Tag Archives: architecture

196. Underneath the Lake

Witley Park lies in the county of Surrey, England. In 1889 it was founded by Whitaker Wright, a man who had made a fortune in the oil business. For himself he constructed a grand house with a theatre, ballroom and artificial lakes. In 1904 he took his own life and the estate changed hands.

In its current state some parts have been modernised and other left to disintegrate but certain fantastical parts of the park have stood the test of time.

There were two additional rooms on the estate, but they were less noticeable than one might expect. In one tree on the estate there is a door. Go through the door and navigate the sinking subterranean stairs. Next you commandeer a small boat and take a rowing trip. Then a large pair of doors appear, open them and see the majesty of a whole room, underground.

The glass a vivid yellow fills in the dome above. Covering it is a layer of algae obscuring the magnificent view of the artificial lake. It is ballroom and exists to this day. In fact the second room does as well. If one continues on through the ballroom you will reach a second room enshrined in glass, a conservatory. A place where guests could relax and watch fish swim by. Now that, too, is garnished in a fine layer of green grime.

Those lonely, lost, lake-laden rooms languish once more in obscurity. Witley Park used to be a place for courses and conferences, astounding many visitors but now it is now private property. This iconic and ethereal sight shall remain one man’s pleasure for a while longer. At least we have the photographs.

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Articles, Trivia


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133. Cherrapunji Root Bridges

In Northeast India amongst the jungle lies Cherrapunji.Cherrapunji is just about the wettest place on earth, the southern Kasi and Jaintia hills are extremely warm and humid, covered in a fine network of streams and fast flowing river. As such it is often best to have a bridge over these troubled waters; in Cherrapunji though, they are not built, instead they are grown.

The Ficus Elastica is a special type of rubber plant which thrives in the humid hills, producing rich root networks which were both extensive and sturdy. Long ago the War-Khasis tribe noticed that they had a second root network, higher up in the trunks a second set of roots would dangle down, the humidity so great that these roots could suck minerals from the airborne moisture. The War-Khasis weren’t so big on being amazed at extreme humidity and capillary action, instead they saw an opportunity. These trees grew near everywhere, so whenever they wanted a bridge, they found these trees and grew them. With a little direction of course.

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Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Articles


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115. The X-Seed 4000

6km wide and 800 floors reaching a total height of 4000m, those numbers describe the X-Seed 4000, the tallest building ever fully envisioned. By fully envisioned I mean that the schematics were drawn out and the building structure fully designed. The only thing the project would have required was money.

Between $330 billion and $1 trillion approximately. It would have been expensive were it not for the fact that it was never designed to be built. It was designed for Tokyo as a publicity stunt for the Taisei Corporation. By all means it was a success. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on May 15, 2011 in Articles


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96. The Hotel of Ice

The Coolest Hotel There Is – ICEHOTEL

ICEHOTEL is a special hotel, as is evidenced by the name it is a hotel, made from ice.

Everything from the ceiling struts right down to the chairs is made from ice, the ice itself dredged in the hundreds of tons from a nearby river. ICEHOTEL is the original, spawning many parallels globally however it remains the greatest, an icon among icons in the world of hotels. But how did it come to be?

ICEHOTEL,when it exists, resides in the small village of Jukkasjärvi, in Sweden. It began simply enough with the Japanese (of course!). In 1989 a group of Japanese ice artists assembled and created a beautiful exhibition of ice art. Then in the following spring of 1990 a cylindrical igloo(the best type of igloo) was constructed. Inside it the French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition. Visitors came to see it of course, but then there were no spare rooms in the town, so they asked to stay in the ice-cylinder. They slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin. Then, began ICEHOTEL.

The ABSOLUT ICEBAR - where every drink is on the rocks

From that informal opening ICEHOTEL has been constructed every single year using snow and ice from the Torne River. The snow and ice, once extracted are stored in a production hall capable of holding 10,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow. 1000 tons of the ice are used for construction whilst the rest is used for the elaborate designs in the ABSOLUT ICEBAR, a centre-piece of the hotel in which everything including the drinks glasses are made from ice. Snow is used to help strengthen the ice structure of the hotel and the rest of the ice is used in promotional events and product launches across the world.

Each Ice Hotel is a unique construction made of nothing but water in a few of its forms, a network of free-standing snow corridors and icy walls. Every year construction begins mid November and the structure stands completed from December to April before it is destroyed once more.

One of the custom suites designed for 2011 ICEHOTEL

It is a truly beautiful structure with its own church amongst other things. Every year the hotel is different, with artists submitting design ideas for the interiors and a jury selects the best 50 to construct their imaginings. Once finished the hotel has amassed an area of over 6000m², making it the largest snow and ice construction in the world.

So there we have it, a pure construction of ice containing nothing but the frozen Swedish water, with the exceptions of those repugnantly warm, fleshy meat bags that visit it. A marvellous place indeed, listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Sweden its cold has captured the hearts of the country, and for those cowardly meat bags there is warm accommodation next to the hotel.

To conclude, this is a seriously – cool – hotel. If you can, try visiting, I know I will.

Feel free to click here and visit the ICEHOTEL website for more information.


Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Articles, Trivia


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