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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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The Amazing Seashell Temple in Taiwan

In the hills near San Chih, northern Taiwan, lies the Seashell Temple, one of the most amazing architectural works in the world.

I’m sure many of you have seen photos of it before, it’s almost on every spam photo site on the internet, sometimes listed as being in Bagkok or Taiwan, but I thought it deserved a spot among the oddities on Oddity Central.Almost completely covered with seashells and pieces of coral, Pei Khe Miao (as its known by the Chinese) takes your breath away the minute you lay eyes on it.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of genuine information concerning the Seashell Temple and I don’t want to make stuff up, so for now you’ll just have to settle for some photos and a video.

Photos via Awesome Asia

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Living in a Missile Silo

Why spend your money on a boring apartment when you can live the rest of your life in a cool abandoned missile silo?

Bruce Townsley, a former social worker from Chicago, got the idea of turning a missile silo into a comfortable home in the mid ’80s, while watching the Johnny Carson Show. One of the guest had actually set up a home inside a nuclear missile base and Bruce just knew that’s he wanted for himself.

It wasn’t until 1997 that he actually got his hands on a missile silo, but since then he turned into real dream house. The living space is around 1,000 square feet and is basically a huge concrete bubble suspended from a central pole. He did a nice job decorating, but he also kept some of the old stuff around, like the massive blast doors.

the owner says his missile silo home couldn’t withstand a nuclear strike these days, but it handles the strong Texas storms just fine.

Head over to Wired for more info and pics on this truly unusual house.

Photos by Jim Merithew/Wired.com

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The Wine-Cork House

It’s amazing how popular wine-corks are these days. Some people convert their cars into wine-cork trucks, others to make wine-cork costumes and even insulate their houses.

Check out this wine cork-covered house, for example. There must be tens, if not hundreds of thousands wine corks on its walls. unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any info on this project, so I can’t yet tell you if it’s a tribute to wine, or just cheap insulation. Whatever the case may be, it’s obvious the owner had nerves of steel, in order to place every wine-cork manually. Maybe he’s a fan of Liza Lou.

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Modern-Day Flinstones House in Portugal

Located in Fafe, Portugal, this unusual stone house bears a remarkable resemblance to The Flintstones House. Man, I loved that show!

I know what you’re thinking and you’re not the only one, but as fake as these photos may look, the stone house of Fafe is very real. I mean it’s even been featured in the Daily Mail. Ok, you’re right, that’s not a valid argument, but this house does exist.

The photos taken by Jsome1 have been causing quite stir on the internet, partly because he decided to improve the photos a little and make them look fake-ish. But other curious web-surfers have been digging around and found the stone house exists and it’s actually a local landmark of the Fafe region.

The last two photos were used to promote the Fafe biking marathon and feature the Flintstones-like house as background. That’s the best proof I could find, hope it’s enough.

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The Hanging Houses of Cuenca

Also known as “Casas Colgadas“, The Hanging Houses are the most popular attractions of Cuenca, Spain.

The history and exact origin of The Hanging Houses is unclear. Some believe they are of Muslim origin, while others say they are Medieval. Centuries ago, this kind of building was frequently seen throughout Cuenca, but nowadays only three “Casas Colgadas” remain, built in a cliff, above Huecar Gorge.

La Casa de la Sirena (House of the Mermaid) and the two Casas de Rey (Houses of Kings) were built somewhere between the 13th and 15th centuries and have been renovated in the 20th century. Now the houses host the Museum of Abstract Arts and a restaurant, but they remain the most photographed landmarks in Cuenca.

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Waldspirale – The Wooded Spiral of Darmstadt

Located in Darmstadt, Germany, the Waldspirale apartment-building was designed by Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and built during the 1990s.

There are other apartment buildings in Darmstadt, but the U-shaped Waldspirale is special. Its diagonal roof is covered with grass, shrubs and trees and the facade follows an irregular grid organization.

Waldspirale has over 1,000 windows, but no two are the same. The handles on the apartment doors and the windows are also unique.

Waldspirale was completed in 2000 and people actually live in it.

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Weirdest Hotel in China?

Personally I think it has a shot at the title of weirdest hotel in the world, but it’s definitely not the best looking one.

Located in Hebei province, China, the Tianzi Hotel was built sometime in the 2000-2001 period. It is a ten-story high representation of Fu Lu Shou (good fortune, prosperity and longevity) that apparently holds the Guinness World Record for the “biggest image building”…whatever that means.

You probably won’t find much more info about the Tianzi Hotel on English websites. Don’t know if it will help, but it’s also known as The Emperor Hotel and Son of Heaven Hotel.

via Killer Directory

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Real-Life Hobbit House

And it’s not just for show guys, people actually live in it!

Ever since he was a little boy, Simon Dale dreamed of having a house in the countryside. And even though he’s no architect, or even a construction worker, together with his father-in-law and the help of passers-by, Simon managed to build this amazing Hobbit House in just 4 months. Believe it or not this baby only cost around 3,000 pounds to build.

Though it looks absolutely incredible, aesthetics were not Mr. Dale’s primary concerns. He tried to make his dream home as environment-friendly as he possibly could and hopes he set an example for others. Simon Dale and his family actually moved into the Hobbit House, but they are not stopping here. Their next project involves building nine other similar houses in Pembrokeshire, Britain.

For more info check Simon Dale’s official website

Here are a few specifications of the Hobbit House:

  • Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
  • Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
  • Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
  • Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
  • Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
  • Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
  • Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
  • Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
  • Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring…)
  • Woodburner for heating – renewable and locally plentiful
  • Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
  • Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
  • Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
  • Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
  • Water by gravity from nearby spring
  • Compost toilet
  • Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.”

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Tension ceiling handling a flood

Until these images caught my eye a few days ago, I didn’t even know what a tension ceiling did exactly. Of course I was never really interested in finding out, but now that I did, I’m actually thinking of getting one. Floods can be really nasty, and all that work to repair a flooded ceiling can be really exhausting so why bother, I’d rather have a balloon as a ceiling doing all the work. Take a look, it really works!