It's universally acknowledged that amidst formal coverage of architectural and design projects, competitions, and awards, you're bound to find truly bizarre projects that will leave you feeling quite perplexed. Take a look at the five stories that were some of the oddest of 2015.
Floating Manta Ray City
This concept for a floating international oceanic university was designed by French architect, Jacques Rougerie. "City of Meriens," not so subtly shaped like a manta ray, is intended as a research center for 7,000 students, professors, and researchers. The city is completely self-sustaining by use of renewable marine energy (that is produced from tides, waves, and the ocean temperature) and would be open to people of all nationalities who wish to participate in scientific fieldwork.
A Carpet With a Cult Following
Chances are this carpet has more Twitter followers than you do (feel free to compare and weep). The blue and green carpet in the Portland International Airport (PDX), in Oregon, was originally designed in 1987 by local firm SRG Partnership, and derived its geometric shapes from how planes and runway lights were depicted on the radar screens of the control tower. Already an icon for Stumptown locals, the carpet gained a cult-like following after it was announced that it would be replaced this year. The new carpet, designed by Portland-based ZGF Architects and Hennebery Eddy Architects, "features calming colors, and represents images of flight, nature, and structures found in the Pacific Northwest and at PDX, such as airplane wings, leaves, and the terminal roadway canopy," according to a project statement. However, the old carpet will live on through memorabilia such as t-shirts, tote bags, and coffee mugs.
Gothic Skyscraper In Manhattan
Local firm Mark Foster Gage Architects has been commissioned to build an elaborate skyscraper for New York city. The 102-story West 57th Street Tower, which looks like it has been plucked off the pages of a dystopian graphic novel, would be a luxury residential building where each unit has its own, one of a kind, carved façade. The exterior of the building would be constructed from "limestone-tinted Taktl concrete panels with hydroformed sheet-bronze details and brass-tinted alloy structural extrusion enclosures," using computer numerically controlled technology, according to the architect.
$10 Historic John Van Bergen House Cut in Three
This historic home designed by John Van Bergen, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's associates, was sold to Chicago preservationist Chris Enck for a mere $10. If that price sounds like it's too good to be true, that's because it is. Though the house itself was sold for an astonishingly low price, the $10 price tag did not include the plot of land the structure was built upon, so it cost an additional $100,000 just to get the 1,700-square-foot house off of its foundation. After cutting the house into three movable pieces, Enck faces the task of putting the home back together on a new site, and restoring its fragile 87-year-old structure, which he estimates will end up costing $500,000.
Odd Entries at the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition
The answer to what is happening in Entry GH-43223237 (above) for the Guggenheim Helsinki design competition may never be revealed. But the winner certainly wasn't left a mystery when it was announced in June that Paris-based firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes won. Before a decision was reached, the judges reviewed 1,714 submissions—some of which were downright questionable. ARCHITECT performed the arduous task of sorting through the entries and compiling a list of "25 of the Strangest Entries in the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition" so you wouldn't have to. You're welcome.