Sunday, March 20, 2011

BP 9- Coffee and Skyscrapers

European Influence

Many of our everyday rituals/everyday activities can be attributed to sources we haven't even considered responsible for its inception. Even though countries are separated by millions of miles, they have still managed to impact each other significantly in architecture.

As mentioned in my previous blog, coffeehouses can be considered my "happy place". The concept of a coffeehouse had to start off somewhere and that place wasn't America....its birthplace was in Aleppo, Syria. (Ching, pg. 559) Drinking coffee had a huge social impact on the male population. It initiated conversations about important topics and brought them together. Through coffeehouses, sugar was becoming a staple in Europe's food consumption. As chocolate grew in importance, it turned into a "filler" before lunch/dinner
. What we now call breakfast began with tea and chocolate.
The action of using a coffeehouse as a place to meet up with friends and chat about life has roots all the way back to the mid 1600s. This simple establishment or environment ( as discussed earlier in the semester) has created a ritual across America and continues to flourish where it began. The ideology of men getting together making business deals and socializing in this common space became a normal tendency of everyday life, just as it is today. We don't even really think about drinking coffee in the morning; it's second nature to us.

The picture above shows a 1700s London coffeehouse. From its scale you can derive that it was a large meeting area designed for comfort and conversation...much different from our coffeehouses today that are designed for convenience and necessity.

The picture to the right captures a modern
day coffeehouse, better known as Starbucks.

American Influence

As the Europeans have had influence on American culture, the United States has inspired other countries as well. The city of Chicago is known for having the first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building. Skyscrapers are a world phenomena that m
any countries have copied and built as a result of American cities building bigger and taller structures. It has become almost a competition to see who can be labeled as having the world' s tallest skyscraper.

This picture captures The Home Insurance Building, what is considered the world's first skyscraper.
As discussed in class: "there exist a normally hidden set of rules, codes, and convent
ions through which meanings particular to specific social groups are made universal." This statement is so true in regards to skyscrapers. The only reason, with the exception of aesthetic value and possibly saving space, skyscrapers are continually built is because of the notion to be the best and most-innovative in structures. Simple things such as this signify power. This will always be the case among countries. We can learn something from everyone though. That is how greatness is born.

Burj Dubai in India is currently the tallest building in the world at 2, 716 feet. Obviously, we have come a long way from where we started in Chicago, but it just shows that our influence was significant on the world of architecture.

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