Interesting Ring House in Japan

Japanese architecture is always pushing the limits for what is considered unique. It is quite often fascinating rather than architecturally brilliant and I think thats what appeals to the people who enjoy it – it’s different. This particular house is somewhat dated now, built in 2006, but it is still a stunning example of thought provoking and original Japanese architecture.

 

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As an upscale weekend enclave, Karuizawa may be Tokyo’s equivalent of New York City’s Hamptons (minus the beach), but the developer had nonetheless failed repeatedly to sell the raw land on which Ring House now stands. In an attempt to turn his luck he marketed the land together with a house, commissioned by the youthful Tokyo based firm TNA. The developer, a youngster himself, had seen TNA’s work published in a magazine and was keen to give the newly minted design team a chance to build.

 

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The team created a mini-tower at the maximum height, skinned in alternating bands of wood and glass — an irregularly striped sheath that evenly balances transparency and opacity. As sunlight floods into the interior by day (or electric illumination glows from within the volume by night), the wrapper allows views straight through the house.

 

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Mäusebunker: Berlin’s Mouse Bunker

This is one very very strange looking building.

Sitting squarely in the middle of Berlin is a monstrous-looking building with façade of solid grey concrete, punctured by long ventilation turrets that sticks out in all direction like some sort of a beached battleship. This is Mäusebunker, or “Mouse Bunker”, a Brutalist former animal research laboratory that at some point held over 45,000 mice and 20,000 rats along with a variety of other rodents.

Officially the Central Animal Laboratory of the Free University of Berlin, the Mäusebunker was completed in 1981 as part of the Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology. It’s connected to the latter via an underground tunnel. The sinister-looking building was designed by the husband-and-wife duo of Gerd and Magdalena Hänska. Construction of the bunker began in 1971, and would have been completed at least three years earlier if cost had not gone spiraling out of control.

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The Mäusebunker was built to look like a fortress, although it is more often compared to a warship because of its inclined walls and blue-painted ventilation shafts that protrude from the sides like cannon barrels. The roof is crowned by several large chimneys, and on the side facing the Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology, there are rows of recessed windows that give the impression of a command bridge. The German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt once called Mäusebunker “the most sinister building of German post-war modernism.”

The use of the building is just as uncanny as the threatening appearance of the building: The mouse bunker was built by the Free University to carry out scientific experiments with live animals and to breed the animals required for this on site. For safety reasons, the animal testing laboratories are located deep in the building and are ventilated with cannon-like air intake pipes.

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The building was closed in 2010, and since then has been lying vacant. It was long derided as an eyesore and was slated for demolition, along with the Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology building that stands nearby. But a few years ago a couple of residents, architects and other activists launched a campaign against its destruction and successfully stalled the demolition. The building will now be reviewed to explore reuse options.

 

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Central Park Tower Nearing Completion

Central Park Tower, also known as the Nordstrom Tower, is a residential supertall skyscraper along Billionaires’ Row on 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the building rises 1,550 feet (472 m) and is the second-tallest skyscraper in the United States and the Western Hemisphere, the 13th tallest building in the world, the tallest residential building in the world, and the tallest building outside Asia by roof height.

The building will have 100 stories above ground and 3 below ground. Very expensive place to live. Some penthouse condos go for 68 million dollars.

 

Central Park Tower tallest building on the right.

 

 

 

The Vertical Forest of Milan

 

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Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a pair of residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan, Italy, between Via Gaetano de Castillia and Via Federico Confalonieri near Milano Porta Garibaldi railway station. They have a height of 110 metres (360 ft) and 76 metres (249 ft) and will host more than 900 trees (approximately 550 and 350 trees in the first and second towers respectively) on 8,900 square metres (96,000 sq ft) of terraces. Within the complex is also an 11-story office building; its facade does not host plants.

The towers were designed by Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra). It also involved input from horticulturalists and botanists.

The building was inaugurated in October 2014.

 

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The project was designed as part of the rehabilitation of the historic district of Milan between Via De Castillia and Confalonieri. It consists of two residential towers of which the largest is 26 floors and 110 meters high (called Torre E) and the smaller tower is 18 floors and 76 meters high (called Torre D). It contains 400 condominium units priced from 3,000 – 12,000 Euro per square metre.

It is called Bosco Verticale because each tower houses trees between three and six meters which help mitigate smog and produce oxygen. It is also used to moderate temperatures in the building in the winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise. The design was tested in a wind tunnel to ensure the trees would not topple from gusts of wind. Botanists and horticulturalists were consulted by the engineering team to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants. The steel-reinforced concrete balconies are designed to be 28 cm thick, with 1.30 metre parapets.

 

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The construction of the towers began in late 2009 and early 2010, involving 6,000 onsite construction workers. Between mid-2010 and early 2011 construction progressed very slowly and the towers rose by only five floors while the core rose to the seventh floor. Construction progressed throughout 2011, and by the beginning of 2012 the structures were completed, and construction of the facades and installation of the plants began on 13 June 2012. The building was inaugurated in October 2014.

On April 11, 2012, one of the buildings was used as a temporary art gallery and opened to the public for an art exhibition hosted during Milan Fashion Week.

The two buildings have 730 trees (480 large, 250 small), 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 perennials and ground cover on its facades. The original design had specified 1,280 tall plants and 920 short plants encompassing 50 species. Overall, the vegetation is the equivalent of that found in a one hectare woodlot. The innovative use of heat-pump technology is helping to slash heating and cooling costs.

 

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On November 19, 2014, Bosco Verticale won the International Highrise Award, prestigious international competition bestowed every two years, honouring excellence in recently constructed buildings that stand a minimum of 100 meters (328 feet) tall. The five finalists were selected from 26 nominees in 17 countries.

On the 12th of November 2015, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards Jury selected Bosco Verticale, Milan, as the overall “2015 Best Tall Building Worldwide” at the 14th Annual CTBUH International Best Tall Building Awards Symposium, Ceremony & Dinner, celebrated at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.

 

Gardeners rappel down ropes

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Luxury Doomsday bunker condos for millionaires

During these strange days and “uncertain times” the popularity of the doomsday bunker is booming.

The ‘Doomsday shelter’ being built below Kansas prairie where millionaires will be able to sit out the Apocalypse in style

  • Four buyers have already invested in condos below the ground
  • Fears range from pandemics, terrorism and solar flares
  • Indoor farm to provide fish and veg for 70 people for as long as necessary

When you buy a house, you end up feeling like you will be paying it off until the world ends.

Well, how about one of these luxurious condos, which come with all the mod-cons, as well as a pool, a movie theater and a library – oh, and a guarantee that it will survive Doomsday if and when that fateful day comes.

For these luxury flats, deep below the Kansas prairie in the shaft of an abandoned missile silo, are meant to withstand everything from economic collapse and solar flares to terrorist attacks and pandemics.

 

 

Naturally, there will be no one around to phone if the guarantee fails – but at that point, the insurance will probably be the least of your worries.

So far, four buyers have thrown down a total of about $7million (£4.4m) for havens to flee to when disaster happens or the end is nigh. And developer Larry Hall has options to retro-fit three more Cold War-era silos when this one fills up.

Hall said: ‘They worry about events ranging from solar flares, to economic collapse, to pandemics to terrorism to food shortages.’

 

Inside: The circular designs provide a luxurious and attractive setting to watch the world end

 

So far four buyers have thrown down a total of about $7million (£4.4m) for a haven under the prairie

 

 

Instead of simply setting up shop in the old living quarters provided for missile operators, Hall is building condos right up the missile shaft.

Seven of the 14 underground floors will be condo space selling for $2 million a floor or $1 million a half floor. Three and a half units have been sold, two contracts are pending and only two more full units are available, Hall said.

For now, metal stairs stretch down to connect each floor but an elevator will later replace them. The units are within a steel and concrete core inside the original thick concrete, which makes them better able to withstand earthquakes.

Hall is also installing an indoor farm to grow enough fish and vegetables to feed 70 people for as long as they need to stay inside and also stockpiling enough dry goods to feed them for five years.

The top floor and an outside building above it will be for elaborate security.

Other floors will be for a pool, a movie theater and a library, and when in lockdown mode there will be floors for a medical center and a school.

Complex life support systems provide energy supplies from sources of conventional power, as well as windmill power and generators.

Giant underground water tanks will hold water pre-filtered through carbon and sand. And, of course, an elaborate security system and staff will keep marauding hordes out.

 

The silos as the were in the early 1960s: Developer Larry Hall is converting four of the 72 Atlas “F” Missile Bases into luxury doomsday shelters.

The condo elevator will only operate if a person’s fingerprint matches its system, Hall said. Cameras will monitor a barbed-wire topped fence and give plenty of warning of possible intruders. Responses can range from a warning to lethal force.

Incredible Temple in India Bursting with Statues and Art

The iconic Meenakshi Temple is located in the ancient city of Madurai in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located in the heart of the 2,500-years-old city, Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to goddess Meenakshi, an avatar of the Hindu goddess Parvati — the consort of Lord Shiva. It has long been the focus of both Indian and international tourism as well as one of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage. For the people of Madurai, the temple is the very center of their cultural and religious life.

Meenakshi Temple was originally built by Kulasekarer Pandya in the 6th century BC, but the credit for the present look of the temple goes to the Nayakas, who ruled Madurai from 16th to 18th century. The reign of the Nayaks marks the golden period of Madurai when art, architecture and learning flourished expansively. The riot of colors, however, is a more recent addition.

 

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The temple complex covers around 45 acres and is surrounded by 12 gateway towers called gopurams, the tallest of which is the famous southern tower that rises to 52 meters. Each gopuram is a multi-storied structure in the shape of a steep pyramid, covered with thousands of stone figures of animals, gods, goddesses and demons painted in all colors of the rainbow.

There are several shrines inside the complex dedicated to goddess Meenakshi, her consort Lord Shiva (also called Sundareswarar) and their son, the elephant god Ganesha. Both the Meenakshi and Sundareswarar shrines have gold plated towers whose tops can be seen from a great distance. There is also a sacred water tank, several halls and innumerable Mandapas. Scattered throughout the complex are staggering number of sculptures and statues of gods, warriors on horses, battle scenes, and even characters from the mighty Indian epic Mahabharata. There are an estimated 33,000 sculptures all over the temple.

The temple wasn’t always so vividly painted. The original structure was probably unpainted granite. Then people started painting the sculptures because they wanted the temple to look colorful during big events and festivals. Although it’s pretty to look at, the mindless renovations over the years have deposited thick layers of enamel paint and cement over the ancient structures, hiding the beauty of the original stone sculptures which lay underneath.

Thankfully, for the last few decades there has been a growing awareness on the need to preserve the original beauty of the temple. Several restoration work had taken place in recent years with the intention of restoring the centuries-old Meenakshi Temple to its original state.

 

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The Chinese government has issued a new directive banning “bizarre architecture”

The Chinese government has issued a new directive banning “bizarre architecture”, and criticising some of the “oversized, xenocentric, weird” buildings in the country.

China has seen a number of architectural gems springing up in recent years, including one building shaped like a teapot and another that has been likened to a pair of trousers.

Under the new directive, buildings are to be “economical, functional, aesthetically pleasing” and “environmentally friendly”.

Here is a selection of the more adventurous buildings that have been developed.

 

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The Guangzhou Circle was designed by Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale and opened in 2013. It is the world’s tallest circle-shaped building at 138m and stands on the banks of the Pearl River.

 

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This teapot-shaped building in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, has perhaps the most outlandish design. It was originally designed as a sales office and now includes an exhibition centre.

 

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copyright Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy Image caption The headquarters of China Central Television (CCTV) was named the Best Tall Building Worldwide from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat in 2013, yet some have called it “big pants” due to its resemblance to a pair of trousers.

 

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The Phoenix Towers in Wuhan are to be one kilometre tall and are scheduled to be completed in the next couple of years. Their exteriors will be covered in solar panels.

 

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The Gate of the Orient was completed in 2014 in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Like the CCTV building, it too has been compared to a pair of trousers.

 

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The Sunrise East Kempinski Hotel is set near the Yanqi Lake in the Huairou District of Beijing.

 

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Another dramatic looking hotel is the Sheraton Hot Spring Resort on Taihu Lake, Huzhou, which comes complete with rubber ducks.

 

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This Inner Mongolian city of Ordos is known as a ghost town due to the low population level, yet it boasts two architectural gems, the City Library (left) and the Ordos Museum.

Clingstone: The ultimate get-away-from-it-all high end cottage

 

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Clingstone is a house built in 1905, perched atop a small, rocky island in an island group called “The Dumplings” in Narragansett Bay, near Jamestown, Rhode Island.

Architecture

The dwelling, designed by Philadelphia socialite J. S. Lovering Wharton and artist William Trost Richards, is a three-story 23-room 10,000-square-foot shingle-style cottage. The structural system of heavy mill-type framing was designed to withstand hurricane force winds. The name “Clingstone” was suggested by a remark that it was “a peach of a house”. In August 2010 the interior was documented in a series of panoramic photographs.

Film director Wes Anderson modeled the house from Moonrise Kingdom after Clingstone, specifically the interior shingles.

Owners

The original owner, relative of industrialist Joseph Wharton, built the house in response to the government condemning his earlier summer home in order to build Fort Wetherill. Wharton summered there until his death in the 1930s. Heavily damaged by a hurricane in 1938, the residence was vacant from the time of his wife’s death in 1941 until it was purchased in 1961 by Boston architect Henry Wood. Wood, a distant cousin of the Philadelphia Whartons, was able to purchase the property for $3,500, the amount owed in back taxes. The house is known by locals as “The House on a Rock”.

 

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The house is totally off the power grid. A windmill on the roof provides electricity, while photovoltaic cells charge a bank of batteries in the basement for additional power. Rainwater collected from the roof into a 3,000-gallon cistern provide water for washing and cleaning. Drinking water comes from a sea-water filtration system. Water is heated by solar panels. The house even has a composting toilet. The compost is then used to fertilize the garden. 

Twisted Skyscrapers

One of the latest design trends that seems to have found appeal among some architects is a towering skyscraper that twists its way up to the top. Possibly the first, modern, twisted skyscraper constructed was the Turning Torso in Malmö, Sweden. The residential building is constructed in nine segments of five-story pentagons that twist as it rises, with the topmost segment twisted 90 degrees with respect to the ground floor. The construction of this building was featured on Discovery Channel’s “Extreme Engineering” TV program. The tower received some more publicity when on 18 August 2006, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped off it and parachuted to the ground.

After the successful completion of the Turning Torso, designers started proposing similar audacious structures elsewhere. Many projects got shelved, others were passed and built, and a handful of them are currently under construction. Here we explore some of the most twisted skyscraper designs around the world, but first, a few pictures of the tower that started it all.

 

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Turning Torso, Malmo, Sweden

The project was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and officially opened on 27 August 2005. The tower reaches a height of 190 metres (623 feet) with 54 stories – 147 apartments, relax/lounge/spa, wine cellar followed by around-the-clock Concierge service 365 days a year. Each floor consists of an irregular pentagonal shape rotating around the vertical core, which is supported by an exterior steel framework. Completed in 2005, the Turning Torso is the tallest skyscraper in Sweden and all the Nordic countries, and presently the third tallest residential building in Europe.

 

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Infinity Tower, Dubai

Infinity Tower is 306 metres (1,004 ft) tall with 76 stories and is under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which when completed, will become the world’s tallest high rise building with a twist of 90˚. The tower is designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill SOM architectural group, the same group who built the Burj Khalifa also in Dubai and Trump Tower in Chicago.

Construction of the building began in February 2006 and by 2012, the intended height was reached. Unlike the Turning Torso, which is a series of cantilevered plates rotated about a straight structure, Infinity Tower’s much larger floor plates actually require the structure to be twisted as it raises from level to level. Each floor is rotated by 1.2˚ to achieve the full 90˚ spiral, creating the shape of a helix. The tower will have residential apartments, conference rooms, tennis courts, pools, a state of the art gymnasium, a nursery and a spa.

 

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Absolute World Towers, Mississauga, Canada

Absolute World is a residential twin tower skyscraper complex in Mississauga, Ontario. One is 179 meters tall while the other stands at 161 meters. Both towers twist 209 degrees from the base to the top. The building has been nicknamed the “Marilyn Monroe” tower due to its curvaceous, hourglass figure likened to actress Marilyn Monroe.

 

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Kuwait Trade Center

Kuwait Trade Center, also known as Al Tijaria Tower, is a magnificent 218 meter tall tower in Kuwait City and currently the tallest building in Kuwait.

 

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Revolution Tower, Panama City

The Revolution Tower is a controversial “corkscrew” tower complex of modern offices in Panama City, just a few minutes away from the banking center. The 242-meter reinforced concrete tower consist of 52 floors and makes a 360 degree turn as it rises up.

 

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Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers, Nagoya

Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers is a 170-meter, 36-storey educational facility located on a busy main street of Nagoya City in front of Nagoya Station in Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The towers’ wing-like shape, narrow at the top, changes the rotation axis as they rise and create an organic curve. Spiral Towers appears to change shape slightly when viewed from different angles, giving an elegant yet dynamic impression. The strong inner truss tube is visible through gaps between the three wings, highlighting the bold design and structure while demonstrating the overall consistency.

The towers are highlighted with many ecological features, such as a double-glassed air flow window system and a natural air ventilation system.

 

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