Historic Buildings and The Fascinating Stories Behind Them

It seems like new buildings are popping up left and right, especially if you live in the city. According to a recent survey by the United States Energy Information Administration, there were over 5.6 million commercial buildings in the country in 2012. This figure is a 14% jump in the number of commercial structures in the country from 2003. And that’s not even counting the residential buildings! 

While these new buildings provide the much-needed office space for America’s growing workforce, a lot of them are making their cities look like monotonous concrete jungles. It makes you want to look back and think of the buildings of previous years, which featured bold and inspiring architecture. Apart from their designs, these iconic buildings also got their status from the stories behind their construction and preservation. 

The Eiffel Tower

This monument is a dream destination for tourists around the world, especially couples going on a romantic trip across France. Its official website says that the structure brings in over 7 million visitors a year. About 75% of them are foreigners. As such, it’s the most popular paid monument in the world. With the attention it gets and the money it continues to rake in, it’s hard to imagine that the Eiffel Tower was actually planned to be taken down in the early 1900s. 

The tower was initially built to be an extravagant entrance for the 1889 International Exposition (World’s Fair) and to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. It was planned to be a temporary structure that would be taken down 20 years later. However, it proved to be a great asset to the French government after the World’s Fair, and not solely because of the tourism. 

They found out that the 1063-foot structure is great for broadcasting. It was used as a military radio base in 1903, and it transmitted the country’s pioneer public radio program in 1925. Flash forward to today, and it’s still a prominent radio tower which also broadcasts digital television programs across the country. The Eiffel Tower is, indeed, the perfect balance of style and substance.

The Sagrada Família

This basilica has been in construction limbo for more than 135 years. Its cornerstone was first laid on March 19, 1882, and work still hasn’t been completed. Since 1883, construction continues to follow the plans of renowned Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. He saw some of the components come to life, like the portal of the Rosary entrance and the first bell tower before his untimely death in June 1926. 

The project saw more unfortunate incidences since then. In the late 1930s, the building’s schools and crypt were set ablaze. The original plans were also destroyed. As such, the architects and engineers involved in the construction did their best to recreate Gaudí’s vision. 

Multiple decades, fundraisers, and sculptors later, the foundations and artisans working on the building are finally seeing the light. Its official website said that work is about 70% done as of March 2017 and is set to finish in 2026. Just imagine all the concrete and steel plates bought just for this project!

The Eiffel Tower and the Sagrada Família are stellar architectural and engineering feats that were done with great passion, something that a lot of today’s buildings don’t seem to have. While it can be argued that commercial and residential structures aren’t meant to be tourist attractions, it doesn’t hurt to give your buildings a fresh look for the history books. 



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