Construction of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France 1887 - 1889. All images via io9.
Considering that we've been on a slightly destructive roll, we would like to take a moment to marvel at the intrigue of construction. And not just of any buildings, but of great, monumental structures. Ones that act as markers in history and guide travelers on their contemporary Grand Tours. No, we're not talking about the newest Zaha, Gehry, Rem, or Bjarke... Or are we?
Post-Venturi/Scott Brown, we are still obsessed with monuments in our urban landscapes. The idea of sculpture as highlight in the city is by no means a new one (check out all the function-less structures featured below), but the starchitecture overdrive does make you wonder if the memorability of contemporary structures is being diluted. Which of the blingy architects' names will stand out in a few centuries? Will people remember China's now largest or tallest buildings? Will newer adaptations of Planet of the Apes have One World Trade Center poking out of the sand?
Regardless, there will always be something bigger, prettier, crazier, smarter to come. The photos below, which we spotted over at io9, capture the rise of the Eiffel Tower or the bending of the Gateway Arch—and they're wonderful and strange. They also ask us to imagine how cities like Paris, St. Louis, and New York City were perceived and branded before the constructions of their most iconic monuments.
Golden Gate Bridge
Designed by Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow and Charles Ellis
San Francisco Bay, California
Christ the Redeemer
Designed by Heitor da Silva Costa; Sculpted by Paul Landowski
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Designed by Leon Moisseiff
New York City
Statue of Liberty
Designed by Frédéric Bartholdi
Liberty Island, New York
Sydney Opera House
Designed by Jørn Utzon
Designed by Eero Saarinen and Hannskarl Bandel
St. Louis, Missouri
Designed by Sir Horace Jones and George D. Stevenson
Designed by Gustave Eiffel
Built 1887 - 1889
BONUS: Watkin's Tower
Designed by Stewart, MacLaren and Dunn
Building started 1891; stopped 1894; demolished 1907.
So is it still a monument if you've never heard of it? London was obsessed with the Eiffel Tower after it was built in Paris, and quickly convinced itself that it needed one of its own. We found these great proposals for London's very own Eiffel Tower Equivalent, the Watkin's Tower (aka Watkin's Folly, Wembley Tower, and, later, the London Stump). It was never even finished before it was demolished in 1904.
... you want more?? We also found these moody images of the building of Brasilia.