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This Cube Will Turn That Warehouse Into an Apartment

Turning an abandoned warehouse into a home could be as easy as installing a small cube equipped with basic plumbing. The Rotterdam-based architects at Kraaijvanger created the Hub to turn empty buildings into affordable housing. 

Clocking in at a little more than 160 square feet, the compact red-and-white cube makes turning any existing space into a livable home cheap and simple. It hooks up to existing water mains through a single point in the floor, providing a bathroom and kitchen with minimal plumbing installation. It also has heating, an Internet hook-up, and a sound system—pretty much everything you’d need to make a non-residential building livable. Just add some furniture, and you have a home. 

A second modular design provides a matching bedroom, if you don’t just want to throw your bed up behind a screen. 

Similar schemes could be a boon to cities where real estate isn't necessarily scarce, but affordable housing is. It’s expensive to turn a building designed for another use into apartment units, but the Hub makes it that much easier and quicker to put unused space to residential use. Since it really is just a kitchen and a bathroom, it could also be used as an addendum to warehouses and other sparse workspaces where employees still need some basic amenities during the workday. 

Construction on the units began this year in Rotterdam, with the first installed in the city’s Zomerhofkwartier district. The unit was conceptualized for a local housing association as part of a competition to design futuristic housing, and the architects want to offer it up to residents to lease or rent. It’s made to be easily dismantled, so it’s relatively easy to pack up and move, to turn that empty building back into an office or warehouse again. 

[h/t Dezeen]

All images courtesy Kraaijvanger

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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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