Category:
Architecture

Blast-Resistant House

Here's a house with all the advantages of any concrete house — PLUS protection from atomic blasts at minimum cost.


House Beautiful - June 1956

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 30, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Architecture, Advertising, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1950s

Hal Hayes’s Swinging Bachelor Mansion



For $600,000 -- adjusted for inflation, about $4.9 million today -- Hayes got a six-level, steel-and-glass pad with masculine, maximum technology and minimal custom decoration. He parked on girders projecting from the edge of his hillside lot, piped in hi-fi music, poured drinks from an ultra-sleek mini kitchen designed for catering, not for cooking, seduced brunettes in an orchid greenhouse and did what bachelors do in a free-standing “playroom.”

There was a circular fireplace, a louvered skylight, a mirrored master suite and an artificial beach for topless tanning. An outdoor hearth in gunite lava rock warmed women chilled by gin martinis.




Guests in the bomb shelter of Hal Hayes's house.



Retrospective write-up at the LA TIMES.


1958 feature in LIFE magazine.

Some great pix with this article.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 26, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Architecture, Domestic, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Space-age Bachelor Pad & Exotic, 1950s

Houses Integrated with Trees

I once ate at a restaurant in Medellin, Colombia, which featured a massive tree in the dining area that grew up through the roof. The urge to blend trees with houses is an ancient one.

Here's an instance from 1920.



This article details modern occurences of the motif.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Dec 12, 2022 - Comments ()
Category: Architecture, Domestic, Nature, 1920s

Underground Smog Shelter

Despite living on a hill that was relatively free of smog, millionaire Bill Bounds built an underground smog shelter where he could "breathe air filtered by activated charcoal."

"Bill Bounds at the entrance to his underground smog shelter"



Lansing State Journal - Dec 5, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Fri Nov 18, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Architecture, Urban Life, 1970s

Dome living

Future homes will be able to face in any direction—turned from hour to hour or season to season by your electricity. Electrically operated climate-conditioned extensions will permit "spring or summer terraces" all year round—enjoy swimming, winter fun and gardening all at once, if you wish.

I imagine a house like this might be possible to build nowadays, but the monthly electric bill would be a small fortune.

Life - Sep 10, 1956



Related post: The Winooski Dome

Posted By: Alex - Sat Oct 29, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Architecture, Utilities and Power Generation, 1950s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Louis Duprey’s Trapdoor Theater Seats

One of the minor annoyances of going to a theater is having your view blocked if someone in front of you gets up from their seat. Or having to stand from your seat to let someone get by.

Back in 1924, Louis Duprey patented a solution to this problem. He envisioned a theater in which guests would enter through a subchamber, get into their seats, and then be raised upwards by a hydraulic lift, through a trapdoor, into the theater itself. Anyone who wanted to leave early could simply lower themself back down, disturbing no one else.

It's an over-engineered solution to a minor problem, but I would happily pay extra, at least once, to experience a theater like this. Though I'd probably spend the entire time going up and down in my chair.

More info: Patent No. 1,517,774
Related Posts: Thomas Curtis Gray's horizontal theater, Theater in a Whale, Lloyd Brown's Globe Theater





via New Scientist

Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 20, 2022 - Comments (6)
Category: Architecture, Entertainment, Theater and Stage, Patents, 1920s

Lavaforming

Icelandic architect Arnhildur Palmadottir has proposed creating buildings (and entire cities) out of lava. From her website:

Lava flow has shaped the landscape for billions of years, but in human times lava has been a destructive force. Basaltic lava flows can contain enough building materials for the foundations of an entire city that would rise in a few weeks. The Lavaforming project is a story of a world that has recognised that traditional building materials such as concrete and steel that have huge environmental impact are no longer usable to build the cities that are needed.

The basic idea is to create trenches and forms to direct the flow of the lava. Then just wait for the volcano to erupt and hopefully flow in the intended way.

More info: Surfaces Reporter





Update: Paul tells me that the Santa Maria Church in Randazzo, Sicily was built with black lava stones.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jul 31, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Architecture

The Palace of the Soviets

Take what metaphors and allegories you will from this famous failure.



The Wikipedia page tells us:

The Palace of the Soviets (Russian: Дворец Советов, Dvorets Sovetov) was a project to construct a political convention center in Moscow on the site of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The main function of the palace was to house sessions of the Supreme Soviet in its 130-metre (430 ft) wide and 100-metre (330 ft) tall grand hall seating over 20,000 people. If built, the 416-metre (1,365 ft) tall palace would have become the world's tallest structure, with an internal volume surpassing the combined volumes of the six tallest American skyscrapers.[10]


The music on this video is annoying--hit MUTE--but otherwise it's well done.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 15, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Architecture, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Government, Success & Failure, Russia, Twentieth Century

Mother-In-Law Doors

A mother-in-law door is an exterior door that lacks steps leading up to it, despite needing such steps. They're a common architectural feature in Newfoundland, and no one really knows why.



The Homes and Hues blog offers one possible explanation:

After Newfoundland officially joined Canada in 1949, fire regulations demanded that buildings have two exits, but most existing homes did not. So people carved a second door into their homes. However, since the regulations did not clearly stipulate that the second exit have stairs, they didn't bother with them.




An article by Lisa Moore in the Toronto National Post (Jan 16, 1999) offers another theory:

The traditional Newfoundland house — that is, the saltbox — had no steps leading up to the front door because that entrance was rarely used. Saltbox houses were designed with the kitchen in the back and the parlour in the front, facing the ocean (the main thoroughfare at the time was the water). The kitchen was the heart of the household because that was where the woodstove was located, and most families could only afford to heat one room. Everything happened there — eating and entertaining and playing cards or the fiddle. The parlour, on the other hand, was only used for special occasions.

For many more examples of mother-in-law doors, check out the Mother-In-Law Doors of NL Instagram page.

via TYWKIWDBI

Posted By: Alex - Mon Mar 28, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Architecture

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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