It was love at first sight. The pure eyed beauty is justice. Her admirer is architect Joseph Poelaert. His love for the beauty was so great that he built an immense palace for her. In reality it’s a monster. As the expression goes, it’s the thought that counts.

We will never really know what the architect was thinking at the time. Driven by his project, he died suddenly of a stroke, four years before the inaugural ceremony.

Today, Belgians have a palace of justice that is sometimes called the behemoth. It’s the colossal size of the building that makes tourists stop and ponder, not its esthetics. The interior is so vast that it’s said that dozens of rooms are empty. The doors have been closed for a long time.

The palace of justice is still incomplete, but the behemoth is still alive. Each day, hundreds of lawyers and employees pass through its doors to preserve the pureness of justice. And that doesn’t include visitors.

[caption id="attachment_10580" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Palais de justice Bruxelles WIKIPEDIA inusite Exterior of the Brussels Palace of Justice: Wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Martin Mycielski (Stansfield)[/caption]

What happened?[……]

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Germany impressed the whole world with its World Cup performance. A historical 7-1 victory against Brazil and the final victory against Argentina. The Germans were showered with accolades. What a team. They’re patient and methodical. No flash, but efficient playing. Therein lies the genius of the German culture: the practical and efficient before the esthetic.

But the Germans’ greatest victory remains the reunification of the two Germanys after the Wall fell in 1989. Two diametrically opposed ways of thinking had to be merged: the capitalist mode and the communist mode. A colossal undertaking that is coming to a painful end. Many people believe that only Germans could overcome such an obstacle thanks to their cult of efficiency.

One building symbolizes this legendary exploit: the Reichstag with its famous glass dome.[……]

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The statement is taken from a book that contains the predictions of a French scientific committee and it’s serious.

Baby boomers will not live on bridges, but their children might. At least according to the book Les 50 innovations qui vont bouleverser notre vie d’ici 2050 (The 50 innovations that will change our life by 2050).

It won’t be the first time in history. Building on bridges was common practice in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Take the Rialto Bridge in Venice and the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. But they are small bridges, or giant walkways, depending on how you look at it.

[caption id="attachment_10229" align="aligncenter" width="400"]iStockphoto iStockphoto[/caption]


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It’s the biggest swimming centre in the world, but that’s not where the interest lies. Rather dull during the day, the building turns into a marvelous blue at night. Seeing the moon reflect off this ice blue is a spectacle in itself. That’s already enough to make the building stand out, but there’s more.

What you have before your eyes belongs to an accelerating revolution in the field of building physics. The American pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, known as the biosphere today, was a first timid step, just like the famous house over the waterfall, the work of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

It’s a revolution of organic architecture. The principle is simple: use organs of animated beings as inspiration to build. This revolution is riding the wave of recent scientific discoveries concerning nanofibers, intelligent textiles, plastic derivatives and other materials.

[caption id="attachment_10157" align="aligncenter" width="580"]iStockphoto LP iStockphoto LP[/caption]

The national swimming centre in Peking, also called the Water Cube, was built for the 2008 Olympic Games. The outer shell, with its 3000 air bubbles, greatly imitates the way human skin works. Exploiting the sensual side of skin and the way it self-regulates in terms of temperature and pressure is becoming increasingly popular among architects.[……]

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At 10:00 a.m., the engines start running, the cables tense up and the wings open. The solar light slowly penetrates the building. Then, from above, the motors stop, the wings open to their full span, comparable to the wings of a Boeing 747. It’s as if the bird is going to take off at any time.

Under the bird, where the wings open, visitors lose themselves in the immensity of Lake Michigan, a genuine interior sea that flows by the eyes. Only large bay windows separate visitors from the waves that crash against the stone parapet. The building’s floor is almost at the same level as the surface of the lake.

Behind the visitors, at the other end of the interior space and beyond the door, a long walkway leads to Wisconsin Avenue, the city’s main artery. And the city is at about the same level as the lake. In other words, the lake is connected to the city through the building.

Inside the building, visitors file past works of art in intense light and whiteness. Everything is white: ceiling, walls, and floor.

At 5:00 p.m. the engines start up, cables move and the wings close. The solar light slowly leaves the inside of the building. After a minute, the engines fall silent, the wings are closed. The bird sleeps, folded over itself.

The wings adjust to weather conditions. Naturally they have sensors.


The bird is the Burke Brise Soleil. The building is the Quadracci pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, in Milwaukee.[……]

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This futuristic ensemble is the parliament of Brazil. The right-side up saucer contains the Senate, while the upside down saucer is the seat of the Chamber of Deputies. The two skyscrapers house the offices of bureaucrats, senators and deputies.

[caption id="attachment_773" align="aligncenter" width="600"]SoucoupesBrasilia_inusite iStockphoto LP[/caption]

If it’s true that ingenuity lies in simplicity, we should prostrate before Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. His parliament building, called the Brazilian National Congress, is simple, elegant and efficient.

It is under these domes that deputies and senators discuss the forthcoming World Cup of Soccer and the Rio Olympic Games.

Obviously it doesn’t make sense for senators and deputies to debate in such hermetic buildings. Actually they don’t; the two domes are symbols more than anything else. The two parliamentary assemblies are partially underground. The dome that opens to the sky symbolizes the deputies’ openness to the people, while the upside down dome symbolizes reflection.

Loyal to its philosophy, the Guide du Routard takes pride in providing the people’s point of view for which “the overturned bowl evokes comfortable senators, while its alter ego symbolizes deputies who are demanding to eat.”[……]

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Music rises to the heavens. Anyone who has ever attended an outdoor symphonic music concert or a large rock concert, like Pink Floyd, Metallica or Supertramp knows all too well. Even indoors we have the impression that the music wants to rise.

Danish architect Jorn Utzon completely understood. That’s the origin of his Opera House in Sydney, Australia, whose roof appears to have been designed to let the music escape through the openings. The unique building was inaugurated in 1973, but 40 years later, it is still the envy of architects the world over.

[caption id="attachment_753" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Sydney-Opera-House-ISTOCKPHOTO-inusite iStockphoto LP[/caption]

Everyone interprets the work their own way. To some, it represents a series of shells; for others, sails. Tourists probably have their own serious and outlandish interpretations. Who’s right?[……]

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