An Outdoor Observation Deck in NYC like no other

30 Hudson Yards (also the North Tower) is a super-tall skyscraper in the West Side area of Manhattan. Located near Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, and the Penn Station area, the building is part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project, a plan to redevelop the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s West Side Yard. It is the sixth-tallest building in New York City.

The building has a triangular observation deck jutting out from the 100th floor, with a bar and event space on the 101st floor. This observation deck, at 1,100 feet, opened in March 2020 and is the second highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, after Toronto’s CN Tower Outdoor SkyTerrace (342m or 1,122 feet). (New York’s One World Trade Center has an observation deck on floors 100-102, at 1,268 feet and Chicago’s Willis Tower has an observation deck on its 103rd floor, at 1,354 feet; however, they are both enclosed.) It offers new skyline views to the south and east of Manhattan, the surrounding boroughs, and New Jersey.

The observation deck is called Edge NYC.

Chemospere House in Los Angeles

The Chemosphere is a strange looking house located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.  It was built in 1960 by by American architect John Lautner.  It is a one story octagon with around 2200 square feet (200m2) of living space. Most distinctively, the house is perched atop a concrete pole nearly thirty feet high. This innovative design was Lautner’s solution to a site that, with a slope of 45 degrees, was thought to be practically unbuildable.  Access is by a long stairway and a cable railway.

Because of a concrete pedestal, almost 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter, buried under the earth and supporting the post, the house has survived earthquakes and heavy rains.

The building was first used in a dramatic film as a futuristic residence in the 1964 ABC-TV program “The Outer Limits: The Duplicate Man,” based on a science fiction story by American author Clifford D. Simak. Exterior scenes for the television episode were shot on location; a detailed sound-stage set of the house’s interior was built.

The lot had been given to a young aerospace engineer by his father-in-law; despite his own limited means, the engineer, Leonard Malin, was determined to live there. Malin had US $30,000 to spare. The cost to build Chemosphere, US $140,000 (equivalent to $1.21 million in 2019), was subsidized partly by barter with two sponsoring companies, the Southern California Gas Company and the Chem Seal Corporation. Chem Seal provided the experimental coatings and resins to put the house together and inspired the name Chemosphere. (Lautner originally wanted to call the house Chapiteau.) In the end Malin paid US$80,000 in cash. The Malins and their four children lived there until rising costs and the demise of the aerospace industry forced them to sell in 1972.

In 1976, the house’s second owner, Dr. Richard Kuhn, was stabbed to death at his home in a robbery by two men, who were subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

By 1997, the interior had become run down; for over 10 years it had been rented out and used for parties and as a result the interior finishes had undergone major and anachronistic alteration.[1] Because of its unique design it proved to be a difficult sell and sat on the market for most of its time as a rental property.

Since 1998, it has been the Los Angeles home of Benedikt Taschen, of the German publishing house Taschen, who has had the house restored; the only current problem with the residence is the relatively high cost of maintenance. The recent restoration, by Escher GuneWardena Architecture, won an award from the Los Angeles Conservancy. Preservation architect Frank Escher wrote the first book on Lautner a few years after moving to Los Angeles in 1988, and oversees the John Lautner Archives. During restoration the architects added details that were unavailable 40 years before, as the technology simply did not exist. The gas company tile was replaced by random-cut slate, which could not be cut thin enough in 1960, despite Lautner’s desire for such a finish. The architects also replaced the original thick framed windows with frameless glass. The owners commissioned a pastiche rug by German painter Albert Oehlen and a hanging lamp of bent plexiglas strips by Jorge Pardo, a Los Angeles artist.

Some People have absolutely no fear of heights!

Some people can go up as high as the sky and they don’t think twice about it.  On high ladders, cranes, beams on high buildings or climbing up a soaring communications tower these guys never flinch.

Some of the best photos of this behaviour were taken during the construction of the Empire State Building in New York City.  Construction of the 102 story building was completed in 14 months.  An amazingly fast time for such a giant building.

Excavation of the site began on January 22, 1930, and construction on the building itself started symbolically on March 17—St.Patrick’s Day—per Al Smith’s influence as Empire State, Inc. president. The project involved 3,400 workers, mostly immigrants from Europe, along with hundreds of Mohawk iron workers, many from the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal. According to official accounts, five workers died during the construction. Governor Smith’s grandchildren cut the ribbon on May 1, 1931.

Some photos of the construction workers way way up:

Must be waiting for more girders.

Looks like they ordered out.  No pizza back then so this must be cookies.

And today workers still go very high to construct very high structures and for maintenance.

The photo below shows workers doing maintenance on the highest communications tower in the United States.  It is a TV tower in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  These guys went up 2,200 feet.  That is a 1,000 feet higher than the Empire State Building.

Workers on the Hoover Dam Bridge Bypass:

Hotel of Doom


Pictures have emerged showing the inside of a 105-storey pyramid-shaped hotel that has been under construction in Pyongyang for 25 years.

North Korea began building the Ryugyong hotel in 1987, but construction was halted for 16 years when funds ran out.

Although work restarted in 2008, the hotel has become, for many, a symbol of North Korea’s thwarted ambitions.

The tour company that took the pictures say the hotel is now due to open in two or three years time.

Few people have been allowed inside the notorious hotel, which has been variously dubbed the “The Hotel of Doom” or “The Phantom Hotel”.

When conceived, the Ryugyong was intended to communicate to the world an impression of North Korea’s burgeoning wealth.

But other economic priorities meant that the hotel had to be put to one side, and it remained untouched until a city-wide “beautification scheme” was introduced five years ago.

At that time, external construction was forecast to take until the end of 2010, with work on the inside being completed in 2012 at the earliest.

But the photo of the interior taken by Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based company that specialises in travel to North Korea, shows a vast concrete lobby with barriers around the edge of each floor.

The bare interior has no sign of cabling, wiring or pipes, let alone furnishings

RYUGYONG HOTEL 330m (1,083ft) high, 105 floors. Construction started 1987, halted from 1993-2008.

The Fire Station in the Mountain

With a sleek black facade set into a remote mountain side emblazoned with an eagle crest, you’d be forgiven for thinking the ominous-looking building in the South Tryolean town of Margreid was a James Bond set. It certainly resembles something Sir Ken Adam, the set designer responsible for Dr No.’s Subterranean bunker and the atmospheric Pentagon War Room in Dr. Strangelove, might have come up with. It is, in fact, a fire station designed by Italian architects Bergmeister Wolf. The architects were approached in 2010 to build a fire station in a cliff of sheer rock. The reason such a challenging spot was chosen was to conserve the small amount of arable land in the area. “The building could have been placed on a normal lot,” explained the architects, “but the community decided to build the fire station into the rock, saving valuable land for use as agriculture.”

The town of Margreid is located among breathtaking alps of northern Italy.

If you think the exterior is striking by itself, wait till you get a good look inside. Tucked away in the side of a cave, the interior of the station has a sophisticated design, that has won international architecture awards around the world. Three caverns had to be blasted into the mountain, in order to form a cave deep enough to fit the structure, which also serves as a good insulator for heat.

This genius structure was done by acclaimed Northern Italy architecture firm Bergmeisterwolf, which has offices in Italy and Austria. The interior of the building is definitely a sight to behold, with sleek and futuristic accents that you can simply marvel at.

Sleeper movie Sculptured House

The Woody Allen 1973 film Sleeper was on the tube the other day.  The movie is quite funny and interesting in terms of its science fiction angle.  The futuristic cars were sensational.  But what really attracted my attention was the strange curved house.  Something to behold.

When architect Charles Deaton designed the “Sculptured House” on Genesee Mountain just outside Denver in Colorado, he had definite ideas about its unique design.
“People aren’t angular. So why should they live in rectangles?” he said.

There’s no way anyone could confuse this house with the rectangular homes of the 1960s. The 7,500-square-foot home is three levels and curves unpredictably. It was designed as a sculpture first; the floor plan for the home was drawn up later (thus it was given the name, “Sculptured House”).

The Deaton-designed house was built in 1963. Delzell Inc. was the original builder of the house on an experimental permit, Clifford M Delzell was owner operator of Delzell Inc.

The interior of the Sculptured House went largely unfinished and was vacant for almost three decades until entrepreneur and one-time Denver, Colorado economic-development chief John Huggins purchased the house in 1999.  He built a large addition designed by Deaton with Nick Antonopolous before Deaton’s death in 1996, and commissioned Deaton’s daughter, Charlee Deaton, to design the interior, completed in 2003.

In 2006, fellow Denver entrepreneur Michael Dunahay purchased the house from Huggins.  By late 2010, Dunahay had become delinquent on the nearly $2.8 million outstanding balance of his $3.1 million mortgage on the house, and the Public Trustee in Jefferson County, Colorado scheduled a foreclosure auction for November 10, 2010.  The house was sold again in November 2010.

Woody Allen released Sleeper 37 years ago, and it’s still one of his top-ten grossing films. It generated about $18 million in sales at the time, but when that figure is adjusted for inflation, it grossed about $52.5 million, making it Woody Allen’s fifth most financially successful film. Sleeper famously ended with the line: “Sex and death: two things that come once in a lifetime. But at least after death you’re not nauseous.”

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.




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.






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.

















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.



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.


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.