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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...

Part of Prague's Dancing House Now a Hotel

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/22/2016, 4:00 AM

(Photo: Pedro Szekely/Wikimedia Commons) Prague's iconic Dancing House—which features two towers of glass and concrete that appear to be cutting a rug on the banks of the Vltava river—has been off limits for many visitors to the Czech capital because the building has been been used primarily for office space.  But now part of the unique edifice has been turned into a hotel.  A...

21 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites Announced

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/19/2016, 11:45 AM

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee added 21 sites to its World Heritage List during the group's annual meeting in Istanbul last week (a meeting that had to be cut short because of the failed coup attempt in Turkey). Among the new natural and cultural spots deemed worth preserving: 17 buildings across seven countries designed by 20th-century Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, the fossil-rich...

Obamas Pick Architects for Presidential Library

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/30/2016, 9:45 PM

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have selected the architects who will design the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. Choosing from among 144 architects from across the globe (the list was narrowed to seven last fall), the Obamas picked husband-and-wife team Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, whose past works include the Barnes Foundation art museum in Philadelphia. No pr...

Elevated Park Opens at WTC Site

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/29/2016, 8:45 PM

An elevated park overlooking the World Trade Center memorial opened in New York City on Wednesday. Modeled after Manhattan's popular High Line, the 1-acre, $50 million Liberty Park helps cover up a security building used to screen vehicles entering the site of the September 11 attacks. The park's most striking feature is its "Living Wall," a vertical garden featuring more than 22,000 plants. Lo...

World's Highest Observation Deck Opens, Shatters Height and Price Records

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 10/16/2014, 6:00 PM

The world's highest observation deck has opened on the 148th floor of the 2,717-foot-tall Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. That makes the deck 1,821 feet above street level, or a little more than a half a kilometer up—certifiably the highest observation deck in the world, according to Guinness. By comparison, the Empire State Building's observation deck on its 86th floor is a measly ...

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