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The Quick 10: The Chrysler Building

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Apparently it’s Buildings of New York Appreciation Week here in the Quick 10. Joining the New York Public Library in having a birthday this week is the Chrysler Building, which will be celebrating its 81st year dominating the Manhattan skyline. It may not be the tallest building in town these days, but it’s still one of the most impressive. Read on to find out how long it actually held the title of New York’s Tallest Building and nine other fascinating facts about the Art Deco masterpiece.

1. Without the freak show-riddled Coney Island amusement park Dreamland (pictured), the Chrysler Building would never have existed. When Dreamland burned to the ground in 1911, owner William Reynolds decided he needed a new, high-profile project to work on. He decided to enter the “Tallest Building in the World” race and commissioned architect William Van Alen to draft something.

2. It’s called the Chrysler Building not after the business, really, but after the man, Walter Chrysler. Though Chrysler used it as the headquarters for his car company for more than 20 years, the company didn’t foot bill for the building - Walter did. He bought the property and the design for (we think) $2 million after Reynolds defaulted on the lease. Chrysler purchased it himself so his sons could inherit it.

3. Chrysler never actually paid William Van Alen. He believed Van Alen was working with building contractors on some shady financial arrangements and refused to be a part of it.

4. The 27-ton spire on top of the building took just 90 minutes to erect. And it was kind of sneaky affair.

You see, the Empire State Building was going up at the same time, backed by Chrysler rival John Raskob, founder of General Motors. Raskob, in a bit of not-so-friendly competition, wanted to make sure his building was taller than Chrysler’s, but Chrysler was keeping the height of his building a secret, making it hard for Empire State Building architects to plan. “Raskob was worried that Walter Chrysler would pull a trick - like hiding a rod in the spire and then sticking it up at the last minute,” said project manager Hamilton Weber. Well, Raskob sure knew his rival, because that’s exactly what Chrysler did.

5. As a result, the Chrysler Building held the title of New York’s Tallest Building... for less than a year. Once the Chrysler Building was done, Raskob’s architects did some figuring and decided they could make the building 85 stories tall, eight stories taller than the Chrysler Building. They did, of course, and the Chrysler Building was bumped to the second-tallest building in the city.

6. The building hasn’t always been in high demand. Shockingly, during the recession of the early ‘70s, only 17% of the building was occupied and the building was nearly foreclosed on.

7. There are a total of 3,862 windows that gaze out on New York.

8. The entire building required about 400,000 rivets and nearly four million bricks, all laid by hand.

9. There are many elements of the building meant to be a subtle nod to Chrysler’s automobile empire - hubcaps, fenders, and radiator caps. The famous eagle gargoyles are even reminiscent of an actual Chrysler hood ornament.

10. The 66th through 68th floors of the building were once occupied by the Cloud Club, an exclusive gentlemen’s club with members such as Conde Nast and boxer Gene Tunney. It closed in the 1970s when the building fell on hard times.

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Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten
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Dutch City Will Become the World's First to Build Inhabitable 3D-Printed Concrete Houses
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten

A new 3D-printed concrete housing development is coming to the Netherlands in 2019, CNN reports. The structures will be the first habitable 3D-printed concrete houses in the world, according to Project Milestone, the organization behind the initiative.

While architects and engineers have been experimenting with 3D-printed buildings for several years, most of those structures have just been prototypes. The Dutch development, located in Eindhoven, is expected to be ready for its first residents by mid-2019.

Project Milestone is a collaboration between the city of Eindhoven, Eindhoven University of Technology, the contractor Van Wijnen, the real estate company Vesteda—which will own and manage the houses—the engineering consultancy Witteveen+Bos, and the construction materials company Weber Beamix.

A rendering of boulder-like homes in the middle of a field
Houben and Van Mierlo Architecten

The five planned homes will be built one by one, giving the architects and engineers time to adjust their process as needed. The development is expected to be completed over the next five years.

The housing development won’t look like your average residential neighborhood: The futuristic houses resemble massive boulders with windows in them. The first house, scheduled for completion in 2019, will be a 1022-square-foot, three-room home. It will be a single-story house, though all the rest of the homes will have multiple stories. The first house will be built using the concrete printer on the Eindhoven University of Technology’s campus, but eventually the researchers hope to move the whole fabrication process on-site.

In the next few years, 3D-printed houses will likely become more commonplace. A 3D-printed home in Tennessee is expected to break ground sometime later in 2018. One nonprofit is currently trying to raise money to build a development of 100 3D-printed houses in El Salvador within the next two years. And there is already a 3D-printed office building open in Dubai.

In Eindhoven, residents appear to be fairly eager for the development to open. Twenty families have already applied to live in the first home.

You can learn more about the construction process in the video below.

[h/t CNN]

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These Proposed Concrete Pipe Homes Could Ease the Housing Shortage in Hong Kong
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For many young people in Hong Kong, where space is limited and rent continues to soar, moving out of their parents’ home and into their own apartment remains a pipe dream. But Hong Kong-based architect James Law has his own pipe dream—and it could bring some much-needed affordable housing to the city of 7.3 million.

As spotted by Dezeen, a concept by the architecture firm James Law Cybertecture outlines a plan to construct micro homes out of concrete water pipes. The individual pipe homes could be stacked on top of each other and squeezed into narrow, unused spaces between city buildings.

"OPod Tube Housing is an experimental, low-cost, micro-living housing unit to ease Hong Kong's affordable housing problems," James Law told Dezeen.

Although it's still a concept, an “OPod Tube Housing” prototype built by the firm is homier than you would expect. The tubular-shaped home contains all the basic necessities for cooking, bathing, and sleeping. A bench seat can be converted into a bed, and there’s room for a mini fridge, microwave, suitcase stand, and clothing rack. The glazed door also doubles as a window, and lighting strips and a retractable lamp are also built into the homes.

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live on Earth, and the average resident’s apartment takes up about 150 square feet of space, according to Quartz. Another company in Hong Kong, called Markbox, has been converting shipping containers into micro apartments.

Check out Quartz’s video below to learn more about the OPod Tube Housing design.

[h/t Dezeen]

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