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UK – London: Underground sign
Image by wallyg
The London Underground is an all-electric metro railway system that covers much of the conurbation of Greater London and some neighbouring areas. It is the world’s oldest underground system, and is the largest in terms of route length. Service began on January 10, 1863 on the Metropolitan Railway; most of that initial route is now part of the Hammersmith & City Line. Despite its name, about 55% of the network is above ground. Popular local names include the Underground and, more colloquially, the Tube, in reference to the cylindrical shape of the system’s deep-bore tunnels. The Underground currently serves 274 stations and runs over 408 km (253 miles) of lines. There are also a number of former stations and tunnels that are now closed. In 2004–2005, total passenger journeys reached a record level of 976 million, an average of 2.67 million per day.
The origins of the roundel, in earlier years known as the ‘bulls-eye’ or ‘target’, are more obscure. While the first use of a roundel in a London transport context was the 19th-century symbol of the London General Omnibus Company — a wheel with a bar across the centre bearing the word GENERAL — its usage on the Underground stems from the decision in 1908 to find a more obvious way of highlighting station names on platforms. The red disc with blue name bar was quickly adopted, with the word "UNDERGROUND" across the bar, as an early corporate identity. The logo was modified by Edward Johnston in 1919.
Each station displays the Underground roundel, often containing the station’s name in the central bar, at entrances and repeatedly along the platform, so that the name can easily be seen by passengers on arriving trains.
The roundel has been used for buses and the tube for many years, and since TfL took control it has been applied to other transport types (taxi, tram, DLR, etc.) in different colour pairs. The roundel has to some extent become a symbol for London itself.
NYC – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Image by wallyg
Originally called The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, the Solomon R. Gugghenheim Museum, commonly referred to simply as The Guggenheim, was founded in 1937 to showcase avant-garde art by early modernists. It moved to its present location, along Museum Mile on 89th Street and Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park, in 1959 when Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for the site was complete.
With his last major work, Wright initially polarized critics, although today his design has become widely revered. From the street, the building l ooks like a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack, slightly wider at the top than the bottom. Internally, the viewing gallery forms a gentle spiral fromthe ground level up to the top of the building with paintings displayed along the walls of the spiral as well as inviewing rooms found at stages along the way.
Although the rotunda is generously lit by a large skylight, there are no other windows and the niches are heavily shadowed by the walkway, leaving the art work to be lit largely by artificial light. The walls are generally concave, meaning works must be mounted proud of the wall’s surface.
In 2007, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was ranked #74 on the AIA 150 America’s Favorite Architecture list.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1990.
National Register #05000443 (2005)
Grave object (dibondo), Kongo peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Image by cliff1066™
Kongo women handbuilt the majority of domestic pottery, but male Kongo potters fashioned pipes and bowls for calabash water pipes and vessels with animal and human figures that they sold to outside markets. On occasion, men were observed creating water and cooking vessels for local use. More significantly, men produced important ritual pottery, including Kongo grave objects, the tall, hollow, open-based cylindrical terracotta forms known as mabondo.
Although 17th-century Europeans described terracottas on Kongo graves that may be linked to mabondo, more recent scholarship suggests that the form originated in the 19th century. Wealthy Kongo commissioned mabondo to commemorate the dead. They were often highly decorated with figures or incised and impressed motifs.
The diamond motifs with bosses at the corners of this vessel probably represent the journey the Kongo believe humans must take when they die, traveling between the land of the living and the land of the dead. Production ceased in the 1930s. Kongo men and women employed similar methods to create their vessels, but the men had exclusive use of some implements.
For example, male potters sometimes handbuilt their vessels on turntables made of wood or clay. The turntable was attached to a wood plank which was fixed to the ground with a long spike or a small piece of wood, a stone or a clay pivot. Assistants turned the devices with their hands or if the edges of the turntable were serrated, the potters manipulated them with their feet. They then fired their vessels in the open.