architecture

Orbelian’s Caravanserai – Selim Mountain Pass, Armenia

At 2410 meters high at the Vardenyats Pass on the Armenian Caucasus, Orbelian (also known as Selim or Sulema) caravanserai stands from the early XIV century as a shelter for caravans travelling along the Silk Road, the legendary trade route connecting Europe to Far East.

The refuge was built between 1326 and 1332 by an order of powerful prince Chesar Orbelian, as carved on the facade; the family emblems – a winged quadruped and a bull, in high-relief – are portrayed on the architrave of the main entry.

The basalt stone lodging consists of a vestibule and a long, wide room where people and animals could spend the night away from dangers and mountains rough weather.

The sole beams of light break through the muqarnas-decorated oculi on the barrel vault, creating a rarified, still (and somehow disorientating) atmosphere in the pitch black.

Badly damaged in XVI and XVII century, the qaravanatun was restored during Soviet times, between 1956/1959.

Orbelian's Caravanserai – Main entrance Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Orbelian's Caravanserai – Oculus Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

Monument to Yuri Gagarin, Moscow

One of the most loved Soviet personalities, Yuri Gagarin was the first human ever to travel in space.

Aboard the Vostok1 he completed in 108 minutes the orbit of the Earth on the 12nd of April 1961.

Dead in 1968 during a routine flight and buried in the Cremlin Walls, the young and smiling next door’s cosmonaut got his definitive consecration as a superhero in 1980, when a gigantic statue was erected in Moscow’s Leninsky avenue.

Made of shiny titan as spaceships are, the column is 42 meters tall and features a 12-meters-high Gagarin spreading his arms over a rocket-trailed pedestal.

Unveiled on the 4th of July, just two weeks before the official opening of the Summer Olympics, the monument was designed by the popular sculptor Pavel Bondarenko and the renowned architect Yakov Belopolsky – the latter also planner of Soviet War Memorial in East Berlin’s Treptower Park.

Monument to Yuri Gagarin Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid 636 Closeup

Müggelturm – East Berlin, Germany

Clean-cut and chic, the Müggelturm is one of the first examples of Modernist architecture in East Berlin after years of ruling Stalinist Classicism.

Almost 30 meters high, the tower overlooks the Müggelsee and the surrounding woods from a hillock.

Opened to the public on the 31st of December of 1961 – just a few months after the construction of the infamous Wall – the building was designed by the collective of students of Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee led by architects Jörg Streitparth, Siegfried Wagner and Klaus Weißhaupt.

The façades display panoramic windows at every landing, together with stylish clear concrete geometrical shapes.

A twin tower is planned to be built soon next to the original one.

Müggelturm Fujifilm instax mini monochrome / Leica Sofort
Concrete façade Polaroid Color 600 Metallic Red Frame Edition / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
The staircase Fujifilm instax mini monochrome / Leica Sofort
Müggelturm Polaroid Color 600 Metallic Red Frame Edition / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Müggelturm Fujifilm instax mini monochrome / Leica Sofort

Jiřího z Poděbrad metro station – Prague, Czech Republic

Named after the square above – and initially in fact called Jiřího náměstí – the underground station Jiřího z Poděbrad in Vinohrady, between Praha 2 and Praha 3 districts, serves the Žižkov Television Tower neighborhood.

Opened on 19th of December 1980 as part of the second section of metro line A, it was designed by architect Anna Hübschmannová for DP-Metroprojekt.

The vestibule and the pillars are tiled with marble, while the floors are paved in granite.
The tunnel is covered in fine anodized aluminium plates in a tasteful and stylish match of elegant peacock blue and shiny golden yellow.

The original escalator still carries passengers up and down the depth of 45 metres.

Jiřího z Poděbrad – Escalator down Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Jiřího z Poděbrad – Tunnel Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Jiřího z Poděbrad – Escalator up Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

Hotel Cosmos – Chișinău, Moldova

Slightly crumbly and vaguely ill-kept, the charming Cosmos has surely seen better days.

The state-owned hotel, planned by architects B. Banykin and Irina Kolbayeva, was constructed between 1974 and 1983 during the massive urban redevelopment of the capital following war and earthquake devastation.

In its golden years it was one of the largest and most modern accomodations in Moldavian SSR. Under the blazing starbursts and the neon capital letters on the top floor, swinging angled-shaped balconies form a dynamic concrete pattern overlooking Negruzzi square and Kotovsky equestrian statue.

Although not working anymore on its full capacity, the Cosmos hotel and its former glamour still twinkle like a Soviet modernist gem among post-war architecture in Chișinău.

Hotel Cosmos - Chișinău, Moldova Polaroid Color 600 Film / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF