Jakarta’s Rooftop Suburb Is Built Atop a Giant Shopping Mall

The Indonesian city of Jakarta is home to one of the most unusual residential projects in the world – a suburb located atop a 10-storey shopping mall.

Over the past 20 years, Jakarta has become one of the world’s most crowded megacities. With over 10 million residents in its metropolitan area alone and up to three times that in the greater Jakarta area, the city is quickly running out of land to build on. While other crowded capitals, like Tokyo, are expanding vertically, Jakarta is expanding horizontally, with most residents preferring low-rise houses instead of apartments. With real-estate in increasingly short supply, developers have been forced to think outside the box, and that’s how urban oddities like Cosmo Park came to exist…

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Homeless Man Who Built His Own Fairytale Castle Is Now Forced to Tear It Down

A French homeless man who built his own intricate castle out of recycled foam after losing his apartment has been notified by authorities to tear it down because it poses a danger.

David, a 53-year-old former animator from Toulouse, France, has been homeless for over a year, after reportedly losing his apartment to squatting. With nowhere else to go, he had no choice but to sleep in a tent on the outskirts of Tournefeuille, a town on the banks of the Touch River. One day, an old woman stopped in front of his tent and said “that’s not very clean,” so he decided to upgrade his temporary abode to something more visually appealing. Using his experience as an animator, he steadily built himself a fairytale castle out of recycled and painted blocks of foam found in dumpsters. Before long, his home became a popular attraction for both children and adults.

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The Wind Wall of Rozenburg Allows Giant Ships to Safely Pass Through a Narrow Channel

The Wind Wall of Rozenburg is a unique installation designed to block strong winds from hitting the large ships passing through a narrow canal on their way to the port.

After World War 2, the Dutch port city of Rozenburg grew both in size and prosperity, and in order to cope with the ever-growing maritime traffic a new canal parallel to the already existing Nieuwe Vaterveg canal was built in the 1960s. The Qalandia Canal, named after the civil engineer who built Nieuwe Vaterveg was a massive success, but it wasn’t long before it too became overwhelmed by the ships using it, primarily because of their size. These giant cargo ships were so big that the strong wind blowing from the sea threatened to alter their course as they passed through the narrow canal and leave them stuck. So local authorities started looking for solutions.

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The Anti-Pirate Houses of Ikaria Island

The Greek Island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea is home to numerous camouflaged houses built under giant rocks to make them harder to spot by pirates.

Nowadays, Ikaria is a popular tourist destination famous for its sandy beaches, picturesque villages and pristine natural landscape. But it wasn’t always the slice of paradise it is today. Hundreds of years ago, Ikaria was a prime target for the pirates who called the Aegean their home, so to protect themselves from their raids, the locals started building ‘anti-pirate’ homes deep into the mountains, to make their island look uninhabited from the sea. At one point, the entire population of Ikaria concealed itself in rock houses that didn’t attract attention unless you literally walked past them.

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Vietnam’s Famous Gilded House Is an Ode to Gold

An entrepreneur in Can Tho, Vietnam’s fourth-largest city, has been getting a lot of attention for his unique home, which is gilded both inside and out.

Mr. Nguyen Van Trung is a Vietnamese businessman who reportedly made his fortune in the real-estate business. After visiting many countries around the world, he decided to return to his home city and build a house with a real touristic appeal, and after speaking with a home decorator he decided to go for a gold theme. To say that he went a little overboard with the gilding would be an understatement, as you can clearly see in the photos below. From the walls to the furniture and the various decorations, everything looks like it’s made of gold or at least gold-plated.

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The World’s Smallest Town Has Only Two Streets and Three Rows of Houses

Hum is a picturesque hilltop settlement in Croatia’s Istria region whose main call to fame is being the smallest town in the world.

Located in central Istria, approximately a 2.5 hours drive from Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb, the medieval hilltop town of Hum is home to between 20 and 30 people (21 according to the 2011 national census, and 27 as of 2021). Its origins are shrouded in mystery, but its first mention in historical documents dates back to the year 1102, when it was called Cholm. A bell and watch tower was built in 1552 as part of the town’s defenses, and guards and their families started moving in, but the town never really developed over the centuries, and even today it consists of just three neat rows of medieval houses and two streets.

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Rome’s Villa Aurora – The Most Expensive House in the World

Located on a hill in the heart of Rome and featuring the only ceiling mural ever painted by the Italian Baroque old master Caravaggio, Villa Aurora is widely regarded as the world’s most expensive house.

The 30,000-square-foot, 16th-century villa is located a short walk from the famous Via Veneto, home to some of Rome’s best hotels, and close to the iconic Piazza di Spagna and the ancient Porta Pinciana. Originally a hunting lodge, the villa is all that remains of a 30-hectare complex owned by Italy’s Ludovisi noble family, who gave the country numerous diplomats, patrons of the arts, and even a Pope. Today, Villa Aurora finds itself at the heart of a legal battle and an Italian court has ruled that it should be sold at auction. Only the price set for the property is so high that no one seems interested in paying it.

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The Broken Wheel – The Netherlands’ Unique Waterside Suburb

Het Brekkense Wiel, Dutch for “The Broken Wheel”, is a unique waterside residential area and tourist attraction in the Netherlands.

Located between the Frisian Lakes and IJsselmeer, the largest lake in the Netherlands, the aptly-named Het Brekkense Wiel is a suburb made up of several properties on small plots of land resembling broken wheels and surrounded by water. Every building consists of several homes, each accessible both by car and by both, which makes this place very popular with water sports enthusiasts. Because of its unique layout and visually-impressive design – especially when seen from above – Het Brekkense Wiel is often considered an example of ingenious waterside urban planning.

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China’s ‘Pig Hotels’ – Massive Multi-Storey Pork Production Facilities

After seeing its pork production decimated by African swine flu outbreaks, China has been investing heavily into so-called ‘pig hotels’, controversial multi-storey pig raising facilities.

Talk about elevating pig farming to new heights! For the last three years, farmers across China have been investing billions of dollars into massive high-rise hog-raising facilities popularly known as pig hotels. The trend started with two and three-storey facilities, but it quickly escalated into monolithic structures of over 10 levels, with tens of thousand of animals raised on each. At the end of this month, Zhongxin Kaiwei Modern Farming, a privately-owned company in Hubei, is set to complete a 26-storey pig hotel touted as the largest such structure in the world.

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This Mindboggling Overpass Is Considered the World’s Most Difficult to Navigate

Featuring 20 ramps intertwined over five levels and connecting three major expressways, the Huangjuewan Overpass in Chongqing is considered to be the world’s most complicated overpass.

When the first photos of Huangjuewan Overpass first hit the internet, a few years back, they cause a mix of shock, amazement and concern, especially among motorists. Many were wondering how on Earth less-experienced drivers were supposed to find their way with so many ramps and lanes to choose from. And, even if you consider yourself an experienced driver, Huangjuewan does look a little daunting, at least at first sight. Despite its designers’ claims that it looks much more complicated than it truly is, Huangjuewan has become known as the world’s most complicated overpass.

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Tekesi County – China’s Unique Bagua-Shaped City

Built according to the “Bagua”, or the Eight Trigrams used in Taoist cosmology, Tekesi County has a unique and eye-catching layout that allegedly renders traffic lights obsolete.

Bagua represents the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. It is a complex concept of Taoist cosmology which also has correspondences in astronomy, geography, anatomy, martial arts, medicine, and other disciplines. It’s also an essential tool in the majority of Feng Shui schools, used to map a room or location and see how the different sections correspond to different aspects in one’s life. But one thing the Bagua isn’t really used for is city planning; with one notable exception – Tekesi County, a city of 150,000 people in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

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This $150,000 Miniature Japanese Palace May Be the World’s Most Exclusive Dog House

The “Inuden” (Dog Den), a $150,000 architectural wonder built exclusively by hand by a Japanese palace carpenter, is probably the ultimate dog house money can buy.

Cultural Property Structural Plan Co., Ltd. is an Osaka-based company that specializes in the preservation and repair of cultural property buildings and seismic reinforcement design. It employs experts in traditional architecture who use centuries-old shrine and temple-building techniques. Recently, the Japanese company announced a new project, codename ‘Inuden’, which involves building an exclusive dog house out of high-quality natural materials, using the same traditional techniques used on Japanese shrines, temples and castles.

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World’s Thinnest Skyscraper Is So ‘Skinny’ It May Sway in the Air

With a height-to-width ratio of 24:1, Steinway Tower, an 84-story luxury apartment building in Manhattan, is officially the world’s thinnest skyscraper.

Steinway Tower is an impressive architectural achievement. Not only is it the third-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere – after One World Trade Center (1,776 feet) and Central Park Tower (1,550 feet) – but it’s actually the most slender skyscraper in the world. Despite standing a dizzying 1,428-feet-tall, Steinway Tower is just 60 feet wide. It’s so thin that The Guardian newspaper has dubbed it “the coffee stirrer”. For comparison, Steinway Tower is as wide as a bowling alley is long.

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London’s Invisible House Is Covered in Mirrors

A unique house in London’s Richmond neighborhood has been dubbed “the invisible house” as the giant mirror walls reflect everything around it, making it very hard to notice.

Located on the busy A316 road by the Richmond Circus roundabout, near Richmond Underground station, London’s Invisible House isn’t some fancy art installation, but an actual home. Redesigned by architect and artist Alex Haw in 2015, the property has been inhabited since 2019, and the family said that living there has been interesting, to say the least. Even though passers-by can’t see inside, the owners can see outside perfectly fine, and they sometimes spot people fixing their hair or clothes in their mirrored walls and windows.

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Vietnamese Businessman Builds Himself a Palace-Like Mansion

A successful businessman in Vietnam’s Thanh Hoa province has been getting a lot of attention because of the opulent mansion he built for himself and his family.

Looking at the architectural masterpiece built by Mr. Trinh Dinh Xuan, a businessman who operates in the construction sector, it’s easy to see why photos of the edifice have been going viral on social media ever since it was completed, in 2018. Featuring an imposing facade with giant stone columns flanking the entrance, three large domes topped with gilded statues, and a baroque architectural style inspired by European palaces, the so-called “Xuan Truong Mansion” is one of the most eye-catching buildings in all of Vietnam.

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