Colombia’s Flintstone House Is Made Entirely from Baked Clay

0 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

64-year-old architect Octavio Mendoza literally baked the house that he lives in. He calls the 5,400 square foot house ‘the biggest piece of pottery in the world’. Casa Terracotta, or Casa Barro in Spanish, was built exclusively by hand using clay and baked in the sun. Located in Villa de Leyva, a colonial mountain village in Colombia, it is also known to locals as the ‘Casa de Flintstone’ or Flintstone House.

From the outside, Casa Terracotta looks like a huge mound of clay, loosely fashioned to resemble a cottage. It is surrounded by lush green farmland, set against a breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. Inside, the rooms curve and flow into each other, as though the entire house was cast in a single mold. Rustic as it seems, the clay cottage does offer a few modern conveniences – solar panels for hot water, toilets and sinks covered in colorful mosaic tiles, two floors with lounge and sleeping areas, and a fully functional kitchen. Of course, the kitchen table and all the utensils are all fashioned out of the same material – clay. The beer mugs that adorn the kitchen are made of recycled glass and the lighting fixtures from scrap metal.

Mendoza, who spent most of his career designing homes, commercial buildings and churches, calls the clay house his ‘project for life’. He started to work on it over 14 years ago – his goal was to demonstrate how soil can be transformed into habitable architecture by simply using the natural resources at hand. So Casa Terracotta doesn’t contain an ounce of cement or steel. Mendoza, who is also an environmental activist, said: “Think of it this way. In desert places (which exist all across the planet), soil is perfect for this type of architecture. This means that for all those regions, a system like this could bring housing to millions of families.”

Casa-Terracota

..

Take a Look inside a $11.5 Million Doomsday-Proof House

3 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

If I had a house like this, maybe I wouldn’t mind an end-of-the-world type scenario at all. I’m talking about a 4,200 sq. ft. mansion located in Yellow Jacket, a deserted town in Colorado, U.S. I call it a mansion only for its interiors. From the outside, it looks every bit like the disaster-ready, Armageddon-proof house that it’s supposed to be.

The walls of this house are made of reinforced concrete and are lined with thick steel. This makes the structure so strong that it has been declared ‘nuclear rated’ by its online listing on Curbed.com. From the outside, it seems like a desolate and boring building in the middle of nowhere, but on the inside it’s a luxury home, complete with designer furniture and beautiful interiors. The only proof that the house is a ‘luxury survival bunker’ are the overhead metal air ducts that traverse almost every room. The ducts are meant to close off in the case of emergencies, like if the air gets contaminated from a gas leak.

doomsday-prrof-house

..

English Farmer Builds Incredible Hobbit House for Just 150 Pounds

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

At a time when housing rates are hitting the roof, an English farmer has gone and built a house for almost nothing. 59-year-old Michael Buck spent a measly £150( $250) to construct a small, yet cozy house in the garden of his Oxfordshire home.

The former art teacher drew plans for the house on the back of an envelope. He didn’t need any special planning permissions since it was classified as a summer home. Buck spent two years gathering natural and reclaimed materials for construction. It took him an additional eight months to construct it with his bare hands; he didn’t use any power tools at all.

To make the base, he learned the ancient technique of cob from a book. The technique comes from prehistoric times and involves a mixture of sand, clay, water and earth. Clay based subsoil is mixed with sand, straw and water and then ladled onto a stone foundation. Workers and oxen then trample upon the mixture – a process known as cobbing. The layers of cob gradually build up and harden over time.

For the 300 sq. ft. floor space, Buck rescued the floorboards from a neighbor’s unused skip. He retrieved the windscreen of an old lorry and converted the glass into windows. The walls are painted with a mixture of chalk and plant resin. The roof is a simple wooden frame thatched with straw from nearby fields.

cob-house

..

Israeli Women Convert Old Public Transportation Bus into Beautiful Living Space

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Two women from Even Yehuda, Israel, seem to have found a practical solution to the country’s growing housing problem. They have taken a beat-down public transportation bus and turned it into a luxury home anyone would be lucky to live in.

Tali Shaul, a psychotherapist, and Hagit Morevski, an ecological pond water treatment specialist, became friends after their two sons started playing together. Sharing similar views, the two looked for a creative project and joint business idea for a long time, before finding their inspiration in the pages of a women’s style magazine. “I read an article about alternative housing solutions, such as containers and tents,” Shaul told Xnet, “and suggested Hagit and I turn an old bus into a living space.” That same week, they went to a scrapyard and bought an old public transportation bus. After stripping away all the seats and clearing up the space for the big transformation, Tali and Hagit found themselves wondering whether to keep the original outlay of the bus or turn it into a container-like space. Unable to make a decision on heir own, they reached out to their designer friend, Vered Sofer Drori, who ultimately found a way to keep the bus’ general layout and design the living space around it.

Bus-Home

..

Eccentric Businessman Builds Mountain Villa atop Beijing Apartment Building

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Zhang Biqing, a successful Chinese businessman from Beijing, has spent the last six years building a realistic-looking two-story mountain villa atop a high apartment building right in China’s capital city.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could retreat somewhere quiet and get away from it all, without actually leaving your home? That’s probably what Zhang Biqing, a former government adviser turned successful entrepreneur, thought when he decided to build his dream mountain villa at the top of a 26-floor apartment building in Beijing’s upscale Park View estate. During the six years it took to complete, residents complained about the infernal construction noise, but after seeing the enormity of the complex covering the entire top of their building, they began to worry about structural damage. The mountain in which Biqing’s villa appears to be carved may be fake, but the materials used to make it are reportedly pretty heavy as well, and threaten to weaken the residential building’s resistance. It turns out the whole rooftop project is illegal, as Zhang never received the necessary planning permission for his extreme dwelling, yet no one ever bothered him about it until Chinese newspapers recently covered the topic sparking public outrage.

rooftop-villa

..

Chinese Human Snail Carries His Home on His Back Wherever He Goes

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

38-year-old Liu Lingchao is a real-life human snail who carries his 60-kg-heavy house on his back wherever he goes. Made of bamboo poles and plastic sheets, the portable home provides shelter on Liu’s long travels through China.

Liu Lingchao makes a living selling plastic bottle and metal cans he picks up from the streets of various Chinese cities. The man from Rong’an, Guangdong Province, built his first mobile home five years ago, as a way to save money on his long journeys, and for protection against rain and cold weather. Liu found life as a snail to his liking, and has since then worn out three bamboo huts. His newest one is 1.5 meters wide and and 2.2 meters tall, offering him just enough room for a modest bedding and his travel necessities. Its 60 kg weight is not exactly easy for one man to carry, so Liu really is moving at the pace of a snail along China’s roads, but it beats having to look for shelter wherever he goes, and says the fact that he can settle down virtually anywhere he wants is worth the effort. The human snail left Wuzhou City several months ago, and is now just 20 miles away from completing an epic 270-mile walk and returning to his home town.

snail-man

..

Ultimate Privacy – The House Built in the Middle of a River

3 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Have you ever dreamed of having a home in the middle of nowhere to escape to every now and then? I have. And this house built straight in the middle of the Drina River in Serbia fits the bill perfectly.

Standing on an exposed rock bang in the center of the river, near the town of Bajina Basta, this tiny house has been getting a lot of attention on the internet ever since it was captured on camera last year by Hungarian photographer Irene Becker. Her photo was published by National Geographic as one of the best ‘Photos of the Day’ in August 2012, and ever since then the mysterious and tranquil abode of Drina River has captured the imagination of millions. “I’m so glad that my picture makes this tiny house known to more and more people,” Becker said about her work. But in Serbia, the precariously placed house has been a popular tourist destination for decades, and a symbol of the picturesque Basta region. It was even nominated as one of the Seven Wonders of Serbia.

house-on-Drina-River

..

Dark Side of Hong Kong – People Living in Metal Cages

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Hong Kong is generally known the world over for its material comforts and affluent lifestyle. But there’s a dark  it as well that not many are aware of. Parallel to the wealthy citizens of Hong Kong there exists a community that is unable to cope with skyrocketing housing prices. These people are quite literally forced to live in tiny metal cages.

What’s worse is that the cages don’t come for free either. Stacked on top of each other, the 1.5 sq m enclosuress can be rented at a price of 1,300 Hong Kong dollars (about US $167) per month. These cages are crammed into a single dilapidated apartment in a working-class neighborhood in West Kowloon. Believe it or not, these metal living quarters are home to a whopping 100,000 people, according to statistics provided by a social welfare group called the Society for Community Organization. Other types of inadequate housing include apartments subdivided into tiny cubicles or filled with coffin-sized wood and metal sleeping compartments as well as rooftop shacks. Only two toilet stalls are available in each apartment and have to be shared by hundreds of single, elderly men, who make up the majority of the cage-occupants. No kitchen as such is provided; there’s only a small room with a sink. Almost all the men wash their clothes in a bucket. Instead of using mattresses, the men use thin pads, bamboo mats or old linoleum in their cages to keep the bedbugs away.

cage-homes-Hong-Kong

..

Would You Pay $600 a Month to Live in a Human Locker Room?

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

It’s no secret that Tokyo is one of the most crowded cities n the world. It’s also got some of the smallest apartments in the world, but a recent news program showed this whole housing problem is getting ridiculous. People are paying huge rents to live in coffin-sized apartments.

Just looking at photos of these locker room apartments in the Tokyo’s Shibuya district is enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic. And yet there are people willing to pay as much as ¥55,000 a month ($586) a month to live in them. Granted, most of them are probably just young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using these tiny accommodations just for sleeping, but still, the fact that someone would pay that high a rent for this kind of living conditions is baffling. Apart from the obvious lack of space, these so-called ”geki-sema share houses” are stacked on top of each other, and some don’t even have windows. The latest reactions to the video report show even Japanese people, who are used to small spaces, think these human locker rooms are insane.

Tokyo-small-apartment

..

Family Is Literally Living under a Rock in the Mexican Desert

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

For the last three decades, Benito Hernandez and his wife have been living under a huge rock, in Mexico’s Coahuila Desert, 80 kilometers from the US border.

Benito Hernandez started visiting the 40 meter diameter rock that now serves as a roof for his sun-dried brick home when he was just eight years old. He liked it so much that he decided to one day make it his home. Many 8-year-olds have crazy dreams, but Benito’s followed him into adulthood. 55 years ago, when he and his family first discovered the remote rock formation, a man could claim a piece of land by settling on it for long periods of time, so during the many years they spent working in the area harvesting the Candelilla plant, he beat off other who would claim the rock for themselves and 20 years later he finally became its legal owner. He could finally build his dream house under the boulder that fascinated him all this time.

..

California Water Tower Is Actually a Beautiful 3-Storey House

Comments OffStumble it Icon digg it Icon

If you look at the structure located at 1 Anderson Street, Seal Beach, California, you can see nothing but an ordinary water tower. But after a closer inspection you’ll realize it’s not filled with water, but common household items. It was several years ago, when the 100-year-old 9-storeys-tall water tower with a capacity of 75,000 gallons had outlived its purpose and was going to be torn down that a few local architects began taking interest in the structure. The tower was originally used to service steam engines traveling on the California coast. After the trains stopped running, the water tower was rendered useless. It was in danger of being demolished in the 1980s, when the architects stepped in, got permits and converted the tower into a beautiful home.

The process of converting a century-old structure into a home was no easy feat. First, the original water tank had to be removed and placed in a parking lot. After 18 months of renovation, a skilled team of engineers worked together to lift it up and put it back in its original place. A commercial elevator and two jacuzzis were added as the final touches to the 3000 sq ft. house. One of the jacuzzi tubs is actually on the upper deck and provides a view of the ocean. Almost every window in the house is fitted with stained glass. There are also two master bedrooms, a maid’s quarters, and four bathrooms. One of the bathrooms has rotating walls, so you could enter in the bedroom and come out from the hallway. The entertainment room has a 360 degree view, a built-in movie theatre, electric blinds and an indoor fire pit. From one direction you get to see the Pacific Ocean and the Catalina Island, and from another you get a view of the Newport Beach, Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro and San Bernardino Mountains. On a clear day, you can even get a glimpse of Los Angeles.

..

Chinese Motorway Built Around House Because Residents Refuse to Move

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

A half-demolished building stands in the middle of a new motorway in in the city of Wenling, China’s Zhejiang province, after its elderly residents refused to move.

Talk about an accident waiting to happen… Cars travelling at high speeds in the Chinese city of Wenling have to go around a building located right in the middle of a newly-built motorway. Luo Baogen and his wife refused to relocate, because they believed the compensation offered for relocating was not enough to cover the costs of rebuilding. So even though all their neighbors took the government’s deal, they stayed behind in the empty building. To ensure the structural integrity of the building, adjacent rooms in the building have been left intact. During most of the Communist era, private ownership of property was abolished, so it was easy to relocate people, but nowadays the new laws make it illegal to demolish a building until an agreement is reached with all its owners. Although the five-storey structure was affected by all the heavy machinery operating in the area during the construction of the motorway, the old Chinese couple have no intention of moving away. Luckily for them, traffic is pretty light, because the new road has not yet been officially opened, but once that happens, the noise alone will probably be too hard to bare, not to mention the danger of crossing the street.

..

For English Family Living in the Middle of a Cemetery Every Day Is Halloween

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Would you be brave enough to spend a night in an old mortuary chapel surrounded by dozens of graves? One English family is more than happy to sleep in such a house every night, and say it’s actually their dream home.

Jayne Stead and partner Mike Blatchford didn’t seem to mind the creepy graves and spooky statues when they decided to move into an old cemetery keeper’s lodge, in Southampton, England. The cemetery didn’t put us off. We don’t spook easily, in fact I love watching scary films and television shows,” 52-year-old Jayne told reporters. When we first had a look around it was really run down, there were graves everywhere but it never really felt scary, there was very nice feeling about the place.” Self-employed builder Mike Bletchford spend a whole year and about £100,000 ($160,000) turning the chapel into a home for his family, and today you couldn’t tell the living room was once a mortuary… But, while they’ve never seen a ghost in their unusual home, the couple admit they have witnessed some bizarre occurrences:  ”I’ve been sitting on my own in the living room and I’ve felt like there was someone standing behind me a few times,” Ms Stead said. “I’ve also found the dog barking at nothing in the corner of the room, but it’s not scary.”

..

Chinese Family Turn Abandoned Toilet into Cozy Home

1 CommentStumble it Icon digg it Icon

“There’s no place like home!”, I believe the saying goes, and this modest migrant family from China proves it applies even when home is an abandoned public toilet in the city of Shenyang.

Zeng Lingjun was born in a small village, in the Jilin Province of Northeastern China. As a boy, he dreamed of one day attending college, but because his family was too poor he had to abandon his dream and settle for becoming a cobbler and repair shoes for a living. But just because he couldn’t afford to go to college, didn’t mean he was willing to spend the rest of his life in his village. He had bigger plans for himself, so one day, with just 50 yuan ($8) in his pocket, he left for Shenyang, the biggest city in northeast China. Being a hard worker and a skilled cobbler helped Zeng make a living in the big city, and he was soon earning around 2,000 yuan (315) per month. But this wasn’t enough for him to get his own place.

..

Chinese Couple Convert Cargo Truck into Mobile Home

2 CommentsStumble it Icon digg it Icon

Unable to buy a real house, a young couple in Kunming, China, have opted to convert a small cargo truck into a comfy mobile home.

It’s hard to imagine someone living comfortably in the back of a truck, but the high housing prices in China have forced young people to be resourceful and find all kinds of original alternatives. Last year, a young Chinese student from Beijing built himself a sustainable egg-house from bamboo and insulating materials, and now a young couple have turned a cargo truck into an 8.5-square-meter living space.

It’s not the spaciest home ever built, but it features just about everything anyone needs to live a decent life, including a small kitchen with a sink and electric stove, bunk-beds, refrigerator, flat screen TV and even a computer. The only thing that isn’t shown in the photos is also one of the most important – the toilet, but, even if they haven’t improvised one on their truck, I’m sure they have some way of dealing with personal hygiene.

..

Page 1 of 212