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Oct 23, 2013

The Biggest Waves Ever Surfed [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s believed that the ancient Polynesians (progenitors of Hawaii) started the act of surfing. The first written record was by Joseph Banks aboard the HMS endeavor in 1779, although the cultural custom of surfing most likely predates this record. The ancient Hawaiians regarded surfing, or he’e nalu (wave sliding), as an almost sacred activity to communicate with the ocean and pray for their protection and strength. I bet every single one of the surfers on this infographic were praying as well. Most likely praying for their life not to end after riding these giant tsunami-waves.

As you can see, this infographic uses the friggin’ Statue of Liberty as a scale for how massive these waves are. EFF THAT’S HUGE. You can even see all of the puny air we’ve gotten through other methods – snowboarding, skating, jumping, etc. Nothing can quite get you higher than that thing that takes up about 70% of earth. [link]

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Jun 29, 2013

8 Unique UFO Shaped Buildings

We have collected some earthly buildings that are shaped like UFO by inspiration.

 

The Flying Saucer House - Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

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This home was built by the late Curtis W. King in 1970, around the time the original Star Trek series ended. It sits on a road leading to Chattanooga's Signal Mountain and features a retractable staircase, like any good UFO should. The three-bedroom, two-bath house was sold in 2008 for $130,900, after Cleveland, Tennessee's Crye-Leike Auctions posted it for sale on eBay. [link]

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The Circus - Astana, Kazakhstan

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In the late 2005 Astana was the landing site of a UFO in the shape of a huge “flying saucer”. But soon it became clear that it was not a visit of an extraterrestrial civilization but the new capital circus. Thanks to its space-like architecture the building stands out against the urban background. The building is adjoined by the hotel complex, the administration premises, the arena, pens and other circus related building.

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The circus can seat 2,000 spectators. In the center there is a classic 13-m arena, which is equipped with modern machinery for the different acts: flights, ice shows, arena, etc. [link]

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Sanzhi UFO houses - New Taipei City, Taiwan

The Sanzhi UFO houses, also known as the Sanzhi pod houses or Sanzhi Pod City, were a set of abandoned pod-shaped buildings in Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan.

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The UFO houses were constructed beginning in 1978. They were intended as a vacation resort in a part of the northern coast adjacent to Tamsui, and were marketed towards U.S. military officers coming from their East Asian postings. However, the project was abandoned in 1980 due to investment losses and several car accident deaths during construction, which is said to have been caused by the unfortuitous act of bisecting the Chinese dragon sculpture located near the resort gates for widening the road to the buildings. Other stories indicated that the site was the former burial ground for Dutch soldiers.

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The pod-like buildings became a minor tourist attraction due in part to their unusual architecture. The structures have since been subject of a film, used as a location by MTV for cinematography, photographed by people, and become a subject in online discussions, described as a ghost town or "ruins of the future"

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As of 2010, all UFO houses have been demolished and the site is in the process of being converted to a commercial seaside resort and water-park. [link]

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Pensacola Beach’s Spaceship House – Florida, USA

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The so-called Spaceship House is currently the Pensacola Beach Preservation and Historical Society’s headquarters. Having survived Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Dennis with nary a scratch, the southern Florida Futuro house sits atop a more traditional blockhouse structure with a permanent ramp to ground level. [link]

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Universum Science Center - Bremen, Germany

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The Universum Bremen opened in September 2000 near to the University of Bremen, Germany. Covering over 4,000 m² the exhibition contains exhibits related to one of the three topics: mankind, earth and the cosmos. The science center building, with its 40,000 stainless steel scales, resembles a mixture between a whale and mussel. It was designed by the Bremen architect Thomas Klumpp. [link]

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Bremen: "Wissenschafts-Erlebniszentrum" Universum Science Center image source

 

Chemosphere House - Los Angeles, California, USA

The Chemosphere, designed by American architect John Lautner in 1960, is an innovative Modernist octagon house in Los Angeles, California.

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The building stands on the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, just off of Mulholland Drive. It is a one story octagon with around 2200 square feet (200m2) of living space. Most distinctively, the house is perched atop a 5-foot-wide concrete pole nearly thirty feet high. This innovative design was Lautner's solution to a site that, with a slope of 45 degrees, was thought to be practically unbuildable. Because of a concrete pedestal, almost 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter, buried under the earth and supporting the post, the house has survived earthquakes and heavy rains. The house is reached by a funicular. Chemosphere is bisected by a central, exposed brick wall with a fireplace, abutted by subdued seating, in the middle. [link]

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The Buzludzha Monument – Bulgaria

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Buzludzha (Turkish: Buzluca - lit. meaning "glacially/icy") is a historical peak in the Central Stara Planina, Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high. In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks.

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Niterói Contemporary Art Museum - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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This flying saucer building was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, with the assistance of structural engineer Bruno Contarini. It is 16 meters high and the cupola has a diameter of 50 meters. It is set on a cliff, with offering views of Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. Completed in 1996, the modernist structure is one of the city’s main landmarks. [link]

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Apr 17, 2013

The Coolest Earth Houses around the World

An earth house (also known as an earth berm or an earth sheltered home) is an architectural style characterized by the use of natural terrain to help form the walls of a house. An earth house is usually set partially into the ground and covered with thin growth. Modern earth houses are built with concrete walls and insulation. Earth houses are some of the most energy efficient.

 

Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse, Switzerland

Earth House Estate Lättenstrasse is a project designed by Peter Vetsch, located in Dietikon, Switzerland.

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This settlement finds itself in contrast to the surrounding of traditional single houses. To the south of the lot, there is free agricultural land. The earth- covered houses are grouped centered around a small artificial lake with the entrance well hidden and integrated at the side of the settlement. That not just serves the completion of the form, but also guarantees the secondary access of the particular houses through the subterranean parking lot.

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The residential settlement consists of nine houses, three 3 bedroom, a 4 bedroom, a 5 bedroom, three 6 bedroom and a 7 bedroom house. The daytime areas are situated towards the south, the nighttime area towards the north. In the middle, you find the bathrooms and the connecting stairs to the basement. All the bathrooms get natural light through rooftop windows. Situated on both lateral sides of the houses are outdoor living spaces divided through the remainings of the rising of the building. The basement, as well as the parking lot is built with conventional techniques, not so the ground floor, which is constructed with the typical earthhome construction principle of sprayed concrete. The isolation consists of recycled glass, an absolute environment friendly product. The water protection is added directly on the sprayed concrete. On top of the isolation is a protective layer with natural earth, which can be used to grow grass or plants on the rooftop. [link]

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Earth-House-Estate-Lättenstrasse-04images source: VΕΤSCΗ ΑRCΗΙΤΕΚΤUR

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Cooper Point House, United States

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Mickey Muennig has been building green-roof architecture for the past 30 years. One of his latest eco friendly buildings is the one on copper point where the roof is covered in a blanket of thick wild grass. He is a long time practitioner in eco-architecture and still remains an unsung hero of the green movement even at the age of 74. The copper point house is built into the landscape and has concrete walls on two sides with all-glass walls in between. The roof above is a continuation of the landscape which has thick covering of grass making the house more fireproof and also providing insulation at the same time. It is an ultra efficient house sporting solar panels grids.

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The total area of the house is 2745 square feet and has 3 bedrooms. The interiors sports Douglas fir beams with a large skylight to let in natural light. Well this is what they mean by living in harmony with nature. [link]

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Hebridean Earth House, Scotland

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On the picturesque Scottish Isle of South Uist lies this modern version of a Stone Age building. The rental cottage is secluded and underground, yet also seems very modern. Its earthen top gives it a low profile and a cozy appearance, while the huge modern windows on the front of the building give it a decidedly contemporary feeling. [link]

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The design of the house incorporates solatubes which ensure that it is bright and sunny, not dark as a cave, the name by which some people call the house.

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Malator Underground House, Wales

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Malator blends so seamlessly with Wales’ lush landscape that you can easily miss it if you’re not looking for it. Little more than the front window of the home reveals its location, as the roof is entirely covered in local grasses and the bulk of the home closely imitates the swelling hills all around it. [link]

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Self-Heating Ecological House, Serbia

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Veljko Milkovic is an inventor and, as such, has created designs for an eco-house along with many other energy-saving devices. His self-heating eco-house – or Eko Kuca - building concept saves up to 85 percent on heating, 100 percent on cooling, 30 percent on lighting and about 20 to 40 percent on building materials, based on monitoring.

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Using passive solar design principles and earth-shelter techniques, he also employs reflective surfaces that unfold to capture and amplify solar gain into the home through the glazing. Milkovic says this design achieves the highest energy savings with a minimum investment. The Eko Kuca is covered with a sod roof that sweeps up over the earth-bermed house to provide additional insulation for an energy-efficient envelope. [link]

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Unique Buried Home, Switzerland

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In a location as picturesque as Vals, Switzerland, it’s difficult to imagine any new construction that wouldn’t impose on the beautiful landscape. So when the rare opportunity was granted to construct a new dwelling just a stone’s throw away from the famed Vals thermal baths, it was of paramount importance to not disturb the tranquil site. Designed by the architects of SeArch and Christian Müller, this underground house exemplifies the notion that thoughtfully constructed buildings can live in harmony with their surrounding environs.

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Situated in the Swiss village of Vals deep in the mountains, the house is almost undetectable. Set below ground, the concrete structure features a wide oval opening that one arrives at via a set of stones steps embedded in the steep incline. At the top of the stairs a central patio is surrounded by a wide spanning façade formed of large window openings, which provide luminous reflections of the Alpine vista on the opposite side of the narrow valley. [link]

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Hotel Sidi Driss, Tunisia

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The Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, Tunisia was used in 1976 as a filming location for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in which it featured as the home of Luke Skywalker, his Aunt Beru Lars and Uncle Owen Lars on the planet Tatooine. The hotel is designed as a traditional Berber troglodyte underground building. It featured again in the 2002 prequel film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

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One of Call of Duty 2's missions and multiplayer maps takes place in Matmâta as part of North African Campaign.

Matmâta is also set to star in the upcoming film La soif noire, an adaptation of the book from Swiss author Hans Ruesch starring Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto.

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How to build a cheap Earth House

Building a house is of course very expensive but you should know that you can build an earth house with little money.

A young couple in Wales with an annual income of just $10,000 built their own cheap earth house mostly out of materials from “a rubbish pile somewhere.”

The couple even have a website where they show us details of their plans, pictures and how you can really built an Earth House for under $5000.

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