Engineering is Fun!

Tianjin Eye

Tianjin Eye over the (frozen over) Hai River. Photo:RM

Whoever said that engineering is boring? In Tianjin, China the Yongle Bridge over the Hai River was equipped with a Ferris wheel, consequently combining dull infrastructure with fairground fun! It’s height of 120 meters makes Tianjin Eye the fourth tallest Ferris wheel in the world.

260px-Ferris-wheelThe word Ferris wheel, by the way, is derived from the name of it’s inventor, George Ferris. He built the first one for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The 80 meter tall construction was inspired on a bicycle wheel, in which the iron spokes maintain the tension in the wheel.

Longing for the Absence of Design

pavement

Pavement on a streetcorner, somewhere in southern Europe. Photo: RM

In a world where almost everything is designed, it can be a relief to come across something that has obviously NOT been designed. What characterizes design? Continue reading

The New Forbidden City

CCTV fence

CCTV Tower that burned in 2009. Photo: RM

The Forbidden City was built in the 15th century, after the capital of the Chinese empire was moved from Nanjing (literally translated: “southern capital”) to Beijing (the “Northern Capital”). It was the place from which the Chinese emperors of the Ming and the Qing Dynasties ruled over China. Hidden behind 10 high meter walls, hermetically closed for the people of China, who could only imagine what took place inside these walls. Only in 1925, after the fall of the monarchy and the departure of the last emperor, the Forbidden City was first opened to the public. Continue reading

Sidewalk

Calçada Portuguesa: L;Praça dos Restauradores, Libon. R: Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: RM

Calçada Portuguesa: L;Praça dos Restauradores, Lisbon. R: Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: RM

We often walk the streets without really heeding what we walk on: the sidewalk. But if you’re feeling somewhat down, or are merely looking for something, and by chance indeed look down: what do you see? The answer probably tells a lot about the country or city in which you find yourself at that moment. The pavement that is applied says a lot about a country and therefore about the nature of its population. In Europe, some countries have their own distinctive paving. If you see a picture of a random street, you immediately know where the photo was taken. Continue reading