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Best Directions Ever: "Take the Exit that Goes Through the Office Building"

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Directions to my house go something like, "Take the highway that runs through town and get off on exit 9, then take a left at the stoplight." If you live in downtown Osaka, your directions might be more along the lines of, "Take the Umeda Exit of the Ikeda Route. You know, the one that goes through the building."

Though Gate Tower Building has been there since the early '90s, the whole affair actually started a decade earlier. The property owners desperately wanted to build on this piece of land, but the development of the highway was already in the late planning stages. After about five years of negotiation with the Hanshin Expressway Corporation, an agreement was reached. It would have been fun to sit in on that meeting. I imagine "Hey guys - why don't we just run the highway through the building?" was met with a lot of blank stares at first. Crazy though it seems, the solution has been working out just fine for about 18 years now. None of the highway actually touches the building; even so, it's considered the official tenant of the fifth, sixth and seventh floors. The part of those floors that isn't taken up by the thoroughfare houses machinery, elevators and stairs.

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This Russian Kindergarten Looks Just Like a Castle
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A group of lucky kindergarteners in Russia don’t have to wear poufy dresses or plastic crowns to pretend they’re royalty. As Atlas Obscura reports, all they have to do is go to school.

In a rural area of Russia's Leninsky District sits a massive, pastel-colored schoolhouse that was built to resemble Germany's famed Neuschwanstein Castle. It has turrets and gingerbread-like moldings—and instead of a moat, the school offers its 150 students multiple playgrounds, a soccer field, a garden, and playhouses.

Tuition is 21,800 rubles (about $360) a month, but the Russian government subsidizes it to make it less expensive for parents. As for the curriculum: it’s designed to promote social optimism, and each month’s lesson plan is themed. (September, for example, will be career-focused.)

Take a video tour of the school below, or learn more on the school’s website.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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This Chinese Library's Interior Is Designed to Look Like an Infinite Tunnel of Books
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The Chinese city of Yangzhou is known for its graceful arched bridges and proximity to the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Architects kept these unique local features in mind while designing Zhongshuge Yangzhou, a new bookstore and library that was completed in 2016.

Designed by Shanghai studio XL-Muse Architects, the building has black, mirrored floors and arched ceilings that symbolize Yangzhou’s famous waterways and overpasses. The floor reflects the store’s curving shelves to create the illusion of a never-ending tunnel of books—a true bibliophile’s dream.

Learn more about Yangzhou’s unique library/bookstore below, courtesy of Great Big Story.

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