Video Salutes Prague’s Beloved Paternosters

Named from the Latin words for Our Father because of their resemblance to rosary beads as their cabins run in a continuous loop along parallel shafts, Paternosters originated in 19th-century England and became common across Europe. As technology advanced and safety and accessibility concerns arose, production stopped in the 1970s. Most remaining examples are in Europe, with Germany, by far, having the most at approximately 230 and the Czech Republic following with nearly 80, according to Wikipedia. Prague, the Czech capital, is the “undisputed last bastion of the Paternoster” with 28 working conveyances, RadioFreeEurope journalist Neil Bowdler explains in a video in which he takes — with some trepidation — his first-ever Paternoster ride in a system installed at public radio Cesky Rozhla’s headquarters in 1929. Bowler interviews Cesky Rozhla employee and Pasternoster enthusiast David Kabele, who points out that for Czechs, the conveyances symbolize continuity and survival, as many — such as the one featured here — survived both World War II bombings in the 1940s and the Soviet Invasion in 1968. Communism resulted in little money for modernization projects to replace Pasternosters with elevators, and Kabele (who runs a website devoted to them) couldn’t be happier. Check out the video below!

Elevator-Pitch Competition

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) announced the winners of the Elevate Your Pitch competition.

The elevator-pitch competition, judged by members of Schindler Elevator Corporation, was based on the premise of giving a quick description of a business and/or idea in the time it would take to ride up an elevator (about 60 s), AIAS said in a press release.

The competition, which ran from February-June 2019, gave students the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win one of three cash prizes. The panel of judges chose the top three entries to compete in the finals at the AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference on July 18-21, 2019.

The winners of the competition were:

First Place | $2,500

The Supply Machine, submitted by Joey Sandoval and Ethan Herrold of the University of Colorado Boulder, is a conveniently located pop-up style vending machine for essential, must-have design materials.

Second Place | $1,000

The Patch Wand, submitted by Joshua Greene of California Baptist University, is a handheld scanner designed to repair objects and reduce waste by enabling clients to 3D print “patches.”

Third Place | $500

Sum of its Parts, submitted by Randa Malkawi and Luke Rumage of the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Tech, is a series of unique outdoor furniture that invites everyone to interact with it and create their own space.

For more information on the competition, visit

Germs? What Germs?

The Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand, wants to find the subject of this nearly 50-year-old photograph taken by Max Oettli; image via

An exhibition of historical photographs in New Zealand has launched something of a sleuthing effort to identify the subject of one of the show’s many compelling images: a young girl, apparently seeing an escalator for the first time, captured on film licking the moving stairs’ handrail. The 1970 photo was taken by noted photographer Max Oettli, a Swiss-born longtime resident of New Zealand whose iconic images are part of a show called “The New Photography — Life in the ’60s and ’70s” on display through October 13 at Wellington’s Te Papa Museum. Athol McCredie, a curator at the museum, told the NZ Herald that Oettli captured the image inside a department store that had new escalators. “To a child who had never seen an escalator before, this belt (handrail) might have looked like a giant licorice strap,” McCreadie said.

Then again, who knows what goes through the mind of child? If she comes forward, maybe we’ll find out.