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Britain’s Amazing Seed Cathedral at Shanghai Expo

If you thought Miguelin, the giant baby at the Spanish pavilion was awesome, than the British pavilion’s Seed Cathedral will blow your mind.

By far the most popular structure, at the Shanghai Expo 2010, even before it was officially opened, the Seed Cathedral is a six storey high cube-shaped structure, pierced by 60,000 thin acrylic rods. Each 7.5 meter long rod sways at the slightest wind movement, adding the dramatic effect of the design.

Just like fiber optics, the acrylic rods draw in the light from the outside, and illuminate the inside. At night, the artificial light, on the inside, is projected to the outside, making the Seed Cathedral glow.

But Britain’s awe-inspiring building isn’t called Seed Cathedral, for no reason. On the inside, each rod has one or more seeds encased in it. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, this architectural wonder has already won the hearts of its visitors, who have nicknamed it “The Dandelion”.

Photos via QQ

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The Crazy House Hotel in Vietnam

Featuring a truly unique design,  Hang Nga’s Tree House Hotel is, without a doubt, one of the most bizarre buildings in the world.

Located in Da Lang, Vietnam, Hang Nga’s Tree House Hotel, better known as Crazy House, features giant tree trunks and branches that try to trick you into believing this is an actual tree house. In reality, it’s built from conventional construction materials. But there’s nothing conventional about the architectural principles used by Hang Nga, the woman behind Vietnam’s Crazy House.

Daughter of a former president of Vietnam, Hang Nga was confronted with almost no restrictions at all, when she decided to build her wacky hotel. The Vietnamese government simply looked the other way and allowed her to let loose her imagination, without considering rules and regulations. And you can witness the end result in the photos below.

The interior of Hang Nga’s hotel is just as unusual as the outside. It’s filled with unexpected twists and turns, narrow hallways, bizarre rooms and dotted with strangely shaped windows. This is probably why Crazy House is more successful as a tourist attraction, than a hotel. Hang Nga, who lives in her “masterpiece”, tries to convince people to stay at least a night, but most prefer to take some photos and look for a more conventional hotel.

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Bottle House Built in Mexico

This is not the first bottle house featured on Oddity Central, but it’s definitely the most impressive looking.

After finding these pics on several spam sites that posted no link to the original source, I spent quite a while trying to find some info. Finally I discovered the photos were uploaded by someone on Instructables and were of a family building a plastic and glass bottles house, somewhere in Mexico. That’s about everything I was able to find out about these photos, but what’s that they say? A picture is worth a thousand words?

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Living in an Egg

Belgian design company dmvA has created an egg-shaped mobile living space, complete with everything a household needs.

The VB-3 Mobile Living Space was constructed primarily out of polyester and features a bathroom, kitchen, bed space and storage niches. The nose of the white “blob’ opens automatically to form a type of porch. The VB-3 Egg is easy to transport and can be used as a mobile home, office or garden home.

via designboom

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World’s Largest Solar-Power Hotel Opens in China

Using thousands of permanent solar panels to harvest energy, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel is the largest solar-power hotel on Earth.

Built by Himin Group, China’s leading solar products manufacturer, the Solar Valley Micro-E Hotel opened its gates Dezhou City, eastern China. It covers 75,000 square-meters and features thousands of solar panels and solar heat pipe collectors that harvest and store enough energy to sustain 70% of the hotel’s needs.

The solar energy is used for a variety of functions, including air-conditioning and water heating.

via ImagineChina

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Inside a Steampunk House

Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum have always loved steampunk and decided to turn their passion into a business. That’s how ModVic Home Restoration was born.

The couples offer home-design services to people who want to restore their Vicrorian houses to their original beauty and, to prove their skills, they turned their 1901 Craftsman-style home into a steampunk paradise. Combining antique pieces with modern gadgets, the Rosembaum’s managed to preserve the original charm of their Victorian residence as well as incorporate all the modern gadgets of our times.

If you’d like to know more about this amazing steampunk house, head over to Steampunk Workshop and learn every little detail.

Steampunk-House

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The PL Peace Tower – World’s Coolest Tower?

The PL Peace Tower in Tondabayashi, a town close to Osaka, Japan is by far one of the most “bizarre yet cool” buildings I have ever seen.

One of the many structures located in the PL Holy Land, the PL Peace Tower was built back in 1970, using the newest construction technique at the time. It belongs to the Perfect Liberty Church, a religious movement founded in 1924 that teaches its followers that “Life is Art” and they should express themselves in everuthing they do.

The shape of the PL Peace Tower, resembling a single finger pointing at the sky, symbolizes one of the church founder’s revelation that ” the truth is one”. It’s also an international symbol of world peace. Inside the Peace Tower you’ll find an unlimited list of people who lost their lives because of human wars.

The PL Peace Tower is 180 meters high and thanks to a low center of gravity (only 12 meters above ground), it can tilt up to 45 degrees and swing back to its original position. This makes it extremely resistant to earthquakes. Its strange but fascinating shape was achieved through the use of shotcrete, spaying concrete onto wire netting.

Photos via Juergen Specht

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Man Builds Pan Am Cabin in His Garage

Whenever he wants to experience the luxury of the old Pan Am first class cabins, all Anthony Toth has to do is spend a little time in his garage.

The 42-year-old Redondo Beach resident has spent the last five years turning his old garage into a perfect replica of a 1970s Pan Am World Airways 747 first class cabin. The airplane enthusiast spent the last 20 years of his life looking for original parts for his project and he reckons he invested around $50,000 in it, so far.

At the entrance of Anthony Toth’s Airplane Garage visitors can consult an old departures board and as soon as they enter the cabin, they are welcomed with original in-flight audio recordings from the ’60s and ’70s.

Everything in the Airplane garage has Pan Am written on it, even the on-board peanuts come in Pan Am packaging. Congratulations for keeping the spirit of Pan Am alive, but I like Tony Alleyne’s Star Trek Apartment a lot more.

via WSJ

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Watts Tower – One Man’s Dream Turned Reality

“I had in mind to do something big and I did it.” That’s what Simon Rodia said about his work.

Designed by Italian immigrant Sabato (Simon) Rodia, Watts Towers are a famous example of vernacular architecture, located in the Watts district, Los Angeles. The talented construction worker spent all his spare time, between 1921 and 1954, working on this collection of 17 interconnected steel towers. The amateur structures are made from steel rods wrapped in wire and coated in mortar.

Rodia decorated his architectural masterpieces with found stuff, like bottle caps, seashells, broken glass and pottery. Children from all over the neighborhood would search for pieces of glass and bring it to Simon Rodia, in hope their findings would be included in his project.

Unfortunately, the talented Italian didn’t get along with his neighbors and he’d often find his Watts Towers vandalized. One day, sick of all the abuse, he left and never came back. In the following years his work became more and more popular, but the towers were about to be teared down by the city, when community activists formed the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts and managed to save them.

Nowadays, Watts Towers is a Historical Park.

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The Other Upside-Down House

I chose to name this post “the other upside-down house” because I wrote about a very similar house when I started this site.

Built in 2008, for an art exhibition, the “other upside down house” is located on Usedom, an island in northern Germany. It was financed and constructed by Polish partners Klausdiusz Golos and Sebastian Mikiciuk, who just wanted to make something different. Only, I wonder if they know a practically identical house already exists in their native country of Poland.

The builders said they were inspired by similar structures in America and Spain, that were upside down on the outside, but normal on the inside. Visitors of the “other upside-down house” said the weird interior make them feel dizzy and disoriented.

Although the house is perfectly safe, nobody is living in it right now.

Photos by Hemmy

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Dongzhong – China’s Cave School

There’s no questioning China’s economic boom, but although more and more impressive buildings are being constructed every day, there are some areas that don’t even have a proper school.

Dongzhong (literally translated as “in cave”) is a elementary school located in Miao village, China’s Guizhou province. The strange thing about this learning institution is that it’s housed by a giant cave, carved inside a mountain over thousands of years, by wind, rain and earthquakes. There is a small structure put together by the locals, but children attend classes protected only by the cold walls of the cave.

Photos were taken in November, 2007, but the school is till around today.

Photos by Reuters

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Man Decorates Apartment to Look Like Versailles

Adrian Reeman, a former Merchant Navy chef from Southampton, has spent the last 23 years of his life transforming his small apartment into a miniature Palace of Versailles.

His painstaking work began in 1986, when he moved in with his wife Annette, in the ninth floor flat of a tower bloc in Southampton. He hated the copper pebble dash wallpaper he found there and decided something had to be done. At first he just started panelling the walls, without having a clue of what it was going to turn into.

Although he has no training in constructions or design, and he has never once visited the real Versailles, Adrian Reeman managed to create an honorable small-scale replica of the popular French palace. He now sees no reason to visit the real thing, since he’s living in it himself, just on a slightly smaller scale.

Reeman says he’s not 100% happy with how the Versailles apartment came out, but he’s getting a little too old to keep working on it. He figures he’ll live in the unique flat for the rest of his life, since law states tenants have to deliver the apartments in the same state they received them. The Reemans couldn’t possibly restore their mini Versailles to its original condition.

I wonder if Adrian knows Tony Alleyne, owner of the Star Trek Apartment? I’m sure these two talented Brits would hit it off.

via Daily Mail

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Minister’s House – The World’s Biggest Treehouse

I’ve seen some pretty bizarre-but-impressive treehouses in my day, but the Minister’s House is by far the most impressive, if only through its sheer size.

Located in Crossville, Tennessee, the Minister’s House took Horace Burgess 14 years to build around an 80-foot-tall white oak tree, with a diameter of 12 feet. The wooden edifice itself is 97-feet-tall and it’s supported by six other strong trees that act like natural pillars.

Burgess says he started working on this giant treehouse after he had a vision back in 1993. God spoke to him and said: “If you build me a

treehouse, I’ll see you never run out of material.” And so he spent the next 14 years building God’s treehouse, using only salvaged materials, like pieces of lumber from garages, storage sheds and barns. So, as far as Horace is concerned, God did provide him with all the materials he needed.
Although he never bothered to measure Minister’s House (he estimates it must be about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet), he did count the nails he had to hammer into it, 258,000. It cost the 56-year-old landscape architect around $12,000 to construct the world’s biggest treehouse.

400-500 people visit Minister’s House every week, most of them tourists from out of state who heard about a 10-story-treehouse somewhere in Tennessee.

I found the photos on this obscure Hungarian site, but I doubt they actually own them. If you know who these belong to, let me know so I can credit them.

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White House Replica for Sale

Forced by the downfall of the American housing market, Fred Milani had to put his backyard replica of the White House up for sale, for just $10 million.

American Iranian property developer, Fred Milani, says he doesn’t really want to sell his beloved replica of the iconic White House, but he has to. The mini-house is built in the backyard of his Atlanta residence and comes complete with its very own Oval Office and Lincoln Bedroom, as well as a backdoor pool.

If you’re expecting an interesting story about how Mr. Milani decided to have the White House replica built in his backyard, you’re in for a big disappointment. He just wanted a house and the architect just asked him “How about I build you the White House?”, he agreed and the rest is history.

The 16,500 square meter building was built seven years ago and has managed to split the neighborhood. There are those who feel lucky to be living next to such an impressive edifice, but most find it excessive and are annoyed by the high number of tourists flocking to their peaceful neighborhood to take pictures of the White House replica.

via Daily Mail

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The Happiest House on Earth

Who doesn’t want to live in a happy house, right? I bet that’s what designer James Rizzi thought to himself when he designed the Happy Rizzi House, inBraunschweig, Germany.

What is it with Germans and wacky-looking houses? After the famous Waldspirale of Darmstadt, I’ve discovered the Happy Rizzi House, where pop-art ant cartoons mix to form a very unique architectural design. Built by architect Konrad Kloster, Happy Rizzi House is one of the most important monuments in Braunschweig.

Located on the ruins of a ducal palace, Happy Rizzi House is a big hit with both children and adults.

via decojournal

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