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Retired Teacher Discovers Her Home Was Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

In 1989, Linda McQuillen bought her home in Madison, Wisc. for $100,000 with no inclination that it might be a building of note.

"Over time we have completely redone the house without any indication it was a significant house," McQuillen told the Associated Press. "I didn't know it was a Frank Lloyd Wright home and had no imagination it would be."

The retired teacher only really started to imagine the extraordinary origins of the house in 2009 when Mary Jane Hamilton, an architectural historian, reached out. Hamilton had her suspicions about the place, but couldn’t yet prove that it was one of Wright’s designs. It wasn’t until she found an advertisement for a Madison building company in a 1917 Wisconsin State Journal newspaper that things started to click. The company was listed in the 1917 building permit for the house, a permit that also showed McQuillen’s home was a building spec house.

Turns out, the property is one of 16 Wright-designed “American System-Built Homes” that were erected in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The experiment was focused on bringing the well-known style of Wright to people who might not normally be able to afford the famous architect. Fourteen of the homes are still around today.

[h/t Jezebel]

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Stones, Bones, and Wrecks
Buckingham Palace Was Built With Jurassic Fossils, Scientists Find
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iStock

The UK's Buckingham Palace is a vestige from another era, and not just because it was built in the early 18th century. According to a new study, the limestone used to construct it is filled with the fossilized remains of microbes from the Jurassic period of 200 million years ago, as The Telegraph reports.

The palace is made of oolitic limestone, which consists of individual balls of carbonate sediment called ooids. The material is strong but lightweight, and is found worldwide. Jurassic oolite has been used to construct numerous famous buildings, from those in the British city of Bath to the Empire State Building and the Pentagon.

A new study from Australian National University published in Scientific Reports found that the spherical ooids in Buckingham Palace's walls are made up of layers and layers of mineralized microbes. Inspired by a mathematical model from the 1970s for predicting the growth of brain tumors, the researchers created a model that explains how ooids are created and predicts the factors that limit their ultimate size.

A hand holding a chunk of oolite limestone
Australian National University

They found that the mineralization of the microbes forms the central core of the ooid, and the layers of sediment that gather around that core feed those microbes until the nutrients can no longer reach the core from the outermost layer.

This contrasts with previous research on how ooids form, which hypothesized that they are the result of sediment gathered from rolling on the ocean floor. It also reshapes how we think about the buildings made out of oolitic limestone from this period. Next time you look up at the Empire State Building or Buckingham Palace, thank the ancient microbes.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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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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