The Roebling Bridge, Between Cincinnati and Covington

One of the most important bridges in the history of architecture and engineering spans the Ohio River in between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. Opened in 1866, years before the revolutionary Eads Bridge in St. Louis, it served as the important prototypical step for the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Construction faced the same challenges:…

Domes in the Day and Night

These are some grainy old iPhone photos of two of my favorite buildings in the world that I took back in 2018, the Pantheon in Rome, and the Duomo of Florence. I’ve been thinking about traveling a lot lately, and wondering when I be able to get back to Europe. Both were revolutionary in their…

McLean Mausoleum, Bellefontaine Cemetery

I’ve always enjoyed the McLean Mausoleum in Bellefontaine Cemetery. It’s perhaps an understated example of the Egyptian Revival in funerary architecture in local cemeteries, but there are other reasons I like it. The most obvious being, if you look closely, is that the obelisk towering over the mausoleum sits above thin air, as the window…

Villa d’Este, Tivoli, Latium, Italy

Rising up quickly from the Roman campagna where Hadrian’s Villa can be found, you hit towering mountains, and the train snakes through gorges and canyons. A waterfall can be spotted off in the distance, and after a tunnel or two, you realize the train station for town of Tivoli is right by that cascade. After…

Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli, Latium, Italy

Let’s forget about ice storms and head to the Roman Campagna, the hills to the northeast of Rome, where at the base of the mountains that rise up to Tivoli lies the ancient ruins of Hadrian’s Villa. I also realized it had been a long time since I had added to the Architectural History category,…

Spolia from the Imperial Fora

Acanthus leaves, rosettes, volutes, ogees, egg and darts, dentilated cornices: they all started back in the ancient world. This chunk of marble from the imperial Roman fora has been copied directly and indirectly thousands of times around St. Louis.

Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius

The Saint Louis Art Museum Sculpture Hall is influenced by the Baths of Caracalla, but it’s also inspired by the Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius, which is one of my favorite buildings in the Roman Forum. It is mostly collapsed from earthquakes, but still never fails to impress me when I see it.

Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore

The Basilica of Great Saint Lawrence is one of the most important churches in the world you’ve never heard of. It sits across what is now a plaza, but was once crowded with houses, from the Colonnade of St. Lawrence. It was once surrounded by houses and even a river and port on the other…

Colonnade of San Lorenzo, Milan

Urban renewal happens in Europe, as well, and the Colonnade of St. Lawrence is a perfect example of that. As the ancient world transitioned into the Early Christian, an old temple or bath house was torn down, and this colonnade was constructed with its Corinthian columns along the main street leading to the Ticino Gate….

Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Milan

Milan is a very crowded city, with very little space. So when it came time to build a new church, St. Mary Near (or as I translate presso, up against) St. Satirus, the architects needed to be creative. St. Satirus was the brother of St. Ambrose, the archbishop of Milan. In this photo by photographer…