Mar 8, 2011

Manchester Civil Justice Centre

The Manchester Civil Justice Centre is a building in Manchester, England. It houses the Manchester County Court and the Manchester District Registry of the High Court, as well as Manchester City Magistrates’ Family Courts, the District Probate Registry and the Regional and Area Offices of the Court Service.
It was constructed between 2003 and 2007 and is located in the Spinningfields district to the west of Deansgate. The western side of the 80 metres (260 ft), 17-storey building faces the River Irwell, which marks the border between the cities of Manchester and Salford. It is currently the joint 6th tallest building in the city centre. The entrance to the building opens onto Bridge Street.
It was designed by Australian architects Denton Corker Marshall with engineers Mott MacDonald. The building is notable for the "fingers" at each end that are cantilevered over the lower levels, and it is rumoured that Barrie Marshall sketched the entire building by hand and that very little has deviated from his drawings. On the western side is an 11,000-square-metre (120,000 sq ft) suspended glass wall, the largest in Europe. It is the first major complex of its sort in Britain since George Edmund Street's Royal Courts of Justice in London's Strand, completed in 1882.
The same design team, incorporating Denton Corker Marshall and Mott MacDonald, are currently in the process of designing a sister court building in Birmingham, England, known as Birmingham Magistrates' Court.
On 18 January 2007, during the Kyrill storm, several pieces of aluminium cladding were blown off the building, one of which struck a woman walking along Bridge Street. The road was cordoned off by police for several hours.

Mar 6, 2011

Kettle House

Kettle House in Galveston, Texas, made of steel in the 1950's.
It is a very interesting-looking structure.
According to the “Weird Texas” by Wesley Treat, Heather Shade and Rob Roggs, :"You probably wouldn't consider steel to ne the best uilding material for a salty environment, but the composition of the Mysterious kettle House on Galveston's shores is just one of its puzzling traits.
Consider, for example, that it's also the only structure in sight that isn't on stilts, another unusual design choice for a building so close to the water. Nevertheless, the Kettle has existed for some fifty years.
Supposedly it was erected by a gentelman who used to build storage tanks for oil companies, though his exact identity is unknown. The neighbors, some og whom were residents when the Kettle went uo, have seen the man but know little about him.
One local says the structure, which he refers to as the Tank, was originally built to serve as a convenience store, though it never opened. It just sits empty. On occasion, someoane will show up , do a little work, then disappear for years. There have been reports of strange figures arriving in the wee hours of the morning, then vanishin. No one would be seen again for months."

Dancing Building

Built during 1992-96 by Frank Gehry and Vladimir Mulunic, the Dancing Building is a piece of controversial Prague architecture that the locals still aren't sure about. However, the delightful design of the building, nicknamed "Fred and Ginger" for the way the building mimics the forms of a dancing couple, is usually a prime object of photography for tourists. Celeste Restaurant and Bar, formerly La Perle de Prague, housed on the top two floors of the Dancing Building, is a French restaurant that that is proud to offer diners panoramic views of Prague and an extensive wine menu.

Chapel in the Rock

Designed by a Frank Lloyd Wright student, Marguerite Brunswig Staude, the chapel was built in 1956 and rises 200 feet from the ground between two large red rock formations. One of the most distinctive features is a 90-foot cross, which can be seen from the ground along State Route 179. A massive stained glass window turns the chapel's interior into a kaleidoscope of color at certain times of the day. No services are held here, but it provides an ideal setting for spiritual reflection and prayer as well as incredible views of the Red Rocks. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
The American Institute of Architects gave the Chapel its Award of Honor in 1957. In the sculptor's words, “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the Chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed, that God may come to life in the souls of all men and be a living reality.”
In 2007 Arizonans voted the Chapel to be one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona, and it is also the site of one of the so-called Sedona vortices.
The Chapel is one of the main tourist attractions in the Sedona area. It is open from 9am to 5pm daily and closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Good Friday and Easter.

Hang Nga Guesthouse a.k.a Crazy House

Hằng Nga guesthouse, popularly known as the “Crazy House”, is an unconventional building designed and constructed by Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga in Đà Lạt, Vietnam. Described as a “fairy tale house”, the building’s overall design resembles a giant tree, incorporating sculptured design elements representing natural forms such as animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. Its architecture, comprising complex, organic, non-rectilinear shapes, has been described as expressionist. Nga has acknowledged the inspiration of Catalan Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí in the building’s design, and visitors have variously drawn parallels between it and the works of artists such as Salvador Dali and Walt Disney. Since its opening in 1990, the building has gained recognition for its unique architecture, being highlighted in numerous guidebooks and listed as one of the world’s ten most “bizarre” buildings in the Chinese People's Daily.

Cubic Houses

Kubuswoningen, or cube houses, are a set of innovative houses built in Rotterdam and Helmond in The Netherlands, designed by architect Piet Blom in 1984. The houses in Rotterdam are located on Overblaak Street, and beside the Blaak Subway Station. Blom tilted the cube of a conventional house 45 degrees, and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pylon. There are 38 small cubes and two so called 'super-cubes', all attached to each other.
As residents are disturbed so often by curious passers-by, one owner decided to open a "show cube", which is furnished as a normal house, and is making a living out of offering tours to visitors.

The houses contain three floors:
  • ground floor entrance
  • first floor with living room and open kitchen
  • second floor with two bedrooms and bathroom
  • top floor which is sometimes used as a small garden
The walls and windows are angled at 54.7 degrees. The total area of the apartment is around 100 square meters, but around a quarter of the space is unusable because of the walls that are under the angled ceilings.

Habitat 67

Habitat 67 is a housing complex and landmark located on the Marc-Drouin Quay on the Saint Lawrence River at 2600, Pierre Dupuy Avenue in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Its design was created by architect Moshe Safdie based on his master's thesis at McGill University and built as part of Expo 67.

Expo 67 was nicknamed "Man and his World", taken from Antoine de Saint Exupéry's memoir Terre des hommes (literally "Land of Men"), translated as Wind, Sand and Stars. Housing was one of the main themes of Expo 67. Habitat 67 then became a thematic pavilion visited by thousands of visitors who came from around the world. During Expo 67 it was also the temporary residence of the many dignitaries coming to Montreal.
It was designed to integrate the variety and diversity of scattered private homes with the economics and density of a modern apartment building. Modular, interlocking concrete forms define the space. The project was designed to create affordable housing with close but private quarters, each equipped with a garden. The building was believed to illustrate the new lifestyle people would live in increasingly crowded cities around the world. The complex was originally meant to be vastly larger. Due to its architectural cachet, demand for the building's units has made them more expensive than originally envisioned.
The building is owned by its tenants, who formed a limited partnership that purchased the building from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1985.