Russia. Currently a working museum, the manor house and the surroundings were originally a family residence, containing such necessities as a church, fish ponds, fruit gardens, a domed garden pavilion, avuenues of lime trees, several cottages for the workers, and a mausoleum.

Tarkhany garden pavilion. Picture by

Pavilion dome detail. Picture by

Tarkhany was also the home of the famous Russian poet Lermontov, and the museum still contains many of his belongings in the period furnished rooms of the houses.

Cottage at Tarkhany. Picture by

I want a porch like this one. Picture by Wikicommons


Friday, 10 January 2014


I watched this wonderful little film in Christmas, and was blown away by all the wonderful design. Disney was heavily inspired by the Norwegian landscape, especially Western Norway, and went on several study trips to establish the asthetics of Arendelle, the kingdom in which the film takes place.

Apart from nice music and charming characters, I guarantee you'll love the buildings, which were copied from famous Norwegian buildings and building types, such as Akershus fortress in Oslo, Bergen city centre, stave churches and log-built houses. The royal palace is basically a stave church with bedrooms.


Hello, Arendelle

Hello, Gol Stave Church

Hello, Akershus Fortress

Hello, Bergen

Oh, and the queen builds a pink and blue ice palace at one point.

Saturday, 28 December 2013


Visiting a friend of mine in Lyngdal, Southern Norway a few weeks ago, we stumbled across this weird and wonderful house and garden, lying peacefully next to the road. I doubt that an architect lives here, but the people who do, have taken their liberties in creating something unusual, adding both a small tower and miniature italianate box planting in the middle of the Norwegian agricultural landscape. I can't help but love when people take control of their surroundings in this way, often creating something unique and infinitely charming as they go along.

Friday, 15 November 2013


This amazing image is the work of Yanick Dusseault, and depicts the city Theed of the planet Naboo in the Star Wars universe. Naboo is known for its combination of advanced techonology with classicish (my word) architecture.

The focus is on Theed's large royal palace, which supposedly had another tower added by each new monarch, to show his or hers... er... capability. Or something. Looks bloody beautiful, anyway.

Friday, 8 November 2013


The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

Please watch this beautiful little film of architecture real, imagined and re-imagined (in fullscreen); it's a nice reminder of how architecture sometimes can be an art.

One of the most important buildings featured in the film is Louis Kahn's Exeter library. The more I learn about Kahn, the more I come to love his work. There's a rather huge Kahn exhibition at the Oslo Museum of Architecture right now. Anyone who hasn't seen it, really should go. Last day of the exhibition is 26th January 2014.

Finally, thanks to Joan, who made me aware of the film a long time ago. I love it.

PS. TOEFL test tomorrow, needed for my applications to the schools I want to get in to in the US. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 7 November 2013


As I hinted earlier, I recently went to Hamburg. One of the greatest places I visited, was also one of the smallest, a tiny street inside a complex called the Grocers' Apartments.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On a tiny plot, this group of 17th century timber frame houses creates a world of its own, twisting and leaning and bending in all directions.

(Add some curly hair, oxfordesque attire and a hand on the chin, and you've accomplished what you wanted to, more or less.)
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