50 Interesting Facts about Popular Buildings

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The Parthenon is in such bad condition because occupying Turkish forces used it as a powder magazine which exploded when hit by a Venetian shell in 1687.

27. The Pentagon was constructed with twice the number of bathrooms needed for the number of employees because segregated Virginia at the time required separate facilities for "white" and "colored" persons.

28. In 2007, the First Mount Olive Free Will Baptist Church purchased a $150,000 Bentley, neglected to pay their $12,000 water bill, and defaulted on their $1.5 million mortgages. The church was struck by lightning and the subsequent fire completely destroyed the building.

29. The Walkie-Talkie building in London has unintentionally melted cars and changed weather patterns due to its concave design, which focuses a beam of light 6 times brighter than sunlight and heats the pavement to nearly 250°F at certain spots.

30. The world's thinnest house is just 4 feet wide. It is set between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland. The home is 33 feet in length and about 30 feet tall.

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31Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

In a competition to build the world's tallest building, the architect of the Chrysler Building secretly built it with a 125 feet long spire inside of it. When his competitor’s building was completed, the spire was pushed up through the building making it taller by 119 feet.

32. Angkor Wat used far greater amounts of stone than all the Egyptian pyramids combined, and occupied an area greater than Paris. Unlike the Egyptian pyramids, which used stone quarried from only 0.5 km (0.3 miles) away, the entire city of Angkor was built with stone quarried over 35km (22 miles) away.

33. The world's first bio-adaptive building facade in Hamburg uses algae-filled biomass panels to capture heat, reflect light and generate electricity - "it is, in essence, an architectural ecosystem."

34. During the rebuild of the World Trade Centre, a 30-min lunch break actually ran much longer as workers had to wait for elevators to ferry them up and down. To accommodate these workers, Subway created a mobile restaurant that moved up the building as they finished each floor.

35. The Forbidden City, built in 1420, was so well-designed that it withstood over 200 earthquakes and can withstand one with magnitude 10.1 on the Richter scale.

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In 1950, the interior of the Whitehouse was dismantled, leaving the house as a shell. It was then rebuilt using concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.

37. The Roman Colosseum had 28 lifts which hoisted animals 24 feet up, then cage lids and trap doors in the arena floor opened simultaneously, unleashing beasts to fight each other or men. Exact replica of the lift was remade in 2015. A wolf was then chosen to be the first animal to successfully make the ascension in the replica, who received a biscuit when released into the Colosseum.

38. The minarets (towers) surrounding the Taj Mahal lean slightly outwards in order to appear straight when viewed from the main gates, and in the event of an earthquake or other disasters will naturally fall away from the Taj itself.

39. The restrooms on the 103rd floor of the Willis (Sears) Tower, at 1,353 feet (412.4 meters) high, are the highest in the Western Hemisphere, relative to street level.

40. The Michigan Theater which was once one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the Midwest is now used as a parking garage.

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41Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple

There is a temple in India named Lotus Temple where anyone is welcome regardless of religion.

42. On very windy days the One World Trade Center makes a high pitched sound which is described as “whining”, “howling” or “moaning.”

43. There was a leaning tower (Leaning Tower of Zaragoza) in Spain which was 100 feet taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa but it was demolished in 1892.

44. Buildings in Amsterdam 'lean' inwards not due to a trick of the eye or bad architecture, but because it makes it easier to hoist furniture up if the buildings are slightly slanted.

45. Boston City Hall has been called "one of the world's ugliest buildings" and that calls for its destructions "have been regular since before construction was finished" in 1968.

46University of Texas

University of Texas

The architecture of the University of Texas at El Paso is modeled after Bhutanese monasteries, known as Dzong architecture.

47. The Winchester Mystery House is a house with over 160 rooms built to ward off spirits. It contains many unsettling aspects such as stairs and doors leading to nothing, or a seance room with one entrance but four exits.

48. The Temple of All Religions in Russia is an architectural complex representing the religious architecture of 12 major religions of the world.

49. The "National Monument of Scotland" in Edinburgh was meant to be built in the style of the Greek temple of the Parthenon. After funds ran dry, the monument was left unfinished and is now known as "Scotland's Disgrace."

50. Oriel Chambers was erected in 1864, the first building with a metal-framed glass curtain/facade. Considered today to be a precursor to modernist architecture, it was panned at the time, with one architecture reviewer writing that it was a "vast abortion" and was inferior to a brick warehouse.

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