Opium for the People

architecture blog, communism vs. religion

Opium for the People. Photo: RM

The local branch of the Communist party in Venice is located on a streetcorner. In Italy, other than in most European countries,  communism, as well as fascism,  has never been completely marginalized. A glance through the window shows that the function of an office is combined with that of a bar, papered with posters of Che Guevara and the like. Outside, the facade of the appropriate red stucco building, an image of Christ applied with a small altar has been put up. Opium of the people! A subtle harassment of the commies by their Catholic landlord? Continue reading

Out to Dry

architecture blog, laundry in the streets

Photos: Rogier Mentink

In southern Europe, partly due to the fast drying, pleasant climate, it is often the habit to hang the laundry out to dry. In urban situations this is done above the street, because of lack of space elsewhere. The line on which the laundry is hung, spans between two pulleys from one window  to the neighbors across the street.  The effect does have something festive, the drying laundry reminiscent of flags or other party decorations. Continue reading

Faces in Places

architecture blog, doorknob

Venetian Doorknob. Photo: Rogier Mentink

The Venetian doorknob is usually made in bronze and often isn’t a doorknob in the literal sense, to unlock the door with, but a handle to open the door or pull it close. Often they are provided with a ring, which serves doorknocker. The story goes that these door knockers stem from ancient Greece, where slaves used to be chained to the door in order to serve as porters. After removal of the slave the ring remained to knock on the door. Continue reading