In Japan where space is at a premium strange things happen.
One of the most curious buildings in Japan is the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan. The 5th, 6th and 7th floors of this 16-story office building is occupied by an express highway – passing right through the building. On the building’s floor information board on the ground floor, the tenants for the three floors are listed as the Hanshin Expressway. You realize this as the elevator skips from the 4th floor to straight to the 8th.
The Gate Tower Building is actually the result of an unusual compromise between the land owner and the Japanese government. The land has been occupied by a wood and charcoal processing company since the early Meiji period, but the gradual move to other sources of fuel resulted in the deterioration of those company buildings. In 1983, the redevelopment of the area was decided upon, but building permits were refused because the highway was already being planned to be built over this land. The property rights’ holders refused to give up, and negotiated with the Hanshin Expressway corporation for approximately 5 years to reach the current solution.
Aside from the intrusive highway, business at the Gate Tower Building is almost normal. The highway does not make contact with the building, and a structure surrounding the highway keeps noise and vibration out.
The Ryugyong Hotel (Korean: 류경호텔; sometimes spelled as Ryu-Gyong Hotel), or Yu-Kyung Hotel, is an unfinished 105-story, 330-metre-tall (1,080 ft) pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name (“capital of willows”) is also one of the historical names for Pyongyang. The building is also known as the 105 Building, a reference to its number of floors. The building has been planned as a mixed-use development, which would include a hotel.
Construction began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After 1992, the building stood topped out, but without any windows or interior fittings. In 2008, construction resumed, and the exterior was completed in 2011. The hotel was planned to open in 2012, the centenary of Kim Il-sung’s birth. A partial opening was announced for 2013, but this was cancelled. In 2018, an LED display was fitted to one side, which is used to show propaganda animations and film scenes.
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
The Octagon (Arabic: الأوكتاجون) will be the new headquarters for the Egyptian Ministry of Defense, being a part of a much larger initiative of moving all governmental offices to the New Administrative Capital. The establishment of the new headquarters aims to be the largest in the Middle East and the world, located in the New Capital, Greater Cairo.
The headquarters extends over a total area of 22,000 acres (89 km2; 960,000,000 sq ft), with about 50,500,000 square feet (1,160 acres; 4,690,000 m2) of it serving as floor area. It includes 13 zones – each with its own specific role – making it the largest defense headquarters and office building complex in the world surpassing The Pentagon in the United States of America. The Octagon is a part of a big establishment, which as a whole has worship venues, clubs, hotels, schools, playgrounds, residential projects, shopping malls, hospitals, and complexes for civil and administrative services. The place is secured by two Republican Guard units, and other means of security.
Samir Farag, Egyptian strategic expert, has stated during Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to the Octagon that the headquarters in the new administrative capital is the first of its kind in Egypt and the entire Middle East, continuing:
“This center is located in only 3 countries in the world, including the United States of America.”
Concrete military bunkers are a ubiquitous sight in Albania, with an average of 5.7 bunkers for every square kilometre (14.7 per square mile). The bunkers (Albanian: bunkerët) were built during the Stalinist and anti-revisionist government of Enver Hoxha from the 1960s to the 1980s; by 1983 a total of 173,371 bunkers had been constructed around the country.
Hoxha’s program of “bunkerization” (bunkerizimi) resulted in the construction of bunkers in every corner of the then People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, ranging from mountain passes to city streets. They were never used for their intended purpose during the years that Hoxha governed. The cost of constructing them was a drain on Albania’s resources, diverting them away from more pressing needs, such as dealing with the country’s housing shortage and poor roads.
The bunkers were abandoned following the dissolution of the communist government in 1992. A few were used in the Albanian insurrection of 1997 and the Kosovo War of 1999. Most are now derelict, though some have been reused for a variety of purposes including residential accommodation, cafés, storehouses, and shelters for animals or the homeless.
From the end of World War II to his death in April 1985, Enver Hoxha pursued a style of politics informed by hardline Stalinism as well as elements of Maoism. He broke with the Soviet Union after Nikita Khrushchev embarked on his reformist Khrushchev Thaw, withdrew Albania from the Warsaw Pact in 1968 in protest of the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, and broke with China after U.S. President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to China.
His regime was also hostile towards the country’s immediate neighbours. Albania did not end its state of war with Greece, left over from the Second World War, until as late as 1987 – two years after Hoxha’s death – due to suspicions about Greek territorial ambitions in southern Albania as well as Greece’s status as a NATO member state.
Hoxha was virulently hostile towards the government of Josip Broz Tito in Yugoslavia, accusing Tito’s government of maintaining “an anti-Marxist and chauvinistic attitude towards our Party, our State, and our people”. He asserted that Tito intended to take over Albania and make it into the seventh republic of Yugoslavia, and castigated the Yugoslav government’s treatment of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, claiming that “Yugoslav leaders are pursuing a policy of extermination there.”
Albania still maintained some links with the outside world at this time, trading with neutral countries such as Austria and Sweden, and establishing links across the Adriatic Sea with its former invader Italy. However, a modest relaxation of domestic controls was curtailed by Hoxha in 1973 with a renewed wave of repression and purges directed against individuals, the young and the military, whom he feared might threaten his hold on the country. A new constitution was introduced in 1976 that increased the Labor Party’s control of the country, limited private property, and forbade foreign loans. The country sank into a decade of isolation and economic stagnation, virtually cut off from the outside world.
Starting in 1967 and continuing until 1986, the Albanian government carried out a policy of “bunkerisation” that saw the construction of hundreds of thousands of bunkers across the country. They were built in every possible location, ranging from “beaches and mountains, in vineyards and pastures, in villages and towns, even on the manicured lawns of Albania’s best hotel”. Hoxha envisaged Albania fighting a two-front war against an attack mounted by Yugoslavia, NATO or the Warsaw Pact involving a simultaneous incursion by up to eleven enemy airborne divisions. As he put it, “If we slackened our vigilance even for a moment or toned down our struggle against our enemies in the least, they would strike immediately like the snake that bites you and injects its poison before you are aware of it.”
The bunkerisation programme was a massive drain on Albania’s weak economy. The construction of prefabricated bunkers alone cost an estimated two percent of net material product, and in total the bunkers cost more than twice as much as the Maginot Line in France, consuming three times as much concrete. The programme diverted resources away from other forms of development, such as roads and residential buildings. On average, they are said to have each cost the equivalent of a two-room apartment and the resources used to build them could easily have resolved Albania’s chronic shortage of housing. According to Josif Zagali, building twenty smaller bunkers cost as much as constructing a kilometre of road. It also had a human cost; 70–100 people a year died constructing the bunkers. In addition, the bunkers occupied and obstructed a significant area of arable land.
A line of bunkers in Dhërmi, Himara The bunkerisation of the country had effects that went beyond their ubiquitous physical impact on the landscape. The bunkers were presented by the Party as both a symbol and a practical means of preventing Albania’s subjugation by foreign powers, but some viewed them as a concrete expression of Hoxha’s policy of isolationism – keeping the outside world at bay. Some Albanians saw them as an oppressive symbol of intimidation and control.
Albanian author Ismail Kadare used the bunkers in his 1996 novel The Pyramid to symbolise the Hoxha regime’s brutality and control, while Çashku has characterised the bunkers as “a symbol of totalitarianism” because of the “isolation psychology” that they represented. It has been argued that the bunkerisation programme was a form of “patterned large-scale construction” that “has a disciplinary potential as a means of familiarising a population with a given order of rule”. The regime’s xenophobia had the effect of creating a siege mentality and a sense of constant emergency.
There have been various suggestions for what to do with them: ideas have included pizza ovens, solar heaters, beehives, mushroom farms, projection rooms for drive-in cinemas, beach huts, flower planters, youth hostels, and kiosks. Some Albanians have taken to using the bunkers for more romantic purposes. In a country where until recently cars were in short supply, they were popular places for lovers to have sex; as travel writer Tony Wheeler puts it, “Albanian virginity is lost in a Hoxha bunker as often as American virginity was once lost in the back seats of cars.”
In November 2014, a “five star” nuclear shelter built near Tirana for Hoxha was opened as a tourist attraction and art exhibition. The large bunker contains a museum with exhibits from World War II and the Hoxhaist period.
Albania’s bunkers have become a national symbol. Pencil holders and ashtrays in the shape of bunkers have become one of the country’s most popular tourist souvenirs. One such line of bunker souvenirs was promoted with a message to buyers: “Greetings to the land of the bunkers. We assumed that you could not afford to buy a big one.”
Stephen King was famously inspired by the Stanley Hotel of Estes Park, Colorado, and now, the hotel is looking to add on to their heritage as a horror destination: by adding on a museum dedicated to horror. The hotel was the inspiration for the Outlook Hotel in the novel, “The Shining.”
According to the LA Times, the hotel has issued plans to build a horror museum onto the premise, which would bring in traveling exhibits, and add on an auditorium and sound stage. The founding board for the museum includes some celebrities, such as Elijah Woods (Lord of the Rings) and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead / Star Trek).
Before this happens, the state of Colorado must first grant the hotel $11.5 million from its tourism funds to help with the construction of the facility, which is expected to cost upwards of $24 million. The museum will operate as a nonprofit public-private partnership.
King stayed in room 217 in 1974, which helped to inspire him to write his famous novel The Shining, and serves as inspiration for the Overlook Hotel. The novel and subsequent movie adaptation have helped transform the hotel in to a tourist destination for horror fans. The hotel offers tours and hosts horror writers for workshops.
Ghost hunters trying to scare themselves in the Stanley Hotel.
According to King in later interviews, the Stanley served as his model for the Overlook Hotel, the ominous setting of The Shining, his third major work after Salem’s Lot (1975) and Carrie (1974). The hotel in King’s book is an evil entity haunted by its many victims. The main characters – Jack and Wendy Torrence and their young son Danny – are employed as winter caretakers. As the winter wears on, the hotel begins to exert its influence upon Jack, urging him to murder his family. Danny’s clairvoyant abilities – referred to in the novel as “the shine” – lend the book its title.
In 1980, the novel became the basis for an iconic film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick’s vision for the movie differed from King’s significantly in many ways, including the portrayal of the Overlook Hotel. The exteriors of Kubrick’s Overlook were supplied by the Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood in Oregon. Inspiration for the interior sets (erected at Elstree Studios in England) came from the 1927 Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park.
Timberline Lodge located at Mt. Hood, Oregon. Exterior shots in the movie “The Shining.”
Wild location for a hotel.
The famous maze in the movie was a studio construct.
There are no mazes at either the Stanley Hotel or Timberline Lodge. The maze was inside a studio in the U.K.
The set design for the interior scenes of the Overlook Hotel was modeled in large parts on the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, California. Seen here is the Ahwahnee’s Great Lounge, which was recreated on the Elstree Studios set as the Colorado Lounge. Where ‘All work and no play make Jack a Dull Boy.’
The Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King to write “The Shining” is said to have many ghosts being labelled a 5 Star haunt.
In the United States, and the western world for the most part, if a person is very intelligent, ambitious, is a workaholic and has a burning desire to make tons of money, opulence can be achieved. A person can make many millions of dollars, or for that matter billions of dollars. What to do with all that wealth. The sky is the limit, i.e. private jets. But back on earth one can build or buy outrageously ostentatious mansions.
The mansion below is listed at 41 million dollars. It is 13,200 square feet and has everything a Saudi prince would desire.
A lap pool that runs around half of the house.
Glass walled garage
This is nuts!
The ramp leading up to a courtyard and the garage.
The stunning ‘Comfort town’ in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev looks like a real-life LEGO city.
Ever dreamt of visiting a real-life LEGO land? Well, coming close enough is ‘ The Comfort Town’ in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev which features low-rise apartment blocks, each painted a different pastel color. Yes, that’s right!
Creating a myriad of blues, greens, yellows, reds, and salmon pinks in the region of dull grey Soviet buildings, the Town is designed by Dmytro Vasyliev, Aleksandr Popov, Olga Alfiorova from the Eastern European firm Archimatika. They were apparently given a free hand to transform the area into an idyllic place to live, and have they done a fab job or what!
A city within a city, the town houses cafes, shops, and offices on the lower floors of each apartment. It also features a 14,763-square-foot retail section with a fitness club and a 3.7-acre outdoor sports facility. The cluster of 180 buildings further features space for leisure activities – such as five-a-side football and long streets, stretching from one side of the Town to the other.
The project operates on the idea of a city-within-a-city, housing everything from shops and restaurants to schools and gyms. As the property sales brochure says, ‘Your little slice of Europe in Kyiv’, its 8,500 apartments and landscaped courtyards have been designed to be culturally closer to Europe than to Ukraine’s Soviet heritage.