Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mount Washington, Massachusetts

From the previous blog, continuing north along the solitary dirt road we passed a magnificent field with shimmering red/orange ground cover. Ultimately this led us to the town center of Mount Washington, consisting of one church and Town Hall. Heading west on Rt. 344 led us to Bash Bish Falls, the highest single-drop waterfall (60 ft) in Massachusetts. We exited the region just over the New York state line in Copake. Taconic State Park has an amazing exhibit on the Taconic Iron Works blast furnace.

Salisbury, Connecticut

Background - Salisbury Town Hall. Foreground - Ferrari 360 Modena. After all, Lime Rock is part of Salisbury. From Rt. 44, we headed north towards Massachusetts border on what quickly became single-laned dirt roads up Riga Rd.

At the top of the hill is an old remains of the Salisbury Iron Company blast furnace with a 1960 memorial tablet commemorating Joseph Pettee.

Just above is the dam at South Pond. Colonial house above pond is ca. mid 1700s. Riga Rd. soon becomes Mount Washington Rd. We crossed state line into Massachusetts, note 1906 granite state line marker.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lakeville, Connecticut

Lakeville is in the extreme northwest corner of Connecticut. It is one of the most idyllic hamlets in Connecticut. Water power from Lake Wononscopomuc was available to develop a prosperous cutlery industry through the Holley Manufacturing Co. in the period 1844 - 1930s. Pictured (front and side) is the 1866 Holley Mfg. Co. (8 Holley St.) in Italianate style, with a clerestory monitor roof, round-arched and segmental arched windows, and cross-gabled square cupola. The first pocket knives in the U.S. were made here. The Connecticut Western Railroad passed through Lakeville and the Lakeville Station (1871) is pictured (7 Allen St.), featuring large imbricated brackets with turned spoke motif and eaves edged with scroll sawn molding.

Millerton Rd. (Rt. 44) features 3 historic structures, the John Hubbard House (1830), the Farnham Tavern (1759), and the Holley-Williams House (1808). Hubbard House is Federal style, with pedimented gable with molded demi-lune window with keyed arch. The Farnham Tavern is vernacular style (2nd floor porch). The Holley-Williams House is Federal style, one of the finest examples in northwester Connecticut, with two story Ionic columns, pedimented gable, modillion cornice, and molded demi-lune window with keyed arch.

More modern mansions circa 1920 can be found on Elm St. fronting the Lake. In the early 1950s, the well-known Belgian-French writer Georges Simenon resided for several years in Shadow Rock Farm, a large house in Lakeville. The town forms the background for Simenon's novel "La Mort de Belle" ("The Death of Belle"), depicting its small town quiet life being shattered by the (fictional) murder of a young girl. It was later adapted to film, released as Passion of Slow Fire, or The End of Belle.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Gulf Hotel, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

The Gulf Hotel is one of the older non-franchise luxury hotels in Manama. It was the site of the 8th International Conference & Exhibition on Chemistry in Industry in which I keynoted. The food was sumptuous, especially at the poolside Gala dinner, with food stations from Japan, Lebanon, Thailand, Bahrain, Fusion, etc. The desserts are deadly - halva (sesame), dates, baglawa, basboosa, fried dough soaked in syrup, pistachio candies, it's endless. Glad to escape the gluttony.

Bahrain Financial Harbour, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Bahrain Financial Harbor is an iconic waterfront property, a testimonial to Bahrain's role as a financial hub for the Mid-east over the last 30 years. The dual sail-design towers (Commercial East and Commercial West) are currently listed as the tallest completed towers in Bahrain, with a height of 853 ft with 54 floors. At present, they are the 4th tallest twin-towers in the world, with Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers in 1st place. They are designed by a local Bahraini firm, Ahmed Janahi Architects. The sail design is reminiscent of the spectacular Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai (see my 12/2009 post).

The dual towers are a 10 minute walk from the World Trade Centre (note Ponderosa steak house sign in photo).

I was struck by the positioning of the towers - facing each other and was immediately reminded of Pink Floyd's The Division Bell album cover. The eastward view from the 11th floor of The Gulf Hotel shows the twin towers on the horizon to the left of the twinned World Trade Center. Taxi driver tells me building in foreground is guest rooms for visiting members of Royal family.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moda Mall, World Trade Centre, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

Moda Mall is a high-end shopping complex in the ground floor of the World Trade Center. It derives from Villa Moda, a Kuwaiti luxury department store, featuring fashion and clothing items from top designers, founded (1992) by Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah, the 35-year-old nephew of Kuwait's Amir.

Bahrain's Moda Mall is as upscale as anything I've seen anywhere. The store selection and interior design is over the top. Designer stores include Louis Vuitton (photo), Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Herm├ęs (photo, pocket watches), Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Vertu, Versace (photo), Valentino, amongst others. Most amazing are the watch and jewellery stores such as De Beers, Tiffany & Co., Boucheron, Chopard, Chanel Jewellery, Van Cleef & Arpels, and the king of haute horlogerie, Patek Philippe (photo). I can just imagine some sheikh coming in (between falconry events) and making an impulse purchase of a few PP Sky Moon Tourbillon wristwatches for himself and family. Just in case you didn't know, a tourbillon counters the effects of gravity by mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage, ostensibly in order to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece (and thus the escapement) is rotated. Originally an attempt to improve accuracy, tourbillons are still included in high end modern watches as a demonstration of watchmaking virtuosity. Check out for haute horlogerie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

World Trade Centre, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain

This skyscraper is Bahrain's iconic statement. The Bahrain World Trade Center (787 ft) is the first skyscraper in the world (2008) to integrate wind turbines into its design. The towers were designed by the multi-national firm Atkins.

The two towers are linked via three skybridges, each holding a 225kW wind turbine, totalling to 675kW of wind power production. Each of these turbines measure 95 ft in diameter, and is aligned north, which is the direction from which air from the Persian Gulf blows in. The sail-shaped buildings on either side are designed to funnel wind through the gap to provide accelerated wind passing through the turbines. This was confirmed by wind tunnel tests, which showed that the buildings create an S-shaped flow, ensuring that any wind coming within a 45° angle to either side of the central axis will create a wind stream that remains perpendicular to the turbines. This significantly increases their potential to generate electricity. The wind turbines are expected to provide 11% to 15% of the towers' total power consumption, or approximately 1.1 to 1.3 GWh a year. This is equivalent to providing the lighting for about 300 homes annually.