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.
By Marcin Białek – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Hawa Mahal (in English : “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”) is a palace in Jaipur, India. The red and pink sandstone from which it is built gives Jaipur its nickname, “The Pink City.”
The structure was built in 1799. Its unique five-story exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate latticework. The original intent of the lattice design was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen, since they had to obey the strict rules of “purdah”, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings. This architectural feature also allowed cool air from the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) to pass through, thus making the whole area more pleasant during the high temperatures in summer. Many people see the Hawa Mahal from the street view and think it is the front of the palace, but in reality it is the back of that structure.
Continue reading Hawa Mahal – The Palace of the Winds
Architecture made out of living trees requires not only using nature as it is but also shaping it to the required form. The first examples of using trees to create living structures are bridges across Asia.
Tree Cathedral Bergamo, Italy
The Cattedrale Vegetale uses trees and branches to create a cathedral-like structure. The frame was completed in 2010 as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity, but beech trees take decades to fully mature.
Pava [CC BY-SA 3.0 it], from Wikimedia Commons
Continue reading Organic Architecture Grown From Living Trees
The Golden Bridge located in Vietnam, among the Ba Na Hills 1,400 meters above sea level, appears to be held up by a pair of giant stone hands. The bridge is 150 meters long. Visitors can admire the infinite scenery and majestic mountainscape.
Wat Samphran is a Buddhist temple (wat) in Amphoe Sam Phran, around 40 kilometers to the west of Bangkok. The temple is notable for its 17-story tall pink cylindrical building with a gigantic dragon sculpture curling around the entire height. The interior of the dragon sculpture contains a staircase, a huge buddha statue as well as many additional Buddhist statues. Known for the hollow dragon’s head that encircles the temple, visitors are welcome to ascend the 17-story superstructure to touch the dragon’s beard, or climb inside the belly of the beast.
By Natalia Naomi Aoi B. – https://www.flickr.com/photos/aoibara/5388278813, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Castelinho da Rua Apa is a residential building from the early 20th century, built by the family “Dos Reis” in 1912, having as a mold the French castles. In addition to its historical and cultural value, the Castelinho is known to have harbored a family tragedy in 1937, in which all the residents – mother and two children – were found shot dead and to this day it is unknown who was responsible – which makes Castelinho a mysterious haunted place. After the family tragedy the property was left without heirs passing to the patrimony of the Federal Government.
In 1996, the non-governmental organization Club de Mães do Brasil was granted the rights to use Castelinho da Rua Apa. Maria Eulina dos Reis Hilsenbeck is the founder and president of the Club and has been using the space ever since. Little Castle’s restoration was completed in April 2017, and now operates as a social assistance business, providing help to the homeless and chemical dependents in Sao Paulo.
Continue reading Brazil’s Little Castle of Horror
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.
A backstuga in Småland – By Photographer: A. Steijer – http://libris.kb.se/bib/1323571, Public Domain, Link
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
By Saffron Blaze – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Continue reading Folly architecture
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
By Martin Falbisoner (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Continue reading Modern Day Pyramids