A giant redbrick warehouse sitting between the River Avon and the entrance to the floating harbour in the Cumberland Basin. It's home to environmental think-tanks and the City Council's sustainable development unit. It has a gallery and cafe open to the public. The best part of the centre is the attached Ecohome which anyone is welcome to nose around.
Smeaton Road, BS1 6XN;
tel: 0117 925 0505;
The excitingly designed Harbourside concert hall by architects Behnisch & Partners was set to do for Bristol what the Guggenheim had done for Bilbao. A shameful Arts Council decision cut the funding and the project has never been revived. With this turn of events At-Bristol, with its stunning all-reflective planetarium, became the centrepiece of the Harbourside development. The centre mixes art, science and nature. It includes an Imax cinema, the interactive 'Explore' science museum and 'Wildwalk', a walk through a living section of rainforest.
Harbourside, BS1 5DB;
tel: 0845 345 1235;
The famous medieval, house-bearing bridge that would probably win the prize as the most photographed Florence icon. It spans the Arno in the centre of the city and probably affords the best views of this often disappointing river from its central open arches. The houses are now mostly shops selling jewellery, leather goods and other expensive designer items, but it’s not obligatory to buy anything of course. After all, it is just a bridge, and still works perfectly well as such.
Bristol has numerous beautiful private interior spaces that never get seen. Over the second weekend of September each year there's an opportunity to do so. Most striking are the haunting Redcliffe Caves that take you underground in the heart of the city and date back to the 15th Century.
Buildings across the city;
A converted river police station turned restaurant. The building's architecture is impressive as are the olives and bread. Upstairs the atmosphere can be a little formal. The downstairs cafe bar is a lot more relaxed and spills out onto a waterfront balcony.
The Grove BS1 4RB;
tel: 0117 914 4434;
A trio of brightly coloured rooftop cubes make it easy to find. The rejuvenation of this formerly dilapidated Victorian paint and varnish factory is a fine example of urban renewal. It's now an ever evolving hub of studios with an art gallery on-site. There's also the Brasilian Bocabar providing good food and drink to reward you for a trip off the beaten track.
Bath Road, Arnos Vale, BS4 3EH;
tel: 0117 972 8838;
Take bus numbers 1, X39, 178 & 349 from the city centre or from Bristol Temple Meads train station;
Striking church that wouldn't look out of place in Gotham City. Elizabeth I declared it to be the "fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in England" on a visit to the city in 1574. A large whalebone hangs above the north porch door brought back by John Cabot to give thanks for his voyage of exploration in 1497.
Redcliffe Way, 5 minutes walk from Bristol Temple Meads
It's a private townhouse designed in 1893 by Brussels' art nouveau architect Victor Horta. It has recently been renovated by cult cartoonist duo Schuiten & Pieters and opened to the public. It's situated in the Schaerbeek area, which is off most tourist maps (being just north/north east of Rogier station) but well worth visiting for the beautiful buildings alone, many of which have been built in art nouveau style and kept in excellent condition (or recently restored). What's more, there's hardly a tourist in sight!
The entrance fee for Maison Autrique is 5€. Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and bank holidays.
266 Chaussée de Haecht, Schaerbeek, 1030 Brussels;
tel: 02 215 6600;
Accessible by tram: 92 & 93 (Saint-Servais), 90 (Robiano), or if the weather's nice, take the metro to Rogier and walk for 20-30 mins along Chaussée de Haecht;
Back when Bristol was a gateway to the New World the first American consulate was established here in 1792. The square became the focal point of the violent Bristol riots in 1831 against the lack of voting rights, one of the worst outbreaks of urban rioting in 19th century Britain. During the 1980s a brutalist road was ploughed straight through it. Nowadays the road is gone and its been restored to its former Georgian self. A green spot to hang out in in the old city centre.
Queen Square, BS1
Distinctive footbridge spanning St Augustine's Reach in the old docks. A symbol to the contribution of black people to the development of the city and to the role Slavery had played in making Bristol a wealthy city in the past. Pero was a man of Afro-Carribean origin who was brought to Bristol in 1783 as a slave from the island of Nevis by the Bristolian merchant John Pinney. Pero became the Pinney family's personal servant and remained in the city until his death in 1798, aged 45.
Narrow Quay & St Augustine's Reach
The Luneta Hotel along Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard) faces Manila Bay. It is one of the few remaining classic architectures that stood the test of time. The once beautiful Pasig River is still being used to tranport people who choose to avoid traffic on land (water lilies still float in the polluted river).
Burnham's City Beautiful Plan for Manila was never realized. Instead, a congested and chaotic city emerged where the poor encroach on private lands, street names constantly change and blighted neighbourhoods such as the Escolta remain deteriorated as modern boxed buildings are erected - slowly obliterating Old Manila.
Downstairs there is a bar and cafe with a decent menu to choose from and bean bags to recline in. Upstairs there is exhibition space for artists and a theatre. On the third Sunday of every month there is an ever popular market selling local and organic produce. Architect George Ferguson's salvage and renovation of this building has done a great deal to revive this part of south Bristol. A great place to visit for those with an interest in urban regeneration or who may just fancy a bevvy.
Raleigh Road, Southville BS3 1TF;
tel: 0117 963 0960
It provides exhibition space, contains a specialist bookshop and architects' offices and runs a series of lectures and events on design and the built environment. A place to glean ideas and to learn more about Bristol's escalating development.
Narrow Quay BS1 4QA
Brunel never lived to see it completed but if he had he may have topped it off with faux-Egyptian sphinxes on each of the bridge's towers. It's had a recent refurb with new lighting installed to show it off by night and with its' Avon Gorge backdrop remains a potent symbol of the city and the reckless engineer who designed it.
Sion Hill, Clifton BS8
Take the Number 8 from Bristol Temple Meads to Clifton Village.
The permanent exhibits are split into two groups, Estonian art from the 18th century until the end of World War II and Estonian Art from 1945 to 1991, the restoration of Estonia's Independence. Temporary Contemporary Art Exhibitions will represent the years after 1991.
A multitude of different styles and themes are represented, Romanticism and Expressionism in the 19th century/early 20th century, Nordic influences and explorations of National identity. There are some wonderful grotesque yet compelling works by a graphic artist, Eduard Wiiralt and examples of avant garde, modernism and pop art.
The post-World War II galleries are particularly interesting in showing how art and the artistic community in Estonia were effected by and reflected the Soviet era, from propaganda and reportage to being a tool of protest and disapproval.
As with many wide ranging exhibitions not everything will be to everyone's taste, however, it allows the viewer to see how art in Estonia has developed and been influenced and also provides a fascinating insight into the history of the country as seen through the eyes of its artists.
Take tram 3 to Kadriorg then a 10 minute or less walk
A short walk from Kadriorg Palace, where Estonia's Foreign Art Collection is based, is KUMU (standing for Kunsti Muuseum - Art Museum), home to Estonia's National Collection.
The building, designed by Finnish architect Pekka Vapaavuori, is almost a work of art in itself. The modern design blends in well with its surroundings and does not seem out of place in an area that includes a number of older, more traditional buildings. The building seems to spring naturally from the ground, there is a very organic feel to it and looking at pictures of the design it appears as if care has been taken to integrate the building materials i.e. glass/concrete etc.. with the physical elements of the land around it. I would have liked to pursue this further by walking around the outside of the building but, sadly, the snow -beautiful as it was - made this impossible.
Inside the building reminded me, at times, of the Tate Modern in London with walkways looking over open spaces and a central hall from which the galleries led off. I liked the curving walkways and staircases, mirroring the curve of the building, the sense of space and also, particularly in the galleries, the sense of airiness.
The museum also includes an education centre and while we were there a number of groups of children were also being guided round. Looking for certain details in a picture, sitting discussing an exhibit, basically getting involved with art and communication.
The museum brochure indicates that it wishes to create a "congenial atmosphere" in which to show art, that it wishes to appeal to a wide range of people, whose interest in art spans from well versed to nascent. And that it can be a place where "diverse ideas emerge and develop". They certainly seem to have achieved the first, are doing all they can to promote the second and, I hope, will progress and expand the third.
Take tram 3 to Kadriorg then a 10 minutes or less walk
Externally the facade of the Stadhuis is decorated with 49 statues representing Royal and Biblical figures.
The original statues where destroyed in 1792 and replaced in 1862, however, the inferior masonry used meant that the statues had to be replaced again in the 20th century.
If you visit the Gothic Hall you are also given a guide to the statues telling you who is who and expanding on some in more detail.
We particularly liked “Baldwin with the Iron Arm” and the wonderfully named “Philip the Beautiful”.
If the Belfort stands guard over the Markt in Bruges then the The Stadhuis or Town Hall is sentinel of the Burg.
This magnificent Gothic building was built between 1376 and 1420 and renovated in the 19th and 20th centuries. On the first floor is the restored Gothic Hall, which can be visited for an entrance fee of 2.50 euros (price includes a very informative audio guide).
What strikes you first about the Gothic Hall is the vibrant colours with which it is decorated. The brown, gold, red and burgundy of the arched ceiling and the large, multi-coloured wall frescos. The latter were commissioned towards the end of the 19th century and show scenes from the history of Belgium and Bruges such as the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. Where the ceiling arches meet are small keystones showing scenes from the New Testament and around the perimeter of the hall, where the arches touch the wall, are small frescos representing the months and seasons.
A small room leading off from the hall contains a number of historical artefacts including an interesting and detailed map of the city.
Get a 360º view of San Francisco hills and neighbourhoods, Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz, San Francisco Bay and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. It beats going to the top floor of a skyscraper.
Look at Coit Tower's vibrant frescos of life in California during the 1930s Great Depression that was commissioned by Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to employ local artists. Then walk down the Filbert Steps. Telegraph Hill is so steep that Filbert St. is a stairway, part of it is still wooden. It has a quasi-park feel with homes clinging to the side of Telegraph Hill. You might want to watch the documentary film, "The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill."
Halfway down at 1360 Montgomery St. is an Art Deco apartment building that was used as Lauren Bacall's home in the 1947 Humphrey Bogart movie, "Dark Passage."
When you reach the bottom of the Filbert Steps, you can walk up the Greenwich Steps back to Coit Tower or continue walking through Levi’s Plaza (Levi Strauss HQ) to the Embarcadero and walk, or ride a Muni F/Market-Embarcadero streetcar, to the Ferry Building or Fisherman's Wharf.
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94133
1 (415) 362-0808
Walk to the top of Telegraph Hill or ride Muni #39 Coit bus.
Obligatory on any visitor’s itinerary is the church of the Holy Family designed by the ultra-pious architect, Gaudi. George Orwell said that this was one of the ugliest buildings on Earth, and expressed wonder as to why the Anarchists hadn’t wrecked it in the Spanish Civil War. It is worth seeing for its ugliness. The stonework is like icing on a cake that has melted. It is not worth the eight Euro to go inside and see what is essentially a building site of scaffolding and cranes. Rightly or wrongly, it has become a symbol of the city.
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