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The Daily Drill: Eggshell Office Towers and a Crazy New Louvre in the Middle East


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Abu Dhabi's New Louvre Making Solemn French Art Lovers Even Grumpier. The Building Itself is Exhibit # 1.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi combines France's historic adoration of high art and United Arab Emirate's habit of making buildings that look like fever dreams. Critics in France are complaining about the remote use of the vaunted "Louvre" name, but this officially affiliated Middle Eastern annex of the original will hold equally important and magnificent collections. On approach to the saucer, visitors may be forgiven for believing we are being invaded by art snobs from another planet.  Here is my ticket, please let me in...

Walking on Eggshells - Researcher Looking at Eggs and Bones as Inspiration for New Building Composites

Concrete and Steel, and the heat required for their processing, contribute a combined 10% of the world's carbon emissions. So, buildings are sort of stinking up the place.  A researcher at Cambridge University is experimenting with a new material whose properties will mimic the lightness and strength of eggshells, and the self-healing characteristics of bone.  Let's make this omelette...

Rotating Apartment Tower Generates Electricity and Buzz

If you are an architect, Dubai is your playground. Architect David Fisher's "dynamic tower", slated to complete in 2020, will feature 80 separately rotating floors whose positions can be controlled by the tenants. You want sun in the living room all the day long? You've got it. The downside? As has been noted, the place is a window-washer's nightmare on wheels. Just get me to the lobby...

Charming and Nerve-Wracking. Amsterdam's Crooked Buildings Explained

Walking down the streets of Amsterdam, one notes with interest (and initially a bit of alarm) that the buildings there are...crooked. Sometimes wildly so. No, this isn't the effect of something you ate; or not entirely, anyway. The tall houses are truly tilted, like rows of teeth in need of orthodonture. There is a reason, and it's not to do with the watery, canal-riddled layout of the place.  Let's take a little walk through Old Amsterdam...

Empty Skyscrapers Haunt the World's Cities

These abandoned skyscrapers can look like sci-fi movie sets depicting a future of high-tech decay. Thailand's 49-story Sathorn Unique building and Venezuela's Tower of David are two would-be luxury towers which have long since been occupied by tenants other than those originally intended. And North Korea's "Hotel of Doom", the Ryugyong, has been occupying the jagged Pyongyang skyline for three decades. That one is only empty because it's so far taken 30 years to complete it. Penthouse, please...