A Spanish company called Piscinas de Arena specializes in “sand pools” that offer an environment similar to that of a piece of natural beach.The patented sand finish for the sand pools is completely attached to the concrete surface of the pools’ structure with binding agents. There’s no need for stairs or ladders as the entrance of the sand pools begins with level zero. The pools come in various shapes and forms and can have multiple levels of depth. Quite like having the beach at home.
Continue reading “Sand pools” bring the beach to your backyard
The Matisi Grottoes are Buddhist cave temples in the administrative region of the Mati Tibetan community in the Chinese province of Gansu. It is a large group of different cave complexes that are scattered over 30 square kilometers in the northern foothills of the Qilian Mountains. The best accessible site is approximately 65 kilometers south of Zhangye city center. The first caves were dug about 1,600 years ago. It is named after the Mati Monastery (Mǎtísì), which literally means “Horse Hoof Monastery”. According to Chinese legend, the god Erlang stopped here so that his horse could rest. Tibetan tradition, however, attributes the horse’s hoof , which is seen as an imprint in a rock, to the riding horse of the famous hero king Gesar. The section of the cliff carved out as a pagoda is the most imposing part of Mati Si. It’s nearly 200 feet in height. It’s divided into seven floors and houses seven grottoes, an intricate set of tunnels, and 200 Buddha statues.
Von Immanuel Giel – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Continue reading Matisi grottoes – A mountain carved into a temple
On the Italian island of Capri, the most beautiful view is found on one of the world’s most beautiful footpaths. Via Krupp is a historic switchback paved footpath, connecting the Charterhouse of San Giacomo and the Gardens of Augustus area with Marina Piccola. The zigzagging Via Krupp, was carved into the island’s south coast between 1900 and 1902. Conceptualized by German industrialist Friedrich Krupp, the footpath was a connection for Krupp between his luxury hotel, Grand Hotel Quisisana, and Marina Piccola where his marine biology research vessel lay at anchor. Secretly however, this path also conveyed him to the Grotta di Fra Felice, a grotto where sex orgies with local youths took place. When the scandal surfaced, Krupp was asked to leave Italy in 1902. The path is surrounded by bushes of juniper and rosemary and covers an elevation difference of about 100 m.
info source: wikipedia
By Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Continue reading Via Krupp: a snake-like pathway on the island of Capri
A moon bridge is a highly-rounded arched pedestrian bridge associated with gardens especially in China and Japan, where the design originated. In many areas, moon bridges are purely decorative, but at one time this type of bridge was originally designed to allow pedestrians to cross canals while allowing the passage of barges beneath. When constructed using the climbing ascent and descent, it has the further advantage of not using space from the adjoining fields for approaches to the bridge. The visual effect of this bridge makes it a popular design for gardens, particularly those with water or small paths.
info source: wikipedia
Moon bridge in The Japanese garden at Huntington Gardens in San Marino, California.- By https://www.flickr.com/photos/randysonofrobert/ – https://www.flickr.com/photos/randysonofrobert/464791157/, CC BY 2.0, Link
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The hotel’s Romanian name is Castelul de Lut Valea Zanelor, which translates to “Clay Castle of the Valley of the Fairies” in English. An eco-friendly “fairytale castle” in the mountains of Transylvania, made of “100% organic” clay, straw and sand, with all wooden pillars. The exterior plastering is of lime and sand and the towers are of river stone. Located near Porumbacu de Sus, Romania, the hotel has ten rooms with unique design and shapes, each with its own entrance.
Casa do Penedo is an architectural monument located between Celorico de Basto and Fafe, in northern Portugal. It received its name because it was built from four large boulders that serve as the foundation, walls and ceiling of the house. Its construction began in 1972 and lasted about two years. The residence was initially used by the owners as a holiday destination. Today, Casa de Penedo is a small museum of relics and photographs from Penedo’s history. Due to its unusual design and integration into the surrounding nature, the building has become a growing tourist attraction/
info source: wikipedia
By Pablo García Chao – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Continue reading Casa do Penedo – the Stone House
Crannog on Loch Tearnait – By Peter Bond, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
A crannog is typically a partially or entirely artificial island, usually built in lakes, rivers, and estuarine waters of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Crannogs were used as dwellings over five millennia, from the European Neolithic Period to as late as the 17th/early 18th century. Crannogs took on many different forms and methods of construction based on what was available in the immediate landscape. The classic image of a prehistoric crannog comes from both post-medieval illustrations and highly influential excavations . The choice of a small islet as a home may seem odd today, yet waterways were the main channels for both communication and travel until the 19th century in much of Ireland and especially Highland Scotland. Crannogs are traditionally considered as simple prehistorical farmsteads. They are also interpreted as boltholes in times of danger, as status symbols with limited access and as inherited locations of power that imply a sense of legitimacy and ancestry towards ownership of the surrounding landscape. Today, crannogs typically appear as small, circular islets, often 10 to 30 metres (30 to 100 ft) in diameter, covered in dense vegetation due to their inaccessibility to grazing livestock.
Continue reading Crannogs: Neolithic Artificial Islands
By noname – http://wikimapia.org/2056393/it/Porto-Flavia#/photo/716205, CC BY 3.0, Link
Porto Flavia is a sea harbor located near Nebida in the Iglesias comune of Italy. Built in 1923–24, it served as the mineral production hub of Masua in the west coast of the Sardinian Iglesiente area. It is named after Flavia Vecelli, the daughter of Cesare Vecelli, who engineered and designed the harbor. The harbor’s characteristics make it unique in the world, and at the time of its construction it was an outstanding engineering feat.
The mines’ owner asked the Italian engineer Cesare Vecelli to devise a solution to improve steamship loading time and cost. Vecelli surveyed the coasts of Masua, ultimately finding the perfect spot in the high cliffs in front of the Pan di Zucchero stack. Here, the sea was deep enough and well-protected from wind and waves to allow a safe mooring, while the ore could be loaded from the cliffs by gravity.
After one year of study, Vecelli devised a detailed plan to build two superimposed tunnels, each 600 metres (2,000 ft) long, that were linked by nine huge vertical reservoirs for the processed ore. In the upper tunnel an electric train was used to bring the load the reservoirs: the ore was unloaded by gravity into hatches on top of the reservoirs. In the lower tunnel a conveyor belt received the ore from the reservoirs and brought it to an extensible 16-metre (52 ft) long conveyor belt capable of fully loading a steamship moored at the base of the cliff in about two days. The ends of the tunnels facing the sea were adorned with concrete towers and decorative nameplates. They were not necessary to the operation, but were asked to be constructed by the owner of the company as a mark of prestige. Vecelli’s daughter, Flavia, was born earlier in 1924 and the engineer obtained from the company to name the harbor after her.
Porto Flavia’s importance decreased in the 1960s after the decline of mining activity in Sulcis-Iglesiente, and it was closed in the 1990s when mineral production in Masua ceased. Today, it is owned by IGEA SpA, a public company charged with the restoration and preservation of the old mining plants.
info source: wikipedia
By Neil Rickards – Flickr: 004648, CC BY 2.0, Link
The Hotel du Lac in Tunis was designed in the Brutalist style by the Italian architect Raffaele Contigiani and built from 1970 to 1973. It was constructed on 190 reinforced concrete piles up to 60 m (200 ft) deep, and built from exposed concrete around a steel structure, creating a single long block with ten floors, with large windows. Projecting cantilevered stairs at each end create an inverted pyramid shape. The striking design, departing from traditional Arab and European architecture, made the hotel a symbol of modernism in Tunis. Its distinctive shape has prompted comparisons with the sandcrawler vehicle of the Star Wars films. The hotel closed in 2000. It was bought by the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company (LAFICO) in 2013, which proposed demolishing the building and spending up to $100m to replace it with a new five-star hotel tower. Concerns about imminent demolition were raised again in 2019.
Continue reading The upside down hotel said to have inspired the sandcrawler vehicle of the Star Wars
Gemeinde Randa [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge is the longest hanging bridge for pedestrian use in the world. It is located in Randa, Switzerland ,and replaced a previous bridge that had been damaged by rock falls. The bridge spans 494 meters (1621 feet), and upon its inauguration in July 2017 became the longest suspension bridge built for pedestrian travel. It employs 8 tonnes of cables, and has a system that prevents it from swinging. It’s highest point is 85m and it’s only 65cm wide. It takes almost 10 minutes to cross it and in the middle, swaying walkers are at the highest point: 85 m.