Jumble of flat roofed buildings with distant castle and glimpse of sea
Architecture,  History,  Lens-Artists,  Themed galleries

Gallery: looking back at buildings

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness

Frank Gehry

One of the (many) things I like to photograph when I travel are the various buildings I see. Buildings tell us so much about how people live, how they work, how they worship. Or, if they are old buildings, how they once lived/worked/worshipped.

For the Lens Artists Challenge this week Sofia is interested in looking back at the past. I decided to focus on architecture and put together an informal timeline of some favourite buildings I have found and photographed. And because we are ‘looking back’ I propose to start with the present day and head backwards through time. I have included dates but some of these are quite general or refer only to one main section of a larger building constructed over a period of time.

I’ve included some links to posts with more photos of these buildings but please don’t feel obliged to follow any of them! They’re just there for interest if needed.

Early 21st century

Looking up at modern skyscrapers

High rise offices in Shiodome, Tokyo

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Frontage of a blue and gold tiled modern building with wrought iron gates

Al Alam Palace in Muscat, the royal residence of the Sultan of Oman (you can see it in its setting in the old city in my featured photo)

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Striking modern church at the top of a flight of steps

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool

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Building with simple curved white walls

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC

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The Chrysler Building, NYC

Skyscraper and Stars and Stripes flag
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Old brick building on a corner with BANK sign

The former bank of Magdalena, NM

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Blue tiled building with ornate carvings and sculptures

Strēlnieku iela 4a, one of the glorious Art Nouveau gems of Riga

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Turn of the 20th century

Street of traditional wooden Japanese houses

The merchant houses of Takayama, Japan

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Tiled courtyard surrounded by blue and yellow painted colonnade

The Palais de la Bahia, Marrakesh

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Street of painted houses with wooden porches and trims

Gurney Street’s ‘Painted Ladies’, Cape May, NJ

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Building with spires and onion domes

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, built as a seaside home for the Prince Regent and designed by John Nash

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Traditional white painted house surrounded by trees and bushes

Keats’ House, Hampstead, London

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c 1750

White painted stone cottage

Birthplace of George Stephenson, Wylam, Northumberland. When Stephenson was born, in 1781, there would have been four families living in this two-storey cottage, each with a single room.

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Open sided room with arches and colourful wall paintings

Badal Mahal (Cloud Palace), part of the Gahr Palace in Bundi, Rajasthan

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1587 – 1593

Ruined walls and a distant mountain

Forte Real de São Filipe, Cidade Velha on the island of Santiago, Cape Verde

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Stone bridge across a grassy moat leading to a castle

Rocca Roveresca, Senigallia, on the Adriatic coast of Italy

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1406 to 1420

Old buildings with intricate orange tiled roofs

The Forbidden City, Beijing

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Late 12th century

Ruins with large faces carved on towers

The Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, Cambodia

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Pale stone church on a grassy ridge

San Vittore alle Chiuse, in Marche, Italy, considered a notable example of Byzantine-influenced architecture in Italy

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C 700 AD

Grey stone stepped pyramid

Temple One, Tikal, Guatemala

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70 AD

Buildings carved into a stone cliff

The Royal Tombs, Petra (scanned from a very old slide)

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2500 BC

Huge stones stood upright in a flat landscape

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England

As I compiled this selection I was struck by the similarity between some buildings many centuries apart in construction. Look at the cathedral in Liverpool next to Temple One in Tikal. Or the Art Nouveau styles in Riga next to the Royal Tombs in Petra. Maybe architects, like the rest of us, like to look back?


Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you!