Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mr T talks about 2009

Our old acquaintance Mr. T dropped by our office yesterday to have a chat. Our faithful intern Felipe caught it mysteriously on tape and here follows the printed conversation.


Mr. T.
You call this an office?

AB
Well, this is what we can afford at the moment. We're actually quite proud of it.

Mr. T.
You don’t even have a terrace! Why don’t you move back to Buenos Aires, hadn’t you guys a rather decent place over there? Swimming pool on the roof and what else. Whats up with Sweden anyway, it is cold and dark all the time, and people have no ambition whatsoever, how can you stand to be a part of this country?

UM
It’s a great place to work in, because there are hardly any distractions and that keeps your motivation on a high level all the time. And comparing to the rest of northern europe the food is actually quite ok here, the music scene is world class, the only thing missing is great architecture but hey that is why we are here. What about yourself, where is your office located nowadays?

Mr. T.
I don't like to talk so much about myself, but I've inherited some piece of land in Costa Rica, and I have been digging out a big excavation there to make the earth more uneven so that the rotation will get disturbed and that will cause bigger waves, which is great, cause I'm a big surfer fan. Its all on a small scale now, but I have started a fundraiser group and who knows.

So guys, 2009, during this year your firm pops up more and more frequently on the internet and in the magazines, I was actually heading to Dubai this autumn and I was sitting there half-boozed out in my first class seat when your grotesque statue project stares at my face in the in-flight magazine. I lost my appetite completely I remember. But I loved it in some strange way. How come that you gained so much media attention this year? You guys have hardly realized anything and still you are one of the most published firms in Scandinavia.

AB
It started out with one or two projects that we got published on the leading architecture sites, and then we almost immediately got a lot of attention and various magazines and other sites wanted to be on our mailing list and asked for projects that they could publish. We make projects that are quite spectacular; therefore it also makes a good reading, and the magazines and their readers likes that of course.
We have just started to get our ideas realized, and you will see some villas and other projects getting erected in early 2010, and people will know that we are not just a paper project firm.

Mr. T.
Villas? You mean extensions of villas? That’s a huge difference there. A villa is a free-standing piece, which makes it higher up on the architectural ladder. Or am I wrong mister?

UM
Actually extensions are more complicated than a new free-standing house, both in adaptation and style. We are very happy with the outcome of our two extensions and those houses are necessary reinforcement to the Swedish architecture stockpile. We will send you images next months.

Mr. T.
That won’t be necessary; I’ll probably read about them in Archdaily or Designboom, you media sell-outs.
So you got two extensions? That’s all?

UM
Well, we also have three shoe shops and an outdoor facility for a big client in Stockholm among other things.

Mr. T.
Ok, sounds silly.
I see some sort of attitude change in your firm. You seem to have grown softer than before. Where have your criticism and wild heart gone? I’m quite worried actually.

AB
To be honest we are quite tired of people complaining about other architects, as always the criticism is turned against the famous architecture firms which honestly often are or was the people that have struggled the hardest for a brave new architecture. A lot of the famous and erected architecture of today could indeed be much greater, but it is mostly the unknown and commercial architecture mass that constantly bore our society with meaningless architecture that should be criticized. That rejected Wikipedia submission you sent us is perhaps not totally correct but it focus its criticism at the right people and that's why we published it.

Mr. T
Ok, I get your point, but what about your own projects? It seems like the infamous Swedish fade has struck you except for that hideous statue, the waterfall and the mushroom building. Why not any space shuttles or evil projects this year?

UM
That is true that we haven’t made any space shuttles this year, our clients could not afford it I’m afraid. We will try harder next year! What do you mean about “evil projects”? I cannot recall that we have made any of these.

Mr. T
Well I meant a bit more dark projects like that fly project you talked about, what happened to that? Are you self censuring your own blog now a days?

AB
Hmm well that was an experiment and we lost some vital documentation but it’s true we should publish it, so here are some pictures from it. We try to make a proper post out of it when we find time.


Mr. T
I like that one, so evil yet so noble to the birds! Keep those kinds of work going guys and maybe I could actually consider doing a project with you people again, after all, worthy collaborators are not growing on trees. Perhaps we could do that sun divider thing that we talked about? Do you still keep rum under your desk?

Ok thanks guys, got to split, but it was nice seeing you, I really mean it. But please, try harder next year. I want to see something marvelous; I know that you can do it and I’m looking forward to see your next year in the lime light. And don’t you dare to become cheesier, then I’ll be back to kick your ass. Where is my coat?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread House Session

Visondivsion was commissioned to “pimp” two gingerbread houses for the annual Gingerbread competition held at Arkitekturmuseet (the architecture museum) in Stockholm. We did one theoretical project deriving from the very first gingerbread house ever; the witch house in Hansel and Gretel, which we modified to make it more suitable for the witch and perhaps make her a better person. The second one is a visual and tasty extravaganza where the house can be shot away by a firework among other things.
See the movie below and check out the projects underneath. The gingerbread houses can also be seen live at the architecture museum until the end of 2009.

video

Gingerbread house number I – Witch house
The first person to build a gingerbread house was the witch in the Grim brother tale “Hansel and Gretel”. The house was made with a façade of gingerbread and sweets to attract children that she could later feed, cook and then eat. But the witch had a quite poor vision and got tricked by the children and got kicked into the stove and later died. The house was not optimal for her and that was something that we tried to solve with our skills as architects. The outdoor parts of the house needs few changes, the concept to attract other creatures with candy is genius, but of course you cannot eat children and apart from the moral issues, children seldom get lost in the forest so the meals will come very irregular and rarely. We propose that instead of catching children, she could catch birds with her genius facade. The amount of birds should probably be more than lost children and with some extra additions they should also be a more easy catch. We provide the witch’s house with an extra layer of sticky sugar so the birds will get stuck when they land on the roof to eat. Thereafter we slices away a great part of the roof and constructs a second floor from where the witch can reach the birds. The upper floor is made entirely out of glass which acts as a light shaft so the witch gets more light into the house to alleviate the poor vision of the witch. The house also gets an elevator so the witch won’t fall in the stairs. The stove gets replaced by a more modern and smaller unit which is harder to cook children in by mistake and also harder to get pushed in to. Some railings are set up in the forest so the witch more easily can move around in her surroundings and warning signs are set up for lost children.



Gingerbread house number II - All in
The modern gingerbread house is a small replica of the witch house but excludes the morbid aspects of cannibalism and focus instead on the visual. The gingerbread house is primarily a Christmas decoration and divides the people in two sides; some likes to eat it whereas other throws it away. The best parts of the gingerbread house are perhaps not the gingerbread itself but all the candy decoration surrounding it. We did a surrounding landscape out of marzipan with candy filling. After the marzipan comes an arsenal of colorful and happy details that covers the base of the gingerbread house; disco balls, glitter, gold decoration, electric guitar, a huge variety of candy that also fills the house. Through all this mayhem of delights goes a hollow core which acts as a firework launch tube. When the owners feels that it is time to get rid of the house, it is time to light the rocket that takes the gingerbread house on a ride through the air and explodes with sensational colors and a long sought after candy rain. The house becomes the epitome of gingerbread house design; A visual spectacle that at the same time are delicious to eat.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mangrolia Chaussures

Visiondivision has designed three shoe stores for a shoe tycoon on the tropical Reunion Island.




We have made a design that could be easily recognizable and applied for all of the Mangrolia Chaussures stores. We decided to design one specific Mangrolia shoe box that can be multiplied and stacked into almost any form, allowing different store layouts but at the same time being easily recognizable as a Mangrolia Shoe store.
The shoe box can be made out of different materials depending on budget but in this proposal we made a shoe box in Plexiglas, a plastic that creates a nice transparent effect. The shoe box can however be made out of various materials, for example wood with a mirroring foil mounted on them, creating a similar optical effect but for a lesser price.
Each box has a lid and a light. The boxes are made as pieces of Lego that can be fixed together in different formations. The box can be mass manufactured thus making it precise and cheap.



Saint Denis – The ocean
The Saint-Denis shop is the biggest one and located in the largest city and it is also the only shop that the Mangrolia family owns, so we propose that it should be turned into a flagship store; making it the centerpiece for the Mangrolian empire.
Being the flagship store we also wanted to make it into the most spectacular one.
The upper floor has boxes in the floor formed as a river, which “flows” from both of the entrances to the stairs which leads to the basement level which is completely covered with boxes, almost as an ocean.
A sofa shaped as Reunion Island is set in the middle of the shoe ocean where one can try out the different models or watch a slideshow projected on the wall of the assortment that the store has to offer.
In some of the boxes, legendary shoes can be kept; for example sneakers from the 80s or fashionable shoes made famous through celebrities, creating a small museum that will attract more visitors and fame for the Mangrolia business as the collection grows.


Saint-André – The Library
This shop has shelves of shoes arranged into smaller rooms with different themes; casual, formal and sport for example.
The transparency of the plexi-boxes makes the shoes look like they are frozen into ice blocks and will create a very intriguing and inviting showcase for the customers.


Le Port – The loop
All the functions of the shop are integrated in to a loop; showcase for the shoes, cashier and seating to try out the shoes.
The loop is extruded where it needs to be high; the cashier and the main showcases and then sinks down to the floor where the entrances are, allowing a free flow of circulation.
The pillars piercing the walls are built in with new inner walls that are painted white, for a smooth and clean backdrop for the shoeboxes. This is something that is recommended for every store.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eden Falls

Entry for the competition "Vertical Zoo" in Buenos Aires.

Costanera Sur is an artificial nature made from rubble when the city of Buenos Aires constructed its main highways in the 70s and 80s. A thunderous waterfall makes an addition to this landscape, enhancing this artificial nature into a more paradisesque one.




How it works
The building takes water from the river, cleans it and pumps it up through a system of huge pipes, which also acts as a structural frame.
This water is constantly overflowing the pool on the roof which creates a waterfall on the entire façade that conceals the pipe structure and that turns into energy at basement level through the turbines and the main generator.
The structure is completely self-sufficient and can provide for water and energy for other future structures in the reserve or existing ones in Puerto Madero. It also becomes a unique and striking symbol for the Costanera Sur and the river.



Layout
In the middle lies a core of circulation with elevators and stairs which goes vertically through the whole building. Various floor levels with different functions are outcropped from this package with views of the powerful water curtain. Various cantilevered footbridges breach the waterfall where one can enjoy the views of the Costanera Sur, the city and the river.




The entrance level is dramatic and impressively beautiful as one enters through the thunderous water curtain, over the moat of crocodiles and to a lush patch of jungle with monkeys and tropical birds. Next is the office section with veterinary and food storage facilities.
The waterfall makes air-condition redundant and offers a serene working atmosphere.
A lower observation deck is located on top of the offices where one also can ascend to the animal flats on the upper levels.
The floors for the animals are divided into flats for each species, with a balcony that pierces the waterfall and adds a feature that no other zoo has. Each flat has a typology of plants and vegetation that is suitable for that animal.
Some of the animals, foremost the smaller monkeys and the birds, can roam free in the building.
The café with a souvenir shop and a second observation deck is located a level higher, followed by the auditorium level where the halls are open to the back to see the waterfall.
On top lies a pool with fresh water dolphins and with grand views of the surroundings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Groundbreaking - Spröjs House

Another splendid little piece of perfection from our humble office is taking its first step into the world.
Spröjs House will be fully grown in early spring and we will of course keep you updated further on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Street Party

Visiondivision's proposal "Street Party" was shortlisted from 3096 proposals for the competition "Thinking outside the parking box", a competition organized by Nissan and Designboom with Karim Rashid as the president of the jury.
See the competition results here and our proposal here and below.

video

"We are proposing a small addition with existing technology that makes the parked car transform from an inanimate object into an urban device that people on the streets can interact with and benefit from. With Bluetooth technology that is common in almost every cell phone nowadays, you can give the car timed directions to play music and light up the streets as you please. You can either turn in your favorite radio channel on a series of cars or you can make them download your playlist from your phone in a temporary folder. Different volume limits are set depending on the street, making an area that is rather empty at nights, alive with lights and music. "


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Star Light

The new Pop centre in Taipei is a city in itself, designed to transcend its visitors into a total escapism of pop. The enclosure makes the experience inside strong and focused and gives the structure’s different districts a framework of function and identity. The wall will act as a noise barrier as well as a very straight forward tool of communication.

The tower in its center projects light to the different parts of the town as stage lights or to enhance the setting. Every district uses the effect from the tower in some aspect and is consequently designed according to the angles of light.

The lights can make the whole building expand dramatically in appearance, from rather low key from a distance into a spectacular body of light; forming a unique landmark for this developing part of the city.
The projections also works in a smaller scale, such as high precision laser to light up a visiting Tina Turner's Martini for example.


Aerial perspective

Aerial perspective of the eastern parts of the building

Section

THE DISTRICTS;

The Star District hosts the office part with rehearsal studios.
As an extra feature we also added a guest star palace.
The rehearsal studios and office space is located in a flexible and large space that are easy to change after specific needs. All office space and rehearsal studios can be reached internally through the surrounding walls. The streets and the small squares in these blocks will be an important area for intermingling for the guest artist and entourage with the local artists and office personnel working in the building.

The star palace features a hotel for the artist’s entourage on the first three levels. The upper level is a penthouse suite for the guest artist with an exclusive pool overlooking the whole complex and formed as a glass bowl that can be illuminated by the tower.

Star District with the star pool
Star District
The outdoor arena is a plane surface surrounded by walls with three levels of balconies on each side. Hovering over the space is a rig with smoke machines that allows it to be disguised as a cloud. The cloud rig is mounted on a rail with a light and sound system that can support the scene anywhere on the arena area either as a roof for the artist or as a separate feature emphasizing the show. When not used for shows the arena can serve as a big square with great scenographic opportunities for markets, car shows, parties etcetera.
The cloud and the outdoor arena
The live houses are located in the centre of the building, connected both to the outdoor arena and the commercial district. The live houses have different scales and characters for different performances such as a hovering outdoor live house as well as small and big scale indoor live houses. All live houses, except the smallest ones, have holes punctuating the roofs for the projections from the tower to reach the scenes. In between the live houses is a tranquil park for recreation with features like headphones to just relax for a moment while visiting the complex and a projection wall for the tower to display music videos or other moving media. The live houses are placed so they can be reached separately from outside the complex for easy controlled night activities.
Live House landscape
Inside a livehouse with stage projection
The commercial district consists of the central square with the tower, the hall of fame and a great cluster of bars and shops that continues on the sloping roof terrace of the main auditorium. The main square is an important entry point to the complex with a close access to all public events.
In the middle of the square lies the tower which is a clearly visible landmark and controls the light ambiance for the whole complex.

The Hall of Fame is easily accessed for the public via the main square and hosts a great collection of Pop memorabilia as well as a permanent exhibition of the supreme of pop.

The shops and bars are relatively small units tweaked towards the tower to individually light up a preferred interior vibe via the glass roofs. The many small streets and squares makes for a vibrant atmosphere, perfect for a pre-drink before a concert or an evening stroll.
From the tower
Shop district
Shop district with projections
The main hall provides a unique concert experience; large punctuations in the roof for the tower projections lights up the whole scene as well as a large part of the hall.

The sloping spectator area is made out of glass beams which can transmit light out on the auditorium plaza, creating an epic foyer for the arriving crowds. The auditorium foyer/square is protected from rain by the large overhang and acts as a connection hub for pedestrians; interlinking various footbridges and takes the visitors to the desired floor level.

The roof on the auditorium becomes a sloping terrace down to the commercial district with views over the whole complex.
Main auditorium
Siteplan

Plans
Thanks to Andres Morelli for some of the 3D renderings

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Visiondivision – Idealists in the 21st Century?

Read the insightful interview by Craig Chamberlain, an author and freelance writer for RIBAJournal, the magazine of the royal institute of british architects.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Notch Festival in Beijing

visiondivision is invited to participate in an architecture production at the NOTCH FESTIVAL in Beijing with Svensk Standard for three weeks. The result will be published next month.

"The Village at Sanlitun is an open-plan shopping, dining, entertaining and cultural community in the heart of Beijing. The Village South blends a traditional hutong village lifestyle with 21st century modernity and sophistication. The Village North, openingin autumn 2009, comprises a cluster of glass buildings which house an enticing array of creative luxury brands.
NOTCH Festival will take place in both The Village North and South, both indoor and outdoor, will transform The Village into a Nordic fashion terminal, leading a new creative lifestyle and audio-visual culture in the town.

由香港著名太古集团旗下太古地产管理,位于北京三里屯的潮流腹地,汇集众多国际品牌旗舰店和环球店,其创新的建筑设计和人文气质为北京带来了一个全新的、融合了各种创想和潮流的、集购物、娱乐与餐饮于一体的人文风尚汇。街区型的有机布局将传统与创意、本土与国际的最新潮流生活方式兼收并蓄。南区广场和橙色大厅举办的一系列文化艺术活动带给人们变幻出新,惊喜不断的多方位体验。
从北区的钻石楼,户外下沉式绿色广场The Deck,到南区的橙色大厅和户外大屏,NOTCH将多方位、立体式渗透进三里屯VILLAGE的整个区域中。三里屯VILLAGE借NOTCH发布北欧最新时尚设计潮流,引领绿色创意设计生活时尚和视听文化新风潮。"


Friday, October 9, 2009

Under construction - Wat Hut

Our project Wat Hut is now under construction and is estimated to be completed in early November.
This lovely house has many special features such as an outdoor cinema for six people, two caves that is reached from each of the two children's room and last but not least a living room with fake grass that is connected to the outside grass in a stunning fashion.
More images and drawings when the building is finished.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Outlook Magazine

Our Al-Hakawati was featured in the June issue of The Outlook Magazine; a popular monthly magazine about creativity, lifestyle, fashion, design and culture, with 180,000 monthly readers all over China. www.theoutlookmagazine.com .


"The Outlook Magazine is a high quality men’s magazine targeting at the successful male business executives. In about two years, it has already successfully established its unique position among the men’s magazine categories in China and has become the standard of high quality. It is a monthly must-read for those who are pursuing new knowledge and visions in various aspects of our daily lives through a brand new perspective."

You can order the June issue here if you're interested;
http://www.designbook.cn/english/listmag.asp?issueid=3124

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gulf Life

Our project Al-Hakawati is featured in the latest issue of Gulf Life, the distinguished in-flight magazine of Gulf Air with a monthly readership of 600,000 people.
It contains a wide-ranging mix of features relating to Gulf Air destinations worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the Gulf region and the Middle East.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The VD Guide VI

Visiondivision gives you a brief tour of inspiring projects and phenomenon around the world.If you have more suggestions, dont hesitate to contact us at: info@visiondivision.com For more VD Guide >>> http://www.visiondivision.com/
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Maho Beach - A tropical beach with jumbojet's landing a couple of metres from you
Birth: 1970s
Location: Maho Beach, St Maarten/St Martin
Architect: Unknown
VD says: Beauty and danger is always a great combo.

Saint Martin is a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately 300 km east of Puerto Rico. The island is divided roughly in half between France and the Netherlands Antilles; it is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations.
The island is served by many major airlines that bring in large jet aircrafts, including Boeing 747's and Airbus A340's carrying tourists from across the world on a daily basis. The short length of the main runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, and its position between a large hill and a beach causes some spectacular approaches.
Aviation photographers flock to the airport to capture pictures of large jets just a couple of metres above sunbathers on Maho Beach.

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The Tiger Temple - A sanctuary for tigers overseen by thai monks
Birth: 1999
Location: Thailand
Architect: Thai monks
VD says: Our wildlife heart loves these kind of things.

The Tiger Temple was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery and sanctuary for numerous wild animals. According to the abbot and others associated with the temple, in 1999, the temple received the first tiger cub, it had been found by villagers and died soon after. The story goes that several tiger cubs were later given to the temple over time, typically when the mothers had been killed by poachers. As of 2007, over 21 cubs have been born at the temple and the total number of tigers is about 12 adult tigers and 4 cubs.
They spend most of the time in cages, being fed with cooked chicken, beef and dry cat food. The meat is boiled to avoid giving the tigers a taste for blood. The tigers are washed and handled by Thai monks, and once a day they are walked on leashes to a nearby quarry. Originally they would roam around freely in this area but now, with the increase in visitors and the amount of tigers who sit in the canyon, they are chained for safety reasons.

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The Marsh Arabs - Outcasts in an Iraqui swamp
Birth: Thousand years ago or so
Location: Tigris-Euphrates marshlands in the south and east of Iraq and along the Iranian border.
Architect: The Marsh Arabs
VD says: They live in a malaria infested swamp shared with wolves, which Saddam Hussein later tried to drain, causing one of the worst ecological disasters on planet Earth, but still manage to create architecture with flair.

The Marsh Arabs (Maadan) has developed a unique culture centred around the marshes' natural resources.
Most Marsh Arabs lives in arched reed houses. The typical dwelling is usually a little more than 2 meters wide, about 6 meters long, and a little less than three meters high, and was either constructed at the waterside or on an artificial island of reeds called a kibasha; a more permanent island of layered reeds and mud was called a dibin. Houses had entrances at both ends and a screen in the middle; one end was used as a dwelling and the other end was used to shelter animals in bad weather. The marsh environment meant that certain diseases, such as bilharzia and malaria, were endemic; Maadani agriculture and homes were also vulnerable to periodic droughts and flooding.
After the people of the marshes rose against Saddam Hussein, he began drying the marshes by channeling water away from them and directly into the Shatt el Arab. Most of the inhabitants were killed or fled to Iran, so that only 40,000 of the original 250,000 to 500,000 people remained. In the first four years, Saddam drained 60 percent of the marsh; today only 7 percent remains.
According to a report made by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2001, the marshlands that once covered between 5,800 and 7,700 square miles now comprised just 386 square miles. UNEP ranked the destruction of the marsh with the desiccation of the Aral Sea and the deforestation of the Amazon as one of the worst environmental disasters in history.
But the Marsh Arabs continues to live their lives.

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Sanjieliu (or 'Human's Masterpiece Cooperated with the God')- Immense show with the surrounding landscape as its stage
Birth: 2004
Location: Li River, China
Architect: The Sanjieliu team
VD says: Great concept, great effort!

This is the world largest natural theater which utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage, with twelve mist shrouded hills and the heavens as its backdrop. Mist, rain, moonlight, the hills and their inverted reflections in the river all become the ever-changing natural background. Its auditorium is housed on the natural islands of the river with the audience standing on the designed terraces, surrounded by green plants. The sound equipment here cannot be seen because it is in harmony with the natural environment. The valleys, the hills, the cool breeze and the streams are all elements contributing to the three-dimensional sound effect. Day by day, different weather offers different sceneries with the four seasons refreshing the performance as well, so you will have unique experience every time you watch it. The creators call this humbly- 'Human's Masterpiece Cooperated with the God'.
The performance is divided into seven chapters including the preface and epilogue. Each chapter has its own colors and effects. The peformance lasts for 70 minutes and 600 plus actors and actress are involved.

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Maijishan - A temple complex incorporated with a mountain
Birth: 4th century
Location: Gansu Province, China
Architect: Various dynasties
VD says: Another of mankinds early showoffs, we like it.

Located Southeast of Tianshyui City in Gansu Province on a 142 meters high hill named Maijishan, meaning "Wheat-pile Hill". Work on the grottoes started in the late 4th century and continued through successive dynasties until the 19th century. There are 194 existing caves, in which are preserved more than 7,000 sculptures made of terra cotta and over 1,000 square meters of murals. Earthquakes, rain and fire have damaged a large part of the caves and wooden structures. But still worth a visit!

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Egyptian Pigeon Towers - A tower for cultivating pigeons
Birth: ancient times
Location: Egypt, USA
Architect: Egptian farmers
VD says: Building structures for animals is or favorite topic.

Pigeon towers are very common in the Egyptian country side and goes way back into ancient times. They are homes for pigeons to live and roam freely. Pots and pipes are cemented together in horizontal layers with some of them opening to the outside of the tower and others to the inside. Inside the tower there is either a ladder or a stairway by means of which the owner can climb up to claim the squabs (young feathered pigeons who are not yet flying) to confine them and fatten them up for eating. Pigeon is eaten stuffed with either rice or whole wheat or it is grilled or made into casseroles. They are a dark meat bird and very tasty. Most pigeons that have any colour plumage other than the feral dark greyish blue (the wild rock dove) are owned by someone in Egypt because they are so easy to raise.


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Setenil de las Bodegas - A town with a complex physical connection with the surrounding cliffs.
Birth: around 13th century
Location: Setenil, Span
Architect: Unknown
VD says: Fascinating

Named after its once flourishing wineries - bodegas - Setenil is probably unique among the pueblos blancos,white villages, of Andalucia. Where most pueblos blancos were built on protective bluffs and pinnacles, this town grew out of a network of caves in the cliffs above the rio Trejo north-west of Ronda. Its blinding white houses seem to emerge from the rocks, and some have rock roofs and even olive groves on their roofs.

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Lake Moraine - Picture perfect lake with a high grizzly activity
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Alberta, Canada
Architect: Earth
VD says: Probably our favourite remote Canadian lake

Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake in Banff National Park, 14 kilometres outside the Village of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 1,885 m. The lake has a surface area of 0.5 square kilometres.
The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinct shade of blue. The color is due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake on a continual basis.
Moraine Lake is well known for the multitude of grizzlies that inhabit the surrounding valley. For this reason, the park may require you to hike in groups of six, and may occasionally close off trails completely.

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Mirny Diamond Mine - A man made hole of immense proportions
Birth: 1955-
Location: Mirny, Russia
Architect: Russian Mining Corporation
VD says: Enormous excavations are always interesting, especially this one.

The Mirny Diamond Mine, which operated from 1955 through 2004, is one of the world's largest mines. The mine is so deep that the surrounding air zone is closed for helicopters after a few accidents when they were sucked in by downward air flow. It would take a truck two hours to drive from the bottom of the mine to the lip.

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Maison à Bordeaux - Modern masterpiece villa
Birth: 1998
Location: Bordeaux, France
Architect: OMA
VD says: One of the greatest villas in modern time

"A couple lived in a very old, beautiful house in Bordeaux. They wanted a new house, maybe, a very simple house. They were looking at different architects.Then, the husband had a car accident. He almost died, but he survived. Now he needs a wheelchair.Two years later, the couple began to think about the house again. Now the new house could liberate the husband from the prison that their old house and the medieval city had become."Contrary to what you would expect” he told the architect, "I do not want a simple house. I want a complex house, because the house will define my world...”. They bought a mountain with panoramic view over the city. The architect proposed a house - or actually three houses on top of each other.The lowest one was cave-like - a series of caverns carved out from the hill for the most intimate life of the family.The highest house was divided in a house for the couple and a house for the children. The most important house was almost invisible, sandwiched in-between: a glass room - half inside, half outside - for living. The man had his own «room», or rather «station». A lift, 3 by 3.5 m. that moved freely between the 3 houses; changing plan and performance when it "locked” into one of the floors or floated above. A single «wall» intersected each house, next to the elevator. It contained everything the husband might need - books, artwork and in the cellar, wine...The movement of the elevator changed each time the architecture of the house. A machine was its heart."

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Hotel Panorama - Hotel with bigger floor plans the higher up you go
Birth: 1965
Location: Strbske, Slovakia
Architect: Zdenek Rihak
VD says: Simple but with a strong concept.

Hotel Panorama is located in the village of Strbske Pleso, which is formed around the biggest tarn on the slovak side of the Vysoke Tatry Mountains. The hotel is adjacent to the train and bus station, and the lake alike. Hotel Panorama is built over a valley, so many of the rooms have a wonderful view on the High and Low Tatras.

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Varanasi - One of the oldest and strangest settlements in the world.
Birth: A long time ago
Location: Varanasi
Architect: Lord Shiva
VD says: A constant religious manifestation, an epic waterfront.

Varanasi (or Benares, Banaras, Kashi), on the left bank of the Ganges, is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. It is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, according to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva, around 5,000 years ago. Mark Twain wrote: "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
Varanasi has the finest (religious) river frontage in India, with miles of ghats (steps) for bathing; an array of shrines, temples, and palaces rises tier on tier from the bank. More than a million pilgrims visit each year; many hope to die there in old age.

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Oil Rocks (Neft Daşları) - A series of oil platforms interlinked as a town with 5.000 inhabitants
Birth: 1947
Location: Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan
Architect: Soviet and Azerbaijan
VD says: Dystopic Water world like. Cool and tough as hell.

The Oil Rocks is a full town on the sea, it was the first oil platform in Azerbaijan and it was built in 1947 as an exercise of Soviet and Azeri ambition. The Oil Rocks lies 45-50 km offshore on the Caspian Sea and the most distinctive feature of the Oil Rocks is that it is actually a functional city with a population of about 5,000 and over 200 km of streets built on piles of dirt and landfill. Most of the inhabitants work on shifts; a week on Oil Rocks followed by a week on the shore. The small city includes shops, school and a library.
The facility is poorly maintained, with miles of roads now submerged beneath the sea. Around some worker's dormitories, the waterline now stands at the second-floor windows. Although a full one-third of the Oil Rocks complex's 600 wells are inoperative or inaccessible, operations have continued without a significant increase in investment. The site, despite its imperfections, still produces over half of the total crude oil output of Azerbaijan.
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The Richat Structure - Unique circular formation in the Sahara desert
Birth: A long time ago
Location: near Ouadane, Mauritania
Architect: Earth
VD says: Places like these makes our planet more fascinating.

The Richat Structure has attracted attention since the earliest space missions because it forms a conspicuous bull's-eye in the otherwise rather featureless expanse of the desert. The structure, which has a diameter of almost 50 kilometres, has become a landmark for space shuttle crews.
Initially interpreted as a meteorite impact structure because of its high degree of circularity, it is now thought to be a symmetrical uplift that has been laid bare by erosion.