World’s Most Amazing Places

Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Front Page Featured, World's Most Amazing Places | Comments Off on Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

One of my favorite things I’ve found on the internet, the “Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India” were created by villagers who trained trees and their root systems to span across the waterways near their village.

I was ecstatic to find these after toying with the idea of splicing together trees to grow into a house or structure of some kind, which by the way has also now already been done (Fab Tree Hab). I had been toying with the idea of cloning Melina trees, which are a fast growing tree that has wood that bugs don’t like to eat, and weaving/splicing them together to grow a small one bedroom house over a decade or so… a project I’d still love to take on one day.

But back to the bridges… the following article has some great photos and more details about these living bridges:

Living Bridges

Upon seeing these bridges, it seemed obvious that they must have been made with Banyan trees, and that seems to be right… the article says they’re made with Ficus, which is a type of fig tree. They’re called Banyans in India and Higueron here in Costa Rica.

These particular bridges have been grown for centuries and some are 500 years old and 100 feet long! Unlike a regular bridge, which weakens and must be repaired as nature’s elements break it down over time, these bridges get stronger with age.

One element of their construction that fascinates me is the long range, sustainable thinking that’s behind them. For one of the longer bridges, it must take more than a person’s lifetime to make it growable, which means that the people building them will never be able to use them, but they put out their sweat and blood so that their great-grandchildren, who they will never meet, can safely cross a river long after they have passed away. Such long-range thinking is no longer part of our modern technological culture, where nearly everything we buy is obsolete within a few years, and in the U.S. people change houses and communities roughly every five years.

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Magic Mountain Lodge in Chile

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Architecture, Green Building, Travel, World's Most Amazing Places | Comments Off on Magic Mountain Lodge in Chile

Magic Mountain Lodge in Chile

For the past few years I’ve been working on various style of “tropical green building” architecture, but have only designed single-family homes. You can see these here:

Pura Vida Sunsets Eco Homes
Solar Vista Green House Designs

Living in such a beautiful and remote place, of course I’m concerned about all the people moving to the area and the long-term impact it will have, not just with an increased population, but visually. Montezuma and Santa Teresa are still very beautiful since there are no high-rise structures to destroy the view of coastline, so I’ve been wondering how it might be possible to design a condominium or high rise tower, so that it would be nearly invisible from the water. Would it be possible to create a structure, covered in native plants and vines, that looked just like a small mountain? Could it be built in such as way to keep the plant life growing on it from tearing it apart with its roots and causing water leaks and other issues?

Well, apparently it’s been done already: The Magic Mountain Lodge (Montaña Mágica Lodge) is part of the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve:

Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve

Not only is it in the shape of a volcano, but it has a water fountain pouring off the top and running down the side. This amazing Huilo Huilo Reserve also includes several other fantastical hotels that are beautifully photographed on the above website.

The cost is $250-$400 per night.

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Crystal Caves of Mexico

Posted by on Dec 9, 2011 in World's Most Amazing Places | Comments Off on Crystal Caves of Mexico

Giant crystal caves in Mexico

The crystal caves in Mexico have to be the most beautiful and amazing place on earth. Look at how gigantic some of these crystals are… up to 11 meters (36 feet) long! Made of gypsum, the crytals are also extremely slow-growing and have taken millions of years to form underground in a hot toxic liquid. The caves were pumped out so that explorers could enter them.

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