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.


Usually, seeing is believing, but at this unique Pigeon Forge attraction, seeing is often DIS-believing. WonderWorks is an interactive science museum where the real-life wonders of the natural world unfold in a unique hands-on experience that begins even before you walk through the doors. The building’s 82-foot-tall façade is a marvel in itself, creating the illusion that the stately WonderWorks Institute has crash-landed upside down on top of the former Music Mansion Theater. Hissing steam emanating from a crack at the museum’s entrance enhances the illusion that a disaster of staggering proportions has just taken place.
Inside the main lobby, the topsy-turvy illusion continues, and beyond that, more than 100 exhibits await exploration as you move from room to room, each of which has a different theme. In the Disaster Zone, for example, simulators help you experience a 5.3-magnitude earthquake, or you can go head to head with hurricane-force winds. In the Space Zone, you can try your hand at landing a space shuttle orbiter or flying a fighter jet. In the Lights and Sound room, you’ll learn the science behind a variety of visual effects, or you can play a giant keyboard with your feet.
One of the most popular exhibits lets guests design their own roller coaster and then get inside a simulator that takes them on a ride, based on what they created. Other highlights include the Illusion Gallery—where some of the world’s most unique art pieces are more than meets the eye—as well as a laser tag area and a large video arcade.

Kansas City Public Library

The Kansas City Public Library is a public system headquartered in the Central Library in Kansas City, Missouri.
The system operates its Central Branch and neighborhood branches located in Kansas City, Independence, and Sugar Creek. Founded in 1873, it is the oldest and third largest public library system in the metropolitan Kansas City area.
Its special collections, housed in the Central Library's Missouri Valley Room, has a collection of Kansas City local history, including original and published materials, news articles, post cards, photographs, maps, and city directories dating from the community's earliest history. The Library's Ramos Collection includes books, pamphlets, journal articles and other materials relating to African-American history and culture.
"The Community Bookshelf [Central Library Parking Garage] is a striking feature of Kansas City's downtown. It runs along the south wall of the Central Library's parking garage on 10th Street between Wyandotte Street and Baltimore Avenue. The book spines, which measure approximately 25 feet by 9 feet, are made of signboard mylar. The shelf showcases 22 titles reflecting a wide variety of reading interests as suggested by Kansas City readers and then selected by The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees."

The Basket Building

This building (located in Newark, Ohio, US) by Longaberger Company, specialized on baskets, has a shape of… exactly a basket.

Once you’ve correctly immersed yourself in Longaberger culture by visiting Longaberger Town, Longaberger Homestead (r), shopped at all the Longaberger Stores, and become a Longaberger Representatives pyramiding out to convert more and more middle-aged women into the Longaberger Lifestyle, at some point you MUST make your pilgramage to the Longaberger Headquarters to deposit your Longaberger Party Orders in the big Longaberger Order Drop Basket in the 7 story Longaberger Basket Building ™. 
The Longaberger Basket Building ™ is a truely impressive example of Mimetic Architecture, and relatively recent at that. It was the brainchild of the Longaberger Empire Founder Dave Longaberger, whos biography was a recent hotseller in the inspirational story market. One of his pithy sayings was proudly parroted by our enthusiastic host: “If they can put a man on the moon, they can certainly build a building that’s shaped like a basket.”

Ferdinand Cheval Palace a.k.a Ideal Palace

The Ideal Palace stands in a small village in central France. The village of Hauterives stands south of Lyons. This structure was built single handedly by a postman who was popularly known as Postman Ferdinand Cheval. This palace is said to be one of the most astonishing and amazing visionary structures ever to be built in the world. The building of this structure began in the year 1879, and Ferdinand Cheval finished building it in 33 years.
Cheval had dreamt of having a wondrous palace, but he wasn’t really a builder. One day, when he was out, he came across a stone that was strangely shaped. There was something utterly provocative about the stone; and he just had to bring it home with him. Within a short period of time, his entire garden had begun having unusual rock gatherings; made up of rocks that he’d gathered along the 20 miles of his postal route. The stones were what made up for his basic building material. These stones he bound together along with wire and cement. He began building the structure when he was 43 years old.
In spite of the fact that he was highly ridiculed by the locals, he kept on toiling towards completing the dream creation that he’d begun working on. He began inventing different ways to build the structure while he progressed along the way. He lent shape to the building by carving and modeling the stones. He was known to toil the nights and day, and knew that most people thought he was mad. He needed almost 3500 bags of lime and cement to build a stone palace of this size.
His understanding of the outside world was what he used in order to create this outstanding structure. The surface decoration of the structure is known to combine aspects of a mosque, a Khmer temple, a feudal castle, a Swiss chalet, a Hindu sanctuary and a manger. It is said to consist of four facades and winding stairs that are known to lead up to the tower. There is a hallway containing vaults that is known to house 2 empty coffins made out of stone. There is a special shrine that is meant especially for the faithful wheelbarrow that helped him carry the stones meant for the building of the Ideal Palace.
In the year 1905, there was an article published about Le Matin, a newspaper. It made Postman Cheval a local celebrity, by talking about his work to the entire nation. Suddenly the Ideal Palace became a popular destination for tourists to visit.
Cheval wanted to use the Palace as his own tomb; but given the fact that local rules and regulations did not allow for this, he couldn’t. At the age of 80, he began working on his own tomb in the churchyard. He is said to have completed working on it within 2 years; and that is where he finally rests today.

The Torre Galatea Figueras

The first thing you notice are the giant egg sculptures along the roofline. Then it hits you that the Salvador Dali Theater Museum in Figueras, Spain, is no ordinary building. The museum’s tower, Torre Galatea, was named for the surrealist artist’s deceased wife, and Dali himself lived there until his death in 1989. Interestingly, the museum sits next to the parish church where Dali was baptized in 1904; he is buried in an unmarked crypt in the museum’s main exhibition hall.

I've never been to Spain, however, if I were to go ... this is a building I would want to visit. What sights would you see if you went to Spain?

Forest Spiral – Hundertwasser Building

The Waldspirale is the name of this unique building located in Darmstadt, Germany. It is translated into English as Forest Spiral which is suitable both because of the general plan of the building and the fact that it has a green roof. The complex was designed by the world famous Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, built by the Bauverein Darmstadt company. Hundertwasser’s idea was to plan the building so that it rose up on the site in the form of an afforested spiral. The design expresses irregular, organic forms in an incomparable individualism. Spiral Forest contains 12 floors and 105 apartments, a parking garage, a kiosk as well as a café and a bar. The café is located at the top of the residence opening a breathtaking view. This building can’t be unnoticed. Among the peculiarities are irregular organization, the windows, which appear as if they were “dancing out of line”, the diagonal roof, planted with grass, shrubs, flowers and trees.

The Crooked House (Krzywy Domek)

The Krzywy Domek, aka. Crooked House, located in Sopot, Poland is a funny looking building. The architecture is based on the drawings of 2 famous painters/illustrators in Poland: Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg.
The Krzywy Domek was built in 2004. It is approximately 4,000 square meters in size and is part of the Rezydent shopping center.
The Krzywy Domek honours its guests in a special way. It is the tradition of this mysterious place that people who participate in cultural events put their signatures on the wall of the Krzywy Domek, named “The Wall of Fame”, which is the Polish version of the American Hollywood Walk of Fame. This is one of many extraordinary ideas carried out by creators of the Krzywy Domek which caused the building to be nominated in 2009 to the 7 wonders of the Tri-city (Sopot, Gdańsk, Gdynia) competition. It was liked very much by the Internet users and had crowds of fans.