Paper Dreams

Paper Dreams is my favorite section on this website. It graphically illustrates the very essence of what I do as an architectural designer, as well as what I enjoy the most as an artist – exploring my imagination and the simple act of drawing what it is that my mind conjures up.

Every project begins as a thought or a mental vision as a representation. For some individuals, it can be a frustrating process to convert even the most basic concepts to a document in a basic graphic format. For others, this process can be almost rudimentary. What gives the latter the edge to design and draft as if it were an extension of their very being remains a mystery, and I am fortunate to consider myself as one of the latter.

I've chosen to populate this subsection of this website with a series of drawings; some are presentation format, and others are merely informative, and less graphically developed. Illustrations of this nature are the best way to get to the nitty-gritty of the designer's intentions for the style of any given building project, that is, short of 3D drawings. Nothing defines a building's intended form and typology quicker, and more accurately than its exterior elevations.

These hand-drawn schematics were all eventually converted into an CAD format after the clients reached approval the designs, thereby advancing to the next phase of the project, often referred to as Design Development. Here you will find concepts and ideas for real projects, based on client-driven programs, budgets, site constraints, and jurisdictional requirements – all packaged up as presentations on Paper – these are - my Paper Dreams.

Grand Ridge Manor  |  A Neoclassic Country Home

The Grande Ridge Manor sits on a two-acre lot, much of which falls in a dense greenbelt. The siting requirements here were extremely difficult due to unreasonable structural and impervious coverage restrictions that made site planning a challenge.

The decision was made to give the 8,000/SF structure a touch of the Normandy style with a mixture of half-timber, stucco, a copper roof, later changed to concrete tile, The home was built on a tight budget so many creative details and ideas were never undertaken. The home still has charm and happy clients.

Villa Diana  |  Una Villa Neo-Palladiana

The architecture of this neo-Palladian residence in Enatai, Bellevue, is a direct reflection of the combined talent of diverse professionals who worked to create it. Its architectural style evolved through the enlightenment of the Renaissance but not the opulent Baroque period - rather the simplicity of contemporary interpretations of its classical origins. Neoclassic architecture continues its evolutionary metamorphosis as it adapts its classical forms and shapes for modern purposes. Still, it retains a distinct

appearance that is easily identified when compared to any other traditional styles.

Design elements of this home could be characterized as Mediterranean by its many features such as its covered porte-cochere that overlooks the south gardens, its heavily bracketed cornices, its rich patterns and architectural details integrated into this somewhat monolithic and understated structure. Attention was paid

to the design of its low pitched roof-lines with restrained yet dignified ornamentation using necessary building materials.

The one true gift that an architect has is his imagination. He takes something from mere thinking and dreaming and amalgamates the two with experience and education and bingo - a building is born. It’s truly an extraordinary process when you think about it.

Villa Valya  |  Un Château Français Néoclassique

This French Chateau inspired manor was planned and designed as a 18,000/SF speculative project. However, in 2001 through 2002 the Dot-Com bubble burst, with equities entering a bear market. The crash that followed saw the

Nasdaq index, which had risen five-fold between 1995 and 2000, tumble from a peak of 5,048.62 on March 10, 2000, to 1,139.90 on Oct 4, 2002, a 76.81% fall. Needless to say, the investor group felt that it would be prudent not to go forward. This project was never built. 

Palazzo Chiericati  |  Un Palazzo Italiano Neo-Palladiano

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Seattle in 1997 through 2000 was an exciting place if you were in architecture or construction. The tech boom proved a beneficial stream of high net worth clients who were out to 

build their respective dream homes. Those were the glorious "Dot-Com-Boom" years, right before its crash.

 

One particular Seattle-based company seized the tech moment more than most and became the largest internet retailer in the world. As a result of the companies, rapid growth, its founder sought a new individual to take the reigns as president and expand its reach into diverse products far

beyond what the company's initial intent had been. The client for Palazzo Chiericati, a young couple from Baltimore, became that new president of this progressive and rapidly expanding retail internet giant. Who would have guessed that destiny would set things in motion for our paths to cross.

Palazzo Chiericati was a commission the likes of which were rarely, if ever, seen in the Pacific Northwest, and only possible due to having a client who had always dreamed of living in a Palladian inspired villa, on a lake. This is, Palazzo Chiericati.

Laurel Hall  |  A Neoclassic English Manor

A natural 4 acre clearing nestled withing a 17 acre site of thickly forested land, and this is were the clients chose to build the home they had dreamed of. For many years they spent their holidays 

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Le Hameau de la Medina  |  Un Hameau Normand Néoclassique

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Hacienda Tweten  |  Una Hacienda Española Neoclásica del Desierto

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Washington Park Manor  |  A Châteauesque-style Estate

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

A Country Manor  |  A Neoclassic Country Estate

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

The Hacienda at Indian Wells  |  Neo-Spanish Eclectic

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Glendale Villa  |  Neo-Eclectic Country Home

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

A Cottage in Clyde Hill  |  A Country Home

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

The Leeward Cottage  |  A Modern Farmhouse

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

The Elms  |  Dutch Colonial Revival

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Rose Ranch  |  A Modern Farmhouse

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

The Highlands Villa  |  A Neoclassic Spanish Hacienda

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Chateau Tenney  |  Un Manoir Français Néoclassique

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Camelback Lodge |  A Neoclassic Mountain Villa

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Wallen Manor  |  A Neoclassic Country Home

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Galli Summer Lodge  |  A Neo-Palladian Mountain Retreat

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

check it out

Other stuff

Prior to committing myself to a life of designing fine homes, I designed commercial projects ranging from retail, hospitality, institutional, healthcare and even master planning of communities in far away places. My firm completed projects 

in over 27 US Cities and twelve foreign countries - primarily throughout Southeast Asia but also West Africa. Here you will find just a small sampling of that work. Enjoy. 

Lakki Golf and Country Club  |  A Planned Community  |  Lekki, Nigeria

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Magadan Central Park Hotel  |  Центральный Парк Отель | Магадан, Россия

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Mirambelo Palace Hotel  |  Pahia Amos, Crete  |  Ξενοδοχείο Mirambelo Palace | Pahia Amos, Κρήτη

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Seremban Community Hospital  |  Hospital Komuniti Seremban | Seremban, Malaysia

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Columbia Pacific Healthcare Hospital and Medical Center  |  Singapore

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Columbia Pacific Healthcare Hospital and Medical Center  |  Singapore

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Swedish Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program  |  Seattle

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

520 Bar and Grill  |  Bellevue

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

South Kitsap Healthcare Campus - Master Planning

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

Palazzo Chiericatiis, a fictional name assigned to a structure designed in 1999 for a unique client who had secured a double-wide City parcel in Madison Park, bordering Washington Park and overlooking Lake Washington with the Cascades to the east and Mount Rainier to the south.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

By D. Whittaker

This is what I do when I'm bored.

 

 

"A man motivated by ambition can inspire other men to move mountains, but a man driven by the love for a woman can inspire the same men to build Wonders."

                                                                       - Strabo

 

Introduction

 

.Alexander approached Babylon in battle-formation and well prepared for a long siege of the great city. Still, like so many of his previous conquests, the town would be capitulated to him by its governor without a fight.

 

To those dusty and battle warn soldiers trudging along the Euphrates, the city must have appeared like some shimmering mirage in the distance across the plain. Within twenty miles of the city ramparts, splendid views of vistas and high white terraces would have become visible. Within ten miles, the opulence of its luxuriant greenery and high crenelated walls and towers would have begun to form detail and uncompromising scale.

 

Babylon formed a rough square (each side being approximately fifteen miles in length) bisected by the mighty Euphrates and the Processional Way. Its outer fortifications were of mud-brick bound with bitumen, and so broad on top that two four-horse chariots could pass abreast on them.

 

The ancient city of Babylon itself could have very well have been listed by the Greeks as one of the Wonders of the World. Herodotus, a historian in 450 BC, wrote, “In addition to its size, Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.” 

 

Hardly less impressive was a colorful procession with many trumpets blowing and clashing of cymbals, which came pouring out of the Ishtar Gate and along the royal road to greet the mighty Alexander. At the head of the parade was the renegade satrap Mazaeus, who formally made over city, citadel, and treasure into the conqueror's hands. Behind him crowded Babylon’s chief citizens, with a motley collection of livestock as gift-offerings: not only horses and cattle but also caged lions and leopards. There followed a solemnly chanting group of Babylonian priests, and lastly, as escorts, several magnificently accoutered squadrons of the Great King Darius’ household cavalry. Alexander mounted a chariot, formed his men into hollow columns, still unaware of Mazaeus’ intention to surrender, and made a grand triumphal entry towards the city. The route was strewn with flowers and garlands. Silver alters, heaped high with rich spices, burnt sweetly in honor of the conqueror. As Alexander rode under the high gold and lapis splendors of the Ishtar Gate, with its heraldic bulls and dragons, crowds on the parapet above cheered and showered roses down upon him. Ironically enough, when Cyrus the Great had entered Babylon two centuries earlier (29 October 539BC), he too had been welcomed as a liberator by Marduk’s priests.

 

King Nebuchadnezzar was unquestionably one of the most renowned builders in the Near East, and he set out to make Babylon the most beautiful city in the region. Around his city, he built walls, which formed a square and measured 9 miles long. Beyond the wall was a deep moat, which kept the city safe from invasion. Herodotus states that the wall was 80 feet thick, 320 feet high, with 250 watchtowers, and 100 bronze gates. Nebuchadnezzar also built the Ishtar Gate. It was a double gate at the south end of the processional way, which was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar. It was covered with brilliant blue glazed bricks and bas-relief animal sculptures. When visitors came upon this gate, they were in awe that men could create such things. In addition to the Ishtar gate, Nebuchadnezzar built a majestic palace for himself. Travelers marveled at the walls decorated with colorful friezes of blue and yellow enameled bricks. The king paved the street sidewalks with small red stone slabs. Along the edge of each stone were carved, "I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who made this," demonstrating Nebuchadnezzar's absolute power and influence over Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar used these works as a means of self-promotion and self-glorification, not unlike other kings of that time. “Although Nebuchadnezzar suffered from insanity at some point during his 43-year reign, he transformed his city into an urban wonder”, states Herodotus. Nebuchadnezzar died a world conqueror and an architectural role model.

In 482, after a nationalist rebellion, Babylon had received terrible punishment. The fortifications built by Nebuchadnezzar were demolished; but worst of all, the seven-story ziggurat, 300 feet high, on which stood Esagila, Marduk’s temple, to the Babylonians this was the ‘House of the Foundations of Earth and Heaven’, all was ripped down never to be rebuilt. The God’s solid gold statue, eighteen feet high, and weighing nearly 8,000 pounds were carried off by Xerxes troops and melted down for bullion. Babylon’s walls had been rebuilt, but Esagila remained a lost memory. Alexander’s enthusiastic welcome was due in part to his promise that he would restore not only the ziggurat and its shrine of gold but also rebuild the famous Hanging Gardens, which had fallen into disrepair.

The Gardens

 

"I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who made this"


There are few actual accounts or historical references to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and this has resulted in some historians speculate that they never actually existed; that the real Wonder of the World, which lay in Babylon, was not the Gardens at all but rather the high walls and ramparts that surrounded the city itself. Nevertheless, at the time of Alexander’s arrival, the Gardens would have most likely entered into an advanced state of ruin. It is said that the Babylonians gave the Macedonians a month’s leave that they would never forget. Officers and men alike were billeted in luxurious private houses, where they never lacked for food, wine, or pleasures of the flesh. Countless enthusiastic amateurs, including the daughters and wives of many leading citizens, reinforced Babylon’s professional courtesans. Girls and women of all ages performed stripteases and then followed by drunken orgies. But during the days after a long drunken stupor, Alexander’s men and officers took part in the cities cultural charms and took endless tours of the marvels of the city, which included the Hanging Gardens. The Gardens

were, in brief, a terraced stone forest of trees and shrubs, built by an Assyrian king whose wife pined for the forest and uplands of her native Iran.

According to accounts, the Gardens were built to cheer up Nebuchadnezzar’s homesick wife, Amyitis. Amyitis, daughter of the king of the Medes, was married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between the two nations.  She was raised in a green and mountainous land and found Mesopotamia depressing, as it is a flat and sun-baked environment. Nebuchadnezzar, with the hope of making her happier, decided to build a “recreated homeland,” which was an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens, abundant with shade trees and waterfalls. The kings’ devotion to Amyitis and his desire to please her every whim resulted in the construction of the Hanging Gardens.


Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens, breaking natural law by creating a botanical wonder in a barren region where nature had failed. The gardens were made to look like a Median natural wilderness. Nebuchadnezzar had human-made hills covered with many different types of trees, which satisfied his wife's passion for mountainous surroundings. The gardens were set on several levels and sloped down like a hillside and were also terraced into various flowerbeds.

The beautiful landscape of the Hanging Gardens helped make it a unique structure and transformed the desert-like environment into the pastoral countryside. One can only wonder if Queen Amyitis was satisfied with this fantastic unprecedented gift, or if she continued to urn for the lush mountains of her homeland.

Even in its ruined state, the Garden’s must have been magnificent to the beholder. Countless rows of staggering Assyrian-style tiger-headed columns would have stood in varying degrees of decay. Ancient roots of long-dead trees rode along and twisted with the exposed structure and up-heaved once elegant terraces of polished stone. Magnificent pools and fountains once abundant and overflowing with the brilliant green waters of the Euphrates now lay as dry as the desert wind. Grand ascending staircases pillaged over the centuries for their building material now only a shadow of their former grandeur. Only hearty weeds and desert flowers bloomed soon where once stood sixty-foot deciduous trees well-rooted into fertile soil and palms of every kind known to man.

 

If one stood still and quiet, you may hear the ghosts of long-gone supple leaves rustling in the wind; standing stiller yet, you may overhear the ghosts of citizens chatting and laughing while strolling and enjoying the noble park; perhaps even stiller yet one may hear the distant sounds of a royal procession consisting of the queen herself carried within the splendid basket by a contingent of bodyguards, followed then by irregular columns of magi priests, followed by brilliantly accoutered squadrons of household cavalry set, not upon steeds but instead magnificently painted Indian war elephants as they grumbled low tones and scraped their feet in long slow strides. These were the Gardens of Babylon, second Wonder of the World.

 

An account of Babylon and its Palace Gardens:

 

Babylon was the capital city of the land of Babylonia; it was situated on the river Euphrates, some 400 miles northwest of the Persian Gulf, and over 600 miles east of the Mediterranean in what is now Iraq. The city first came to prominence in the ancient world under its renowned king Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC), who produced the Code of Laws forever associated with his name, which now can be viewed in the Louvre Museum, Paris. The fortunes of the city fluctuated during the many centuries that followed his reign but reached their pinnacle under the rulers of the Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean dynasties. This period saw a series of impressive and memorable rulers whose names have survived the very disappearance of their civilizations and great cities. The founder of the dynasty was a king named Nabopolassar (625-605 BC). Under his rule, an alliance was formed with the Medes and the Scythians, which led to the final downfall of Assyria. Nabopolassar’s son was Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC), who was considered to be one of Mesopotamia’s most illustrious and effective kings and was the very king immortalized in the book of Daniel.

 

Herodotus, a great historian, claimed the outer walls of the city were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick, and 320 feet high. Wide enough, or so he said, to allow a four-horse chariot to make a full turn. The inner (city) walls were not so thick as the first, but hardly less inspiring. Inside the protective walls were fortresses and temples’ containing immense statues of solid gold and sacrificial alters. Rising above the city was the famous Tower of Babel, a temple to the God Marduk, the Babylonian's most sacred deity, that seemed to reach the heavens.” This was the very temple in which the bible claims was the instigator of mankind’s peril into multiple languages as the temple priests sought to reach heaven by shooting a golden arrow into the clouds, and God’s anger resulted.

 

Some archaeological evidence disputes some of Herodotus’s claims as greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, there is little dispute that the city was supreme in both size and population for those of the time and this part of the known world. Interestingly, Herodotus never mentions the Hanging Gardens in his writings; this has led to speculation that they never existed but was, in actuality, a fabrication of later promoters of the city, which in fact never visited it.

Accounts indicate that the Gardens were built during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled the city from 605 BC to 562 BC. There exists some less reliable evidence that the Gardens were created by the Assyrian Queen Semiramis during her five-year reign, which started in 810 BC. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, the city reached its height in power and commerce. This very period also saw an astonishing array of ambitious construction projects that included temples, streets, palaces, walls, as well as the infamous Hanging Gardens, or “Palace Gardens” as they were known at the time.

Construction of the Garden structure was complicated, not only because it had to incorporate irrigation ingenuity never seen before, but also because it could not be constructed of the Babylonian’s favorite building material, unfired brick. Bricks were composed of clay mixed with chopped straw and baked in the sun. The blocks were then joined with bitumen, a slimy substance, which acted as mortar. These bricks quickly dissolve when soaked with water. For most buildings in

Babylon, this wasn’t a problem because the rain was so rare; however, the Gardens would be continually drenched in irrigation, so its builders chose to erect the structure in stone extracted from quarries located great distances away. The decision to do this posed both a logistical and economic concern for the project. But the far-reaching wealth of Nebuchadnezzar and his virtually unlimited access to workforce proved to be unprecedented.

 

Massive slabs of stone, never seen or unearthed in Babel before, were covered with layers of reed, asphalt, and tiles. Over this was put a covering of multiple sheets of lead, so the moisture, which drenched through the earth, would not decompose the foundations or vital structural components. On all levels of the structure were laid fertile soil of depths sufficient for the growth of the most magnificent trees in both height and breadth. When the earth was laid even and smooth, it was planted with every type of plant, flower, and tree that could be brought to the site. Many rare plantings traveled great distances to adorn the structure and bring visual and aromatic pleasure to the Gardens spectators.

Although revered as the second of the Seven Wonders of the World, much conjecture surrounds the possibility that the gardens may never have existed. Out of the Seven, only the Great Pyramid exists today. Five of the ancient sites have now been excavated: The Pyramids in Egypt, Babylon in Iraq, Olympia in Greece, and Halicarnassus and Ephesus in Turkey. Ancient Babylonian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics have now been deciphered and have revealed marvelous glimpses of what life was like for our ancestors.

 

Archaeological evidence has now been uncovered that proves the other five had their place in history, but not the Gardens. If they didn’t exist, why then were they categorized within such an exclusive fraternity of man's physical accomplishments?

             

The approach to the Garden sloped like a hillside, and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier... On all this, the earth had been piled... and was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their enormous size and other charms, gave pleasure to the beholder... The water machines [raised] the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it. The structure was 400 feet wide by 400 feet long and more than 80 feet high. 

 

The gardens had exotic flourishing plants. These plants were cultivated above ground level. Nebuchadnezzar imported the plants from foreign lands. The plants may have included “cedar, cypress, myrtle, juniper, almond, date palm, ebony, olive, oak, terebinth, nuts, ash, firs, nightshade, willow, pomegranate, plum, pear, quince, fig, and grapevine.” The plants were suspended over the heads of observers on terraces; they draped over the terraced walls. Arches were underneath these terraces. The brilliantly colored trees and flowers that dangled from the walls created a lush and magical environment.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were an impressive example of architecture. The gardens formed a quadrilateral shape. Some stairways led to the uppermost terraced roofs. The plants hung over terraces that were supported by stone columns. There were arched vaults, which were located on cubed fountains. The fountains created humidity that helped keep the area fresh. The shade from the trees also helped keep the gardens clean. The Garden ascended in firmly planted levels to form a man-made replica of mountain greenery. The gardens were supported by an intricate structure of stone pillars, brick walls, and palm tree trunk beams. These trunks were made watertight. “Palm beams were laid over with mats of reed and bitumen as well as two layers of baked mud brick.” All of this was covered in a layer of lead. There were fourteen vaulted rooms and underground crypts. The entire structure measured 400 feet by 400 feet. The gardens were as tall as the city walls, which Herodotus reported to be 320 feet high. Conflicting sources say that the walls were 80 feet high, a less remarkable, but still majestic height. The architecture of the Hanging Gardens demonstrates the majesty of Babylonian structural design under Nebuchadnezzar's rule.

 

The gardens were as much of a technological feat as they were an architectural triumph. The technique of hydro-engineering demonstrated their knowledge of irrigation. Since Babylon rarely received rain, the gardens had to be irrigated. Streams of water emerged from elevated sources and flowed down the inclined channels. This kept the whole area moist, and thus the grass was always green. Historians have questioned whether the Hanging Gardens used hydroponics as a way of growing plants. Hydroponics means that nutrients are added to the water swirling around the plant's roots. No soil is used in a hydroponic system. Excavations have found an elaborate tunnel and pulley system that brought groundwater to the top terrace. The water was dispersed utilizing a chain pump. A chain pump consists of two large wheels, like a ski lift, with one wheel at the top and one at the bottom. Buckets hanging from the chain were continuously dipped into the reservoir at the base of the gardens. By turning handles, slaves provided the power to turn the wheels. The source of the gardens' water was from the Euphrates River. The water from the pool at the top of the gardens could be released from gates into channels. The channels acted as artificial streams, designed to water the Garden. This chain pump showed the technological ingenuity of Babylonia and helped sustain the Hanging Gardens.

 

Ultimately, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon lasted through the time of Alexander the Great. This magnificent masterpiece, with its keen architectural style, cleverness in hydro-engineering, lush, flourishing plants, and well-constructed landscape, belongs on the list of the Wonders of the World. Nebuchadnezzar was celebrated in many ways surpassing all other rulers of his dynasty. The elegance of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon demonstrates his leadership, a robust aesthetic sense, and significant architectural and engineering foresight. Even if Amyitis never resolved her homesickness, Nebuchadnezzar and the people of the ancient world who experienced the gardens all benefited by her depressed nature..

 

Behold, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Second Wonder of the World.

The Design Guy

My goal, as a designer, has always been to make my creative contributions so they will, in some way, enable my clients to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement through the finished product they live within.

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