FINALLY DONE!

󾕍✅DONE! And so the first one is finally finished and ready to send out to the #publisher hoping to be approved and printed #asap to be sent to my many beloved ones. #book #mybook #thefirstone #diaryofanarchitecturelover #30daysinasia hopefully the first of many! #wishmeluck by @vonderliebl

LIVRO TERMINADO

The romanticism of the Architecture at the foot of the Corcovado

Foto clássica, próximo da piscina da casa principal do Parque Lage no Rio de Janeiro.
Classic photo, near the swimming pool of the main house at Parque Lage.

The Parque Enrique Lage, popularly known as Parque Lage, at the foot of the Corcovado in the neighborhood of the Botanical Gardens in the city of Rio de Janeiro. This beautiful area of ​​52 hectares, full of greenery with ancient trees, ponds, a cave, geometrically designed gardens, a tower that seems straight out of a fairy tale, among other very interesting aspects, was the residence of industrialist Enrique Lage, born in 1881, and his wife, the Italian opera singer Gabriella Besanzoni, born in 1890. The story tells that the wealthy Enrique had built this palace for his beloved Gabriella, whom he married in 1925. The site soon became stage to large social gatherings and many parties where the most prominent representatives of Rio society would join. In 1941 Enrique died, leaving Gabriella widowed and childless.

Em frente à casa, é possível ver o Cristo Redentor desse ponto.
In front of the house, it is possible to see Christ the Redeemer from this point.

Having no rightfull heirs, and Besanzoni being a foreigner, many of its assets were taken by the national heritage. Gabriella returned to Italy where she taught singing classes, living a much more modest life than before. She died in 1962 at her homeland. A curiosity for us from Santa Catarina (my state in Brazil), Enrique Lage was the main proponent of the Port of Imbituba, already the second largest of our Santa and Bela Catarina. He also founded the Imbituba Port in 1922, a ceramic industry and a farm of major proportions, also a school for the children of stevedores, which bears his name to this day in that city, now under state regency. He also created in 1935 the National Company of Air Navigation, the first aircraft factory in Brazil. The municipality of Imbituba, in our state, was in turn created in 1958 under the name of “Enrique Lage” separated from the municipality of Laguna. But long before Enrique and Gabriella have their beautiful history there, the area passed through the hands of many other great figures of the Brazilian society. A history that began in 1811 when Rodrigo de Freitas Mello and Castro acquires a farm. Fagundes Varela, hiring the English landscape artist John Tyndale in 1840 to redesign the farm. Tyndale prints to the structure of his project all the romanticism found in parks in his homeland. In 1859 the park passes to the hands of Antonio Martins Lage, receiving the name “Parque Lage”. Only in 1920 the property was bought by Enrique, grandson of Antonio.

A beleza deste lugar é realmente encantadora!
The beauty of this place enchants!

With the purchase, Enrique hires the Italian architect Mario Vodret as a designer for the palace, beginning its remodeling. Quite different style, mixing trends from different eras, considered eclectic style, Vodret bode well Gabriella Besanzoni. At the center of the building there is the famous courtyard pool, and at its facade, a porch quite prospective. The gardens were geometrically designed, according to the grandeur of the mansion, which overlooks the hill of Corcovado, where is the statue of Christ, the Redeemer. Today the park is protected by the national heritage and exists in its main building, since 1975, the School of Visual Arts, managed by State Secretary of Culture of Rio de Janeiro. There is much more to talk about the history of this fantastic place, but nothing that can be said better represents the Parque Lage than the love between Enrique and Gabriella. At all the details of that place you can feel the romanticism and fascination they felt for each other. JUST WONDERFUL! When in Rio de Janeiro be sure to visit, admission is free and you are sure to spend beautiful moments there.

Área da piscina, no pátio interno da casa principal do Parque Lage. Realmente lindo!
Swimming pool area at the courtyard of the main house at Parque Lage.

Réveillon Art Deco

O belíssimo Copacabana Palace no Rio de Janeiro.
The marvelous Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro.

This month I write to you about one of the greatest architectural icons of the Art Deco style in Brazil. No wonder that the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, designed by French architect Joseph Gire, is considered by many, as the premier hotel in South America. It has 216 rooms (148 in the main building and another 78 in an annex) , a semi Olympic swimming pool, another exclusive pool on the rooftop for VIP guests, a tennis court, gym, three bars, an Italian restaurant, other Asian and one with international cuisine. It was opened in 1923 on the 13th of August. But after Brasilia became Brazil’s capital city, in 1960, the hotel underwent a decadent phase falling behind other newer and modern hotels. They considered to demolish the building in 1985. It was renovated in 1989 when Orient-Express Hotels bought it. After the reform it got back to its position again, among the best in Rio’s 5 star hotels segment. Many famous people have stayed at Copacabana Palace, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, Robbie Williams, Walt Disney, the Rolling Stones, Elizabeth Taylor, Elton John, Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Princess Diana, Pavarotti and others. But it was only in 2008, the Copacabana Palace was confirmed as cultural heritage of the city of Rio. Every year the Palace promotes a luxury New Year’s Eve event, with four party options for the arrival of the new year. For 2016, three suppers in restaurants: MEE, Cipriani and Arbour, besides the party that happens in the halls: Palm, Nobre, Golden and Front. The most accessible of these is the Arbour, signed by chef Philippe Rizzato, with drinks, oysters, foie gras and giant squid at the cost of R$ 2.500,00 per person. The most expensive is at the Palm Room, overlooking the midnight fireworks, costing R$ 3.300,00. After that you can join the party in the mythical hotel pool, or cross the walkway, exclusive to hotel guests to the sands of the beach of Copacabana and enjoy the show on the main stage which is right across the street. Rio de Janeiro is a magical city with lots of history and centuries-old architecture that I never get sick of admiring. It is always a pleasure to be back among the most beautiful scenery of the marvelous city. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

More about it, visit: http://belmond-copacabana-palace.hotels-in-rio-de-janeiro.net/en/

The remarkable architecture among the Australian vineyards

at Combe Farm, Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria, Australia.
At Combe Farm, Yarra Valley, in the state of Victoria, Australia.

When I moved to Australia I had no idea of ​​the importance that country has in the production of world wines, but it did not take long for me to notice. The Australian wine industry is the fourth largest global exporter, with about 750 million liters a year. The wines are produced in all existing Australia’s states, and more than 60 designated regions totaling approximately 160,000 hectares. The most common types of wine found there are: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Semillon, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The most famous Australian wine is the Penfolds Grange, this wine has won more than 50 gold medals in national and international competitions.

With my mother, Dona Anita at Combe farm. Where we tasted the best sparkling wine so far!
With my mother, Dona Anita at Combe farm. Where we tasted the best sparkling wine so far!

When my mother came to visit me in Australia in January 2014, we had the pleasure of visiting some of the nearly 2000 wine houses in Australia. Most of these are of small operations. The area we chose was the Yarra Valley, along the river that names it, located east of Melbourne, Victoria, where I used to live. The wines produced in this region are most commonly Chardonnay, sparkling and Pinot Noir. The main advantage of this wine-producing region is in close proximity to the city center of Melbourne, thus receiving more than 3.1 million visitors each year, it is a traditional tourist attraction! At the time I got the day trip to the Yarra Valley in exchange for a translation work I did for one of Melbourne’s tour companies. We left close to 9 am from the city center, took a bus with other tourists, most of Europeans, and the first stop was the delicious chocolate factory Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, in the middle of the beautiful countryside fields of the Yarra Valley. The second stop was at a farm of organic berries, Gateway Estate, flavors and indescribable colors! There they also manufacture liquors with those fruits. The third stop was in a small wine house called Combe Farm, where we tasted the best sparkling wine I’ve ever had the pleasure of finding, I had to buy a bottle! Then we stopped for lunch in a very interesting town, Healesville, about 7 thousand inhabitants, with charming architecture, mostly in Victorian architectural style. This city has been setting for several films and local series.

Delicious organic fruits for tasting at Gateway Estate.
Delicious organic fruits for tasting at Gateway Estate.

There, we also had the best vegetarian risotto in history, my mother will remember. After lunch we went to the high point of this tour, the Dominique Portet wine house with a history that goes back to 10 generations, starting in the 18th century in Bordeaux. “Here I found a wine with fragrance and structure reminiscent of the Bordeaux wines. The Yarra has a charm and beauty that engulf and their wines are you worldly.” Says Dominique Portet (ninth generation).

At Dominique Portet wine house, from France.
At Dominique Portet wine house, from France.

The farm’s architecture comprises a beautiful chateau in French architectural style, gardens with a water fountain and French statues, boules court and wineries specially installed to maintain the properties and quality of the wines produced there. It was simply transcendental, a ride that should be overestimated, for sure it will not disappoint you. More about the Yarra Valley through the lens of my camera access: www.facebook.com/vonderliebl CHEERS MATE!

Here, observing the beautiful countryside of the Yarra Valley, covered with vines.
Here, observing the beautiful fields of the Yarra Valley, covered with vines.

The United Arab Emirates and the “Ghost Town”

 

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. / Abu Dhabi, a cidade capital dos Emirados Árabes Unidos.
Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

The seventh destination of my 30 day adventure in Asia! This city has been considered by CNN and the Fortune Magazine as one of the richest cites of the world. Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, is the capital city and second most populous city of that country. The most populous there is Dubai. A curious fact is the translation of the word Abu Dhabi, means Father of the Deer. The origin of that name is still uncertain, but, possibly, it is due to the fact of the existence of a few deer that used to live in the emirate. This time I traveled from Seul, in South Korea, to the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Currently, Abu Dhabi has got the airport base for the Etihad airline, but it is already too small and busy, so they are building a new one next to it. To be able to see the stunning design of that airport as soon as I arrived, gave a good idea of what to expect. I stayed at an island called Yas, artificial, a project budgeted in 40 billion dollars, place to huge architectural buildings like the wonderful five star hotel Viceroy, the first one to be built on a Formula 1 circuit. And it wasn’t just that hotel I could spot from the hotel floor I was staying at. Other “insane” magnificent project I could see was the Ferrari World.

At the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. / No Mundo Ferrari em Abu Dhabi.
At the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.

That amusement park I was crazy to see, the main reason being its peculiar roof design, painted in Ferrari red, with a singular shape and the yellow shield on top. And it was around there I started to notice how “ghost” that city was. Wide avenues, huge shopping centers with large corridors, parks, plazas, and several other places, empty! You look around as you walk and most of the time you see nobody. But hey, you know why? That city is ready for the future. The investments in infra structure to big residential complexes, are accelerated to receive a population who doesn’t know they will live there. That ghost sensation is almost imperceptible in downtown Abu Dhabi though, there, there are lots of tourists everywhere, beautiful places to visit, outstanding safety and a lot of heat. And, it was winter! I don’t suggest you to visit that region on summer. Among so many amazing other buildings, I always wanted to see close and personal, the Etihad Towers. Five towers that are, one for offices, and the other ones for residential living and a hotel. You should remember that complex of buildings from the movie “The Fast and Furious 7”.

The Zayed National Museum. Stop by on my way to Dubai. / O Museu Nacional Zayed. Parada no caminho até Dubai.
The Zayed National Museum. Stop by on my way to Dubai. 

The United Arab Emirates and the “Insane”

 

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Top of the World! 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. Tallest building in the world.

The most populous city among the seven emirates belonging to this country is also the 20th most expensive city to live. Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, exploded in growth after they found out, in 1966, their huge petroleum reservoirs. Nowadays though, only 5% of its income comes from that commodity. The main sources of its income come from tourism, aviation, real estate and financial transactions. Local population accounts approximately 2.250.000 people, almost 75% are men, yes, only 25% are women. Of those more than 2 million people, only 10 and 15% are born in the United Arab Emirates, the largest portion is of asian descendants, coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, a smaller portion from Somalia and yet a number or 100.000 british expatriates, the largest one in the city.  

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Sunset at the Burj Al Arab, considered only 7 stars hotel in the world.

Arabian is the official language, but english is widely spoken, also described as an official language over there. Now, let’s talk about what interests us more, I got to Dubai after spending a few days in South Korea where I was surrounded by the most ancient architecture I have ever seen. Brazilians, among other nationalities have to pay for a visa do the UAE, and it ain’t cheap. I spent about 100 dollars for a 96h visa. Anyway, Dubai, architecturally speaking, is giant! I took a bus from the airport in Abu Dhabi, neighbor city, to a bus station in Dubai and then walked to the train station. On my way from the bus station to the train station, the impression I had was “I’m in the country of the future”, the architecture is extremely futuristic sitting in the dry landscapes that are around, like nowhere else I’ve been. Extremely modern transportation systems all around, materials and shapes applied in large scale! But don’t you get mistaken, the trains were also full of people, and it wasn’t the rush hour. In Dubai you can find one of the richest collections of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. Modern interpretations of the Islamic architecture – very tradicional there. The Burj Al Arab, the one and only 7 stars hotel in the world. This is that one in a sail shape. There’s also the Burj Khalifa, the highest manmade building and also structure ever. These two are the two biggest examples of the architectural “insanity” they have there. Telling you more about the Burj Khalifa, this is by far the highest ever built building in the world, 828 meter high, 163 floors. The twin towers in the USA were 110 floors high and the tallest building in Brazil, 177,3 meters high, 52 floors, is the Millennium Palace building in Balneário Camboriú. Anyway, I went to see the Burj Khalifa from up close, its largest portion is residential, and did not disappointed me. Surrounded by many other amazing buildings, a large shopping center, plazas and an artificial lake with a water fountain of 217 million dollars, just wonderful! I went up to the 124th floor where there’s the world’s highest observation deck outdoors. And the views did not disappointed me. Among the desert and the perfection architectural of Dubai, which seen from that hight seems to have been laser drawn, the other buildings around seem to be toys, how small they become. There is a possibility to go up to the 148th floor, although it costs something like 100 dollars more than I paid and satisfied me from there, 452 meters high. But hey, this is just one of the big samples you can find there. Artificial islands shaped like palm trees, or the globe, the world’s largest residential complex, the police driving Porsche cars, bus stops equipped with air condition system, several outstanding mosques, so very much interesting, monorail trains, amazing restaurants beautifully located, options of everything and all of the best, this is Dubai, artificial and fantastic! Oh! Don’t you forget to try the famous combination of dried dates with arabian coffee you find everywhere, even at the hotel you will be staying at. You know, there are over 300 kinds of dates in the world, at least 30 of them you can find in Dubai. 

Down the foot of the Burj Khalifa. Tallest building in the world. / Aos pés do Burj Khalifa. O prédio mais alto do mundo.
Down the foot of the Burj Khalifa. Tallest building in the world.

 

The Asian Architecture and the most Western People in Asia

 

“Emocionado por estar aqui! A arquitetura mais antiga que já vi.” No templo Mireukjeon, século VII, cidade de Jeonju, Coréia do Sul. / “So touched to be here! The oldest architecture I have ever seen.” At the Mireukjeon temple, 7th century, city of Jeonju, South Korea.
“So touched to be here! The oldest architecture I have ever seen.” At the Mireukjeon temple, 7th century, city of Jeonju, South Korea.

Seventh and penultimate destination of my 30 day adventure for eight Asian countries, a country where I never thought I would be lucky enough to visit, and one of the most interesting destinations and “architecturally” wonderful of this my trip. The history of this country began in 2333 AD, a suffered history which can still be seen in the eyes of the people there. This time I went to SOUTH KOREA to meet a friend with whom I used to work in Australia, he is Korean, so I could not have had a better host to show me what is most valuable in the culture of that country. I boarded from the airport in Phuket, Thailand, and my destination was Seoul, capital of South Korea and one of the cities with the most populous metropolitan area in the world. About 25 million people live there, basically half the country’s population. Korea was already inhabited since the pre-Paleolithic period, just to get an idea of how old that country is. A country that deserves respect only considering this important fact in its history. Speaking a little more about the city of Seoul, it stands out as extremely modern, well organized and great public transportation system with a giant rail network. On the streets you feel safe, in a first world country where people demonstrate education and especially respect for others and the environment where they live. You can communicate in English everywhere, but to my surprise, the local spoken English is not the best.

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With my great brohfriend Sun Kim at the War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea.

My friend told me that happens because Koreans, generally, are afraid to speak English because it is very different from Korean, especially by their phonetics, they do not practice or feel confident enough to communicate in English, but they can understand everything. Seoul is full of modern buildings and unique architecture, contrasting with the palaces and other buildings in Korean Asian architecture. Many colors, wood use and those incredible roofs are found in these magnificent architecture heritage to the world. All this set among the modernity of the cities. Of course surrounded by walls that when we cross seem to take us back to the seventh century. And that was how I felt when I visited the Mireukjeon Temple built in 599 more to the south, near the city of Jeonju, after traveling on a bullet train, a wonderful tour where at the end we met my friend’s aunt, she led us to the temple of the seventh century, belonging to Geumsansa complex, the oldest I’ve ever been to. We entered the main building where we could see three giant Buddhas coated in gold. It was a transcendent experience, followed by a stop to have some of the typical local tea, the world’s best! And that was a winter day so, it was perfect. Returning to the local architecture, that made me think, after all, the temples I visited in Cambodia are from the twelfth century, five centuries after the ones built in South Korea. Those of stone, without any work in carpentry or painting, but the ones in South Korea, FIVE CENTURIES BEFORE, already had windows, carvings, painting, carpentry, strikingly more advanced for the time when compared to the ones in Cambodia. We have all to take our hats off to this very suffering people by constant attacks from their greedy neighbors and even today still divided north with North Korea. A country that today has one of the best educations in the world and some of the largest multinational companies. Visiting South Korea broke any paradigms that I had about that country, all surprised me and makes me miss it more and more every passing day. More about South Korea through the lens of my cameras, please visit my facebook, hundreds of photos are worth observing. Gamsa (Thanks in Korean), until next month!

No Palácio Gyeongbok de 1395 no coração de Seul, Coréia do Sul. / At the palace Gyeongbok from 1395 in the heart of Seoul, South Korea.
At the palace Gyeongbok from 1395 in the heart of Seoul, South Korea.

The Architecture and the Best Asian Seasoning

 

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The perfection of the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia.

Maybe the least interesting destination of my thirty day adventure in Asia, the city of Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, an independent country only since 1957, and my destination of number three, is a mixture of ideas that have not made sense to me so far. As surprising as that sounds, there’s a king here too, named by a group of nine monarchs who take over the position in an alternation scheme. That is news to me! I went to see this “guy’s” palace up close, it is one of the most recent palaces of the modern world, finished just in 2011, fantastic! Oh, and the twin towers, what a spectacle, you know I love architecture with an industrial twist. I took dozens of photos there. Besides all of it, KL, is a city where there’s lots of people with nothing – an extreme contrast to Singapore, where I was a few days before – but with a curious people. In Malaysia, also a few people asked for a photo with me. What I liked the most here: the culinary, so “delish”! Amazingly well prepared seasonings in dishes that challenge your paladar. Mainly for those ones who like the bittersweet. It was also here that I visited the largest cave I have ever been to, a true sanctuary of monkeys. Now, telling you more about the new palace, the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur, it was finished in 2011 and costed about 270 million dollars. Anyone with a brain soon notices when looking around, the palace is the perfect representation of ostentation in a country with so many obviously noticeable problems everywhere. Public transportation of terrible quality, loads of homeless people, extremely poor people, lack of safety on the streets, anyway… so many problems. I can’t diminish the palace’s project though, really beautiful. The name Istana Negara means National Palace in Malaysian and substitutes from 2011 the old royal palace downtown KL.

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Here I am posing in front of the New Royal Palace (Istana Negara) in Malaysia, in the capital city Kuala Lumpur.

The new one is built in an area of 97.65 hectares, has 22 domes, and is divided in three main areas: the formal rooms, the royal rooms and the administrative rooms. On the almost 98 hectares land, “only” 28 were utilized to the construction of the palace which displays architectural elements from the Islamic and Malay style, typically regional and local. Not a bit typical is the architecture of the Petronas Towers, also know and Twin Towers. It was breathtaking and made my heart beat fast. They have a cylindric shape with a tapered top and facades entirely in chromed metal. From down up you feel sent to the future, inserted in the perfect attention to details the argentinian-amercian architect César Pelli gave to every single element of this project. Well, that actually was the idea, to create a symbol of the XXI century in Malaysia. The Twin Towers have already been considered the tallest building in the world, that was between 1998 and 2004 and, they are still featured in that category as the world’s highest twin towers. The bridge connecting one tower to the other on the 41st and 42nd floors, besides being the highest bridge in the world, are also not technically connected to the towers, but projected to slide in and out, avoiding that they collapse under the action of the wind is increased. This bridge is 170 meters high from the ground level, has got 58 meters of length and weighs 750 tons. To be able to visit the skybridge at the Twin Towers in Malaysia was the high point of my visit, definitely worth every penny I spent. The city views from up there are amazing. The most fascinating fact though was to be able to see the aspect of one tower from another at 170 meters of height, once that you walk the bridge from one side to the other. A very distinct observation of all the other skyscrapers I’ve ever been to.

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Imposing “details” I found when visiting the Batu Cave next to KL. Malaysia. The largest cave I have ever been to, also a monkey sanctuary and Hindu Temple.