WTF Fun Fact 13426 – Stockholm Wood City

Making a bold environmental statement, Sweden, is embracing the future with the Stockholm Wood City. It will be the world’s largest wooden city and was designed by the architectural firms of Henning Larsen and White Arkitekter.

What will it be like in the Stockholm Wood City?

The eco-designers’ plan showcases the boundless possibilities of sustainable urban design. The project was just unveiled and construction will begin in 2025 to be completed in 2027.

Sweden’s capital is no stranger to innovative, earth-friendly practices. But the Wood City project takes it to an entirely new level. This massive urban development, sprawling over an area of 19 hectares, aims to construct 2000 homes, entirely out of wood.

Wood, a renewable resource, significantly reduces the carbon footprint, presenting an eco-friendly alternative to traditional construction materials.

The architects at Henning Larsen and White Arkitekter have their eyes set on more than just creating wooden structures. They intend to foster a sense of community. So, the design incorporates communal gardens, courtyards, and open public spaces. The heart of the city will feature a massive public square, set to act as the bustling social hub, uniting people under the umbrella of green living.

Living in the future

Functionality walks hand-in-hand with aesthetics in this futuristic city. The architects envision apartment buildings with distinctive wooden facades, maintaining a balance between modern design and the traditional Swedish aesthetic. The streets will weave organically through the district, with cycle paths and pedestrian walkways facilitating easy movement.

The project also promises the incorporation of native plants with the hopes of supporting local wildlife, making urban living compatible with nature.

The Wood City, apart from being a residential haven, also plans to host commercial spaces, schools, and preschools. It aims to be a self-contained ecosystem, embodying sustainable living at its best.

Crucial to the success of the project is the adaptability of the wooden structures. They are designed for flexibility, allowing for changes in line with evolving resident needs. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the city remains relevant and functional in the long term, adapting to the changing times. (Very unlike cities today!)

Wood City sets a precedent for cities worldwide, hopefully proving that urban living doesn’t have to come at the cost of the environment. The designers are even confident that the air will be cleaner due to their eco-friendly building practices.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “‘World’s largest wooden city’ designed by Henning Larsen and White Arkitekter in Stockholm” — Atchinect

WTF Fun Facts 12588 – The Walkie Talkie Skyscraper

In 2013, a 38-story skyscraper needed a bit of a redesign during construction. Located at 20 Fenchurch Street in London, the building is nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie” because of its shape. The building has an interesting top-heavy shape.

The building cost around £200 million and was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. But it wasn’t very popular. In fact, in 2015, the Carbuncle Group named it the worst new building in the UK. But they weren’t the people who were most upset.

It turns out that on those rare sunny London days, the building could become a giant magnifying glass.

For 2 hours a day, the sun shone just right so that the building acted like a concave mirror, beaming that light down onto the streets. (In this magnifying glass metaphor, that makes humans the ants.)

Developers only realized that it was creating temperatures up to 243 degrees F at ground level in the summer of 2013 when a beam six times brighter than direct sunlight started melting a car – a Jaguar XJ, to be exact. The owner, Martin Lindsay, told the BBC that he only realized what happened when he saw a photographer taking photos of the vehicle and asked about it. He recalled the moment:

“The photographer asked me, ‘have you seen that car? The owner won’t be happy.’

“I said: ‘I am the owner. Crikey, that’s awful.'”

The wing mirror, panels, and Jaguar badge all melted.

“It could be dangerous. Imagine if the sun reflected on the wrong part of the body. On the windscreen, there was a note from the construction company saying, ‘your car’s buckled; could you give us a call?'” Lindsay said.

A reporter named Jim Waterson even managed to fry an egg in a pan on the sidewalk.

After that, the building got some new nicknames – “Walkie-Scorchie” and “Fryscraper,” for example.

Of course, an immediate and permanent solution needed to be found, so an awning was installed on the south side of the building to keep it from inadvertently incinerating Londoners and their pricey vehicles.

The same architect, Viñoly, also designed a building in Las Vegas with a similar problem and its windows needed to be coated in non-reflective film.

Viñoly blamed himself, but also the fact that he didn’t realize it was ever that sunny or warm in London. Meanwhile, the Jaguar owner got his repairs paid for by the developers.

– WTF fun facts

Source: “‘Walkie-Talkie’ skyscraper melts Jaguar car parts” — BBC News

WTF Fun Fact 12548 – The Biltmore McDonald’s

The Vanderbilt family became the wealthiest people in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But by the third generation, they were doing more spending than saving (or working), and their fortunes soon vanished. One of their weaknesses came in the form of building wildly expensive real estate, including the Biltmore Estate.

The Biltmore is a French Renaissance-style chateau and the largest private home in America. George Vanderbilt commissioned it after he visited Asheville, North Carolina in 1888 and fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains. Construction began in 1889 and hosted Vanderbilt’s first guests on Christmas Eve, 1895.

Biltmore spans a stunning 175,000 square feet and was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. It has The 250-rooms, including 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. Across the way, you’ll find 75 acres of gardens designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

And just down the street, you can get a Big Mac.

That’s right. The Biltmore is now a bit of a tourist trap, and what was once a village housing the staff is now basically a strip mall for anyone who is less-than-impressed by the glamorous home itself (or, you know, can’t go a day without fast food).

When McDonald’s bought the space, the Biltmore Village Historic Resources Commission was less than pleased to see something so unglamorous taint the home and its surroundings. But what can you do?

Well, for starters, you can pretty much force McDonald’s to renovate their McBuildings into something more fitting of the atmosphere. After it was built in 2000, it was almost immediately renovated to become…a fancy McDonald’s.

According to Atlas Obscura,

“The Biltmore McDonald’s octagonal dining room features tables of red oak, wrought iron railings, and luminous chandeliers under a sweeping pressed-tin ceiling, with every wood feature boasting a handsome finish. A baby grand player piano sits in the corner, churning out disembodied tunes you might hear at a fanciful gala, while a gold-leaf mantled fireplace forms the base of a giant stone chimney. And while the food is sourced and prepared as it would be at any McDonald’s, the staff who makes it maintain a strict dress code of slacks and a bow-tie. It’s fast-food meets forced-fanciful.”

So if you like to slurp your milkshake in style, now you know where to go. –  WTF fun fact

Source: “Biltmore McDonald’s” — Atlas Obscura