Freedom Fishing: Deserted Mall Full of Fish to be Demolished

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[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned mall capture process

Though the circumstances of their liberation seem somewhat more political than practical, the thousands of fish set to be freed into the wild may not care much about the reasons for the positive change in venue either way.

abandoned mall fish floors

The ruins of the New World Mall in Bangkok, Thailand, were initially introduced by area vendors to a mixture of tilapia, carp and catfish after their roof collapsed, for indirectly obvious reasons: the stagnant water that subsequently collected in the void space had become breeding ground for mosquitoes.

abandoned mall gathering fish

The resulting informal fishery was fueled by tourists who came to see the strange site, which in turn captured the attention of the local government – as it turns out, abandoned buildings are not what most places want to be known for.

abandoned mall fish buckets

Presumably due to the high profile of the case, the fish are being treated with great care: caught in nets, they are being rounded by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration staff and sent to various lakes and streams around the region.

abandoned mall net species

abandoned mall working fishes

As to the structure itself: officials have called for its demolition and a court has ordered the corporation behind the failed structure (which never got proper permits) to pay for the draining, destruction and cleaning of the site. Update and images via CityLabs.


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Afterglow: Luma Tower, Glasgow’s Shining Art Deco Icon

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[ By Steve in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

LUMA Tower 1
Rising from the trashes of vandalism and neglect, Glasgow‘s former Luma Light Bulb Factory has recaptured its Art Deco glory as the residential Luma Tower.

LUMA Tower 1a

The “Dirty Thirties” were especially gritty in Scotland but as the dark clouds of war gathered, from Glasgow’s mighty Sheildhall Manufacturing Complex there emanated a brief shining moment of brilliant light. The British Luma Co-Operative Lamp Company was the source – opening in 1938 in conjunction (though not part of) the Empire Exhibition held in nearby Bellahouston Park, the Anglo-Swedish joint venture company was housed in a strikingly beautiful Art Deco edifice which featured a glazed “conning tower” soaring 84 feet into the Scottish sky. Kudos to Flickr user Andrew Lynch for our lead image and the Glasgow City Archives for the circa-1939 photo above..

LUMA Tower 2

LUMA Tower 2a

LUMA Tower 2b

The combined factory/office building was designed by Cornelius Armour, an architect employed by the Scottish Cooperative Wholesale Society. Armour’s signature flourish was the tower: a visually riveting architectural feature that powerfully melded form and function. Flickr user Ben Allison captures the restored glory of the Luma building in the above series of shots.

LUMA Tower 3

Mounted inside the windowed room were a plethora of testing equipment that allowed employees to test light bulbs of all types. That each bulb glowed with superior brilliance was no accident: testing was conducted using electrical voltages above and beyond the lamps’ designed capacity in order to explore longevity issues.

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Lost & Found: Underwater Ghost Town Resurfaces 25 Years Later

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[ By WebUrbanist in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

abandoned village from above

Like a corroded time capsule, this submerged village has risen from the depths after being flooded decades ago when the local lake broke its banks and left Epecuen under dozens of feet of water.

sunken village resurfaced underwater

Giving a tour of his devastated hometown, the man in the award-winning video above , Pablo Novak, claims his father predicted the return of water to the areas of land on which people were building back in the 1980s. Today, he is the only remaining resident.

underwater deserted abandoned buildings

underwater village before after

underwater village ruins

Located near Buenos Aires, it is hard to imagine that this place – a town of 5,000  at its peak – was once a busy destination from tourists around the country and even the world, renowned for its high-salinity lake in which people came to bathe. This salt content is largely responsible for the high levels of damage done to the town’s buildings and infrastructure during its years underwater.

sunken town ruins

sunken village washed roots

abandoned underwater town resufraced

First, the fields began to flood, driving our narrator’s cows, horses, pigs sheep and goats back further onto land and forcing Pablo to buy a family home in a neighboring village. Now age 85, he always assumed the town would be rebuilt, but that has never come to pass. Now that the waters have receded, however, he tries to appreciate the solitude left in its wake and gives tours to those who come these days not to soak but to see the once-sunken village now risen once again to the surface. Images by Sam Verhaert, Jonathan Evans and Pablo Gonzales via Inhabitat.


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Seaside Stunners: 14 Cliff-Clinging Houses with Crazy Views

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[ By Steph in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

cliff houses mirage 1

Dangling precariously from cliffs, tumbling down hillsides or jutting out over the water, these beautiful seaside homes feature mirage-like rooftop infinity pools, diving boards that lead nowhere, terrifying drop-offs and terraces that seem to float.

Mirage House with Rooftop Infinity Pool

cliff houses mirage 2

cliff houses mirage 3

The glimmer of water on the rooftop of this incredible home on Greece’s Tinos Island seems like a mirage at first, encompassing the entirety of a flat, rectangular surface. Come closer and you’ll see that it’s not a mirage at all – it’s an infinity pool on the cantilevered rooftop of a modern home by Kois Associated Architects. The home was designed to blend into the Aegean Sea so as to be virtually undetectable, with the visible parts of the front of the home mimicking the surrounding stone.

Dangling Modular Cliff House

cliff house extreme 2

All that can be seen of this five-level modular home from ground level is the very top portion. The rest dangles in rather terrifying fashion over the roiling water, producing an effect that’s worthy of a Bond villain. Cliff House by Modscape Concept makes use of a challenging plot of land on a rocky portion of the southwest coast of Victoria in Australia. Each floor has glass walls for maximum views, and the whole thing is anchored to the cliff with engineered steel pins.

Actually Affordable Elevated Ocean Views

cliff houses mackay 1

cliff houses mackay 2

It’s rare that elevated homes with stunning views of the sea are actually affordable, but Canadian firm Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects has created a modest timber box that juts out over a bedrock cliff to make it seem as if it’s floating. Clad in wood to blend into the environment, the 960-square-foot cabin has a galvanized steel frame skeleton and diagonal planks supported by joists to eliminate the need for interior cladding.

Retrofuturistic Mushroom House

cliff houses mushroom 1

cliff houses mushroom 2

Sam Bell’s retrofuturistic Mushroom House is tucked away next to the Pacific Ocean in the cliffs of San Diego, its round design offering panoramic views, a concrete sea wall and elevated living area keeping it from being inundated by the waves. And if you’re wondering just how the owners even access it, there’s an elevator stretching up the cliff face to a larger home above.

Dizzying Drop-Off House Design

cliff houses drop off 1drop off house

What looks like a diving board jutting out of the end of this concrete house in Japan by KA Architects leads nowhere but a cascading rocky cliff, so you probably don’t want to actually jump. The all-white home is all about sharp lines and stark contrast, with no transition between the street and the outdoor room that can be seen on the top level.

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Made in China: World’s First 3D-Printed Apartment Complex

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

3d printed apartment complex

The same company known for printing 10 home in less than 24 hours is back with a new record-breaking construction project: a multistory apartment structure built using recycled building materials and fast-hardening cement, paired with an ornate villa assembled using the same technologies.

3d printed villa exterior

Construction waste forms the aggregate base of WinSun‘s quick-drying concrete, while a huge 3D printer array is responsible for building the large prefabricated parts that are then built on site with steel reinforcement and regulation insulation.

3d printing extrusion interior

In a twist that will able to those who enjoy truth in architecture, much of the extrusion process is evident on the interior and exterior walls of the villa component as well.

3d printing apartment

Drawing on CAD files, the printer lays out the pattern like a cake decorator squeezes out frosting, creating space-frame gaps for insulating materials, plumbing and electrical – a high-tech process to quickly create a pair of low- and mid-rise buildings.

3d printed villa design

According to WinSun, “This process saves between 30 and 60 percent of construction waste, and can decrease production times by between 50 and 70 percent, and labour costs by between 50 and 80 percent. In all, the villa costs around $161,000 to build.”

3d printed walls demo copy

While the company has yet to reveal just how big of a structure they can build using their existing equipment, their future goals include larger buildings, perhaps even prefab skyscrapers, and possibly bridges or other infrastructure. From 3Ders“Today’s press conference attracted more than 300 building industry experts, investment bankers as well as media reporters. Ma Yi He, CEO of WinSun explained: the company’s success is due to their unique and leading techniques. First is their exclusive 3D printing ‘ink,’ which is a mixture of recycled construction waste, glass fiber, steel, cement and special additives. According to Ma, waste from recycling construction and mine rest produces a lot of carbon emissions, but with 3D printing, the company has turned that waste into brand new building materials. This process also means that construction workers are at less risk of coming into contact with hazardous materials or work environments.”


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Open Source Homes: 6 Free Plans Put High-End Design in Reach

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

open source houseboat system

Rendering luxury-class house designs accessible to the public is just part of the beauty of Paperhouses, an endeavor to raise the quality of free house plans and and explore the potentials for architecture to be as open as technology can be. As with Wikihouse, anyone is welcome to download and begin construction on any of the uploaded homes without paying an architect or builder fee.

free open source houseboat

The latest submission to Paperhouses is a houseboat by Carl Turner Architects composed of prefab parts and design to move freely in narrow urban waterways and allow for expansion in ever-more-crowded European capitals.

open source modular house

As with other homes in the database, this one is intended to be flexible, able to be adapted to different conditions and clients. While intended to float, the modular construction allows the design to be built on land with equal ease while an adjustable pallet of colors and materials allow it to be individualized by each builder or owner.

open winter cold house

open house private sky

open house urban context

Our Private Sky by Florian Busch Architects is part of the same initiative but approaches modularity through the idea of privacy and views. The primary focus of the structure is upward, while variable windows can be added, moved or removed depending upon its context.

open source modular blocks

open source free plan

open house plan layout

The Module House by Tatiana Bilbao is based on series of same-sized blocks that can be arranged and oriented depending on the layout of a site and desired directions relative to the sun, featuring concrete walls and cantilevers to balance daylight and shade.

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Prism Break: China’s Eye-Soothing Rainbow Road Tunnel

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[ By Steve in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

China Rainbow Tunnel 2
A 1,000-foot long rainbow underpass in Zhengzhou, China is designed to help drivers’ eyes adjust from daylight to a artificial lighting and back again.

China Rainbow Tunnel 2b

China Rainbow Tunnel 2a

Break out the Skittles, it’s time to drive the rainbow! Well, almost… the Cheng Avenue rainbow tunnel isn’t quite ready for prime time though it’s already cost Zhongmou County a pot of gold – about 100,000,000 yuan (about $16 million) and counting.

China Rainbow Tunnel 6

China Rainbow Tunnel 8

China Rainbow Tunnel 8b

The tunnel (actually a shallow underpass) is located about 50 meters north of the S223 Provincial Highway intersection just outside Zhengzhou in China’s east-central Henan province. The area around the project appears rather dry and drab; the soil radiating the pale yellow hue of dust blown eastward by strong winds scouring the Gobi Desert.

China Rainbow Tunnel 9a

China Rainbow Tunnel 9

China Rainbow Tunnel 7b

China Rainbow Tunnel 7a

If civic planning authorities intended to alleviate the visual monotony by injecting some color into the landscape, a 400-meter (1,312 ft) long “rainbow tunnel” is one way to do it. No matter if some bureaucratic committee can’t decide on a single hue: the rainbow tunnel has got ‘em all!

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Town in 1 Tower: 14-Floor Highrise Houses Whole Alaskan Hamlet

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

whittier alaska town house tower

High-minded Modernists of the mid-1900s envisioned futuristic all-in-one cities in the sky where we would work, place, live and love, but would have been surprised to learn that their ideal has perhaps been mostly closely realized in the remote village of Wittier, Alaska, where virtually everything happens under one roof.

whittier alaska indoor playground

whittier alaska town store

whittier alaska window view

A fourteen-story structure known as Begich Towers, formerly an army barracks, is host to most of the town’s residents as well as its post office, grocery store, health clinic, laundromat and church. Writer Erin Sheehy and photographer Reed Young visited and photographed this remote village, traveling sixty miles from Anchorage, Alaska and through a 2.5 mile, one-lane tunnel (entrance shown below) to get to there.

whittier alaska tunnel entrance

whittier alaska church space

whittier alaska post office

This is a place of extremes, which helps explain why its occupants are happy to stay indoors as much as possible – average snowfalls of 250 inches (up to 400 inches some years) and glass-shattering winds make using underground tunnels a preferred means of getting to the few other buildings in town, including the local school. The other large structure in the area is the Buckner Building, abandoned but favored by youth who need to get out and go somewhere.

whittier alaska indoor garden

whittier high school gym

More from Young about the town year-round: “In the summertime Whittier is bustling. Seasonal workers come for jobs on fishing boats, charter boats, or in the cannery, and cruise ships bring hundreds of thousands of tourists to the harbor. But thriving harbor industries—freight, fishing, tourism—don’t seem to translate into growth for the city. Over 700,000 people visit Whittier annually, but most tourists don’t stay in town for longer than an afternoon, if that. Instead they go directly from the cruise ship to a train that takes them to Anchorage. Residents sell food and crafts to visitors, but most of the tourists’ money goes straight out the tunnel.”

whittier alaska worshop space

whittier alaska resident couple

wittier alaska reed young

“The Alaska Railroad Corporation is the majority landowner in Whittier, but it doesn’t pay property taxes, and it employs few residents. A supply barge comes into town once a week, but most of the workers who unload the freight commute from Anchorage. Not everyone who tries to live in Begich Towers can take it—a newcomer from Florida compared it to jail—and there simply isn’t much space on which to build alternate housing”


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World’s Largest Indoor Farm is 100 Times More Productive

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

indoor farm japan interior

The statistics for this incredibly successful indoor farming endeavor in Japan are staggering: 25,000 square feet producing 10,000 heads of lettuce per day (100 times more per square foot than traditional methods) with 40% less power, 80% less food waste and 99% less water usage than outdoor fields.

indoor factory lettuce farm

indoor farm high yield

Customized LED lighting developed with GE helps plants grow up to two and half times faster, one of the many innovations employed in this enterprise by Shigeharu Shimamura, the man who helped turn a former semiconductor factory into the planet’s biggest interior factory farm.

worlds largest indoor farm

Shimamura has shortened the cycle of days and nights in this artificial environment, growing food faster, while optimizing temperature, lighting and humidity and maximizing vertical square footage in this vast interior space (about half the size of a football field).

indoor future led farming

With a long-standing passion for produce production, he “got the idea for his indoor farm as a teenager, when he visited a ‘vegetable factory’ at the Expo ’85 world’s fair in Tsukuba, Japan. He went on to study plant physiology at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, and in 2004 started an indoor farming company called Mirai, which in Japanese means ‘future.'”

indoor farm interview detail

The beauty of this development lies partly in its versatility – since it deals in climate-controlled spaces and replicable conditions, a solution of this sort can be deployed anywhere in the world to address food shortages of the present and future. Saving space, indoor vertical farms are also good candidates for local food production in crowded and high-cost urban areas around the globe. Aforementioned strides in waste and power reduction also make these techniques and approaches far more sustainable and cost-efficient.


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