Chinese Millionaire Builds Company Headquarters to Look Like the Starship Enterprise

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The headquarters of NetDragon Websoft – China’s most popular internet provider – looks quite conventional from the ground, but aerial footage shows that the building is actually a replica of the iconic Starship Enterprise!

NetDragon chairman Liu Dejian, a huge Star Trek fan and self-described ‘Uber Trekkie’, reportedly spent $150 million over a span of six years to construct the USS Enterprise-shaped office. When it was finally ready in 2014, he chose to remain rather low-key about it. But when a fan spotted a satellite image of the badass building – about the size of three football pitches – it eventually stirred up a social media frenzy. Drone footage was soon released online, making Star Trek fans all over the world drool with delight.

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Canadian Couple Live on Amazing Man-Made Floating Complex Miles Away from Civilization

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Canadian couple Wayne Adams and Catherine King are the proud owners of ‘Freedom Cove’, a colorful floating home off the coast of Tofino in British Columbia. The unique structure consists of 12 platforms, supporting wooden buildings, greenhouses, a lighthouse, and living spaces that are all interconnected through wooden pathways. Freedom Cove is special because it is a ‘getaway’ in the true sense – completely off the grid and self-sustaining in every possible way.

Adams and King, along with their two children, have lived at Freedom Cove ever since it was built in 1992. And they’ve managed to live a full life without the help of mainstream civilisation. They grow fruits and vegetables all year round in several greenhouses, and generate electricity through solar panels and photovoltaic energy generators.

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Russian Man Builds House with 12,000 Bottles of Champagne

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Located in the city of Chelyabinsk, in Russia, is a unique house built almost entirely of champagne bottles. The architectural oddity is the handiwork of a local resident, 52-year-old Hamidullah Ilchibaev. Fondly referred to as ‘Palace Oz’, the place is now a popular landmark in the region.

The idea for the house was not a random one – Hamidullah has always been interested in constructing things out of beer and vodka bottles. His children had always admired his work, and encouraged him to build a house someday. But he always thought it was impossible to do.

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Chinese Company Builds 57-Storey Skyscraper in Record 19 Days

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Chinese construction company Broad Sustainable Building recently released an online video showing how they managed to build a 57-storey building in a record time of 19 days. ‘Sky City’, located in Changsha city, comprises 800 homes and office space to accommodate a total of 4,000 people.

The company’s original proposal for the site was actually a 97-storey building that would have been the world’s largest skyscraper. But just after 20 stories were completed, construction work was stopped for one year because local officials wanted to review the plans. Ultimately, they had to reduce the plan to 57 stories due to the building’s close proximity to the airport.

In spite of the major delay, the entire construction from start to finish was completed in less than three weeks of work. The 4-minute clip shows employees building each storey offsite and delivering it to the location. A timelapse sequence shows the assembling of the mammoth building which require a total of 19 days to complete – that’s exactly three floors per day!

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French Botanist’s Paris Home Is a Regular Urban Jungle

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French Botanist Patrick Blanc, is known as a master of vertical gardens. During his long career, he has designed hundreds of lush “green walls” that cover both the inside and outside of buildings all around the globe, but none are as impressive as the small urban jungle he calls home, on the outskirts of Paris

61-year-old Blanc makes vertical gardens by attaching metal frames to walls, covering them with PVC and rot-proof felts, and then setting up an irrigation system that dampens the felt and keeps the plants well hydrated. Since 1988, he has created hundreds of these botanical tapestries in public and private spaces around the world – including the Marithé & François Girbaud boutique in Manhattan, the Siam Paragon shopping center in Bangkok and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.

Expanding on his unique method, Blanc worked on his dream home in the outskirts of Paris, in collaboration with architect Gilles Ebersolt. But while most of his professional projects present nature through a formally elegant design, the plants in his home are a tangle of leaves with a mold-smudged ceiling. From the outside, the house doesn’t look too impressive. But once you step inside, it’s like entering a whole new world.

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Guy Spends $50,000 Turning His California House into a Cat Paradise

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Since 1988, California home builder Peter Cohen has spent over $50,000 converting his Goleta property into a cat haven for his 15 rescue cats. The house now has a series of high walkways, tunnels, ramps and perches designed to make his favorite felines feel comfortable and entirely at home.

When Cohen first purchased the house it came with two cats, but one tragically died after it was hit by a car. Soon after, the second cat Cookie was also hit by a vehicle and she had to go through reconstructive surgery to recover. That’s when Cohen decided that Cookie would be a house cat, and he started changing the interiors to her liking. He also went to the shelter to adopt some more cats, so that Cookie could have new friends. “It sort of went from there,” he explained.

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Chinese Company Showcases Fully 3D-Printed Villa and Apartment Building

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Only a few years ago, if someone had told you that it was possible to build a home without the noisy, dusty eyesore that is the construction site, you’d probably have thought they were crazy. Yet, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co has made this possible – they’re actually printing homes now, using one of those revolutionary 3D printers.

WinSun made headlines in March last year, when the printed 10 different one-story, 200 square-meter houses, using nothing but industrial construction waste and a 3D printer. Each building cost $4,800 to make. Now, they’re in the news again with two new additions – a five-story apartment building and a 1,100 square meter villa.

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In This Small Alaskan Town Everyone Lives under the Same Roof

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Most of the 200-odd residents of the Alaskan town of Whittier all live in the same 14-story condominium – Begich Towers – located on the edge of town. The former Army barracks is often described as a ‘vertical town’ with walls so thin that keeping secrets is simply out of the question.

Apart from residential apartments, the one-of-a-kind settlement also houses a police station, a health clinic, a convenience store, a laundromat, and a church in the basement. It really is inconceivable how missionaries, bartenders, city council members, policemen, and even drug dealers can co-exist in the same building, share the same facilities, and ride in the same elevator.

As eccentric as this living arrangement sounds, it really does seem to work out for the residents of Whittier, mainly because of its size and the weather conditions. The town is rather inaccessible – you can only get there by sea, or take a long, one-lane tunnel through the mountains, which only runs one way at any given time. At night, the tunnel is closed completely.

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Warsaw’s Keret House – World’s Narrowest Home Is Just 1.2 Meters Wide

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Wedged into the narrow space between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland, the Keret House is considered the narrowest home in the world. At just 36 inches across at its narrowest point and 48 inches at its widest, the house is barely large enough for one person to move around.

The unique living space is the brainchild of Israeli writer and film maker Etgar Keret. The gap between the two buildings was discovered almost six years ago, by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny. He realized that it was just enough room to fit a house, so he decided to go ahead and build one. Coming up with a design for the tiny available space was tough, but the real challenges were ownership issues, building regulations and financing. Luckily, he managed to raise 70,000 euros (over $80,000) for the project and began the construction in collaboration with the Polish Art Foundation.

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Iranian Designers Create Salt Restaurant That Filters Polluted Urban Air

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The aptly named Salt Restaurant in Shiraz, southern Iran, is completely made of salt. The walls, bar, tables and chairs are entirely made of the white mineral; even the stairs have a smooth, salty coating.

The unique restaurant is the brainchild of Iranian firm Emtiaz Designing Group, who used salt as the main construction material in order to promote the concept of green construction. They created the building using environmentally sustainable, locally sourced, affordable salt, powder and rock. “In this particular case, the walls, structural sculptures and ceilings are made from salt sourced from the nearby salt mines and salt lake of Shiraz which was mixed with natural gum to harden it,” said a spokesperson of the firm.

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This Boulder Is Actually a Cozy Cabin in the Swiss Alps

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It’s hard to believe that this rock sitting so casually on a boulder-strewn slope in the Swiss Alps is actually fake. In reality, it houses a cozy wooden cabin for one, complete with a bed, fold-out table, stool, fireplace, and a window!

The only feature giving the boulder’s secret away is the odd square window that sticks out like a sore thumb on one side. But if you were hiking past the large rock, you’re more likely to miss out on that feature and assume that it’s all a part of the landscape. Nothing else about the rock betrays the fact that it conceals a perfectly-detailed wooden cabin beneath its rough exterior.

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Dutch Architect Turns Fictional Bridges on Euro Bills into a Reality

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When Austrian designer Robert Kalina came up with the design for Euro banknotes in 2002, he deliberately created fictional bridges that represent European architecture in general. The bridges can be recognised as having originated in various periods of European history, such as the Roman period, the Gothic period, the Renaissance, and contemporary 20th century architecture. This was supposed to be a good way to keep things generic and not favor any particular member country in the EU.

But with his latest stunt, Dutch architect Robin Stam has turned the idea on its head. “The European Bank didn’t want to use real bridges so I thought it would be funny to claim the bridges and make them real,” he explained. So he went and built all the bridges exactly as seen on the paper money, according to color and scale

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Luxury Singapore Skyscraper Allows Residents to Park their Cars in the Balcony

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Hamilton Scotts, a high-class apartment condominium in Singapore, is offering its residents the ultimate luxury in terms of parking – an individual two-car garage located inside each apartment! A glass wall separates the garage from the living room, offering a lovely view of their expensive cars from the couch.

The system is quite simple – when residents enter the building, they need to park their cars inside a glass elevator shaft. The elevator then raises the vehicle up to the corresponding condo and parks it within a glass enclosure that is visible from the living room.

Although the Hamilton Scotts condo numbers 30 floors and tens of thousands of square meters of living space, there just wasn’t enough to build a multi-level parking for the residents. Faced with this challenge, the team of architects and engineers in charge of development came up with something so much better.

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Newly-Opened Chinese School of Arts Is a Real-Life Hogwarts

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Young Potterheads in China are in for a real treat – they have the chance to study at their very own Hogwarts! Well, it isn’t really a school of magic – the building is a part of the Hebei Academy of Fine Arts and will house the school’s animation students. But who cares as long as you get to spend hours inside a magnificent castle that strongly resembles Harry Potter’s famous school, right?

Images of the impressive school went viral as more and more netizens began to notice that its various turrets and towers are a lot like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But the designers of the structure insist that they weren’t inspired by J. K. Rowling’s magical world; they simply modelled the castle after European architecture in general. They actually prefer to call it ‘Cinderella Castle’, since it features a gigantic clock tower.

Sadly, there won’t be any shifting staircases or talking portraits inside the castle. But it still is a pretty awesome place for a college. “We want our students to be inspired and this impressive fairytale architecture is exactly what they need for working in a creative environment,” a spokesperson for Hebei Academy said. “It’s important for the students and for the staff that they feel part of something special, and that is enough magic to ensure what we have created is a fine institution for furthering interest in the study of arts.”

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Macabre Restaurant in Mexico Is Decorated with 10,000 Animal Bones

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A new Mexican restaurant in Guadalajara is making waves for its highly unusual interior. The concept restaurant is named ‘Hueso’ (Spanish for ‘bone’), and true to its name, it uses animal bones as the mainstay of its decor.

Mexican architect Ignacio Cadena is the brains behind the beautiful yet haunting design that plays with the sculptural elements of deconstructed skeletons. The exterior or ‘skin’ of the renovated 1940s building is made up of handmade ceramic tiles with zigzag patterns that resemble stitches and sewing patterns.

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