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Quetzalcoatl Nest – Mexico’s Snake-Shaped House

Quetzalcoatl Nest is an unconventional housing complex created by Mexican designer Javier Senosiain, and named after the Aztec snake/bird god of learning and knowledge.

After designing the amazing Nautilus House a few years back, Javier Senosiain strikes again with an even more ingenious architectural project. Located on an irregular piece of land, lined with oak trees and full of caves, some collapsed and some preserved, Quetzalcoatl Nest proved very difficult to complete. Especially if you consider that the designer wasn’t allowed to touch any of the plant life on the premises (which covered 98% of the terrain), and that the small flat surface had to be used as parking space. Under these conditions, Senosiain found an ingenious way of actually making great use of the ravine and came up with a snake-like design for the house.

While it looks like just an eccentric architectural prototype, Quetzalcoatl Nest is actually somebody’s home. Featuring an original design and sporting some really interesting features that allow its owners to live in perfect harmony with nature, Quetzalcoatl Nest is an architectural example to be followed.

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Real-Life Barbie Suite Is the Ultimate Girls’ Pad

If you’ve always wanted to be like Barbie and live in her pink dream-house, you’re about to get your wish. A hotel in the Italian Alps has opened a series of rooms decorated just like Barbie’s miniature pads.

The owners of the Grand Hotel Savoia, at the Cortina ski resort, thought they’d celebrate Barbie’s 50th anniversary by decorating some of their rooms with real-life furniture and decoration you’d normally only find in Matel’s play sets. That’s right girls, you’ll get the chance to live it up like Barbie for as long as you or your parents can afford it, surrounded by the popular dolls favorite clothes and accessories, including skirts, lace-up dresses, corsets, toy-like chairs and even a sunburst mirror made from Barbie dolls

Italian interior designer described the recently inaugurated Barbie rooms as “the ultimate girls’ pad with details celebrating Barbie’s love of pink.” Barbie fans can book their stay in one of these life-size Barbie homes until the end of next March.

Yesterday the news about a Hello Kitty theme park in Japan, now this…This just hasn’t been my week!

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Artist Creates Weird Igloo from 322 Refrigerators

German artist Ralf Schmerberg has created a bizarre-looking igloo, in the middle of Hamburg, to send a message about the country’s uncontrolled waste of energy.

Entitled “Wastefulness is the biggest source of Energy”, Schemerberg’s igloo aims to raise awareness to the amount of energy people are wasting nowadays. A huge electrical meter set up outside the igloo shows passers-by how much electrical energy the 322 old fridges would consume, and is meant to inspire them to think carefully about how much energy they are wasting every day. According to recent studies, Germany could save up to 40% of its energy, if everyday people would use electricity more efficiently.

The refrigerator igloo was sponsored by a German energy provider and will be exhibited in Hamburg’s Gänsemarkt until November 9th. The bizarre installation is 5.6 meters high and 11 meters in diameter, and was built using 322 old refrigerators and 1,718 meters of wire. On the inside, visitors can admire a funny electrical installations made up of colorful blinking lights.

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China Inaugurates Teapot-Shaped Museum of Tea Culture

At 73.8 meters in height, and featuring a floor area of over 5,000 square meters, this unique teapot museum of Meitan is the world’s biggest teapot-shaped building.

China’s Meitan County is known as the “hometown of Chinese green tea”, and the reputation of Meitan green tea has surpassed national borders, so there was really no better place to build a museum of tea culture. As fascinating as visiting this place may be to tea lovers, we’re more interested in its unique architecture. Shaped like a giant clay teapot, and accompanied by a smaller building shaped like a tea cup, the Meitan tea museum is one of the weirdest looking museums in the world. Seen from a distance, it looks like just a strange teapot sculpture, but as you approach it, the windows give away its true purpose.

With a maximum diameter of 24 meters, and a capacity of 28,360.23 cubic meters, the Meitan tea museum is by far the world’s largest teapot.

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Russian Builds House Shaped Like Noah’s Ark

Nikolay Orekhov, from the village of Kemerovo, eastern Russia, has built his house to look like a miniature replica of Noah’s ark. Not that he’s ever seen the real thing, but we’ve all been blessed with an imagination.

47-year-old Nikolay Orekhov has spent more than a year working on his unusual house shaped like some sort of ugly ship. According to Russian site Life.ru, the reason behind this modern version of Noah’s ark is Nikolay’s fear of floods caused by climate change. He says he’s not a fanatic but he does strongly believe in the possibility of a serious flood.

But according to the livejournal of Viktor Borisov, who also took some photos of Orekhov’s ship-shaped house, the weird craftsman actually dreamed about building the strange structure, and has really no fear of an actual flood. Regardless of his reasons, Nikolay Orekhov managed to create a truly unique piece of architecture, and he did it all without any blueprints. All the plans he needed were all in his head, and frankly, you can tell by the final result.

Located in his backyard, Nikolay Orekhov’s strange house measures 9 meters in height and 14 meters in length, and is three levels high. On the first floor, the Russian builder created a bathroom (complete with sauna and swimming pool) and a small kitchen, the second floor features two bedrooms and a nursery, while the third one is a greenhouse.

Nikolay began building his ship-shaped house on the “sacred” date of July 7, 2007, and is now living in it with his family. His neighbors have started referring to his weird creation as the “Ark of Nikolayev”.

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Russian Woman Builds Glass Bottle House

The glass bottle house built by Olga Queen, from Novoshakhtinsk, Russia is a fine addition to our hefty collection of glass bottle architecture, which already includes various bottle houses and a unique bottle temple.

In an effort to build herself a house out of cheap and environment-friendly materials, Olga Queen spent six months collecting glass bottles, around her home town of Novoshakhtinsk. She managed to gather around 5,000 of them, which proved enough to build her very own little dream house. Using some wood for the framework and concrete to fix the bottles in place, she manged to finish construction and is now ready to move in.

Glass might not seem like the right material to use when building a house, especially in a place like Russia, but the air trapped in the bottles actually provides great insulation. We’ll just see if Olga makes it through the winter in her little glass home.

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Inventionland – Coolest Workplace in the Whole Wide World

I remember seeing a set of photos from Google’s offices in Zurich, and thought that was pretty cool, but Google has nothing on Inventionland’s fairytale workplace.

Inventionland, like the name suggests, is a company that invents stuff, over 2,000 new inventions every year. To come with that many inventions, the Inventionland team must really be inspired by something, but what could it be? Believe it or not, it’s actually everything that surrounds them in their Pittsburgh headquarters.

The 70,000 square feet facility looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before, featuring 15 different fantasy sets, from pirate ships to tree houses and even a house shaped like a giant shoe. And it’s not only the world’s most creative workplace, it’s also equipped with the latest in sound, video and animation technology to help creationeers come up with the best ideas. Oh, that’s right, Inventionland employees are called “creationeers”, they get to wear lab coats and they brainstorm for ideas in a room called “Inventalot”. Now, how cool is that!

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Belgian Pavilion Built Out of 33,000 Beer Crates

If the world needed any more proof Belgians love beer, this temporary pavilion, built out of 33,000 plastic beer crates should clear all doubts.

Set right in front of the iconic Atomium building, the beer crate pavilion of Brussels was designed and built in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1958 Universal World Exhibition. Beer crates were chosen for the project, because the architects decided their work should evoke the concepts of universality and reusability, and nothing did that better than an ordinary item from the daily life of an ordinary consumer.

An exercise in how a normal item can transcend its normal purpose and become architecture, the beer crate pavilion is made up of approximately 33,000 beer crates. It may seem like a tough structure to build, but designers actually said the chosen material made assembly easier and allowed them to explore architectural features like columns, arches and domes.

As soon as the temporary pavilion is taken down, the beer crates will go right back to transporting bottles of delicious Belgian lager. I wonder if the designers had the “terrible” task of emptying all the 33,000 crates of beer, before using them…

 

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50,000 Milk Cartons Make a Great Castle

Built back in May, during an event that took place in Granada, Spain, this recycled castle was made of 50,000 empty milk cartons.

Designed by the students of the Facultad de Arquitectura de Granada (Granada’s Architectural College), the milk carton castle of Granada was built exclusively out of  tens of thousands of empty milk cartons, gathered by over 5,000 primary school children. The three schools that gathered the most number of milk cartons had the privilege to attend the unveiling ceremony and see the end result of their efforts.

The 29-meters-long, 14.07-meter wide and 7-meter-high milk carton castle was acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest sculpture ever made with recycled materials.

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Environmentalist Builds Floating Island with 100,000 Plastic Bottles

Eco-pioneer Richard “Rishi” Sowa designed and built an artificial island kept afloat by 100,000 plastic bottles.

Spiral Island II is actually Rishi Sowa’s second artificial island. He built the first one in 1998, near Puerto Aventuras, using 250,000 plastic bottles to keep it afloat. Sadly, his recycled island was destroyed in 2005, when Hurricane Emily passed through the area. Most of Spiral Island was washed up on the beach, but Sowa decided to build a whole new island, in a safer area.

And that’s how Spiral Island II came to be. With the help of volunteers, Rishi Sowa gathered around 100,000 plastic bottles and hand-built his second recycled island, in a lagoon that offers protection from bad weather. The new island features a house, beaches, 2 ponds and a solar-powered waterfall, but its creator says Spiral Island II is and always will be an eco-work-in-progress. Although smaller than its predecessor (only 20 meters in diameter), you can expect the new Spiral Island to increase in size, significantly.

One of the most impressive DIY projects ever attempted, Spiral Island has inspired volunteers to come to Mexico and help Rishi Sowa improve his creation. But while some believe it a perfect environmental design, built entirely of recycled materials, there is some controversy surrounding Spiral Island. There are those who believe that if the island gets destroyed by a hurricane, again, the materials used to build it (mainly plastic bottles, sand, mangrove plants) will litter the waters of the Atlantic.

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The Turf-Covered Houses of Norway

Norway, like all Scandinavian countries, has always taken pride in trying to live in harmony with nature, instead of conquering it, and its old turf roofs are a perfect example.

Houses with their roofs looking like small meadows may seem a little strange in these modern times, but until the late 19th century, turf roofs were the most common type of roofs in rural Norway. Nowadays, inhabited turf-roof houses are very rare, as the Norwegians have turned most of them into museum exhibits.

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Now This Is Real Advertising

A bike shop owner in Germany attached over 100 bicycles to his shop’s façade in order to draw attention to his business.

Alreadythe owner of  one of the most popular bike shops in Atlantsberg, north-east Berlin, offering over 1,000 bicycle models from both children and adults, Christian Petersen came up with an original advertising idea to get even more exposure. Somehow, he managed to get 120 bicycles attached to the front of the shop. Now, bike lovers can spot his business from a mile away.

It’s a good thing this bike shop is in Germany, if someone did something like this in my country, those bikes would probably get stolen in one night.

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The Architectural Experiments of Terunobu Fujimori

Some of his works may not even look like real houses, but Terunobu Fujimori is one of the world’s most acclaimed architectural designers. His unconventional works have been displayed all around the world, and, believe it or not, people actually want to live in his houses.

A historian by trade, Terunobu Fujimori started designing buildings late in his life, when he was 44. He was asked to design a history museum for a family from his local village, near Nagano, who had ancient ties to that place. He decided to build something completely uncobventional, in order to avoid being criticized for lack of originality, and his creation was a success.

Since then, Terunobu Fujimori has been delivering one fascinating house after another, at a rate of a house per year. Using his knowledge of Japanese architectural history and his designer talents, Terunobu Fujimori manages to create unique buildings that are ecologically sensitive and energy efficient.

The way Terunobu Fujimori designs and builds his houses is as unconventional as they look. He simply takes a tree stump and starts hacking away at it with a chainsaw, until he gets a rough model of what he plans to build. Then he invites his clients to his Too-High Tea House, standing 20 meters into the air, on two forked tree trunks, and shows them his designs. If they don’t like them, he simply shakes the house until he gets a positive answer. Galleries have offered to buy his tree stump models, but he always refused to sell them.

Although he relies on professionals for the structural and electrical installations on his houses, he handles most of the interior design, with a team of friends. He never pays them for their work, as that would be labor.

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Shed of the Year Is a Regular Pirates’ Den

Inspired by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Reg Miller transformed his old shed into a pirate themed retreat that earned him the title of winner in the Shed of the Year 2010 contest.

Reg Miller, or Jolly Reg, as he’s come to be known, built his impressive pirate shed from scratch. He has some old muskets and swords, and since his partner didn’t want them in the house anymore, he figured the best place to store them was the shed. After seeing his first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, he decided he was going to build his very own pirates’ den.

Jolly Reg did it all himself, using anything from recycled pieces of wood to fixtures and fittings he found at car trunk sales. He spent years working on it, but his pirate shed is still a work in progress, as he is always adding new things. So far he has set up a Koi fish pond, complete with palm trees, and decorated the shed with barrel seats, pirate flag pole and even a real life parrot.

The 65-year-old would-be pirate managed to beat over a 1,000 other candidates and snatched the grand prize at  UK’s Shead of the Year 2010 competition. He’s now 1,000 pounds richer and has a hefty supply of wood-maintenance products from the contest’s sponsor.

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Vienna’s Gas Tank City

Constructed in1896, and used to store the gas that supplied Vienna, these four giant gasometers are now used as modern and original living spaces.

Remnants of the industrial age, gasometers all over the world have been demolished, or simply abandoned and left at the mercy of the elements. But the people of Vienna thought it would be a shame to just wipe these once useful structures off the face of the earth, and came up with a way to give them new meaning.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Vienna’s gasometers were the largest in the world, each 70 meters tall and 60 meters across. Now, they are some of the city’s most coveted living and office spaces. After natural gas started being used to power Vienna, the interior of the gasometers was completely removed, leaving only their brick shells The idea of transforming them into living quarters appeared as the result of a design contest, calling for new ideas on how to reuse old structures. Now, the gasometer apartment buildings incorporate the ideas of four architects, including the translucent roofs, the interior garden and the eco-friendly terraced structure.

There are currently 1,500 people living in this gas tank city within a city. They are known as the Gasometer community.

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