Promenade de la Croisette

October 25th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

Harbor, Palais des Festival and Croisette © Mario Lassnig/cc-by-sa-2.0-at

Harbor, Palais des Festival and Croisette © Mario Lassnig/cc-by-sa-2.0-at

Cannes is a city located on the French Riviera. It is a busy tourist destination. The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès on Promenade de la Croisette is host of the annual Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. It is as well host to the annual MIPIM in March, one of the largest real estate shows in the world, including an exhibition area, networking events and expert-led conference sessions over a period of 4 days, and MAPIC in November, an international retail real estate show.

The Promenade de la Croisette stretches along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea and is about 2 km long. Many expensive shops, restaurants, and hotels (such as the Carlton, Majestic, JW Marriott Cannes and Martinez) line the road. It goes completely along the coastline of Cannes.

South of the Promenade de la Croisette are the St Honorat Island (Île Saint-Honorat) and St Marguerite Island (Île Sainte-Marguerite) with public ferry access. It took The Man in the Iron Mask 11 years to leave this tiny, forested island. The mysterious individual was believed to be of noble blood, but his identity has never been proven. His cell can be visited in the Fort of St Marguerite, now renamed the Musée de la Mer (Museum of the Sea)

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux bought land at the Croix des Gardes and constructed the villa Eleonore-Louise. His work to improve living conditions attracted the English aristocracy, who also built winter residences. At the end of the 19th century, several railways were completed. This prompted the arrival of streetcars. In Cannes, projects such as the Boulevard Carnot, the rue d’Antibes and the Carlton Hotel on the Promenade de la Croisette were carried out. After the closure of the Casino des Fleurs (hôtel Gallia), a luxury establishment was built for the rich winter clientele, the Casino Municipal next to the pier Albert-Edouard. This casino was demolished and replaced by the new Palace in 1979. With the 20th century came new luxury hotels such as the Miramar and the Martinez. The city was modernised with a sports centre, street cars, a post office, and schools. Winter tourism gave way to summer tourism and the summer casino at the Palm Beach was constructed.

Read more on Cannes Tourism, Palais des festivals et des congrès and Wikipedia Promenade de la Croisette. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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The Einstein Tower in Potsdam

October 22nd, 2014 | General | No Comments »

© Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam

© Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam

The Einstein Tower is an astrophysical observatory in the Albert Einstein Science Park in Potsdam, Germany built by Erich Mendelsohn. It was built on the summit of the Potsdam Telegraphenberg to house a solar telescope designed by the astronomer Erwin Finlay-Freundlich. The telescope supports experiments and observations to validate (or disprove) Albert Einstein‘s relativity theory. The building was first conceived around 1917, built from 1919 to 1921 after a fund-raising drive, and became operational in 1924. Although Einstein never worked there, he supported the construction and operation of the telescope. It is still a working solar observatory today as part of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam. Light from the telescope is directed down through the shaft to the basement where the instruments and laboratory are located. There were more than half a dozen telescopes in the laboratory.

The exterior was originally conceived in concrete, but due to construction difficulties with the complex design and shortages from the war, much of the building was actually realized in brick, covered with stucco. Because the material was changed during construction of the building, the designs were not updated to accommodate them. This caused many problems, such as cracking and dampness. Extensive repair work had to be done only five years after the initial construction, overseen by Mendelsohn himself. Since then numerous renovations have been done periodically.

The building was heavily damaged by Allied bombing during World War II, leaving it in a state that, as the architecture blog A456 noted, was ironically more in line with Mendelsohn’s conceptual sketches than the pre-war structure was. It underwent a full renovation in 1999, for its 75th anniversary, to correct problems with dampness and decay that had meant decades of repair. It is often cited as one of the few landmarks of expressionist architecture.

According to lore, Mendelsohn took Einstein on a long tour of the completed structure, waiting for some sign of approval. The design, while logical and perfectly sufficient to its purpose, stood out like an “ungainly spaceship” in the suburbs of Potsdam. Einstein said nothing until hours later, during a meeting with the building committee, when he whispered his one-word judgment: “Organic”. (Otto Friedrich, Before the Deluge.) Mendelsohn himself said that he had designed it out of some unknown urge, letting it emerge from “the mystique around Einstein’s universe” (Wolf von Eckardt, Erich Mendelsohn.)

Read more on Einstein Tower, Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam – Einstein Tower, – Einstein Tower and Wikipedia Einstein Tower. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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