Friday Five: Unique hotel designs

It’s one thing travelling and seeing incredible sights, but why not explore the world while sleeping in the most unique hotels? Here are a few of our suggestions:

1. Kenyan Manor Hotel

What better way to visit Kenya than to sleep in a hotel where you breakfast with your family and a very tall animal friend? Dining with giraffes is a key selling point of the Kenyan Manor Hotel.

2. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort

Sleep under the Northern Lights and live a luxurious life in Lapland; a perfect choice for the winter months. 

3. A vintage 1965 Boeing 727

Not many people can say they have slept in a fully refurbished grounded aeroplane in Costa Verde – a colourful option if you’re exploring the Americas.

4. No Man’s Fort

A fan of solitude? The No Man’s Fort hotel is off the Isle of Wight, so it certainly offers an interesting choice close to home. And yes, it really is a fort.

5. Magic Mountain Lodge

Become enchanted with a hotel in the heart of Patagonia. The Magic Mountain Lodge, known as the ‘Hobbit hotel’, comes complete with an incredible waterfall.

Tell us what unique hotels you would like to experience or have visited; got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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The first vertical cable car

Brighton will soon be home to ‘the world’s first vertical cable car’, which will be the highest observation point in the UK (outside of London).

Due to open this summer, the British Airways i360 will reach 162 metres into the sky, overlooking the stunning Sussex coastline.

The tower was designed by the brains behind the London Eye, Marks Barfield Architects and Poma, and it’s expected to hold up to 200 people at a time.

Read more about the world first here and let us know if you’ll be visiting it.

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Klementinum Library

MyModernMet has drawn attention to one of the most striking Baroque libraries in the world: Klementinum Library in Prague.

Home to over 20,000 books, the breathtaking library is a fantastic example Baroque architecture, dating from 1722.

From the intricate globes that sit on the floor tiles to Jan Hiebl’s Renaissance-style ceiling murals, Klementinum Library is a magical setting for so many ancient and rare books.

Discover the library in more detail here and tell us if you’d like to explore it.

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Friday Five: Stirling Prize winners

The Stirling Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in architecture, recognising some of the best building projects in Britain since 1996. These are our favourite winners:

1. Stuttgart Music School (1997)
The second winner of the Stirling Prize was co-designed by Sir James Stirling himself, completing the Stuttgart ‘Cultural Mile’ with a stunning circular tower and an Art-Deco inspired look.

2. Gateshead Millennium Bridge (2002)
Described by RIBA as ‘one of the most successful millennium projects’, Wilkinson Eyre’s footbridge is now an icon of the North East.

3. The Gherkin (2004)
Foster + Partners’ St Mary Axe became instantly recognisable as ‘The Gherkin’ and remains a prominent feature on the City skyline.

4. Astley Castle (2013)
The gorgeous 12th Century Astley Castle was augmented by Witherford Watson Mann Architects, sympathetically enhancing the original building with modern textures.

5. Burntwood School (2015)
Our final pick is the most recent winner: Burntwood School by AHMM, which boasts some incredible three-dimensional façades.

Let us know your favourite Stirling Prize winner; got an idea for our Friday Five series? Tweet us @thinktanklondon.

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The world’s second-tallest building

The world’s second-tallest building has been completed in China – and it is tall.

Architecture firm Gensler designed the 632 metre Shanghai Tower in Lujiazui.

The skyscraper curves and twists, helping it to withstand wind loads during typhoons, and it has now been officially added to ‘The world’s top 10 buildings’ as recorded by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

While Shanghai Tower is incredible, it’s still not as tall as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which reaches an astonishing 828 metres.

Read more about the skyscraper here and tell us what you think of it.

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The SBID International Design awards

The 2015 winners of the SBID International Design Awards have been revealed.

Winners of the prestigious awards include Space for Red Bull (Office Space category), the mind-bending Into the World of Art by EXCLAIM UNITED CORP, and LSDCASA for Vanke Emerald Riverside Show Flat which won Interior Design Project Over £1M.

The overall winner is Tinker Imagineers who created a relaxing and vibrant environment in the Experience Juliana Children’s Hospital.

Presented with a mesmerising glowing green glass trophy made by Sans Glass Deco, each project also features in The Global Interior Design 2015 coffee table book.

Take a look at the winners here.

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LEGO Skyline

Great news just in time for Christmas: LEGO has now released a skyline range.

Following on from its conventional Architecture range, the new sets showcase iconic city skylines in LEGO form.

Three sets have released: New York City, Venice, and Berlin, recreating famous buildings such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brandenburg Gate.

Available from January, each set even come with an information booklet providing some historical facts about each landmark.

Find out more about the range here and tell us if you’ll be getting any of them.

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