A backstuga (literally “hill cottage”) is a cottage built into the southern slope of a hill, alternatively with a low floor and its walls stretched halfway down into the ground. This phenomenon is known from the early 1600s and was disliked by the government seeing it as a way to evade taxes. Such cottages were typically raised on land useless for farming. Backstugas may have been inhabited by craftsmen, or by those of the peasantry not active in the productive life of the community, such as old people who could no longer work, retired servants and the community destitute who had no relatives to care for them. Nowadays earthen cabins built partially buried in the ground can be rent on Airbnb.
In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but suggesting through its appearance some other purpose, or of such extravagant appearance that it transcends the range of garden ornaments usually associated with the class of buildings to which it belongs.
18th century English gardens and French landscape gardening often featured mock Roman temples, symbolizing classical virtues. Other 18th century garden follies represented Chinese temples, Egyptian pyramids, ruined abbeys, or Tatar tents, to represent different continents or historical eras.
Broadway Tower, Worcestershire, England
Filled with mystery and intrigue, the ancient pyramids have been admired by humans throughout the ages. In modern times the iconic structure of the pyramid has inspired many architectural projects all around the world. The modern day behemoths, mostly built from glass and steel, are employed as architectural statement pieces.
The Louvre Pyramid in Paris
Across Switzerland there are hundreds of military bunkers cleverly blended into Switzerland’s landscapes. The Swiss even hired artists and theater set designers to give the bunkers their make-overs to help them fit in with the local surroundings. The bunkers are hided behind well-disguised facades that have gone unnoticed for years.
Piers have been built for several purposes, and because these different purposes have distinct regional variances the term is principally associated with the image of a Victorian cast iron pleasure pier. However, the earliest piers predate the Victorian age and were of wooden construction. Providing a walkway out to sea, pleasure piers often include amusements and theaters as part of the attraction. Such a pier may be open air or partly open, partly closed.
Morning mist on Lake Mapourika, New Zealand.
photographer: Richard Palmer (image source)
A spite house is a building constructed or modified to irritate neighbors or any party with land stakes. Spite houses may create obstructions, such as blocking out light or blocking access to neighboring buildings or can be just symbols of defiance. Because long-term occupation is at best a secondary consideration, spite houses frequently sport strange and impractical structures.
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In 1806, Thomas McCobb, heir to his father’s land and shipbuilding business, returned home to Phippsburg, Maine, from sea to discover that his stepbrother Mark had inherited the family “Mansion in the Wilderness”. Upset about his loss, McCobb built a house directly across from the McCobb mansion to spite his stepbrother.
Rakotzbrücke (also called the Devil’s Bridge) is nestled in Azalea and Rhododendron Park, Kromlau, Germany. The bridge dates back to 1860s. Rakotzbrücke was specially built to create a circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath it – a popular photo opp. The bridge’s artificially-formed basalt columns were specially shipped from distant quarries.