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10 Insane Buildings Currently Under Construction

If these wild, under-construction buildings are any indication, the future is near, and it will be extremely tall and draped in glass.

1. Kingdom Tower

Set to dwarf the world’s tallest building—the United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifaby over 550 feet, Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower will be the planet’s first building to top a kilometer in height. The $1.2 billion project, located in Jeddah, will house luxury condos, office space, an observatory, a Four Seasons hotel, and feature the world’s highest sky terrace on the 157th floor (still quite a ways from the top, fyi). Construction on the project officially started last year, and the building is due to be completed in 2019.

2. Shanghai Tower

In the works since 1993, China’s $4.2 billion, 121-floor Shanghai Tower was topped out earlier this year and is now wrapping construction. It is currently the world’s second tallest building, but the Tower isn’t officially set to open until 2015. Still, millions of people have already seen the view from the top thanks to vertigo-inducing snaps and videos, shot by two Russian daredevils who illicitly climbed to the top, which went viral last year. The mixed-use Tower is composed of nine distinct vertical zones and is surrounded by a layer of transparent glass skin to filter weather and provide natural ventilation.

3. The Dubai Pearl

Somewhere between designing artificial islands shaped like the world, the largest mall known to man, and, of course, the planet’s tallest building, someone decided Dubai should also be home to a luxury development that looks vaguely like a regular building that has ominously sprung massive legs. The Dubai Pearl, overlooking the Persian Gulf and set to top out at 73 stories, kicked off construction in 2009 and is due for completion in 2016. The planned “integrated city” features four towers connected by a sky bridge, and will include a 1,800-seat premium theatre and serve as home to the Dubai International Film Festival.

4. Agora Garden Tower

Coming in 2016, Taipei's double-helix-shaped Agora Garden Tower will split the difference between man and Mother Nature. The twisty, 20-story luxury residential building will be green in every sense of the word, with balconies on each floor to support gardens, and state-of-the-art sustainable features including solar cells and rainwater recycling .

5. World One

When it’s completed next year, the 117-floor World One tower will be the tallest residential building on the planet and far and away the tallest building in Mumbai, nearly doubling the 61-floor Imperial Towers that currently hold the latter title. World One will be home to some of Mumbai’s wealthiest residents, with 300 luxury 3 and 4-bedroom units that start at $1.5 million, and feature designs by Giorgio Armani's Armani/Casa studio. Fancy, but World One might not hold the “Mumbai’s Tallest” title for long, considering the currently-on-hold India Tower is planned to reach 126 stories.

6. King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

Closer to the ground than most of the buildings on this list but every bit as mind-blowing, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC, for short-ish) looks more like a Bond villain's lair than a multinational non-profit. The futuristic crystallized design is the brainchild of Iraqi-born architecture icon Zaha Hadid, who designed the center as a series of interlocking, six-sided cells. Construction on the project started in 2009 and, as of 2014, the steel frame has been completed, but it’s currently unclear when the facility will be open for business.

7. Suzhou Zhongnan Center

Construction just recently started on Suzhou, China’s 2,391-foot, 138-story Suzhou Zhongnan Center, meaning there’s still a long, long (long) way to go. But if the pointy, $4.5 billion project is completed on schedule in 2020, it will be the tallest building in China and the third-tallest on earth. The hotel, office, and residential tower will be located beside the nearly-complete 69-story Gate of the Orient, which, as has repeatedly been noted, looks a whole lot like a big pair of pants.

8. Lotte World Tower

Set to hover well above anything else in Seoul, South Korea’s skyline, the Lotte World Tower will top out at 1,824 feet and 123 stories tall when it’s completed in 2016. The building will feature, from the bottom up, retail, offices, apartments, a hotel, and a public observation space on top. It will also notably overtake North Korea’s extraordinary pyramidical Ryugyong Hotel as the largest building on the Korean Peninsula.

9. Dawang Mountain Resort

Sick of hotels that don’t delicately hover between two cliffs over an abandoned quarry and a lake? Changsha, China’s Dawang Mountain Resort should have you covered come 2016. Spreading over 170 meters from end to end, the resort will feature “an entertainment ice world” with indoor skiing, a water park and hanging gardens.

10. Songjiang Hotel

Apparently, luxuriating in structures creatively built around quarries and lakes is the next big thing in high-class Chinese vacationing. Like the Dawang Mountain Resort, the Songjiang Hotel rests quarry-side, but the 19-story Shanghai-adjacent hotel will actually be built directly over the quarry’s walls, with a waterfall flowing over the facade. Oh, and if you don’t have the incredible view from one of the higher floors, you might want to go for one of the bottom two, since they’ll be submerged under water.

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
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This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]

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