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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Man in Spain builds enormous cathedral using scrap

An 85-year-old man in Spain, who has no formal training in construction, has singlehandedly completed two-thirds of a 131-foot tall cathedral that he has been working on for the past 50 years, using scrap, on a piece of land that he owns.

Justo Gallego has been working on the cathedral since 1963, using rejected bricks, wood, metal, oil drums (for the pillars), broken tiles, plastic food tubs and cardboard that he collects every day from yards and factories nearby, BBC reported.

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So far Gallego has singlehandedly put together a huge central dome which he had worked on for 20 years, more than 24 unfinished cupolas, a sacristy, cloisters, a spacious crypt, walls with biblical, albeit gaudy paintings, and perhaps 1,000 stained glass windows, BBC said.
He built it without any experience in architecture, construction and no building plan, although he read a lot of construction books on his own, TravelDudes said. In fact, he doesn’t even have a license for its construction, making the cathedral illicit, BBC News reported.
A DIY church, Spanish style. (Photo: Dubas/Flickr)
But the former Trappist monk who calls his work in progress Catedral de Nuestra Senora del Pilar continues to work with no interference from the city council—perhaps, because it has become a singular lure for tourists to the small town, Mejorada del Campo, which is very near Madrid, according to Tales of a Brit Abroad.
Work of faith
Justo Martinez Gallego has spent 50 years building a church in Madrid, Spain. (Photo:
Gallego told BBC the cathedral is a work of faith. “My mother was very pious. She taught me my faith and I love the church. So I put everything into this.” Born in 1925, his education was disrupted by the Civil War in 1936.
“You don’t need to study. You just need strength. It all comes from above,” he told BBC News. And as for his building plan, he said it is all “in my head,” although he adds that he has gained inspiration from St Peter’s in the Vatican, a number of castles, other churches and the White House.
A normal day for Don Justo begins at 4 a.m. when he collects scrap material from nearby factories and junkyards. By 6 a.m. he is at the site, and starts his work. He rests every Sunday and on holidays, BBC News said.
With barely any funding, he relies largely on donations from tourists (there is no entrance fee to the cathedral). He does welcome donations whether through money or materials, however, TravelDudes reported.
A mural depicts a scene from the Bible. (Photo: Jose.Madrid/Flickr)
And according to Tales of a Brit Abroad, he has hired a Romanian who lives in the town and a man from Toledo to work “part time on the windows and more intricate aspects of the job.”
TravelDudes noted that “everything has been started, but nothing has been finished. The central dome is uncovered, revealing a patch of sky, and the cathedral’s towers stop abruptly.”
BBC News mentioned the bare floor, and spiral staircases that lead nowhere, ending in mid-air. Pablo Queralto, an architect with Mejorada council told BBC, “The bricks don’t meet minimum standards, either in themselves or the way they’ve been laid.”
But Don Justo told the BBC he has no regrets, and if he lived again he would do the same, only larger. “People have called me crazy and insulted me. But they’re ignorant. When I look at what I’ve created, it overwhelms me and I give thanks to the Lord.
Man in Spain singlehandedly builds enormous cathedral using scrap | The Underground

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Discovering water with Baboon

Watching Nature, is sure to learn many useful things for our survival.
Like a great sage, reveals the secrets, and sharpens our minds to be more practical, approaching the perfect lesson of life.
In Africa some tribes living in very hard soils, they share their lives with many wild animals. Some are dangerous and hostile, others have friendly intentions, but despite the difference in intelligence, all they can teach us and reveal valuable commodities.
Watch the video below and see how they discover water using indigenous Baboon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

STUDENTS PROJECTS - Beehive housing

Beehive housing

The project consists of 2 parts.

Student: Stathi Ioanna - Silaidos DimitrisSupervisor: Panos Dragonas
Dissertation Thesis at the Technical University of Patra, School of Architecture
Presentation Date: March 24th 2010


A. On the first part, a dwelling house system is introduced. It has the ability to be placed on every site. The habitants choose the structural parts of the whole building, defining the form and the shape of the construction.
B. On the second part the system is established on a specific site in the area of Keramikos in Athens.


Form standardization and preconstruction are the basic features of this dwelling house system. The hexagon is the primary shape being used, inspired by the beehives. The main attribute of the hexagon is its ability to fit perfectly to 6 similar shapes.


Each hexagon represents a domestic space of the house. The main cell, considered the heart of the house, could be surrounded with additional cells-rooms that form the house. The dimensions of the hexagon are modified in order to achieve a better grade for the lateral walls, where the stairs are placed for vertical circulation.


In order to create different types of dwellings and reduce the total area of them, 3 cells are used for each house. The 3 types and the 3 variations of the houses is the result of choosing the place of the cells that are used each time.



The building is created by placing each house above the other, always  keeping each main cell directly above the other one.  Some cells are displaced by the 1/3 of their total length. The cells that contain the stairs and the elevators are installed at the back of the building applied to the transposed cells. The base of the building is used in order to keep a distance between the lower dwelling and the ground and is also used as the entrance of the building.


Preconstruction concerns the frame of the cell which is constructed by reinforced concrete. There are used 2 different types of cells for each house. The main cell contains entrance area, living room, kitchen and indoor stairs. The additional cells contain bedrooms and working places.


The internal of the cell consists of a curve facing, vertical walls that define wc and kitchen and floor. Materials and colors can be changed. Facade consists of glass frames and venetian blinds for sun protection.



Articles - STUDENTS PROJECTS - DESIGN PROJECTS - 2010 - Beehive housing

Monday, January 24, 2011

Office building on Amathountos str, Limassol, Cyprus

Office building on Amathountos str, Limassol, Cyprus

The function of the building is captured by a simple, frugal and strict structure.

The project is about an office building of a well known Advocate - Legal Consultant in Limassol-Cyprus. The plot is situated in a privileged quiet neighborhood in the center of the town close to the seaside and next to the public zoo park. The concept for the design idea of the building is based on the ‘periscope', with a static orientation and view of the sea.

armeftisp.2011.01.01.jpg armeftisp.2011.01.02.jpg

The main functions of the building are developed in 5 different levels that take over a total in area of 1000sq.m. It is further separated in 3 horizontal zones. The intermediate zone, centrally positioned on the 3rd floor, is the heart of the building as it houses the managerial and administrative departments for better functionality and supervision of the whole building. The basement is used as parking area and the ground floor is the main entry foyer and reception area as well as further parking.

The main idea and functionality are expressed by the simple use of fair faced concrete that makes up the 3 blind sides of the building and a glass curtain wall system on the south side, reating an austere and yet simple but stern look . Wooden beams are placed vertically as filters for the sun and to further control the south east orientation.


Αrchitecture Design : ARMEFTIS + ASSOCIATES

Mechanical Study:  George Rialas (HITECO LTD)
Place : Limassol, Cyprus  
Construction Date: 2009