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Singapore Has the Most Beautiful Airport in the World

Image Credit: Changi Airport Group

Changi Airport in Singapore has kept the title of World’s Best Airport for three years in a row, thanks in part to its numerous entertainment and leisure options, hundreds of shopping and dining outlets, and plenty of kid-friendly activities. But one other thing makes their terminals stand out from the competition: the gardens.

The first garden was built in the late 1980s, and there are now five dispersed throughout the terminals. In total, there are about 500,000 plants and 250 plant species growing on the rooftops and inside the airport. There are two rooftop gardens—one for cacti and the other full of sunflowers—as well as the indoor Enchanted Garden, and the Orchid Garden with Koi Pond.

To top those off, in August 2008, Changi Airport became the first airport to have an indoor butterfly garden [PDF]. Located in Terminal 3, the two story, open-air, 330 square meter (3552.09 square foot) garden has a curved roof made from stainless steel mesh and glass panels to contain the butterflies and “maintain exchange of wind and natural air which is vital to the survival of butterflies and maximize the butterflies' flight activity.” According to an article on Quartz, the garden took about seven months to plan and half a year to create.

When it first opened, there were 1000 butterflies representing 47 different species native to Singapore and Malaysia. Mrs. Lim Hwee Hua, the Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, attended the launch ceremony and noted that the Butterfly Garden will provide visitors with “a tranquil haven offering respite from the stresses of traveling.”

Changi has a team of 11 horticulturalists—led by Khaja Nazimuddeen Abdul Hameed— tending to the gardens, but outsources the landscaping work to a number of contractors and vendors.

Right now, they’re working on the next garden, which is set to open with the launch of Terminal 4 in 2017. Hameed hopes that it’ll keep Changi ahead of its main competition. Incheon International Airport in South Korea—which is ranked as the world’s second best airport—also has gardens. There’s a sneak peek animated tour of the project available on YouTube

All photos courtesy of Changi Airport Group. 

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Ker Robertson, Getty Images
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architecture
5 Scrapped Designs for the World's Most Famous Buildings
Ker Robertson, Getty Images
Ker Robertson, Getty Images

When an architect gets commissioned to build a skyscraper or a memorial, they’re usually not the only applicant for the job. Other teams of designers submit their own ideas for how it should look, too, but these are eventually passed over in favor of the final design. This is the case for some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks—in an alternate world, the Arc de Triomphe might have been a three-story-tall elephant statue, and the Lincoln Memorial a step pyramid.

GoCompare, a comparison site for financial services, dug into these could-have-been designs for Alternate Architecture, an illustrated collection of scrapped designs for some of the most famous structures in the world, from Chicago's Tribune Tower to the Sydney Opera House.

Click through the interactive graphic below to explore rejected designs for all five landmarks.

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Paul Wegener
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Design
For Sale: The Safest House in America, Complete With Hidden Command Center
Paul Wegener
Paul Wegener

For some people, locking the front door just isn't enough to feel fully safe at home. Maybe they set up a home security system. Maybe they go out and buy a fancy smart home hub with a security camera. Or maybe they spend six years and $30 million to build a veritable fortress mansion, as one guy in Atlanta did. That house, called the Rice House and referred to as one of the safest homes in America, is now up for sale for $14.7 million.

Built by an entrepreneur who hired a security architect with a background designing Justice Department buildings (and his own bunker/house), the Rice House is billed as a "modern fortress" in the real estate listing.

For its owner, creating an impenetrable home was more of a personal challenge than a real security need, according to Bloomberg. But by its features, you'd think it was built for a Bond super-villain or a head of state, not a businessman in a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood.

A secure door with several locks
Paul Wegener

It has its own water and power supply, a 5000-square-foot command center hidden behind a waterfall, a vault, and doors capable of withstanding machine gun fire. There’s an indoor gun range, in case you need some target practice. There’s enough room in the garage for 30 cars, in case you have a few dozen Batmobiles—or you want to invite friends to hunker down with you during the apocalypse.

And since anyone who lives there might be more invested in staying safely inside the gates than going out on the weekends, the place has plenty of amenities that make it a standalone mini-community. It’s got its own art gallery, a gym, a bowling alley, a wine cellar, a home theater, and a pool. It has three kitchens and two commercial elevators, with staff quarters so the servants you inevitably need to cater to you never need to leave, either.

But wait, there’s more. If the house lacks something you want, that’s fine! Because according to the listing, “the property purposefully awaits final personalization.” In other words, for your $14.7 million, it’s not finished.

Check it out here.

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