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Archive for December, 2008


japan crazy highway

This road smashing into a building and emerging out on the other side is the most “normal” highway in this album of Japanese infrastructures collected by Dark Roasted Blend.

Absolutely nuts. Although other structures around the world can rival these, the concentration in Japanese cities is simple astounding. Head to DRB for the entire series. And in case you are interested, here’s how it looks from inside a car.


12 18th, 2008

In our rush to renovate our dream house with the craziest and most creative that modern design can conjure up, we’re liable to forget how we enter and leave it. If you are thinking that modern door design is a matter of open-and-shut conventional thinking, these 14 examples should put you in the right frame of mind.


door design

If ever a door was perfect for university student halls of residence, this is it. Once shut, the Ping Pong Door’s middle section swings down into perhaps the most neighborly door you’ll ever own (if your neighbor likes ping pong, that is). Expect this concept to expand to encompass every tabletop game under the sun – air hockey next, please.

12 16th, 2008


narrowest houses

Would it surprise you to learn that a number of houses around the world, from New York to Amsterdam and Brazil to Britain have various claims to being the skinniest house in the world? Some are the skinniest by frontage measurements, others by widest or narrowest space, though they would all (it would seem) require extremely creative urban furniture.

brazil houses

Helenita, the woman pictured in the images above, designed this incredibly narrow house in Madre de Deus, Brazil. Though only 9 feet wide have this house. The structural physics of this building were surely a challenge, though the designer and resident is clearly proud of her creation.

Bost narrow house

This London, England house (left above) is just 5 feet at its narrowest, and 10 feet at its widest, and was sold for nearly a million dollars. Likewise extreme expensive, 72 1/2 Bedford Street in Greenwich Village, New York City, USA (right above), which has been everything from a cobbler’s shop to a candy factory, dates back to 1873. However, the actual narrowest house in the United States is located in Long Beach, California.

amsterdam narrow house

Amsterdam, The Netherlands To anyone who has visited Amsterdam it should come as no shock that all four of the above candidates are located along the city’s canals. Notorious already for it’s tightly-packed and skinny structures, these buildings push even the limits of Amsterdam. The bottom image is of a house located along the Singel canal that just barely manages to fit a front on the street, though the house expands as it recedes from the street.

scotland houses

Great Cumbrae, Scotland is home to the Guinnes Book of Records title holder for the skinniest house frontage in the world, at just 47 inches at its narrowest. The so-called Wedge house, once it was discovered to hold the record, sold to a family from Essex as a vacation home for an undisclosed sum of money.

japan narrow house

And The Slimmest Houses On Earth Are Made In Japan:

Japan narrowest houses


Turning Torso

Turning Torso is a high-rise building in Malmö, consisting of nine cubes twisting towards the waterfront. Turning Torso houses top-quality apartments, offices and conference rooms and, at the time of completion (27 August 2005), is the second tallest residential tower in Europe after the 264m-high Triumph-Palace in Moscow andthe tallest building in Scandinavia.


Turning Torso Sweden


Turning Torso Residential Tower



The Torso has been selected by the City of Malmö Government as a landmark for the new development, though it also meets the requirement for dense habitation. Local authorities organised an exhibition to choose a high-rise building for this purpose and invited the local housing cooperative, HSB, to participate.

Only well-known architects were supposed to participate in the exhibition,” explains HSB project director Ingvar Nohlin, “and that’s why Santiago Calatrava was approached. He had participated in the Oresund Link competition but was not selected.

In fact, this 190m (623ft) tower is based on a sculpture by the Zurich-based architect. Sharing the name of its much larger brother, Turning Torso depicts a human body contorting around its spine in an upward movement. Calatrava included a photograph of the work as part of his Oresund submission, where it was spotted by HSB’s former managing director, Johnny Orback, who convinced Calatrava to design a building based on this concept.


Sweden has perhaps the most far-reaching environmental legislation in Europe, along with a comprehensive welfare system, so it is no surprise that central services are a high priority. Indeed, Western Harbour is being promoted as a global leader in urban sustainability. For heating, Torso connects to power utility Sydkraft’s system, which uses 100% locally renewable energy. This is obtained from a variety of sources, including solar power, wind, bedrock and water.

Torso plays its part, with organic waste from the building ground down in kitchen waste disposal units, then transported though separate pipes for decomposition and biogas production at Malmö’s waste incinerator and heat plant. In addition, Torso residents will be given training in such systems via a local TV system.

As for safety, all security systems have independent reserve power supplies, including lifts, sprinklers and emergency lighting. There is also a double water supply system, again with its own power supply.

12 9th, 2008

MMA Architects recently completed a home built out of timber and sandbags – and became the winner of the Curry Stone Foundation Prize this year. This sandbag house was built for a mere $6,000, making it affordable for low-income housing.

Sandbag Houses

sandbag house

sandbag house

MMA Architects

sandbag house