The Leaning Tower of Pisa is empty inside

Except for some interior stairs and some retrofitted safety and stabilizing additions, the inside of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is smooth marble. This lovely tour goes all the way up to the bells at the top, offering a great view. Read the rest

Blocks of laser-perforated note-cards that reveal architectural models as leaves are torn away

Triad's Omoshiro Block ("fun block") are blocks of notecards from architectural model company Triad that have been pre-scored by a laser-cutter so that the pages separate to leave behind -- and gradually reveal -- detailed, delicate and exquisite models of Japanese architectural landmarks. Read the rest

Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums

Maryam Omidi crowdfunded a photographic tour of Soviet-era sanatoriums, and the resulting book, Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums is like a weird 1970s sci-fi catalog. Read the rest

Architects designed these groovy cat houses for charity

FixNation is a nonprofit working to reduce the feral cat population. To raise funds, they commissioned cool cat shelters from prominent Los Angeles architecture firms, then auctioned the structures like Flora-Gato in the video for charity. Read the rest

Cool sculpture made of repurposed wooden escalator stairs

Sydney's Wynyard Station wooden escalators, built in 1932, have been preserved and repurposed as a sculpture titled Interloop, in the station where they operated for over 80 years. Read the rest

Slanted bookshelf that's climbable and earthquake resistant

Architect Shinsuke Fujii accepted the challenge from a client who wanted an accessible tall bookshelf that would not be affected by an earthquake. One entire wall of the house is slanted outward to allow climbing without any chance of tipping over. Read the rest

What would 'The Simpsons' house look like in different architectual styles?

The residence of Homer, Marge, and their kids is so unremarkably suburban that it's hard to describe what it looks like, let alone name the architectural style. Here's what it might look like as more distinctive styles found in America. Above: Mediterranean. Read the rest

A misty archway artwork that leads to a beautiful Japanese temple

Arc ZERO is an art installation from this year's Japan Alps Art Festival in Omachi. It heightens the Japanese experience of komorebi, a word that roughly means "sunlight filtering through trees." Read the rest

Muji is now selling $27,000, 98sqft micro-home "huts"

Muji -- the Japanese minimalist design house that's something of a local equivalent to Ikea, but with clothes, stationery, toiletries and groceries -- has finally shipped its long-awaited Mujirushi micro-home, a ¥3,000,000 (USD27,000) "hut" with a slanting roof that can be ordered for delivery and assembly in many Japanese suburbs. Read the rest

Tour this groovy new terraced Chinese library

An orblike auditorium nicknamed The Eye sits at the center of the new Tianjin Binhai Library that can hold up to 1.2 million books. Read the rest

This desert getaway is made of shipping containers radiating in every direction

Shipping containers have been used to make interesting homes for some time, but this spiky white cluster of containers jutting out of the California desert will be quite a sight to behold upon completion. Read the rest

Cool design for underwater restaurant in Norway

Architecture firm Snøhetta released its design concept for Under, a restaurant planned for the coast along Norway's southernmost tip. Read the rest

Life inside Tokyo's 1970s capsule apartment building

Since 2010, photographer Noritaka Minami has documented life in Tokyo's Nakagin Tower, a "metabolist" building constructed in 1972 in just one month. Each prefabricated cube attached to the core tower is a 107-square-foot apartment complete with a tiny lavatory. Since designer Kisho Kurokawa's death in 2007, its fate has been uncertain. From National Geographic:

Some capsule owners have moved out or converted their rooms into offices, while others have chosen to renovate and remain in the one-of-a-kind dwelling.

Minami avoided photographing the tenants directly, preferring to have their presence communicated through their objects. “[The room] functions as a container of people's identity, personal interest, hobbies and taste.”

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The Tombstone House was built with 2200 discarded gravestones

I bet this Petersburg, Virginia home is the last place local trick-or-treating children want to hit up for candy on Halloween.

The Tombstone House" was built in 1934 using the lower half of marble tombstones procured from Poplar Grove, the nearby Civil War cemetery. There are 2,200 discarded headstones in total, all from Union soldiers.

Atlas Obscura shares the house's story:

The soldiers all died in the siege of Petersburg, which lasted for nine months at the end of the Civil War... After their original wooden grave markers rotted away, the government installed upright marble headstones to take their place.

However, during the Great Depression, maintaining the cemetery and the headstones suffered because of scant funding. The city decided to cut the tombstones in half and lay the top halves, which were engraved with the soldiers’ details, on the ground so they no longer stood erect. These makeshift flat graves saved money on mowing and maintenance costs.

The bottom halves of 2,200 slain tombstones were then sold for the princely sum of $45. Their new owner, Oswald Young, used them to build his house, chimney, and walkway...

The house is located at 1736 Youngs Road in Petersburg, Virginia.

Thanks, Greg Wright! Read the rest

Giant artwork of buildings having sex too graphic for outside Louvre, going to Pompidou instead

The Louvre in Paris decided that the "Domestikator," the 40-foot-tall installation by Atelier Van Lieshout seen above, wasn't the right fit for the adjacent Tuileries Gardens. The plan was to show it during this month's Fiac! International Contemporary Art Fair.

“Online commentaries point out this work has a brutal aspect,” wrote the Louvre’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez Martinez, in a letter to fair organizers. “It risks being misunderstood by visitors to the gardens.”

The Louvre was also reportedly concerned that in the Tuileries Gardens the sculpture would be too close to a children's playground.

The new plan is that starting next Wednesday, the "Domestikator" will be situated in front of the Centre Pompidou that houses the Musée National d'Art Moderne.

“To have this major piece in front of the Pompidou is a victory,” Julien Lombrail, director of the London-based gallery Carpenters Workshop, which represents Atelier Van Lieshout, told the New York Times. “It’s an incredible moment for Paris and the public, when we have so many issues surrounding art and censorship. It’s important for us to engage for the future.” Read the rest

Exhibit of the futuristic New York City that never was

Buckminster Fuller created this striking 1960 overlay photograph "Dome Over Manhattan" in 1960. It's one of many prints, drawings, models, and artworks in the "Never Built New York" exhibition now on view at the Queens Museum. Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin, and designed by Christian Wassmann, the exhibition "explores a city where you could catch a football game in Manhattan, travel via a floating airport, and live in an apartment also acting as a bridge support." Below, Frank Lloyd Wright's "Key Plan for Ellis Island" (1959), Eliot Noyes’s Westinghouse Pavilion proposal for the 1964 World’s Fair installed at the exhibit as a scaled-down "bouncy house" model, and Paul Rudolph’s "Galaxon Pavilion," designed for the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows and recreated in virtual reality by Shimahara Illustration. The exhibition is based on the curator's book, Never Built New York. From an interview with Lubell and Golding in City Lab:

Lubell: The way you experience the show in Queens connects you to the site, makes it real, and then you’re in the salon space before finally walking up to the panorama, looking above the projects with a sense of how it all would have affected the city. The combination of galleries makes for a really powerful experience.

Seeing these projects through our show doesn’t just create a ‘wow’ factor: it can inspire people to learn more about how cities do or don’t work. It clues people into the planning process. I think the emotions that come from looking back at these projects will make people think about what we can do now and in the future to improve New York.

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African grain silos repurposed into art museum

Cape Town's Zeith Museum of Contemporary Art Africa was built from an old grain silo complex. Read the rest

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