In 1982, the ground beneath the historic port city of Pozzuoli began to rise like a cake in the oven. Within two years, the swell had exceeded 6 feet. Then the earth started shaking—first, a swarm of microquakes. When the first magnitude 4 quake hit, Pozzuoli became a ghost town overnight.
As the world’s cities expand at faster and faster speeds, so does its use of cement. One oft-quoted statistic shows that China alone used as much cement in the last three years as the US used in the last 100. Just one problem: Cement is responsible for pushing a hell of a lot of carbon dioxide into the world.
In today's awesomely brutal-sounding material science news, Stanford engineers have created a building material that exploits that "cold darkness of the Universe" to cool itself—even when the sun is shining. Stanford calls it a "cosmic fridge," and it could replace air conditioning.
If you have ever sweated through a summer in the city, you can thank those skyscrapers all around. Tall buildings trap heat that create urban heat islands. But what if you could create a building that cools the city instead? A building skin made of a series of tubes with evaporating rainwater can do just that.
James May's Lego abode may be shaping up to be spectacular, but he's far from the first person to build a house out of something novel. Here are ten more amazing homes with, shall we say, unorthodox constituents.