Welcome to Yanjin, the World’s Narrowest City

Built along the Nanxi River, between the steep mountains of China’s Yunnan Province, Yanjin county is widely regarded as the world’s narrowest city.

Looking at Yanjin county from above, it’s hard to believe that such a settlement actually exists in real life. The narrow stretch of usable land sandwiched between the troubled waters of the Nanxi River and steep mountains on either side hardly seems like a suitable location for a city of roughly 450,000 people, but that’s exactly what makes Yanjin so special. It looks more like something you’d expect to see in a fantasy movie, or in a building simulation game than a modern-day city.

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Burj Al Babas – Turkey’s Famous Ghost Town of Fairytale Castles

Burj Al Babas is an abandoned housing development in Turkey, which consists of hundreds of miniature Disney-like chateaus stretching out almost as far as the eye can see.

It was supposed to be a bustling holiday retreat for the world’s super-rich, a neighborhood of castle-inspired villas spread around in a picturesque valley, near the the historic village of Mudurnu, in northwestern Turkey. Instead, today Burj Al Babas is one of the world’s largest ghost towns, featuring hundreds of unfinished villas, some of which have already started to deteriorate. It’s a story of big ambitions, sky-high property prices and economic woes that ultimately spelled the end of the dream that was Burj Al Babas.

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Chinese Company Erects 10-Storey Apartment Building in Less Than 29 Hours

China’s Broad Group recently showcased its innovative Living Building, a new type of modular building system, by erecting a 10-storey apartment building in Changsha City in only 28 hours and 45 minutes.

The Living Building concept developed by Broad Group sounds like it could truly revolutionize the construction industry, and the Chinese company’s recent feat of erecting a 10-floor building in just over a day was meant to emphasize just how disruptive its new system can be. Technically, the building was just assembled on a site in Changsha, by three cranes and a large workforce, as all the components were built in a local Broad Group factory and transported by truck. But that’s one of the features of the Living Building system, it consists of pre-made container-size modules that only need to be bolted together at the “build” site and have their electricity and plumbing connected.

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Mirrored Ceiling Makes Bookstore Look Like an Infinite Library

Dujiangyan Zhongshuge, a bookstore in Dujiangyan, China, relies on strategically placed mirrors and gleaming black tile floor to create a stunning illusion that makes the place look like an infinite bookworm’s paradise.

The roughly 10,500-square-foot bookshop was designed by Li Xiang, founder of Shanghai-based architecture studio X+Living, and inaugurated in the Fall of 2020. Using clever elements like spiraling staircases, curved archways and strategically-placed mirrors, the designers of this unique bookstore were able to create a downright stunning illusion of infinity. One need only look at photos of Dujiangyan Zhongshuge’s interior to experience the otherworldliness of the place.

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300-Meter Chinese Skyscraper Wobbles Ominously for No Apparent Reason

A 73-storey skyscraper in Shenzen, China, was recently evacuated after it reportedly started shaking for no apparent reason, sending inhabitants into a panic.

On Tuesday afternoon, SEG Plaza, a 20-year-old skyscraper in Shenzen, started wobbling visibly, prompting both people inside and those on the streets below to flee for their lives. Videos shared on social media by people in the vicinity at the time of the freak occurrence, show the giant edifice leaning from one side to the other,  and furniture on the inside shaking. By the time the Shenzhen Emergency Management Bureau evacuated the building, it had stopped shaking, but the plaza remained sealed off until the investigation into the cause of the wobbling was concluded.

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The Unique Cast Iron Church of Istanbul

The Bulgarian St. Stephen Church in Istanbul, Turkey, has the detailed ornaments of an Orthodox stone church, but it’s actually made of prefabricated cast iron elements.

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Iron Church’, St. Stephen Church is considered the largest prefabricated cast iron building in the world. It consists of thousands of prefabricated pieces of cast iron, from large walls, to small, intricate decorations, all of which weigh over 500 tons. As almost the entire structure and its exquisite décor are cast out of iron, a close inspection reveals the heads of the large screws holding it together everywhere you look.

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Swim 115 Feet Above London in the World’s Only See-Through Sky Pool

Suspended 35 meters above the ground, between two new residential buildings in London’s Nine Elms business district, the highly-anticipated Sky Pool makes you feel like you’re swimming through the sky.

Measuring 25 meters in length, the transparent outdoor pool was designed by HAL Architects. It is made out of acrylic and can hold up to 148,000 gallons of water. The impressive sky pool is the centerpiece of Embassy Gardens, a new 2,000-home development in the Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station regeneration zone. When it opens, next month, Sky Pool will become the most exclusive place to take a dip in all of Britain.

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The Line – Saudi Arabia’s Controversial 170-Km-Long Linear City of the Future

In early 2021 Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince unveiled the concept of a futuristic urban development called The Line, which basically consists of a linear, 170-km-long city without roads of cars and built around nature.

During his presentation of The Line, back in January, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman described the future smart city as a direct response to growing challenges like human congestion, pollution, traffic and outdated infrastructure. Linking the coast of the Red Sea with the mountains and upper valleys of the north-west of Saudi Arabia, The Line will be powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), continuously learning predictive ways to make life easier for both residents and local businesses. It will be powered by 100% clean energy and will feature an underground hyper-speed transportation system, instead of roads and cars.

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This Quaint Vermont House Comes With Its Own Seven-Cell Jail

If you’re in the market for a unique kind of house, this $149,000 Vermont property may spark your interest. It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside, but it actually comes with its own creepy jail.

Located in Guidhall, a small Vermont town, this 2,190-square-foot white and green home has been listed on online real-estate marketplace Realtor for two months, with an asking price of $149,000. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, wood floors and high ceilings, a nice backyard, as well as its own adjacent seven-cell jail. That’s right, an actual jail, the kind where people used to be locked-up in up until a few decades ago. This used to be the town jailer’s home, and even though the property has changed hands several times since then, the jail has remained intact.

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Cousins Turn Old Water Tower They Used to Play In as Kids Into Cozy Family Home

Two cousins from the Dutch town of Nieuw-Lekkerland recently received an award for turning an old water tower into a modern and stylish home for their respective families.

Sven and Lennart de Jong grew up in a house right next to the old water tower of Nieuw-Lekkerland, and used to paly in it as kids, so in 2011, when they heard it was being put up for auction, they decided to place a bid. The approximately 200,000 euros they bid proved to be enough and the two became the owners of an abandoned building from 1915. Sven and Lennart knew that they had their work cut out, but they dreamt of making the water tower their home in a decade’s time, and managed to pull it off. For their achievement, the two received the 2020 Water Tower Award, a distinction for the best conversion of a historic water tower.

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Entrepreneur Builds 600-Square-Meter Floating Sea Mansion

A Chinese entrepreneur spent a year and only 400,000 yuan ($61,000) building himself an awesome, 600-square-foot floating home on the coast of Fujian province.

The protagonist of our story is a young entrepreneur known only by his nickname, “Coastline”, who grew up near the sea, spending most of his time fishing and taking in the beautiful sunsets of Dongshan County, a large island in the South China Sea. Coastline spent most of his free time sea fishing, and always drove his friends crazy with his praise of the sea and the carefree lifestyle of the fishermen of Dongshan. One night in 2018, while drinking with his good friend, architect Dong Xinmeng, he started talking about how great it would be to have a floating home, so he could fish and drink beer all day. One drink led to another, and by the end of the night, they had decided to make his dream a reality.

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Giant Dominoes – The Tilted Apartment Buildings of Santos

The Brazilian city of Santos is famous as the birthplace of Pele, regarded by many as the greatest football player ever, but also for its unique looking waterfront skyline, which looks, well, a bit tilted.

The leaning apartment buildings of Santos have been around for decades, and even though the problem has been getting worse over time, so far authorities have chosen not to intervene, claiming the edifices are perfectly safe. The Santos skyline is made up of 651 buildings, all of which are somewhat tilted, some only about 5cm out of level, which counts as a construction flaw, others almost 2 meters, which makes them visibly tilted. But the issue isn’t only aesthetic, some apartments have windows and doors that no longer close properly, and others have plumbing issues. There have also been reports of inhabitants experiencing loss of balance issues on level ground, from spending too much time in their tilted apartments.

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Origami Housing – Foldable Tiny House Can Be Moved and Installed in Just 3 Hours

If you’ve always dreamed of packing up your house and moving around whenever you like, this foldable tiny house that comes with plumbing and electrical wiring pre-installed is going to seem mighty interesting.

Latvian startup Brette Haus only started producing its ingenious foldable houses last December, but its innovative design and technology has already made quite an impression both on the general public and housing experts. Using cross-laminated timber as the main construction material, Brette Haus can build a whole house in 8 weeks, and then install it anywhere in 3-4 hours. Because it doesn’t require a permanent foundation, the foldable house can be moved at any time, and has minimum impact on the land it’s set up on.

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Waterbuurt – Amsterdam’s Floating Neighborhood

Waterbuurt (Dutch for “water quarter”) is a state of the art residential development in Amsterdam, which consists of nearly 100 individual floating homes moored on Lake Eimer.

The floating homes Ijburg district are no ordinary houseboats, but real floating houses. They float adjacent to jetties and are moored to steel pilons, so they only move vertically with the changing tide. Designed by Dutch architect Marlies Rohmer, the houses have a “no-nonsense, basic design” but are comfortable at the same time. They were built at a shipyard about 65 km north of Lake Eimer and then transported through a network of canals. Although the Waterbuurt is still a work in progress, some of the houses are already inhabited.

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Modern-Looking House Has the Interior Design of a Baroque Palace

Photos of a house near the Russian city of Irkutsk have gone viral on social media because of the contrast between its exterior and interior design.

Located in the village of Novaya Razvodnaya, near Irkutsk, this modern house was recently put on sale, as part of a 620-square-meter property. At first glance, the house has a pretty modern look, but the solitary Roman column decorating the yard hints at the fact that there is more to this place than meets the eye. The moment you set foot inside, it’s like going down the rabbit whole and waking up in a whole new dimension.

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