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Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Futuro House Project - Information, Photos & Locations

The Futuro House

More accurately called Futuro Houses these 20th Century prefabricated homes are often referred to as "UFO Houses". I first came across the Futuro House at the beginning of July 2011 right after I had started this website and the one in Royse City, TX, USA became the subject of one of my early articles. Since then I have been fascinated by the Futuro House and I have spent ...     [Image By Runder]

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
Some of the most magnificent structures ever conceived were built in the Middle Ages. Few modern structures can match the awe inspiring gothic cathedrals of Europe. These massive monuments to times past were often constructed over decades and sometimes over hundreds of years; generations of craftsmen dedicated their lives to the projects never to see the final glory of the completed cathedrals. Take York Minster for example; started in 1220 the current cathedral took ...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hang Nga Guesthouse, Vietnam aka The Crazy House

Hang Nga Guesthouse, Dalat, Vietnam
Opened in 1990 the Hang Nga Guesthouse in Da Lat, Vietnam is the brainchild of architect Dang Viet Nga. Early in its life the property was often described as "The Crazy House" by visitors and Nga soon adopted that nickname herself; these days the guesthouse is most commonly referred to that way and you will note in one of the photos the welcome sign that actually uses that name. In overall shape the property resembles a large tree trunk and it has been described as a "fairy tale house". The architecture ...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Royal Ontario Museum "Crystal", Toronto, Canada

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada
In 2002 the Royal Ontario Museum, a Canadian world culture and natural history museum located in Toronto, began a significant expansion and renovation project dubbed Renaissance ROM. By far the most significant part of this project was the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal. The facility was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind who beat out around 50 other high profile architects in a competition for the project. The "Crystal" is certainly an eye catching creation with its sloping walls, angular...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA, USA
In my recent article on Frank O. Gehry's Venice Beach House I used an image from the blog "What Do I Know". During some correspondence with the author of "What Do I Know" he mentioned the Walt Disney Concert Hall; one of Gehry's most iconic creations. While researching and writing my recent articles on Gehry and also on two of his buildings, the Venice Beach House and The Hotel Marques de Riscal, I had come across the Concert Hall but I had not looked closely at it. The mention of it ...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kosovo National Library, Prishtina, Kosovo

National & University Library, Prishtina, Kosovo
I came across a picture of this building the other day while browsing on Flickr. The caption just read "Cool Building" and there was no location info but since the photo included the plaque on the front it was easily identifiable as the Biblioteka Kombëtare, Republika e Kosovës [English translation] or, in language I can understand, the National & University Library Of Kosovo located in the capital of Kosovo, Prishtina. It looks for all the world like someone took a giant net and draped it over the building; the...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Frank O. Gehry Venice Beach House, Venice, CA, USA

Frank O. Gehry Beach House, Venice Beach, CA, USA
In my "spotlight" article on Pritzker Prize winning architect Frank O. Gehry published recently I observed that Gehry "buildings often include the use of flowing curves and metal claddings that add a surreal touch and differentiate them from other, more conventional, designs. Having said that Gehry by no means restricts himself to one theme; take a look at the Venice Beach house ..." Today I return to Gehry to look at the Venice Beach House which is, to use an old cliché, the ...

Friday, August 19, 2011

In The Spotlight - Architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Friedensreich Hundertwasser

I first came across Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser [1928-2000] during research for the August 17th article on Kuchlbauer's Bierwelt. A look at his body of work immediately placed him with Frank O. Gehry in the category of architects who have made major contributions to the stranger end of the architectural spectrum. Like Gehry multiple ...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kuchlbauer's Bierwelt, Abensberg, Germany

bierwelt Graz, Graz, Austria
Breweries are not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about unique and inspired architecture but for German brewer Leonhard Salleck that was precisely what happened in the late 1990's. The Kuchlbauer´s Bierwelt has, to say the least, a lengthy history and can trace it origins back to the late 1400's. More recently the brewery has been in the Salleck family since 1904. The brewery brews specialty "Weissbier" or Wheat Beer and, while it is a relatively small operation, it is ...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria

Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria
Completed in 2003 the Kunsthaus Graz is a strange and yet very striking building. Affectionately dubbed the "Friendly Alien" by its creators its amoebic like form is a perfect example of what is sometimes termed "blob architecture" or "Blobitecture". The building was designed by architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier and they had more up their sleeve than just the creativity of the building's organic form when they formulated their plans. The entire eastern side of the building forms a high tech visual ...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India

The Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
Known as the Lotus Temple and completed in 1986 the Bahá'í House of Worship in New Delhi, India must surely be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Inspired by the Lotus Flower the structure has become one of the most visited buildings in the world according to Yahoo Answers [where several sources are cited] and most other sources I could track down. In the end wherever it lies on the list of most visited buildings with over 4 million visitors a year it has certainly made ...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mammy's Cupboard, Natchez, MS, USA

Mammy's Cupboard, Natchez, MS, USA
Dating from the American Civil War era and originating in the southern US The "mammy archetype" is one of the best-known archetypes of African American women. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "mammy" as "a black woman serving as a nurse to white children especially formerly in the southern United States". Given that while there may be a more "politically incorrect" building than Mammy's Cupboard somewhere out there I for one have not come across it. Located in Natchez, MS ...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Biorama aka The Water Tower House

Biorama aka The Water Tower House, Joachimsthal, Germany
Around 10 years or so ago while cycling Richard Hurding spotted an old run down water tower in the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO nature reserve outside the town of Joachimsthal some 45 miles or so from the German capital, Berlin. Harding and his wife Sarah Philips, though both British, had worked in and explored many parts of the world and were looking for a new place to live. They had just found it. Both Harding and Philips were industrial designers ...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In The Spotlight - Architect Frank O. Gehry

Frank O. Gehry

Frank O. Gehry came to my attention while I was researching the Hotel Marques de Riscal and he quickly became a favorite of mine as I began to explore his incredibly impressive body of work. It prompted me to want to bring together a little information about him and a collection of his projects on a single page rather than spread over multiple articles and ...

Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Spain

Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Spain
Located in north central Spain the Rioja region is famed for its production of Rioja wines. The Rioja Denominación de Origen Calificada is named for the province of La Rioja though the wines are actually produced in three northern Spanish provinces; La Rioja, Navarre and Álava. In the province of Álava The Frank O. Gehry designed Hotel Marques de Riscal adds a touch of the ultra modern to the small, traditional town of Elciego. Erected in 2006 the hotel was a part of a plan to ...

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Flying Saucer House, TN, USA

The Flying Saucer House, Signal Mountain, TN, USA
About three weeks ago we published an article on the "UFO House" in Royse City, TX. That was one of the late 20th century Futuro homes. Here we bring you another "UFO" style home though this one is be more commonly referred to as the "Flying Saucer House". This home, while just as strange as the Futuro homes, is unique and very definitely "one of a kind". Constructed in 1970 the "Flying Saucer House" is located on Signal Mountain in Tennessee on a switch back along ...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Kirsch Home, Oak Park, IL, USA

The Kirsch Home, Oak Park, IL, USA
Now this one was a bit of a challenge! Saw this a while ago on a blog somewhere; just a picture with no info of any sort but the picture looked interesting so I decided to try to track it down. It took a little while but I was successful in the end. The "Bunker" as it seems to be referred to was designed by the architect Errol J Kirsch and there is a series of images of the home on his website. Unfortunately there is no additional information on the rationale behind the design or the construction methods; just ...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Cigar House, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Mead/Penhall House aka The Cigar House, Albuquerque, NM, USA
The Mead/Penhall house or the "Cigar House" as we have termed it is located in Albuquerque, NM. Many of the buildings we feature have nicknames that have been around for a long time and we have no idea of their origin; some make sense and some seem a little obscure. We have not previously heard of a nickname being applied to this property so we chose to create one; perhaps it will stick, perhaps not. In any case if you take a look at the close in aerial shot taken from Google Maps...

Dome Of A Home, Gulf Breeze, FL, USA

Dome Of A Home, Gulf Breeze, FL, USA
Valerie and Mark Sigler had had just about enough after their home was severely damaged for the third time by a hurricane. In 1998 following Hurricane Georges they had what remained of their home demolished and started the search for the architect who would build them their new home. After a lengthy search they came upon Jonathan Zimmerman [who passed away 2005], the architect behind the "Dome Of A Home" which was constructed in 2003. The Sigler house is without doubt ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Brenton House, Boulder, CO, USA

The Brenton House, Boulder, CO, USA
The Brenton House in Boulder, CO is one of a long list of notable designs by architect Charles Haertling. The home was built for Dr. Stanley Brenton and his family who had selected a home site in the Wonderland Hills subdivision of Boulder for the construction of their new home. The site was idyllic perched above a lake and having superb views of the lake, the mountains and both sunset and sunrise. With a design said to have been inspired by the barnacle [Haertling was ...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sheep And Dog Buildings, Tirau, New Zealand

The Sheep Building, Tirau, New Zealand
Tirau is a small town [population 732, 2006 census] in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island and lies around 30 miles or so south of Hamilton. Traditionally a farming community the town has started to generate income as a tourist destination. The town was in decline during the late 20th century and was on its last legs by the late 1980's. A revival of sorts was initiated in 1991 by Henry Clothier, a local businessman. Tirau's location is significant in that it lies ...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Coney Island, Bailey, CO, USA

The Coney Island, Bailey, CO, USA
Coney Island Colorado or, as it is commonly known "The Coney Island" is a 50's style diner built in the form of a hot dog. Complete with indoor seating the bun is 35 feet long and the dog is 42 feet long. Being constructed mainly of concrete and ironwork the stand weighs in at a hefty 18 tons. It was built in 1966 under the direction of architect Lloyd Williams for Marcus Shannon. Shannon named the diner, located on Colfax Ave. in Denver, The Boardwalk At Coney Island. His intention was to build ...

The Benewah "Milk Bottles", Spokane, WA, USA

The Benewah Milk Bottle, 802 W Garland, Spokane, WA, USA
The "Milk Bottle" building in Spokane, Washington was a pretty clear advertisement; no words were necessary to get the message across. Standing at 321 S. Cedar and created in 1935 for the Benewah Creamery Co. the building was one of six planned and two actually built. The one on S. Cedar has a sister located at 802 W. Garland. The unusual creations were the work of architectural firm Whitehouse and Price and are reported to have cost $3700 each. The buildings were constructed as retail ...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Haines "Shoe House", Hellam, PA, USA

The Shoe House, Hallam, PA, USA
Built in 1948 by Mahlon N. Haines or, as he was often known, the "Shoe Wizard of York" the "Shoe House" was an outlandish example of mimetic architecture. Born in Ohio in 1875 Haines moved to York, PA when he was in his twenties and from small beginnings he built a shoe sales chain of more than 40 stores. He died at the of 87 in 1962. Haines was an enthusiastic philanthropist and lived by the mantra "I came into this world with nothing and I'd like to leave the same way." The "Shoe House" is ...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bob's Java Jive, Tacoma, WA, USA

Bobs Java Jive, Tacoma, WA, USA
Bob's Java Jive in Tacoma, Washington was built back in 1927 by Bert Smyser and started out its life as the "Coffee Pot Restaurant". We don't know if it is the largest "coffee pot" in the world but at 25 foot tall it must have a look in for the record. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the world's largest "coffee pot" at 4' 1" high but that is clearly a "real" coffee pot as Bob's has it beat by a cool 21 feet. Over the years the building, which started out as a drive-thru restaurant, has morphed ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Beer Can House, Houston, TX, USA

The Beer Can House, Houston, TX, USA
It has been estimated that there are over 50,000 beer cans adorning this Texas oddity. John Milkovisch started his mammoth redecorating project in 1968. It is said the motivation for him to start using huge numbers of marbles, rocks and pieces of metal to create landscaping features to adorn the yard was that he simply "got sick of mowing the grass". Eventually the yard, both front and back, was entirely "hardscaped" so he moved on to the house. Over the course of the next two decades he covered ...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Hole House, Houston, TX, USA

The Hole House, Houston, TX, USA
The Texas "Hole House" as it became known was in existence for only a few months in 2005. A disaster of the space time continuum? A tragic and curious result of an earthquake? An ominous omen? Just what the heck was going on with this extremely bizarre and short lived building? Of course the answer is nothing so outlandish or alien; it turns out that in the spring of 2005 two houses slated for demolition were turned into a limited time art project that came to be known...

The UFO House, Royse City, TX, USA

The Futuro House
A peculiarity from the late 1960's and early 1970's this spaceship like creation was the brainchild of a Finnish architect. It started out intended to be a ski cabin but turned into a collectors item that can be found across the world. Correctly known as the Futuro House these oddities are more often known as "UFO Houses". While driving along South Munson Road near Rockwall, TX you could be forgiven for thinking you had suddenly passed through a worm hole and were on an alternate ...

The Steel House, Ransom Canyon, TX, USA

View Of Ransom Canyon Lake From The Steel House, TX, USA
Architect and sculptor, or as he describes himself on his website "Architectural sculptor and artist", Robert Bruno created the "Steel House" over the course of many years. Part residence part sculpture the "Steel House" is located overlooking Ransom Canyon Lake in the city of Ransom Canyon around 15 miles east of Lubbock, TX. Bruno started the project in 1973 after taking a teaching job at Texas Tech and moving from Mexico to Lubbock. Over the years the structure grew and morphed and became so much more ...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Durham Cathedral, Durham, United Kingdom

Durham Cathedral, Durham, UK
There is not much in the way of architecture that can top some of the magnificent medieval cathedrals around Europe and one of the most magnificent is Durham Cathedral in the north of England. It is astounding that buildings such as this were constructed given the technology of the time; they would probably be challenging to build even now. The Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, to give it its full name, was founded in the year 1093. That's over ...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Conch House, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

The Conch House, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Located on the beautiful island of Isla Mujeres nothing speaks "romantic getaway" more than the "Conch House". What's more this stunning home with 180° panoramic views of the crystal clear deep blue caribbean sea is actually available to rent. Built using everything from a traditional concrete foundation to recycled materials the "Conch House" must surely be one of the most enchanting residences on the island of Isla Mujeres [off the coast of Cancun] if not in the world. Featuring the 180° panoramic ...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Krzywy Domek aka "The Crooked House", Sopot, Poland

Krzywy Domek, Sopot, Poland - The Crooked House
A combination of mall, restaurant row and office building the Krzywy Domek is located in the city of Sopot, Poland. Although the building is relatively young it is already extremely well known around the world and has become a local icon. Built in 2004 the Krzywy Domek aka "The Crooked House" is located in Sopot, Poland. Part of a larger shopping center the building houses restaurants, shops and offices on four levels encompassing some 43,000 square feet [Wikipedia]. The architects...

Ferdinand Cheval's "Le Palais Idéal", Hauterives, France

Ferdinand Chevals Le Palais Ideal
If ever there was a labor of love it must have been the construction of "The Ideal Palace". Ferdinand Cheval was a French postman or "facteur" who build "Le Palais Idéal" over the course of decades from 1879 to 1912. One day in 1879 while walking his post route he hit his foot on a stone. Not a significant event one would think but it actually changed his life completely. For whatever reason he was intrigued by the stone; it's shape and form. From that small stone grew the dream and passion that would ...

The Kettle House, Galveston, Texas, USA

The kettle House, Galveston, TX, USA
This rather peculiar metal structure is located in Galveston, Texas close to the Gulf Of Mexico shoreline. Most buildings here are on "stilts" but not his one. However despite all manner of weather including the powerful Hurricane Ike in 2009, the building has stood for some 50 years or so and stands to this day. Maybe the architect was not such a goofball and perhaps its longevity is a testament to his design and choice of materials. After all a large ...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Mushroom House, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The Mushroom House, Cincinnati, OH, USA
The "Mushroom House" is located in the Hyde Park section of Cincinnati, Ohio. On the corner of Erie Ave and Tarpis Ave the "Mushroom House", or "Tree House" as it is also known, was the creation of the late Terry Brown [1955-2008]. A professor of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati Brown created the building with the help of university students during the period 1992 to 2006. The home is constructed using a wide variety of materials including ...

The Basket Building, Newark, Ohio, USA

Longaberger HQ, Newark, OH, USA
The brainchild of the founder of the Longaberger Company the distinctive "Basket Building" as it is known is located in Newark, Ohio, USA. The building is a 160 times replica of one of the company's signature products, the Medium Market Basket. A seven story stucco over steel structure the "Basket Building" has become an icon and attracted media attention from around the world. Constructed in the 1990's the building opened for business in December 1997. Sadly its mastermind, Dave Longaberger [1934 – 1999] ...

The Mexican Embassy, Washington DC, USA

The Mexican Embassy, Washington DC, USA
The Mexican Embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue in DC is a rather interesting mix of the old and the new. The older part, hailing from the end of the 18th century, has been preserved as a part of the new construction. It is not unusual to see an old, historic building nestled in between shiny new buildings but this is unusual in that the new construction is not only to the sides but actually over the top of the old. This photograph was taken by The Grumpy Old Limey June 23rd 2011. Some of the buildings ...