Thomassons Are Functionally Useless Architectural Relics

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Thomassons Are Functionally Useless Architectural Relics

Stroll about your city, and you'll likely notice a few staircases leading to nowhere, doors opening to brick walls, or pipes filled with nothing at all. Why have these useless vestiges been saved—or even, in some cases, maintained? The architectural relics scattered throughout your town that are purposefully preserved despite being functionally useless are known as "Thomassons," and they have an interesting backstory.

Go Inside The "Haunted Mansion" In California That Took 40 Years To Build

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Go Inside The "Haunted Mansion" In California That Took 40 Years To Build

When the wealthy twenty-something Sarah Lockwood Pardee married William Wirt Winchester—heir to the company that made the famous Winchester repeating rifle—in 1862, her future looked bright. But in 1866, the couple's infant daughter Annie died of a mysterious disease. Sarah was still in a deep depression from the tragedy when her husband died of tuberculosis 15 years later. Distraught, she sought help from a medium, who told her she was being haunted by spirits that could only be appeased if she moved out west and built them a great house. With a heavy heart, $20 million, and all the time in the world, Sarah Winchester moved to San Jose, California and began construction on what would come to be known as the Winchester Mystery House.

Nobody Knows Who Designed The Taj Mahal

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Nobody Knows Who Designed The Taj Mahal

If someone asked you to list the most important architecture in the world, the Taj Mahal would likely make your list. For this reason, it may be surprising to learn that NO ONE can say for sure who designed this famous structure. The identity of its architect remains a mystery to this day.The name most often attached to the Taj Mahal is that of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. But he only commissioned the structure. The Taj Mahal was originally created to hold the remains of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal (translated as "Chosen One of the Palace"). Mahal died tragically after the birth of their 14th child, and Jahan ordered the mausoleum to be built in honor of the favorite of his three queens.

A Toryo Uses Ancient Techniques To Build Temples Without Nails

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A Toryo Uses Ancient Techniques To Build Temples Without Nails

Try to build any worthwhile type of functional building without nails or power tools. Go ahead, we're waiting. It's obviously not an easy task, which is why the toryo is so highly revered. A toryo is a master temple carpenter that builds structures following an ancient Japanese style of carpentry that does not employ the use of nails, glue, or power tools.

The Hong Kong Architecture Built For Dragons And Positive Feng Shui

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The Hong Kong Architecture Built For Dragons And Positive Feng Shui

Much of Hong Kong's architecture is sharp and modern, but with a peculiar twist. Many of the city's buildings have gaping holes in the middle. No, this isn't an engineering decision, or even an edgy design decision. These holes serve a practical function. According to legend, dragons need an unobstructed path from the hills to the water, so through the holes they go. Feng shui is the ancient art of connecting to the energy of the Earth, and the practice can be found all over Hong Kong. The city itself, according to the ancient art's principles, has naturally good feng shui because it faces the water and is protected by mountains on the opposite side. According to legend, dragons live in these mountains, and they help positive energy and good feng shui flow throughout the city when they are given a route from the mountains to the water. Buildings without holes are barriers for the dragons, but those with holes keep the positive energy of Hong Kong alive. Learn more about feng shui and Hong Kong in the videos below.