The Best of National Geographic

Middleton Gardens, South Carolina Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart, National Geographic   Cormorant Photograph by Josh Exell   Tree-Lined Driveway, Mississippi Photograph by Sam Abell, National Geographic   Plum Tree, China Photograph by Raymond Gehman, National Geographic   Maya Tomb, Honduras Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic   Yosemite National Park, California Photograph by Phil…

Architecture Eggs: 10 Egg-Shaped Buildings Around the World

The Cybertecture Egg, in Mumbai, India, is scheduled for completion in the near future. By using this “egg” shape, the building has approximately 10-20% less surface area than conventional buildings. This 13 story “egg” will use solar photovoltaic panels and rooftop wind turbines to generate on-site electricity. In focusing on health and wellness, it will interact with occupant’s vital health statistics such as blood pressure and weight. The 32,000 square meter egg-shaped building will combine “iconic architecture, environmental design, intelligent systems, and new engineering to create an awe-inspiring landmark in the city.”

The Gherkin skyscraper in London, UK. Designed by Norman Foster and constructed by Skanska, Gherkin has 40 floors and stands 591 feet tall. For energy savings, this unusual shaped building incorporates the double glazing effect. It has gaps in each floor to create six shafts, or chimneys, trapping air between two layers of glazing to insulate the office spaces.

The Peeing Symbols of Brussels

Everyone who has visited the capital of Europe at least once should remember so called Manneken Pis (Peeing Boy) – a small monument that is by far the most popular and well-known symbol of Brussels. But not many people know that he’s not the only peeing symbol of Brussels!

But first things first :)

Manneken Pis was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618 or 1619. There are several legends behind this statue, but the most famous is the one about Duke Godfrey III of Leuven. In 1142, the troops of this two-year-old lord were battling against their enemies. The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to encourage them. From there, the boy urinated on the troops of the enemies, who eventually lost the battle.

Another legend states that in the 14th century, Brussels was under siege by a foreign power. The city had held its ground for some time, so the attackers conceived of a plan to place explosive charges at the city walls. A little boy named Julianske happened to be spying on them as they were preparing. He urinated on the burning fuse and thus saved the city.

An Amazing Building: the Ideal Palace of the Postman Cheval

Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) was a French postman who built his dream : Le Palais Idéal. He spent thirty-three years of his life building his Ideal Palace in Hauterives (a commune in the Drôme department in south-eastern France). It is regarded as an extraordinary example of naive art architecture. This is beautiful and amazing imaginary castle. Stone by stone, the postman Cheval imposed this harsh discipline on himself to show that willpower could triumph over all manner of physical and mental difficulties, and also achieve a more perfect understanding of the nature of things and the nature itself.

Ferdinand Cheval lived in Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, in the Drôme département of France. He had left school at the age of 13 to become a baker’s apprentice but eventually became a postman. Cheval began the building in April 1879. He claimed that he had tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. He returned to the same spot the next day and started collecting stones.

For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais idéal. He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls. At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then switched to a basket. Eventually, he used a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.