02/25/13
Corporate Architecture

What is Corporate Architecture? A Basic Definition

Corporate ArchitectureFor those who are not familiar with the terminology, Corporate Architecture is a corporation of trade and managed discipline that is focused on the architecture of building construction, designing, space and atmospheres whose primary goal is to meet the needs and demands of the business society.  

Some history of corporate architecture dates back to the 1920s where a German man named Mies van der Rohe invented it through his charcoal sketches that portrayed skyscrapers made of glass and steel. Mies van der Rohe was also the individual that developed the “International Style” term that was adopted not too long afterward by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russel Hitchcock in their book, “The International Style.” Around this same time, many Modernist architects began to engineer glass and minimal steel structures for just about everything from small residences to office buildings. The idea behind these newly designed and constructed buildings was to perfect a structure that would never have to be modified to suit the changing weather climates or building sites. Eventually the dwellings that were constructed during this period had become traditionally established as opposed to the office buildings. They were reproduced again and again on a never-ending basis that would eventually occupy the downtown regions of every major city across the globe. Corporate buildings to this day have remained true to this glass and steel box design. Continue reading

02/12/13
Interior Design

Architecture and Interior Design – A Modern Lifestyle

Do you believe it to be true that interior designing is greatly inspired by the architecture and surroundings of the structure it is contained within? Let me ask you, would you install beach adornments and furnishings throughout a mansion you have in the mountains surrounded by thick forest? You likely would not, unless you were a surfer that took several boards in the head one too many times. I think you may now be getting the point.

Interior DesignWhen it comes to a home owner wanting to decorate the inside of their abode, just because the architecture might be fashioned in a “cookie cutter” style like the other surrounding structures, does not mean that their inside must be exactly the same as well. With that being said, although a building’s engineering may not always be altered in most instances, it’s very important that the interior of the home be as unique and appealing to the home owner as possible. After all, do they not say that the interior design of a home reflects the inner character of the individuals living there? Let’s take a closer look now at how many interior designers make decisions based upon their influence of a building’s architecture. Continue reading

02/10/13
Harvard

The Best Architecture Schools in the US

HarvardWell ladies and gentlemen some significant information on the best American architecture schools is now available for 2014. The purpose of this content is not to surpass anyone else providing you with similar insight but to make this valuable knowledge more accessible. After all, isn’t it nice to help others out and not expect anything in return? For anyone wanting to pursue any architecture-related studies across America then please continue reading to get a better grip on the “who’s who” of competitive architectural programs this year. We will also briefly provide you with information on what the local firms are interested in most when hiring new members to join their teams.

The following educational institutions are based upon the highest rate of employing encounters within the past five years. The numbers won’t lie to you but feel free to dig deeper if you aren’t satisfied. Continue reading

07/29/14

Creative Tips and Advice: The Art of Photographing Architecture

As a very talented photographer once stated in his blog: “when it comes to the art of photographing architecture, historical or modern, it can be both challenging and exciting, especially when you manage to take a series of images that truly capture its essence. If you are a veteran photographer or new to the scene, we have created this article to help illustrate key points to help you take beautiful architectural photographs.”

To start this series of tips off, we will begin by discussing the importance of remaining sensitive to the light’s direction because this can result in increased contrast, textures, shadows and external reflections. If you expose the image to higher levels of contrast it can often lead to tricking your camera into false exposure of the architectural piece. Photographers are capable of easily avoiding this issue with the application of exposure compensation. Another way to prevent this is to mark of sets of shots with varying values of exposure, which allows photographers an opportunity to later merge all images into an HDR program.

When it comes to photographing architecture, the use of a fish eye lens or wide-angle lens is considered to be extremely ideal because it allows photographers to capture the entire structure and its surrounding environment. It is important to note however, that often times, this method of shooting does not always allow you to capture the entire scene, and that is why it is highly recommended to incorporate panoramic formats.

We are commonly told that it is what is on the inside that counts, and this same concept can be applied to architectural photography. When asked to capture a building, it does not necessarily mean you are restricted to only photographing the exterior, you can also play around with its interior too. If you choose to go this route, make sure you are aware of the difficulty involved in correctly balance lighting and exposure within an interior setting. This is especially true for sites that rely on artificial light support. If you are photographing the interior of an older building, it is likely that it has limited natural lighting sources. That is why it is recommended to use your tripod and focus on the execution of long-exposure shots. You also have the option of using other sources of lighting that can be easily set up for your shoot, and disassembled when you are finished.

If you already have experience as an architectural photographer, then you are well aware of the new style and form of photography that emerges when the sun disappears into the horizon, where it is quickly replaced by the subtle-lighting cast from the moon. If you wish to take a silhouette, it is advised that you position the building between you and the slowly dissipating sun. Just make sure you turn off your flash. It is quite easy to capture dramatic photos at night, just make sure that you schedule your shoot during a time when light and color still remains in the sky. This can help enhance your backdrop and highlight key details within the architecture’s photograph.

As a creative professional you already know that your shots need to capture more than simply an image of the architecture. It is true that a picture can tell a thousand words and this is why most graphic design is moving towards a more graphic based approach. You can see how this style of photography is implemented in Tampa web design at bairkan.com who are experienced in using still photos to bring a website to life. Always keep in mind that when taking pictures of architecture that many hours were spent in the design of the structure, and it is your job to capture the architects intentions.

07/15/14

Technology To Enhance the Look Of Your Portfolio

When trying to win a bid for an architectural project, there are few things as powerful as a beautiful portfolio. This is especially true of an architect that does work in many different geographical areas, as it is difficult for potential clients to travel in order to see all of the details that make up a successful project. A relatively new technology now makes taking pictures from just about every angle possible of your work is now making waves in the world of architecture.

Enter the UAV. Also known as a drone, unmanned aerial vehicles are quickly becoming a popular way of getting amazing video and still pictures of previously difficult to capture images. One of the most popular formats for photography is the quadcopter. A quadcopter is essentially a helicopter that has four rotors instead of two. The stability offered by this design is ideal for cinematography as well as still shots.

So what are some of the advantages of using such a device? First and foremost it allows for photographing the project in it’s entirety. This means being able to capture the standard pictures of the elevation of a building. But it also means that you can get up close to details that are impossible to get pictures of from the ground.

Take a specific feature on the outside of a house such as a custom designed chimney or downspout. These devices can fly up to the building and hover in place while the photographer uses the on-board camera to take a picture in full HD. Accomplishing this by any other means could be dangerous or downright impossible. In this manner an architect can highlight the details of their design as never before.

Getting an aerial view of the entire project is another option. While every architectural drawing includes an overhead view, there is nothing better than the real thing. Using a quadcopter, a photographer can hover directly above the building and get a picture of the entire project. This allows the architect to highlight the precision of the design as well as the execution. As an aside, this sort of imagery can also be extremely helpful for landscape architects as well.

In addition to providing still photos, these drones are capable of providing full HD video. Given the proliferation of devices capable of displaying HD video, such as smart phones and tablets, this sort of video is very powerful in a demonstration to a potential client.

Imagine being able to take a client through the entire property. From the layout of the home or building on the property to the execution of the build out itself, a video presentation provides a very powerful selling tool that allows a client to practically step into the home and imagine it’s space.

There are quite a few options out there when it comes to quadcopters. Some models can be found at the Drone Depot. And while it could be cool to own one yourself, you’re most likely better off contracting with someone that provides this type of aerial photography as a service. There are even businesses that specialize in this specific type of commercial photography or cinematography.

So if you want to enhance even the most impressive portfolio, consider adding some of this impressive aerial photography to your catalog of work.

07/4/14

Ergonomic Design in Everyday Objects

Perhaps the most enthralling part of design, is the fact that it is ever present in every aspect of society. From the ergonomic design of the cup you take your morning coffee on, to the chair you sit on at work, right the way down to the pen that you jot your notes down with. The design of everything is considered before manufacturer, and it’s the culmination of these design ideas and desired function that give you the devices and tools that you treasure so much today. When it comes to design, the smaller items are often overlooked. Apple are a great example of a company that think of even the smallest details of design when they are assembling there products, but today we’d like to talk about a niche product that perfectly encompasses the balance between design and functionality, the ‘Zero Tolerance 0600 RJ Martin Limited Edition Folder’.

The Zero Tolerance 0600 is a folding knife that is more of a work of art than it is a rudimentary tool. Varying to pocket knives in a number of ways, folding knifes are larger, stronger and more common place in hunting circles than your traditional swiss army knife. Consisting usually of one solitary blade, the minimalist approach can be applied, allowing designers to focus sheerly on the device performing one function and one function only. As the designers among us know, perfecting design for one function is much easier than trying to tick all the boxes.

With limited production of just 1000 units, the Zero Tolerance 0600 was designed with excellence in the forefront of the blueprints. The blade is thick and of large stock, with a superb grind and perfect detent. The detent is perhaps the hardest part to nail, especially in larger knives, though RJ Martin shows none of these difficulties, producing a sleek and smooth contours of unparalleled quality. The blade flicks open at just the touch of a button, straight to a ergonomic 40 degree angle, with none of the wrist action that may be required in lesser knives. Movement is smooth and unencumbered, gliding effortlessly between open and closed positions. The handle is also perfectly formed, with a cool, easy to grip metal exterior and inner panels of wooden material for comfort while applying pressure. Once again the perfect blend of design and function.

The Zero Tolerance 0600 is really the cream of the crop when it comes to folding knives, and is the perfect reminder to any designer, that just because you’re making a small product, perhaps to a nice market, quality and ergonomics are still just as important as if you were designing a sky scraper. It’s this finer side of design that really excites and intrigues, the dotting of the i’s and the crossing of the t’s is where design really comes to life.

You can find additional information on the Zero Tolerance 0600 RJ Martin Limited Edition Folder over at foldingknifehq.com.

07/2/14

The Graphic Designer and the Importance of Customer Service

Are you a Graphic Designer? And do you want to improve your skills in customer service? Don’t look any further because this is the right article for you.

Customer Service isn’t a job that’s for everyone. It maybe seems easy to serve customers on a constant basis but it definitely isn’t. Especially now a day businesses need to watch their back with all the different social media around. Your clients can take you down in no time!

I’ve studied the customer service field for quite some time now and have come across some interesting websites for you to read. You could start with reading thinkcustomerservice.com. It’s a customer service blog with valuable information and practical tips.

An example of Bad Customer Service

Graphic designer Marc has agreed up on designing a logo for a tech company. After a few weeks when Marc finished his design, he arranged a meeting at their office for next week. Once Marc came in their office and showed them proudly the logo he made they weren’t enthusiastic about it and were complaining Marc didn’t listened because the logo didn’t look like the one they had in mind. They asked Marc why he didn’t designed the logo as they both agreed up on…

This is a classic example of bad communication between two parties. Especially Marc who should’ve listened to his client instead of just doing what he thought was the right thing.

Marc should’ve responded with something like: “I understand you feel that way because I didn’t listened to your guidelines but because of ..X.. I chose this path and it’ll give you more possibilities in ..Y.. what eventually will let to more ..Z. If you, for some reason, don’t agree with me I’ll tweak the logo for you and you can have this one just for free.”

But Marc didn’t responded with something similar to this. Instead he chose for defense/attack mode. He started with explaining that ‘he knows his stuff’ and that he’s he professional and not them. “I have done hundreds of projects like this and I know better than you how a professional logo should look like.”

As you can imagine, that company he created that logo for, immediately told him they won’t pay him for this logo because this isn’t what they agreed up on. Furthermore, they won’t want to do any more business with him. So what happened? Marc lost his client and also lost a chance of getting referrals from that company.

A good businessman will use his clients and change them into his sales team. He will ask their clients to refer them to other businesses that they think could use his skill and expertise. By doing this your professional network will grow exponentially and you’ll reach much higher levels.

In conclusion, make sure you have great customer service skills so your customers will love you as a friend . If you deliver great customer service your clients will remember that and will refer you to others.

06/30/14

6 Reasons Why Artists Should Begin a Podcast in 2014

If you are an artist you probably don’t think that podcasting has any relevance for you. Trust me, podcasting can help you immensely; it will open doors you never knew existed. By creating a relationship with your audience you will be more likable, more eloquent, more credible and in the end you will reach more people with your art, sell more art and be better able to support yourself to create more art.

Let’s take a look at the top 6 podcasting benefits for artists.

1. There’s Money to be Made

Before your sweet little creative minds switch off, remember this. If you can’t sell your art you can’t buy paint brushes or software or any of the tools that you need to practice your craft.

Only dreamers believe in a pure art without any financial involvement. The reality is that money makes the world go round and that extends to the art world too!

Art podcasts can make money through more than a couple of ways including sponsors, advertisers, affiliates relationships and that’s before you even get to on top of selling your own art or products, like eBooks.

According to Cliff Ravenscraft a podcast show is “the single greatest investment” anyone can make. Well we can’t argue with that now can we!

2. You Will Probably Succeed

Not many artists or crafts people are podcasting and yet there is a massive audience for this. This means that there is a vacuum waiting to be filled by artists to serve both the artist community and people who love art.

3. it’s The Greatest Way to Make New Friends

If you can’t be persuaded with success and riches then how about connecting with the movers and shakers of the art world. A podcast is a great way to reach out to people you’d like to talk to. Invite them on your show and ask them the questions you always wanted to!

4. You Can Come Out Of The Shadows and Into the Light

Many artists live life locked away from the general public. Running a podcast is a great way to come out of the shadows and into the light. Podcasting will help you improve your speaking skills and that will help you communicate about your work. Sometimes artists feel that their work should speak for itself but that deprives your audience of richer insights into your work and your process. Your artwork will only be richer for revealing a little more of the artist behind it!

5. Get Intimate With Your Audience

The power of podcasting is huge. When people listen to podcasts you get their attention in a way that you don’t get with blog posts. Listening to a podcast is a very intimate affair and you have a chance to create a strong bond with your audience. Any artist knows that once people become real fans they are loyal and help support your work.

6. It’s Really Easy

You can record a podcast in your pants. You can do it sitting in the toilet if you like. If you say something wrong you can edit it and make corrections. In short compared to other forms of promotion and relationship building podcasting is really easy!

You only need either a cheap usb mic or an audio interface. This guide will help you choose the former and this guide will help with the more complicated option.

There you have it. 6 reasons why artists, architects and other designers need to be creating a podcast in 2014. What do you think, does it appeal to you or do you think that the artist should remain silent and let the work speak?

06/25/14

Importance Of Landscaping Design In Architecture

Most people think of architecture as the science/art of making a building look “cool”. For example, many would think a skyscraper with square windows and a normal rectangular shape never had an architect on the job. In reality, architecture encompasses the whole scope of designing a building that functions as intended. The architect must decide on where the best place for the elevators and stairs are, where the toilets and thus plumbing should be and so on. But architects must also think about the outside of the building – like the entrance way and landscaping. A good architect will know the importance of landscaping design in the overall “feel” of the building. Here we’ll give some tips and tricks for landscaping – either at home, around the office or for your next design job.

Like most design jobs landscaping is all about deciding how the landscape will be used. Do you want people to use the area or just look at it? Do you want the area to be covered from rain or to be in full sun? These are typical questions you need to know the answers to before you start sketching up the design.

Let’s say you’re designing a home and your task is the backyard landscaping. You know the people paying your architecture firm has 2 teenage kids and that the parents own a business and work from home. Knowing these facts you can understand the importance of an inviting backyard sanctuary. It’ll need to be easy to maintain with landscaping tools like a lawn mower and hedge trimmers. it’ll need sitting areas for outdoor lunches and possible meetings with clients. Maybe you could incorporate a BBQ area… And maybe a shed would be a good idea to store the gasoline mower they own.

Many people believe the above mentioned design ideas should be after thoughts but those are all crucial for the architect (and there is a sub field of architecture called landscape architecture dedicated to it).

Another tip is to decide on the focal point. What that means is if you’re designing the landscape for an office building the obvious focal point will be the front entrance. So you’d want to design the landscape to lead into and focus around that focal point. Have pathways lead to it, have sitting areas pointed towards it and use it to your advantage.

Design isn’t what something looks like it’s how you use it. So for landscaping another idea is to sit back and watch how people use the landscape as it is. This is especially advantageous for existing properties that have hired you to redesign. If you see dirt patches on the grass then it should be obvious that that’s where people like to stand or sit or walk. Do people always sit on a ledge somewhere? Think about putting actual seating in those places.

There you have it… A few starting point when thinking about landscaping and its importance to the overall architecture of a building or home. All it takes is some thoughtful thinking about how people will use the space to make a huge difference in its design.

06/21/14

Hair as Art

How many times a day do you think about your hair? Do you spend a lot of time with grooming? We all know that having a clean, shiny, full head of hair is preferable over dirty, greasy, limp hair. Clean hair is more attractive and healthier overall. However, no matter what you do with it, your hair is just hair. When we find hair in our food, our in our mouths, it disgusts us. What is so disgusting about the hair that falls from your own head? It is just as dead as the hair left on our scalp.

People throughout time have used their hair as a status symbol, or to adhere to certain beliefs within their cultures or times. Remember the flappers of the 1920s? They chopped their hair to protest the traditional roles of women. The long haired hippies of the 60s went the opposite direction. Mohawks make quite the impression, as do many other ‘out there’ hair styles.

With the many possibilities that hair offers the wearer, is it any wonder that rebellious artists are using hair as their medium?

* Bill Fink is the creator of ‘Time and Matter’ photographs, in which he uses the hair of a subject to create a photograph of that subject. He says that using their own hair extends the photograph to a new dimension. Fink also using hair in nature pictures, while often turning to natural materials for others. His photographs are amazing.

* Wenda Gu, a conceptual artist born in China, has spent years working primarily with hair. In 2007, in conjunction with Dartmouth University’s Hood Museum of Art, Gu collected 430 pounds of hair after giving free haircuts to the students, faculty and staff. He used all the hair to create two works of art that are displayed in the school.

* At the Evergold Gallery in San Francisco is an art piece created with synthetic hair. Artist Adam Parker Smith titled his solo exhibition “Crush”. Although created with synthetic hair, it still looks and works like real hair.

* Japanese artist Nagi Noda loves using the hair on the head as her medium and canvas. Noda is best known for her amazingly realistic animal ‘hair hats’.

* A Chengdu artist named Zhang DeXuan creates some amazing portraits using human hair. Each tiny portrait may only contain a few hundred strands of hair, but, Zhang may have gone through 10,000 strands to find just one perfect one. The process of making portraits the size of a fingernail requires patience and concentration. Many times Zhang holds his breath so that he doesn’t break the hair he is working with. He spends as much as two months working on weaving one tiny portrait. He has done Mona Lisa, Jackie Chan, and President Obama, just to name a few.

* The Hong Kong Museum has this wonderful display by artist Leung Mee-ping. These shoes are hand-woven from hair the artist collected from people across the globe.

* Adrienne Antonson creates realistic – and some not so realistic – insects out of the hair she collects from family and friends. This makes her feel more connected to her works. Her insects are created using just hair and glue and are so realistic that you swear some are going to get up and fly away.

* Rosemary Meza enjoys using her own hair instead of pen or brush to create her strange line drawings. Her work is a series of contrasts, all related to the many parts that make up the human being – from body and soul, good and bad, to love and death. Hair is her medium and although she uses it as a brush, she might sew tiny strands together to create her art.

06/17/14

When Art & Functionality Meet – The Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall located in downtown Los Angeles. The architecture was designed by Frank Gehry, and the hall acoustics by Yasuhisa Toyota. The concert hall was initially started way back in 1987 by Lillian Disney with a generous $50 million dollar contribution in her late husband’s name. Walt Disney, the creator of notable characters like Mickey & Minnie Mouse, favored the city of Los Angeles as well as art itself. The end result is a tribute to the culture and community of the city of Los Angeles as well as the generous residents as well.

Unfortunately construction would not be completed until the spring of 2003 due to ever escalating expenses. Interestingly enough the original plans for the exterior of the hall were stone rather than metal, revised to help cut the escalating costs. The curves of the stainless steel exterior accentuate this striking Los Angeles landmark.

As with many art/architectural buildings problems would soon rise to the surface. The majority of the exterior design was done in stainless steel giving it a matte finish; however parts of the exterior were finished with a shiny mirror like surface. The latter design reportedly caused increased traffic accidents, extreme hot spots on the grounds adjacent to the hall, and increased cooling costs for the occupants of nearby apartments.

Inside the atrium hall large columns are finished in Douglas fir. Hidden behind the columns are the inner workings of the building including ventilation and structural integrity. The columns have been termed “tree trunks” and crystalize the love of art and gardening Lillian envisioned sharing with all the visitors to this great hall.

Inside the auditorium the floor is laid in hard oak, with the walls and ceiling finished in American Douglas Fir. The beautifully adorned hardwood-panels and attention to detail make this concert hall one of the most acoustically sophisticated in the world.

The hall features an elegant organ designed by both Frank Ghery and Manual Rosales. Ghrey contributed his love of art while tonal designer Rosales insured the organs functionality. The design is decidedly unique demonstrating the marriage of art and functionality. In all, the organ is comprised of 6,125 wooden pipes ranging in sizes from a few centimeters to 9.75 meters in length.

Three stories above the streets lay the Community Garden. The trees that titivate the garden were handpicked from the Los Angeles area. The garden designers searched the city looking for trees to represent the centralized beauty of the city. Some of the trees were even bought from private residences.

In the garden a beautiful fountain known as “A Rose for Lilly” stands as a tribute to the hall’s initial donor Lillian Disney. Gehry used 200 vases and 8,000 tiles to create the mosaic for the fountain that weighs 15 tons and is the size of truck.

In all it took nearly 30,000 architectural drawings and 16 years to complete a functional work of art that will stand the test of time, thanks Lillian and Walt.

Photo courtesy of Candice Montgomery, Flickr

06/16/14

Furniture From The Museum of Modern Art

The museum of modern art in New York City, also known as MOMA, was established in 1929. MOMA was the first national museum in the United States dedicated to Architecture and Design in the contemporary world. The expansive curated collection spans one hundred years and contains works from Andy Warhol Picasso and other well known people artists of the modern era. The collection though is not exclusive to painted or traditional methods of art. In 1932 the Architectural and Design branch of MOMA was opened and the world’s first Physical structural appreciation monument was established. The curatorial departments collection includes over 28,000 different pieces ranging from movie set pieces, to furniture, to building structures and smaller architectural novels like floating spiral stair cases. The collection is built in a manner to focus on specific movements in the structural design fields over the last century. From the reform ideology from the Arts and Craft movement to the contemporary minimalist and often daring works of the late era. The detailed model, photograph, and drawings of the items in the collection reinforce the history and appreciation of every object in the collection.

The Museum of Modern Art has only one real downside to its encapsulation of these movements. That is it’s size. Despite being 28,000 pieces large, the collection spans a large expanse of time. There has been a great deal of creation and destruction of the years that create a large fragmentation of pieces and approaches. Since the museum has limited space and funds, they can only accept a few items for every movement. In addition, these pieces are not to be appreciated as they were originally intended. A modern danish piece of vintage furniture like that on furnishmevintage.com can only be expressed in a single item. The 3 story showroom for this local treasure alone rivals the depth and variety of the modern design influences in furniture of the last 60 years. The grooves cut in time on the wood has depth and meaning. Stories of previous owners, collections of famous artists, and novelties from childhood memories are the foundation of these collections. The great benefit though for a store like Furnish Me Vintage over a place like MOMA is that you can yourself own a piece of that history. While truly valuable and rare finds are uncommon in this field, a well curated collection and bring with it a value that far exceeds that of a national museum. Mostly, because of how they make it personal.

It is likely that stores like this both online and in person will become bastions for cultural iconoclasts. Yearning to be more and have depth beyond the traditional, these hipsters are ironically going after what is old. The appreciation for the architectural beauty and artistic side is paired with the connoisseurs knowledge of it’s history and subtle meanings. Today art community cherishes uniqueness. A product is only a product when it is new. After age and life occurs it becomes something more. These are the modern artistry of affluent homes. Vintage history through modern furniture styles told by people long ago.

06/13/14

Watch Makers & Clock Towers

Antoni Patek is one of the most noted watchmakers in history, and his brand is one of the best brands in all of history. His brainchild, Patek Philippe & Co, remains today a top manufacturer of high-end quality watches.
Around the time of 1851 the company started mass producing pocket watches with two very important ideas – (1.) the product quality the watches maintained was on the highest possible level, and (2.) the ability of implementing new inventions and constructive solutions.

In 1843, Antoni was naturalized in Geneva, granting him Swiss nationality. To this day Swiss watches continue to be the most coveted and pricy of watches created. Even watches in the $100 or $200 range are of a noticeably higher pedigree.

Switzerland’s third largest exporter is found in the watch and clock industry. And Swiss exports these products to the rest of the world. Swiss watches are tailored to perfection in a quartz fashion to gold, and decorated with precious stones. Indeed from the pocket-watch to the wrist-watch, the watch has retained a certain sex-appeal and statues that is prevalent today. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize the subtle influence a device made simply to tell time has effected our world at large.

Let’s look at a building inspired by this technology. An obvious example would be Big Ben, or the Great Bell in London. Found at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben was official known as the Elizabeth Tower (prior to being renamed in 2012 as the Clock Tower.) Big Ben boasts the third-tallest free-standing clock tower, and certainly, culturally, as the most well known. Big Ben has become a cultural icon of London, and by extension, the UK. Whenever in a film you see a shot of the Clock Tower you know exactly where the shot is taking place.

Designed in a Gothic Revival style, Big Ben stands at 315 feet (roughly 16 stories.) The bottom 200 feet of the clock tower’s structure is made of brickwood with sand colored Anston limestone cladding. The remaining upper part of the tower is a framed spire of cast iron.

If Big Ben is only the third-tallest free-standing clock tower, then what is the first?

Enter: The Abraj Al-Bait Towers, also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The complex / clock-tower is part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that promotes modernizing the city by catering to its visitors. Not only does the Al-Bait Towers claim the world record of tallest clock tower, it also boasts the world’s largest clock face. In 2012, the building became the second tallest in the world – surpassing Twain’s Taipei 101, an is currently the third tallest building in the world. As much of a cultural icon as Big Ben is to London, the complex is meters away for the world’s largest mosque and Islam’s most sacred site, the Masjid al-Harem. As well as featuring a five-star hotel, the complex contains a 20-storey shopping mall and a parking garage capable of holding over a thousand vehicles. To get a better idea of the shear size, up to 100,000 people could be housed inside the towers.

At the top of the building you see a four-faced clock that can be seen 16 miles away, the highest in the world at over 1,300 ft. Each of the four faces measure at 151 ft in diameter and our powered by 2 million LED lights – above the clock you can read, in large Arabic script, “God is the Greatest.”