October 31st: Recognized since the 4th century as 'Samhain', or Halloween. Well-known as the time of harvest and as the day when the spirit world and our world collide for 24 hours! Many haunted buildings and houses are associated with this day and month; however, there were also several other types of architectural-related accomplishments completed in October throughout the ages of time.
Halloween day, October 31st in the year 1541, Michelangelo Buonarroti completed the painting of ‘The Last Judgement’ in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican in Italy. Forty-six years later, on the opposite side of Europe, again, on Halloween day, October 31st in the year 1587, the Leiden University Library in Leiden, Netherlands opened its doors after its founding in 1575.
Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts was founded on October 28, 1636.
The Erie Canal in New York was opened on October 26, 1825.
Thomas Edison invented the Working Electric Light on October 21, 1879.
The Statue of Liberty: Designed by Fredéric Auguste Bartholdi of Alsace as a gift to Americans from the people of France, The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886.
This August, I rented an RV and took my two children and my mother on an ‘out west’ vacation, based on my son’s insistence that his life would not be complete until he saw the Four Corners monument and could be in four states at once.
That mission fulfilled, we moved on to other monuments and wonders, including the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and the narrow-gauge railroad between Durango and Silverton, CO. Perhaps the most interesting of our sights, however, was Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for some of the most notable and best preserved archeological sites in the world. Best known among those are the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo people.
Mesa Verde is a prime example of human habitation in concert with nature. Its broad sweeping mesa top slopes gently to the south, gathering more sun for a longer growing season and providing opportunities to channel drainage for irrigation. Despite being inhabited for over 900 years, the best known features of Mesa Verde, the cliff dwellings, represent only the last 200 years of occupation. The cliff dwellings were built as people moved off the mesa top to provide more defensible space and increased farming production from the additional area and better irrigation. Many of these cliff dwellings were abandoned not long after completion as the Ancestral Pueblo people migrated away from Mesa Verde.
While the cliff dwellings are impressive as an architectural ruin, they also represent the creativity, skill and ingenuity of their builders, with their placement beneath rock out-cropping, multi-story structures attached to the cliff walls, and reservoirs from water seeps between rock layers. The ruins offer a glimpse at the concurrent pinnacle and decline of the Ancestral Pueblo people at Mesa Verde and offer lessons for today to both architects and society.
Posted by James Roseberry, AIA, CDT, LEED AP BD+C, Project Architect
On August 21st, RiseStL hosted its annual "Rise Up Festival - Celebrating Revitalization!" in Crown Square of the Old North Neighborhood. In September 2013, Rise introduced their rebranding with the "Pop Up Street Party". With almost a year gone by, a new name was introduced for the annual event. The festival is a part of Rise's continuing efforts to raise awareness about the importance of revitalization in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Their work provides invaluable connections that have a positive and lasting impact on people, the neighborhoods they live in, the economy and the region.
This family-friendly festival was the largest celebrating city revitalization in the Midwest. A few of the highlights included:
Posted by Michael Meyer, RA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, Project Architect