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A Brand New V&A Design Museum Opens This Week

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 09/11/2018, 6:00 PM

The world-famous V&A museum, founded as an offshoot of the Great Exhibition of 1851, is one of London's most popular attractions, bringing in about 4.4 million visits a year. This weekend, the Victoria and Albert, the more formal name for the powerhouse of decorative arts, will have a presence in Scotland, too. V&A Dundee, billed as Scotland's first design museum, opens on the revitalized...

Huge Projections and New Architecture Center Added to Chicago Riverwalk

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/15/2018, 7:00 AM

The Chicago River has had about as strange a career as any waterway in North America, starting with its namesake city's decision in the late 19th century (enacted in the early years of the 20th) to reverse the river's course in order to keep sewage out of Lake Michigan.  Of course, that just sent the sewage—including the foul runoff from the same meatpacking factories that gave Upton Sinclair the...

Route 66 and Puerto Rico Among USA's Most Endangered Historic Sites

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/28/2018, 3:30 AM

Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Route 66 all appear on 2018's "Most Endangered Places" list, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual roundup of important architectural and cultural sites in peril. The purpose of the list, the group says, is to raise awareness and spur action to protect landmarks—and in some cases landmasses—"facing a range of challenges and threats, from d...

A Makeover and New Museum at Gateway Arch in St. Louis

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/08/2018, 9:00 PM

A multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to gussy up the grounds of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis culminates this summer in the July 3 opening of an expanded museum that tells the tale of America's westward expansion.  Located underground, the newly rechristened Museum at the Gateway Arch replaces the similar but more limited previous facility, which had become outdated both in its simplistic, Gu...

Seattle's Space Needle Gets a Glassy Makeover

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 05/26/2018, 12:00 AM

A $100 million update to Seattle's skyline-defining Space Needle is just about finished.  But don't worry, purists: The 605-foot retro-futuristic tower still looks like something dreamed up by the animators for The Jetsons—or, as the Frommer's guide puts it, "like a flying saucer on a tripod."  Some sprucing up here and there aside, the most dramatic changes can be found on the observation deck,...

New Looks for Two of London's Most Important Art Museums

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/22/2018, 11:15 PM

Fans of art and architecture already have a lot to keep them busy during stays in London—and with free admission at most of the top cultural institutions, the city's treasures are easy to access, too. But museum- and gallery-goers will have even longer to-do lists in the coming months, thanks to the reopening of two high-profile spaces—one a 250-year-old mainstay, the other an oft-reviled Brutali...

Paris' Grand Palais Getting a Grand Makeover

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/20/2018, 9:30 PM

The Grand Palais in Paris is getting its largest refurbishment since opening for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, when the mammoth hall on the Champs-Élysées was used to show off sculptures and horse races under the biggest glass roof in Europe.   Today, the Grand Palais is used for blockbuster art exhibits, sporting events, and fashion shows. As a matter of fact, one of France's most famed fas...

Upper Levels of Rome's Colosseum Reopening for Tours

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/04/2017, 9:45 PM

The upper tiers of the Colosseum in Rome are reopening to the public for the first time in four decades.  The renowned architectural marvel—which dates to the first century A.D. and is one of the ancient city's most visited sites—is coming off a 5-year, multimillion-dollar restoration paid for by Diego Della Valle, chairman of luxury leather brand Tod's. With public money for major preservation...

Scaffolding to Cover Taj Mahal During Yearlong Restoration

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/06/2017, 4:00 AM

The Taj Mahal in India is undergoing a large-scale restoration that officials say will ultimately leave the marble beauty a brighter shade of white. In the meantime, however, the main dome and central structure of the building will be covered by scaffolding, as workers apply a mud-pack treatment designed to clean the surface, which has yellowed over time.  The project is expected to be...

Trump Tower a Delicate Matter for Chicago Tour Guides

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/08/2016, 5:00 AM

You can add Chicago tour guides to the list of people made miserable by the 2016 presidential election.  The city’s popular architecture cruises drift past a number of pioneering buildings flanking the Chicago River. And one unavoidable skyscraper on the itinerary happens to bear the name of a certain polarizing presidential nominee spelled out in giant letters on its side.  “It is str...

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