Architecture

The World’s Largest Car Dealership

Chances are that you have never visited an auto dealership purely for an afternoon of fun. That may change once construction is complete on a new car showroom megaplex.

Said new car showroom megaplex is not located in the United States, China or Germany, as you might expect. Instead, the Autopia Europia is being built in a suburb of Istanbul, Turkey. The massive building will be the world’s largest car dealership. Though we’d argue it will be much more than that.

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Stay Outdoors, Indoors, at Joshua Tree

Trying to categorize the lodgings offered by the Acido Dorado, located on the edge of California’s Joshua Tree National Park, is like trying to solve a Zen koan.

Acido Dorado isn’t a house—it is too open to the elements for that. It isn’t a glamping (glamorous camping) experience and certainly isn’t a cabin—the setup is way too luxurious. The accommodations here aren’t indoors, though nor are they outdoors; rather, it is some ingenious melding of the two.

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8 Amazing Libraries (and One That’s Horrible)

One of Spot Cool Stuff’s most popular travel posts has been our review of World’s Best Bookstores. But what about those people looking to borrow, and not buy, a book? Fortunately our planet also has several incredible libraries. In fact, there’s a case to be made for libraries having more interesting architecture than any other building type except for religious houses of worship.

Here’s our look at eight architecturally amazing libraries (and one that’s not so much). It is the first in a series of Spot Cool Stuff’s tour of the world’s best looking libraries. To stay updated on all of our posts, including our cool library series, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed or check back with our newly opened Book and Literature Travel category page.

And if you know of a library you’d like us to check out leave us a comment any time. Late fees never apply.

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7 Downside-Up Houses

Constructing the upside-down house was so disorientating for the builders that they could only work in three hour shifts

˙uʍop ǝpısdn plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ uɹnʇ ʇɐɥʇ—puɐloԀ puɐ ɐıɹʇsn∀ ‘˙∀˙S˙∩ ǝɥʇ ‘ʎuɐɯɹǝפ ‘ɐpɐuɐƆ ‘uıɐdS uı—sǝɹnʇɔnɹʇs uǝʌǝs ǝsǝɥʇ ɟo puoɟ ʎllɐıɔǝdsǝ sı ɟɟnʇS looƆ ʇodS ʎɥʍ sı ɥɔıɥM ˙ʎʇılɐǝɹ uo ǝʌıʇɔǝdsɹǝd ɹnoʎ ǝƃuɐɥɔ uɐɔ ʎǝɥʇ :ǝɹnʇɔǝʇıɥɔɹɐ puɐ lǝʌɐɹʇ ɥʇoq ɟo ʇɔǝdsɐ looɔ ǝuO

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5 Amazing Towns on Perilous Cliff Sides

Castellfollit de la Roca has a doubly impressive location—it's perched atop a spit of land with cliffs on two sides.

Spot Cool Stuff loves a good cliff-side town. There’s something about them that’s romantic, daring and a little impossible. Here are five of our favorites places where no one with vertigo would want to live:

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The World’s Tallest Wooden Skyscraper

Towering over this termite's dream town is a 144-foot (44-meter) wooden sky scrapper.

Where else would the world’s highest wooden house be located other than “The Wooden City” (which, as the arboreally astute among you may know, is Archangelsk, Russia)?

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5 Cool Buildings Made of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers. You’ve seen them on trains, on the back of trucks, at ports and piled onto cargo ships. There more than 20 million of those steel 40 by 8 feet (12 by 2.4 meter) boxes scattered around the world. That’s more than were needed even before the current economic slowdown. Today, as many as one million shipping containers may be sitting around unused. The surplus is especially profound in the United States, northern Europe and China.

Given the planet’s excess of shipping containers and shortage of affordable housing it only makes sense that people would make the connection. “Container architecture” has become a specialty in itself. The benefits are obvious: Containers are relatively cheap (around US$1,200~1,500 each). They are, by definition, portable. And they are durable (made to survive rough treatment and resist salt corrosion). A container house can be built, on average, 40% faster than a comparably sized traditional house. And then there’s the environmental benefit of putting surplus containers to use instead of letting them slowly rust in a landfill.

Thousands buildings made of shipping containers are today being uses for offices, stores, restaurants and private residences. There are several excellent books documenting the most interesting among them. Here are five shipping container buildings we think are especially cool:

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The World’s Longest Pedestrian Bridge, Kind Of

Imagine being at a shopping mall. And then hopping on a cable car for a 15-minute ride. And then getting off of the cable car and finding yourself on a long walkway that’s all of 1.8 meters (6 feet) wide, suspended high above a green jungle, with virtually no signs of human existence except for the walkway beneath your feet and the cable car you arrived on.

That’s what it’s like the visit Malaysia’s Langkawi Sky Bridge.

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