Archives for posts with tag: Vernacular architecture

Exterior of Ice house or Yakhchal, Abarqu, Iran

Brick interior of Yakhchal

An ice house or Yakhchal is an ancient refrigerator allowing the storage of ice in the desert in summer. It was collected in winter and kept cool by its shape and walls made from special mortar called srooj, composed of sand, clay, egg whites, lime, goat hair, and ash, which was resistant to heat transfer. Abarqu, Iran, 2008

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The Arg (Citadel) of Karim Khan, Shiraz, Iran

Detail of brickword of The Arg (Citadel) of Karim Khan, Shiraz, Iran

The southeastern tower of The Arg of Karim Khan having partially subsided into the underground sewerage system that served the Args bathhouse

Windows of the Internal courtyard of The Arg (Citadel) of Karim Khan, Shiraz, Iran

Built in 1766 the Arg of Karim Khan is located at Shohada Square, Shiraz, Iran. The citadel of Karim Khan consists of four high walls connected by four 14 m round brick towers at a 90-degree angle. Each 12m wall is crenalized and is 3 metres thick at the base and 2.8 metres at the top. The design of the citadel combines military and residential architecture, for it was the home ofKarim Khan and the military centre of the dynasty.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010






Kampong Ayer, or the Water Village (Malay: Kampong Ayer) is an area of Brunei’s capital city Bandar Seri Begawan that is situated in the middle of the Brunei River. 39,000 people live in the Water Village. This represents roughly ten percent of the nation’s total population. All of the Water Village buildings are constructed on stilts above the Brunei River.

The Water Village is really made up of small villages linked together by more than 29,140 meters of foot-bridges, consisting of over 4200 structures including homes, mosques, restaurants, shops, schools, and a hospital.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

Ornate gateway on the Trung Dao (Central path) Bridge, carved with dragons slithering up and down them, leading to Thai Hoa Palace, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Yellow enamelled roof tiles of the Thai Hoa Palace, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Vietnamese money left as an offering in the ancient bronze cauldron in the courtyard, Halls of the Mandarins

The Throne Palace, also known as the Palace of Supreme Harmony, was the nerve center for the Emperor’s court during its heyday. Built in 1805 by Emperor Gia Long, the Throne Palace was first used in 1806 for the emperor’s coronation. The building is 144 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 38 feet tall, supported by lacquered-red columns entwined with gilded dragons. Over the throne hangs a carved board bearing Chinese characters reading “Palace of Supreme Harmony”.

The insulation and acoustics of the Throne Palace are amazing for a building its age. The Throne Palace enjoyed cool temperatures in the summer, and warm temperatures during the winter season. And anyone standing at the exact center of the Palace – where the throne was normally placed – could hear sounds from any point in the palace. The Throne Palace has been diminished by time and the ravages of war: rains and floods common to Central Vietnam have damaged some parts of the palace, and serious damage was done by American bombs during the Vietnam War.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

Royal Library or Emperor's Reading Room (Thai Binh Lau) decorated with ceramic mosaics in the Forbidden Purple City, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Royal Library or Emperor's Reading Room (Thai Binh Lau) in the Forbidden Purple City, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

The Royal Reading room (Thai Binh Lau) was the only building to survive the ravages of the 20th century. Both the French reoccupation and American bombs failed to bring it down.

Thai Binh Lau was first built by the Emperor Thieu Tri between 1841 and 1847. The Emperor Khai Dinh later restored the temple in 1921, and civil authorities continued restoration efforts in the early 1990s. In the old days, the Emperors used to retire to Thai Binh Lau to read books and write letters.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

Bridge over the moat leading to Ngo Mon Gate with Five Phoenix Watchtower above, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

The Ngo Mon Gate is a massive structure in front of the Hue Citadel that also served as a royal viewing platform for court ceremonies. Two of the five entrances that cut through the thick stone ramparts serve as entry and exit points for tourists. The largest, middle gate is barred – reserved for the Emperor’s use. The two entrances flanking the Emperor’s gate were reserved for mandarins and court officials, while the outermost entrances were reserved for soldiers and war materiel.

The “Belvedere of the Five Phoenixes”, the Emperor’s private viewing platform on top of the gate, hosted the emperor and his retinue during important court ceremonies. No women were allowed at this level; from this high vantage point, the Emperor and his mandarins observed military exercises and awarded examination passers.

The platform has also seen its fair share of modern history. It was here that the last Emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, abdicated in favor of the revolutionary government headed by Ho Chi Minh, on August 30, 1945.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

The Mieu Temple devoted to ten Emperors of the Nguyen dynasty, courtyard and Incense burner. Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

On the death anniversaries of the emperors, the reigning emperor and his retinue would perform the appropriate ceremonies at The To Mieu. The lacquered altars in the main gallery each honor one of the Nguyen Emperors. The altars originally numbered only seven – the French overlords prevented the Nguyen emperors from installing altars to honor anti-French emperors Ham Nghi, Thanh Thai, and Duy Tan. The three missing altars were included in 1959, after the departure of the French.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

Hung Mieu Temple, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Floating landscape sculpture, Hung Mieu Temple, Hue Citadel / Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam

Located north of the Mieu, Hung Mieu was devoted to the woship of King Gia Long’s parents (Lord Nguyen Phuc Luan and his wife). It was constructed in 1821 by King Minh Mang. Hung Temple as seen today was re-constructed in 1951 by lady Tu Cung (the last queen mother of the Nguyen dynasty), but it’s not according to original architecture.

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Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

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