Zhongshuge Bookstore is a popular book chain in China. Each of its stores leverages mirrors in its architectural design to give off a kaleidoscope effect on the interior.
However, one of its stores in the city of Chongqing features a magical and elaborate bookcase. The location features a ceiling mirror that creates an optical illusion of intertwined staircases, a magnified room, and an infinity of books.
Designed by architecture firm X+Living — Zhongshuge bookstores are mind-boggling for readers and viewers alike. Can you imagine if JK Rowling wrote her next book in one of these inception-like wonders?
In the 1880s, French designers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier mocked up what would become the Eiffel Tower. You can even see the size comparison to other landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty.
Thankfully, someone held on to the 14 other rejected designs. Number 3 seems to come closest to the final design, with embellished trusses added to the lower tier.
It’s hard to imagine Paris without the iconic Eiffel Tower today. However, engineer Gustave Eiffel never built the structure with the intention of keeping it up.
The city wanted to tear it down after the Exposition Universelle of 1889. But the same community of artists who criticized the Eiffel Tower’s initial design ended up mobilizing to save it.
There is a bizarre-looking church in the Indonesian jungle that’s shaped like a giant chicken.
Located in the forests of Magelang, Central Java (here it is on Google Maps, Gereja Ayam or “Chicken Church” was built in 1992 by Daniel Alamsjah.
He foresaw the structure in the late 80s when he received a spiritual message from God telling him to construct a prayer house for all religions in the shape of a dove. However, given the small beak and fluffy feathers, it appears to look more like a chicken.
Closed temporarily in 2000 for renovation — the second-floor walls have since been repainted with scenes from Indonesian mythology — the church has since been reopened as a tourist attraction but still offers a religious tour.
You can learn more about the church on its official tourism website.
While Hindus make up a majority of the population of India, there’s a high density of churches in the southwest region of the country.
German photographers Stefanie Zoche and Sabine Haubitz captured these uniquely structured colorful Christian churches during their trips to Kerala, India between 2011 and 2016.
“It seems to me that the Syro-Malabar Church wanted to find a new identity by employing an architectural style that was no longer neo-baroque or classical, as in colonial times,” Zoche told Scroll India.
“Obviously the church asked some architects to design these new churches in a more ‘modernist’ way and to give shape to the Christian iconography in the facades. I think this hybrid architecture can be seen as a new interpretation of Modernism and, in some ways, encouraging more modern ways of interpreting the Christian belief.”
When India gained independence in 1947, the churches wanted to break away from the rigid style of the colonizing west to recreate their own modern interpretation of church architecture with localized touches.
“Some modernist influence can be observed in southern Indian churches, but it is punctuated by local architectural elements,” writes Haubitz and Zoche on their website.
“The buildings often display an effusively sculptural formal language and a use of intense colours. In some churches, Christian symbols are directly transposed into a three-dimensional, monumental construction design. We are interested in highlighting the variety of western influences and their culturally influenced reinterpretation by means of a typological overview of these buildings.”
The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products despite being 237 times smaller in land area than the world’s export leader, the United States.
That’s according to a fascinating article on Netherlands agriculture density through “architecture“ (ie., extensive use of greenhouses) as examined by Arch Daily:
“Dutch agriculture is defined by vast landscapes of greenhouses, some covering 175 acres, which dominate the architectural landscape of South Holland. In total, the country contains 36 square miles of greenhouses, an area 56% larger than the island of Manhattan.”
Photographer Tom Hegen has captured these sprawling greenhouses from above in a mesmerizing series entitled “The Greenhouse Series.”
Researchers in the Netherlands are experimenting with one way to feed more people with using less land, by growing crops indoors. At inside temperatures above 20 degrees, constant humidity of around 80 percent and the use of LED lighting to permit precisely cultivation, in order to produce year-round. The indoor gardens provide growing conditions for plants like tomatoes, peppers or strawberries around the clock and in every kind of weather, which doubles the average yield of an outdoor farm.
How a country so small and very dense — 507 people per square kilometer — can also produce heaps of crop indoors to become a world-leading agricultural exporter is astonishing.
According to the 41st Congress, the proper way to park in cities was on the side of the streets with the roadway running down the center. Of course, in 1870 the members of the Senate were discussing the parking of trees and smaller plants, not automobiles. The first parking system was an early street tree system where parking defined the planting of trees, grasses, and flowers along the side of roadways and the creation of sidewalks for pedestrians.
But given the ubiquity and priority of cars, the park gradually narrowed to make more room for vehicles.
As a consequence of the automobile explosion, lawmakers also passed laws to forbid jaywalking. Cars officially ruled the road, not pedestrians. And crosswalks bloomed.
As someone who used to work in New York, remnants of these ambulatory streets are still there, especially around mid-town. Some of the small islands create a little space for statues and decorations, especially around Christmas time.