6 Present-Day Locations That Look Like The 30th Century
This is the future. We should be living in funky, surrealist cities by now. Yet here we are, still surrounded by the same old boring chunks of concrete. But not everywhere! While we were distracted complaining about our near-total lack of robot maids, some places are getting off of their collective asses and making the future happen today. Like in ...
Bolivia's Real-Life Comic Book Buildings
El Alto is Bolivia's second-largest city, and the world's highest major metropolis. The thin air must be doing something awesome to their brains, because look at this:
Those buildings look like something a Marvel Comics artist drew up in '60s, but they're actually the work of self-taught architect Freddy Mamani. Even the interiors are a futuristic mix of pinball machine and the inside of a pimp's Cadillac. A native Aymara, Mamani began his architectural career as a bricklaying assistant and worked his way up the civil engineering ranks, until he was inventing a new type of architecture, with wild splashes from the Andean palette and traditional cultural designs from an alternate, way cooler reality.
Even though he's erected more than 60 Neo-Andean mini-mansions since 2005, the stodgier architectural firms still label his work as "not very serious," and "flamboyant spaceships for the nouveaux riches" (kickass title for a prog rock album right there).
Romania's Subterranean Amusement Park
"A lavish amusement park built 400 feet beneath Transylvania" is the sort of elaborate setup seen only in video games, but it's also a real thing in Romania.
Located in the city of Turda, right in the middle of the historical region of Transylvania, Salina Turda is an ancient salt mine which previously served as a cheese storage facility and a WWII bomb shelter (to protect that sweet, treasured cheese). The mine is so old that no one's really sure when it was built. The perfect spot for a "sci-fi theme park"!
It may surprise you to learn that some people in Romania aren't happy with how this historical-site-turned-fancy-underground-carnival has been managed, but they're being too shortsighted. Once the apocalypse hits, the mine's Ferris wheel, mini golf course, ping-pong tables, bowling lane, spa center, and boat rides will offer a welcome distraction to our future grandchildren while nuclear winter reshapes the surface 400 feet above.
Germany's Domed Tropical Resort And Rainforest
About 35 miles outside of Berlin sits a giant dome that, from the outside, looks like a ... giant dome.
But on the inside, it's Germany's premier Tropical Islands Resort. What's that, you say? Germany is neither an island nor tropical? Nobody told that to this dome:
What you're looking at is an old zeppelin hangar that was first used by the Nazis, then the Soviets, and now an army of tourists drinking margaritas. Among other things, the dome contains a beach, a water slide tower, themed areas, various restaurants, and oh yeah, the largest indoor rainforest in the world. Visitors can sunbathe under fake sunlight, watch projected sunsets, and at a hypothetical point in the future enjoy illicit handjobs from android baristas.
Yes, with its 70,000 square meters, this place is big enough for hot air balloon rides and base jumping. Looks fun. Too bad it's only a matter of time before the dome resort goes to war with the underground theme park for control of Europe's post-apocalyptic tourist economy.
Denmark's Rainbow Walkway
In 2007, Denmark's Aarhus Art Museum needed a new topper for their somewhat unfortunately named ARoS Kunstmuseum building, so they asked the weirdos in the European art community to come up with something. The winner was Olafur Eliasson with Your rainbow panorama, a 500-foot-long elevated poly-chromatic walkway that makes the museum look like it's about to lift off, turn upside-down, and go abduct Richard Dreyfuss.
According to the artist, the design is meant to blur the distinction between "inside and outside," and to divide "Aarhus into various color zones" ... but, you know, not in a 1950s kind of way.
Pittsburgh And Charlotte's "Living Cloud" Facades
In 2004, "environmental artist" Ned Kahn unveiled the Pittsburgh Children's Museum's new facade, and holy shit it's alive:
Kahn surrounded the museum in an aluminum space frame studded with thousands of translucent white plastic squares that swivel independently in the wind, to give the impression that "the building has been enveloped by a digitized cloud" (but not the type full of nude selfies, sadly). This doesn't just look neat; the squares also diffuse and reflect the sun's rays, offering an eco-friendly way to make the building cooler.
Previously, Kahn had done the same thing with ... a parking garage in Charlotte, North Carolina for some reason.
This time, 80,000 hinged aluminum panels provide ventilation and shade while also projecting "intricate patterns of light and shadow" on the interior. Sounds lovely from an artistic standpoint, but a complex interplay of light and shadow might not be so welcome when you're running late and trying to back your truck into the last compact spot left in the entire goddamn garage.
Canada And China's Giant Crazy Laboratories
In movies, science experiments are carried out in huge, intricate, objectively awesome facilities that look nothing like the sober, sensibly sized labs of boring ol' reality. Fortunately, the people at Ontario's Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) didn't get the memo.
That's SNO's neutrino detector, constructed more than a mile underground for protection against radioactive interference and to conform to "mad science" building codes. It's the largest human-made hole ever dug, outside of Elon Musk's Twitter account.
Next up we have China's Daya Bay nuclear power complex, which was built to detect antineutrinos, neutrinos' elusive antimatter counterparts (though you'd think they'd be easily recognizable from their goatees). It looks like this:
The complex includes three nuclear power plants, each with two reactor cores, and eight antineutrino detectors. Come on. If they don't end up opening at least one portal to a hell dimension, they're just wasting their money over there.
Got some interest in architecture? Check out this Frank Lloyd Wright biography.
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For more, check out The 6 Most Insane Cities Ever Planned and 5 Amazing Buildings Of The Future (And How They'll Kill You).
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