The Art of Architecture 10 Incredible Installations

Where is the line between art and design? If “function” is the word that comes to mind then there are many works which fall somewhere in the gray area between extremes. Perhaps the most engaging works to exist on both sides are architectural and interior art installations - those works that are interactive and spatially complex but are still more about aesthetics and experience than a strict singular function.
The Dollhouse was once a modest two-story farmhouse, abandoned decades ago to the elements but left remarkably intact with furniture, furnishings and fixtures on the inside. One artist, however, envisioned a new function for this abandoned building - a hyperbolic showcase of interior space frozen in time.
What does one do to transform a bland space into something engaging for employees who toil in their offices day in and day out? One way to enliven a space is through art. This staged architectural explosion literally lights up the central courtyard of this office building but also provides something of visual interest from every possible angle.
There is no reason to let a soon-to-be-demolished building go to waste - at least that was the viewpoint of the artistic talent behind this exploding house art installation. More than merely something for spectators to gawk at, this design invites participation by allowing visitors to move through the vortex to the other side.

While some architectural installations address buildings as a whole or simply from the outside in, others rework with existing spaces to create interior experiences. One group of artists took buildings abandoned after Hurricane Katrina and breathed new life inside of the deserted structures.
Regular readers may recognize the work of one Robbie Rowlands, an installation artist with a different way of looking at the world of architecture and urban design. His works literally (and otherwise) break down conventional aspects of buildings, pealing, bending, and twisting them in unique ways.
Walls are what hold a building together, define its spaces and are reliably located in conventional places throughout - particularly in traditional old buildings, right? This artist comes into existing architectural interiors and adds offbeat elements that turn conventional spaces into paradoxical interior designs.
As the previous example demonstrates, the starkness of contract between new elements an old spaces can have a profound aesthetic impact on the person experiencing a hybrid interior. These glowing arrows draw visitors into an old mansion and through it in ways that defy the traditional layout of the building interior.
This rain art installation project goes against two basic associations we have with rain: that it falls only on the outside of buildings and that it is always in motion and difficult to see while moving. By contrast, people can walk through this controlled space and see, feel and push each individual drop of rain.

The building envelope is what defines the difference between interior and exterior, public and private. This moving building wall project contorts and distorts that strict boundary, literally spinning a section of wall visible to pedestrians passing by on the street below.

Over 1600 chairs went into making this incredible urban art installation project. The chairs are aged, each with its own history that contributes a piece of the story of the overall installation. The sheer volume and time associated with placing these chair-by-chair in place is impressive enough, regardless of intention.

10 Alien-Looking Places on Earth

Dry Valleys (Antartica)

Antarctica's Dry Valleys, with their barren gravel-strewn floors, are said to be the most similar place on Earth to Mars. Its fascinating landscape, located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound, get almost no snowfall, and except for a few steep rocks they are the only continental part of Antarctica devoid of ice. The terrain looks like something not of this Earth; the valley’s floor occasionally contains a perennially frozen lake with ice several meters thick. Under the ice, in the extremely salty water, live mysterious simple organisms, a subject of on-going research. 

Socotra Island (Indian Ocean)

This island simply blows away any notion about what is considered “normal” for a landscape on Earth, you’d be inclined to think you were transported to another planet - or traveled to another era of Earth’s history. Socotra Island, which is part of a group of four islands, has been geographically isolated from mainland Africa for the last 6 or 7 million years. Like the Galapagos Islands, the island is teeming with 700 extremely rare species of flora and fauna, a full 1/3 of which are endemic. 

The climate is harsh, hot and dry, and yet - the most amazing plant life thrives there. Situated in the Indian Ocean 250 km from Somalia and 340 km from Yemen, the wide sandy beaches rise to limestone plateaus full of caves (some 7 kilometers in length) and mountains up to 1525 meters high. The trees and plants of this island were preserved thru the long geological isolation, some varieties being 20 million years old. 

Rio Tinto (Spain)

The giant opencast mines of Rio Tinto create a surreal, almost lunar landscape. Its growth has consumed not only mountains and valleys but even entire villages, whose populations had to be resettled in specially built towns nearby. Named after the river which flows through the region-itself named for the reddish streaks that colour its water-Rio Tinto has become a landscape within a landscape. The river red water is highly acidic (pH 1.7—2.5) and rich in heavy metals. 

Kliluk, the Spotted Lake (Canada)

In the hot sun of summer, the water of Spotted Lake, located in British Columbia and Washington, evaporates and crystallizes the minerals, forming many white-rimmed circles: shallow pools that reflect the mineral content of the water in shades of blues and greens. It contains one of the worlds highest concentrations of minerals: magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts), calcium and sodium sulphates, plus eight other minerals and traces of four more, including silver and titanium. 

The Indians soaked away aches and ailments in the healing mud and waters. One story cites a truce in a battle to allow both warring tribes to tend to their wounded in the Spotted Lake, "Kliluk". 

Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)

Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni is perhaps one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. A magnificent area with an impressive salt desert (the world's largest), active volcanoes, tall cacti islands and geyser flats, it exists like an alien mirage, something completely out-of-this-world.

 Vale da Lua (Brazil)

Vale da Lua (Moon Valley) is a water eroded rock formation with natural swimming pools, placed on a river in the brazilian cerrado forest. Located at Chapada, 38 km from Alto ParaĆ­so de GoiĆ”s, it’s rock formations are one of the oldest on the planet, made of quartz with outcrops of crystals. 

Blood Pond Hot Spring (Japan)

Blood Pond Hot Spring is one of the "hells" (jigoku) of Beppu, Japan, nine spectacular natural hot springs that are more for viewing rather than bathing. The “blood pond hell” features a pond of hot, red water, colored as such by iron in the waters. It’s allegedly the most photogenic of the nine hells. 

The Stone Forest (China)

The Shilin (Chinese for stone forest) is an impressive example of karst topography. Its rocks are made of limestone and are formed by water percolating the ground’s surface and eroding away everything but the pillars. It’s known since the Ming Dynasty as the 'First Wonder of the World.' 

The Richat Structure (Mauritania)

This spectacular landform in Mauritania in the southwestern part of the Sahara desert, called the Richat Structure, is so huge with a diameter of 30 miles that it is visible from space. The formation was originally thought to be caused by a meteorite impact but now geologists believe it is a product of uplift and erosion. The cause of its circular shape is still a mystery. 

Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves (Austria)

Ice caves are very different from normal caves. They have a strange feeling about them, as though they are not from this planet, and one has just temporarily stepped into their world when spelunking their depths. 

There are many ice caves throughout the world, but the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves in Austria are some of the largest known to man. They are located within the Tennengebirge Mountains near Salzburg and stretch for a remarkable 40 kilometers. Only a portion of the labyrinth is open to tourists but it's enough to get a taste of what the remaining network is like: a truly mesmerizing palate of Mother Nature's handicraft.

Never Surrender The Eight Greatest Technical Submissions of All Time

Never Surrender: The Eight Greatest Technical Submissions of All Time

It takes a special kind of cojones to stare down permanent injury and say "Eff it, I ain't tappin'."

We decided to pay tribute to the technical submission — that thrilling moment when a fighter is caught in a health-threatening submission hold, but is too stupid much of a warrior to concede defeat, so the referee has to do it for him. Because as a wise man once said, "Tapping out is for bitches." Enjoy...

#8: Daniel Gracie vs. Wes Sims
IFL Championships 2006, 6/3/06 

After their first chaotic mess of a bout was ruled a “Technical Draw,” Gracie and Sims met again in the IFL for another technical ending. Though Sims has always had a hazy understanding of the rules in any given MMA bout, he got taken down too quickly to launch any illegal stomps in this one, and had to settle for giving up his back and then trying to grab on to the ropes (thankfully Stephen Quadros reminds him that he can’t do that) as Gracie stayed on him like a backpack and choked him unconscious. There’s nothing quite like seeing a 6’10” guy drop to the canvas like somebody just pulled his plug. Sleep well, buddy.

#7. Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni
Strikeforce/EliteXC: Shamrock vs. Baroni, 6/22/07 

(Choke starts at the 8:35 mark.)

Thanks to Shammy’s pioneering work in video trash talk, this fight was epic before it even began. Strikeforce’s first middleweight title fight paired two loud-mouthed badasses who would never admit defeat — but unfortunately, there could be only one champion. After battering the NYBA with punches for almost two full rounds, Shamrock took Baroni’s back, wrapped an arm around his neck, and squeezed. While most men would tap to the hold, Baroni went out like a warrior, throwing punches into Frank’s mug until he lost consciousness. Shamrock celebrated his win by shoving Baroni’s lifeless body then kicking him in the ass, proving that he wasn’t just the better fighter that night, he was also the bigger asshole.

#6: Marcus Aurelio vs. Takanori Gomi
Pride: Bushido 10, 4/2/06 

Gomi was riding an impressive ten-fight win streak in Pride when he came up against American Top Team’s Marcus Aurelio. Gomi had just beaten Hayato “Mach” Sakurai in the 2005 lightweight Grand Prix, and seemed to be near unstoppable. That is, until Aurelio got him on his back. Aurelio passed his guard without much trouble and locked up an arm triangle. Though Gomi’s hand seemed to want to tap, his spirit wouldn’t allow it. Instead his arm fell limply to the canvas, forcing the Pride ref to try the old pro wrestling resistance test before concluding that “The Fireball Kid” was really out. For weird reasons that only made sense in Pride, this wasn’t a title bout. Gomi not only woke up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, he also woke up still the champ. How often does that happen?

#5: Demian Maia vs. Ed Herman
UFC 83, 4/19/08

Did you know there was a time when not everyone in the UFC was aware of what a jiu-jitsu badass Demian Maia is? It’s true, but his complete domination of Ed Herman helped educate the masses right quick. Herman was coming off three straight wins, including a knockout of Joe Doerksen and a submission victory over Scott Smith, but he soon discovered it was a bad idea to be on the ground with Maia. Herman spent most of the first round trying, without success, to stay on his feet. After narrowly avoiding a few submissions, Herman powered his way right into a triangle choke in the second round. When he wouldn’t tap, Maia flipped him over and pounded on him a little while waiting for him to give up or lose consciousness. Herman chose the latter, though it was all the same to Maia.

#3: Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hassan
UFC Fight For The Troops, 12/10/08 

Right away something about this fight seemed strange. The last WEC light heavyweight champ, Cantwell made his UFC debut at the benefit show for injured U.S. troops against newcomer Razak Al-Hassan, who may or may not have been chosen because he had a foreign-sounding name (despite fighting out of Iowa). Al-Hassan began the fight by walking straight into Cantwell’s punches with his chin held high, further suggesting that maybe he wasn’t quite ready for the UFC, but was ready to spot incoming aircraft.  

After stinging him with a few good shots, Cantwell got him down, passed his guard and mounted him, then locked in a tight armbar. Apparently nobody bothered to tell Al-Hassan that he could tap out if he was in trouble, because he never seemed to consider it. Instead he let Cantwell crank his arm until it made everyone feel a little sick just to look at it. Afterwards Cantwell was a little too excited about injuring another human being, saying he’d “been waiting so long to do that.” Let’s dial it down a notch, Steve.

#2. Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Renzo Gracie
PRIDE 10, 8/27/00

(Sakuraba vs. The Gracies. Saku sets up the kimura on Renzo at the 1:44 mark, and the nasty aftermath is at 2:55.)

Gracies don’t tap — especially not to the armlock that has haunted their family for decades. Kazushi Sakuraba had already beaten Royler and Royce Gracie in PRIDE matches, picking up the nickname “Gracie Hunter,” before his classic fight with their cousin Renzo. In the closing seconds of the battle, Sakuraba latched a standing ude-garami onto Renzo’s left arm. The ude-garami, of course, has been commonly known as the “kimura” ever since Masahiko Kimura used it to defeat Helio Gracie in 1955 (Helio didn’t tap, by the way), and coincidentally, Sakuraba used the lock to score a technical submission over Helio’s son Royler the year before he faced Renzo (Royler also didn’t tap).

Anyway, Renzo’s elbow snapped as Sakuraba pulled him to the ground, and as Kazushi continued to extend the lock, the break became ghoulishly visible. In true Gracie fashion, Renzo refused to surrender. The referee stopped the match, and an unaffected-looking Renzo got up, put his arm in a sling, took the mic, and made a congratulatory speech to his opponent. Renzo later called out his refusal to tap during the fight as his greatest achievement in mixed martial arts. What the hell is wrong with these people, anyway?

#1. Frank Mir vs. Tim Sylvia
UFC 48, 6/19/04 

It remains the most famous bone-breakage in UFC history — and the Maine-iac still wanted to fight through it. Less than a minute into the heavyweight title match at “Payback”, stripped ex-champion Tim Sylvia slammed rising hotshot Frank Mir onto his back, where Frank immediately snatched one of Timmy’s meathooks in an armbar. He cranked it until Sylvia’s forearm visibly snapped, but Tim wasn’t ready to give up so easily. In fact, the fight might have had a completely different outcome if Herb Dean hadn’t stopped the fight in horror. 

Though Sylvia claimed he was okay to continue, an x-ray performed later that night showed that his radius bone was indeed broken. Mir’s legendary technical submission over Sylvia earned him the UFC heavyweight strap (and a BJJ black belt from Ricardo Pires), and cemented his rep as a terror on the ground, while Tim gained some grudging respect as a tough son-of-a-bitch who wouldn’t quit over something as insignificant as a destroyed limb.

9 Of The Most Repulsive Buildings On Earth

The humans that designed the following monsters should be commended. I say that because it really can’t be easy making a building so disgusting and I actually think it takes more brainpower to make something this hideous than it does to come up with a stunner. So for effort i’d give them all a 10. Artistic merit? 

So well done chaps. Really well done.

In No Particular Order…

Torre Velasca, Milan, Italy

Architects - Belgiojoso, Peressutti And Rogers

An absolute eyesore, this hulk of a building can be found in the centre of milan, just opposite milan cathedral.
look at it. It has no grace. It’s colour (i think it’s officially called ‘muddy puddle brown’) is depressing and the top-heavy shape confusing. The struts half way up make it look like some kind of insect and if fangs suddenly appeared one morning i wouldn’t be shocked.

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan

Architects - C. Y. Lee & Partners

The tallest building in the world also happens to be one of the ugliest. First of all, it looks cheap. The staggered effect makes it look like a massive child has just plonked each of the sections on one by one in a matter of minutes. Secondly, it’s wearing a belt that in turn makes the building look like an enormous, armless, useless, kilt-wearing robot.

 Hotel Piccadilly, Manchester, United Kingdom

Architects - Covell, Matthews & Partners 

I come face-to-face with this despicable, shitty building on a daily basis and i’m still shocked by its hideousness each time.

I used to think that a good scrub to the exterior with some soap might give it some hope. I quickly realised that this would be the worst possible course of action due to the fact that a clean and shiny hotel piccadilly may stand out more, thus catching more pedestrians’ eyes, in turn causing more offence.

Russian Embassy Building,Havana, Cuba

Architects - Unknown

What the hell is this meant to look like?

I can’t even begin to fathom the thought process behind this design. Remember, this was created by (hopefully) people with qualifications. The thin tower at the top looks pathetic, as if it got lost on its way to a castle - it’s proper home. The locals call it ‘the vodka bottle’.

The Whole Thing just looks like a building where punishments are handed out, the most severe at the top.

 Hotel Sofitel, Tokyo, Japanarchitects - Kikutake Architects

Horrific.If you asked a child to draw a white christmas tree using a bbc micro computer they’d possibly come up with something similar to this. It stands out like a sore thumb and looks like some kind of high-rise detention centre and how is it a good idea to have practically no windows on one side of a massive building? I hope to god sofitel don’t print photos of this monstrosity in their brochures.

Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

Architects - Baikdoosan Architects

This disgraceful creation has stood unfinished since 1992, the year construction stopped, and the crane still stands at the top. Unbelievably it wasn’t based on a young child’s space rocket sketch.
The fact that it is incomplete still doesn’t save it as i can’t see what further developments would make this even slightly attractive.

Tuk Chang, Bangkok, Thailand

Architects - Arun Chaiseri Group

‘Tuk Chang’ translates as ‘elephant building’. However, instead of a tusk it seems they decided to give it a beak. Either way, objects resembling animals should not exceed a certain size.
of course, none of this matters in the grand scheme of things. The main thing to remember is that the building is a man-made stain on our planet. The fact that the elephant is thailand’s national symbol makes no difference, I just know that i’d be thoroughly ashamed to live anywhere near it, let alone be responsible for its design.

Westin Hotel, New York, United States

Architects - Arquitectonica

This building makes me angry.Ok, so it’s situated in times square and if it had to be built then that’s probably the only home for it, but leave the gaudiness to the neon signs and electronic billboards. For $300 million i’d expect a building that turned heads for a positive reason. The shapes, angles, colour scheme… all badly designed. awful.

Green Citadel, Madgeburg, Germany

Architect - Friedensreich Hundertwasser 

Absolutely Disgusting.If i saw this at disney world i’d let it go. I’d be slightly repelled but yeah, I wouldn’t feel wronged. To see it in a town centre and learn that it’s an accommodation block really really concerns me. Witnessing crap like this truly makes me want to start a petition to enforce some kind of public jury system to greenlight proposed constructions because the current system is obviously not working.

The World's Most Thrilling Amusement Parks

Gone are the days of the simple wooden roller coaster and the secluded theme park. Amusement parks are constantly in competition, aiming to provide the best in entertainment, quality, and adventure. Their rides are climbing higher, dropping further, and flying faster than ever before. It’s tough to choose from amongst the hundreds of theme parks in existence, but we narrowed the staggering list down to our favorite nine.

Parc Asterix

Parc Asterix in Plailly, France is home to two of the most stomach-flipping roller coasters on the continent. The two main roller coasters are Tonnerre de Zeus and Goudurix. The first raises riders 30 meters before flipping riders through two loops, while the other flips riders over a stomach-churning seven times. The park is also full of artisans and craftsmen, providing plenty of entertainment for everyone.

 Cedar Point

Located in Sandusky Ohio, Cedar Point was built in the late 1800’s and is the second oldest amusement park in the world. As the oldest park, Cedar Point has had plenty of time to collect rides, making its 17 roller coasters the largest collection in the world. Get started with rides on the Maverick, Blue Streak, and Wildcat. Young riders will particularly enjoy the Woodstock Express. Visit the amusement park, the Soak City water park, or check out the rip roaring bungee adventures or golf outings in Challenge Park - there’s something for everyone!


Tivoliland is one of only four amusement parks in Denmark. While it’s not the largest or most crowded, it is known as the home of Scandinavia’s largest roller coaster, the Boomerang. After the Boomerang throws you around, be sure to head on over to Gravity Tower for a quick 55 meter drop!

 Universal Studios

In Orlando, Florida you’ll find the ever popular Universal Studios. The resort is home to some of the hottest themed roller coasters you’re going to find. Join the Simpson’s on a ride through Krustyland or help defend the country in a Men In Black style alien attack. A ride on the Dueling Dragons roller coaster will leave you feeling as if you’ve been suspended in a real battle 125 feet above the ground. In the actual Universal Studios park you’ll have the chance to experience special effects, like tornados, first hand!

Coney Island / Astroland Amusement Park

Combination board walk and amusement park, New York’s Coney Island opened in the early 1900’s. The Cyclone roller coaster tends to appeal to those seeking thrill rides, while the Freakshow Hall of Fame, Mermaid Parade, Coney Island Museum, Burlesque at the Beach, and dozens of side shows promise to entertain and educate the rest of us. The boardwalk was first known as an affordable place that anyone can visit, and it still is!

Busch Gardens

Williamsburg, Virginia is home to more than historical sights and Water Country USA. Busch Gardens. The grizzly Griffon carries riders to an astounding 205 feet before beginning the ride with a 70mph drop. The Big Bad Wolf drops 99 feet, but leaves riders wondering if they’re going to end up in the river! The park boasts dozens of shows and animal attractions as well. Not up for the rides? Take a leisurely stroll through Aquitaine, the quaint replica of a French village.


In the rolling hills just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lies Kennywood Amusement Park. There aren’t many parks where you’re going to find three old-fashioned wooden roller coasters. Those looking for an added thrill will enjoy The Exterminator which throws riders around twists and turns in a dark environment designed to make you feel as though you’re the rat attempting to get away from the exterminator - a clever and fun concept for a thrill ride!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Blackpool, England claims to be the roller coaster capital of the world and Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the city’s main attraction. The park boasts roller coasters for everyone, from the youngest child to the mature thrill-seeker. Valhalla is one of the newest and scariest coasters in the park, boasting three full minutes of terrifying twists and turns in complete and utter darkness. Not for the weak of heart or mind!

 Six Flags Magic Mountain

While Six Flags has amusement park locations throughout the country, the Six Flags Magic Mountain Park in California is home to some of the finest thrill rides in the United States if not the world. The Riddler’s Revenge is the tallest stand-up roller coaster in the world, while Tatsu is one of the longest and fastest. Arrive prepared for some of the wildest rides of your life!

Each of these parks is packed with thrill rides and adventures for children and adults of all ages. Find the park closest to your home and hit the road - these are coasters you won’t want to miss!

Amazing Motorcycle Rallies

 Laconia Motorcycle Week

Laconia Motorcycle Week is one of the oldest and largest motorcycle Festivals in the country, taking place each year at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Between 300,000 and 400,000 bikers attend the weeklong event for camping, vendors, racing, and so much more! The 2008 event will be held from June 14 - 22nd and marks the 85th anniversary of Laconia Motorcycle Week!

Laughlin River Run

Out west and along the banks of the Colorado River, the Laughlin River Run is the destination for Harley riders. The festival features concerts, a bike show, gaming, and several rides designed to support major charities such as the Easter Seals, Boys & Girls Clubs, and the Susan G. Komen Brest Cancer Foundation. Ladies are especially welcome in Laughlin, especially if they’re riding their own bikes!

The Rock Store

The Rock Store isn’t so much a festival as it is a year round destination for bikers. Located in Los Angeles, California, a trip to The Rock Store requires a trip through the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains. Almost every biker in the area knows about this amazing destination - including hotshots like Jay Leno. Drop by one weekend for a drink or a burger!

 Girl Power Run

The annual Girl Power Run takes place in San Francisco, California every year and is for girls only! Sponsored by the Devil Dolls, it’s a short, three-hour ride designed to give biker girls a chance to bond without being overshadowed by the concept of women on the back of a bike. While the Devil Dolls is one of the most well known female bike clubs, there are certainly others. As a matter of fact, all-women biker clubs have been around since the 1940’s. The girls let the guys join in on the fun later on for contests and food!

Route 66

Route 66 runs from Chicago, Illinois through to Santa Monica, California. Stops along the way include Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. The AMA runs regular motorcycle tours along Route 66, allowing you to ride and enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful and historic scenery without worrying about the route you’ll take or where you’ll be able to stop to eat and sleep. If you’re traveling from a distance and can’t bring your own, you can rent a cruiser in Chicago and then hit the road!

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is another one of the largest bike festivals conducted each year, with anywhere from 450-800,000 riders flocking to the hills of Sturgis, South Dakoka. The 10-day festival takes place every August - this year from the 4th through the 10th. The rally started out almost 70 years ago as a small race and has evolved into an amazing event, chock full of bikes, rides, camping, and entertainment you won’t want to miss!

 Daytona Bike Week

Bikers itching for the winter months to end flock to sunny Daytona, Florida every month for one of the earliest bike festivals of the year. Almost 500,000 bikers will visit Daytona over the course of the week for races at the Daytona International Speedway, bike and merchandise displays, crazy parties, food, fun, camping, and entertainment. Looking for a unique wedding experience? Dozens of couples get married on the beach during the Daytona Bike Festival every year!

Rolling Thunder

The Rolling Thunder festival is held on Memorial Day weekend every year as thousands of bike riders and military veterans travel from across the country to Washington, DC to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to pay tribute to our country’s finest military members and those who gave their lives. The ride actually forms in areas all across the country, but the original ride started in New Jersey.

Harley-Davidson USA

The Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee is an incredibly popular destination for bike enthusiasts, and for obvious reasons. Harley-Davidson festivals and rallies form all year round, all over the world and the company also sponsors it’s own Rolling Thunder Ride each year. Eat in the Harley-Davidson restaurant in New York, visit the factory in Milwaukee, or locate any of the Harley-Davidson stores throughout the country and stop in on your next ride. You’ll be greeted with a warm biker welcome!

It doesn’t matter where you ride, as long as you get there safely and have fun. Enjoy the summer on your bike - especially as you take advantage of the incredible gas mileage those of us without bikes are NOT getting these days!

Evel Knievel Days

The Evel Knievel Days festival is held in Butte, Montana - the home of the legendary Knievel himself. The festival is only 7 years old, and is designed to catch the attention of bikers on their way to the Sturgis Festival. This year’s event will be held from July 24th through the 26th. There will be races - there will be rides - and there will be dozens of crazy stunts crammed into this short event. Everything is Evel Knievel style. Don’t miss out!

World's Most Stunning City Skylines


From modern skyscrapers like the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower—the world’s tallest high-rise building for more than 23 years ending in 1997—to earlier icons such as the 1895 Reliance Tower and 463-foot-tall Chicago Tribune Tower, completed in 1925, Chicago boasts a skyline of monumental proportions. Says Andres Lepik, “As far as great American skylines go, for me it’s mostly New York and Chicago.”


More people recognize the glorious Sydney Opera House than have probably ever been to an opera. A protected park behind the iconic structure serves to frame the modern skyline behind it, and there’s the expansive blue of Sydney Harbor in the foreground. “Sydney has one of world’s most fascinating skylines,” according to Andres Lepik, author of Skyscrapers. Star architect Renzo Piano added the 44-story Aurora Place to Sydney’s downtown mix in 1996.


It was clear with the erection of the 1,053-foot-tall Burj al Arab Hotel in 1999 that the sheikdom of Dubai was bent on stealing the global skyline spotlight. Lest there be any doubt, consider that this year Dubai will be home to the tallest skyscraper in the world: the 1,900-foot Burj Dubai tower. It already soars above the rather dismally named Business Bay district. Though Andres Lepik, author of Skycrapers and architecture curator at MoMA, says he wouldn’t call Dubai’s skyline beautiful because “it’s grown too fast, without a general idea of what they’re trying to achieve,” Dubai makes it on this list by dint of sheer boldness. In the pipeline: Zaha Hadid’s “Dancing Towers,” the Da Vinci Rotating Tower and 0-14 Tower.


Seattle’s location between Puget Sound and Lake Washington lends an impressive backdrop to its central skyline, of which the Space Needle has been the most recognizable feature since its completion in 1962. Though it isn’t the city’s tallest structure—that distinction goes to the 76-story Columbia Center—it often appears so because of its position on a hill some four-fifths of a mile northwest of most of the skyscrapers downtown. With Mount Rainier in the distance, Seattle’s skyline comes with a romantic frontier feel.


It’s an absence of skyscrapers that defines the French capital’s skyline (with no usable surfaces, the Eiffel Tower doesn’t count). Thanks to its concentration of historic slate gray-roofed six and seven-story buildings, many of which date from the mid-19th century and before, Paris has a remarkably uniform skyline for a city of its size. Lending romance to the cityscape are the familiar historic monuments such as Notre-Dame, the domes of Sacre-Coeur and the Sorbonne and the grandiose roof of the Palais Garnier opera house.


London’s Parliament and Big Ben “were skyscrapers in their time,” say architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat. “And today London has some amazing modern buildings, such as The London Eye and the Norman Foster-designed ‘Gherkin’ building, which looks like a giant pickle. So you have these contemporary pieces punctuated against the fabric of an old city that make it recognizable and also very romantic.”


“Houston has the Transco Tower and also Pennzoil Place, two towers that kiss,” say New York architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, “and all three are Philip Johnson buildings.” They add, “the bizarre thing about Houston is that you can have a 50-story building next to a one-story building, for an entire city block, so you have these sort of large holes that exist between the towers.”


Pittsburgh has one of America’s great unsung skylines. The reason? According to architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, it’s because Pittsburgh is “right at the intersection of three fairly large rivers, and you approach it through a mountain, so you arrive completely deprived of a view, through a tunnel. And then you’re on a bridge looking at the city. It’s very beautifully proportioned the way it starts fairly low at the river and then climbs to the U.S. Steel building, which is the tallest there.”

Hong Kong

Whether you’re gazing at Hong Kong’s brash skyline from Victoria Peak or across the harbor from the Kowloon side, you’ll be taking in one of the most spectacular urban landscapes in the world. Says Andres Lepik, author of Skyscrapers, “Hong Kong decided in the ‘80s to redesign the image of the city. In the run-up to Hong Kong’s reversion to China, it was decided to give the city a strong image to command world attention and make it an attraction. It started with Norman Foster’s Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters, then I.M. Pei’s Bank of China building, which was a reaction to that one.”


The Canadian metropolis on the shore of Lake Ontario is recognizable around the world thanks to the presence of the CN Tower, which soars 1,815 feet above the city. (As a freestanding structure, the only thing taller in the world today is the Burj Dubai). It has neither office nor living space, but there is a restaurant with a killer view near the top. With more than 2,000 towers that exceed 300 feet, verticality is a distinguishing feature of the varied Toronto skyline. Canada’s largest aggregate of skyscrapers is located in downtown’s Financial District.

San Francisco

“San Francisco can be easily recognized by the the mountainous topography and the Transamerica Pyramid,” say Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat, partners in Stamberg Aferiat Architecture in New York. Its skycrapers are nowhere near as numerous or tall as Manhattan’s, but in light of the waterfront setting, famous bridges and interplay of old and new, the City by the Bay is easily one of the world’s most photogenic.


They call it “Mainhattan,” a reference to the River Main and the high-rises of Frankfurt’s city center. “You can hardly talk about skylines in Europe except maybe for Frankfurt, which started in the ‘80s and ‘90s to develop a skyline,” says Andres Lepik, author of Skycrapers and architecture curator at MoMA in New York. “It was a political act to allow high-rise buildings in the center, for the economic and business image of the city,” he adds. Landmark towers in the German financial powerhouse include the pyramid-capped Messeturm and the Norman Foster-designed Commerzbank building.

New York City

Take iconic skyscrapers from the 1920s and ‘30s such as the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building and American Radiator Building, add plenty of sleek new ones, and splay them all out on a long narrow island, and you’ve got the world’s most famous skyline. Says Paul Aferiat of Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, “the agglomeration of New York skyscrapers has as its centerpiece the Empire State Building, which is such an iconic romantic building, and through the accidents of economics and zoning, it stands alone.” Manhattan’s skyscrapers are clustered around lower Manhattan, Midtown and Midtown South.