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Ah ’tis the season for haunted houses, gingerbread houses and more. Every year, artists amaze us with their ingenuity as they recreate fabulous architecture out of fun materials, some at a small scale and others at a livable scale. Here’s a roundup of our favorites:

Victorian Houses of Lego by Mike Doyle

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Victorian Lego House by Mike Doyle. Image via Mike Doyle on Flickr

Artist Mike Doyle made this Victorian House entitled “Lego: Victorian on a Mud Heap” out of 110,000 to 130,000 pieces of Legos in black, white, dark, light bluish gray, clear transparent and black transparent colors. No additional materials were used besides Legos and no Lego pieces were cut. It took him about 600 hours to build. His website shows the making of process. with closeups.

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2013-Diner en Blanc-Amsterdam-Royal Dutch Navy-DEB-Carina Okula

After this years’ breathtaking dinner in Paris with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop and New York City’s answer at Bryant Park, we wondered if we’d seen the best of the secret pop-up dinner that originated in Paris. Amsterdam and the organizers of the Netherlands event answered that with a resounding, “Niet” by putting on a spectacular evening, festive in food, while celebrating history and the city’s close ties to its waterways.

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1-8 bit cities-featured website-nyc-untapped cities-wesley yiinNew York, as seen through the eyes of a 1980’s teenager.

8-Bit City maps look like 80’s video game maps: blocky, pixelated, and uniformly colored. But that’s totally the point, says creator Brett Camper. He explains on his Kickstarter page that he got the idea from his childhood love of adventure video games. The Brooklynite has now transferred this passion to his interest in cities. He hopes that these maps will “evoke the same urge for exploration and abstract sense of scale that many of us remember experiencing on the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Commodore 64, or any other number of 8-bit microcomputers.”

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Sound walks are a recent addition to the world of urban exploration and travel, but Untapped Cities has been scoping them out as they pop-up. The Guggenheim Museum’s Stillspotting NYC took us to Staten Island. Untapped writer Lea Plourde Archer created her own auditory tour of Tokyo. Now, Gonzo (circus), an innovative music and culture magazine, offers eight Klankstappen (sound walks) to download as audio accompaniments to urban exploration throughout the Netherlands and Belgium.  In reality, the design of these programs has the potential to transport the listener to just about any major city across the world.

Sound Walks_Muiderpoort_Amsterdam_Untapped Cities_Meagan HughesOutside Muiderpoort Station in Amsterdam

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kamermaker_untapped_amsterdam_printed_house Source: KamerMaker

With a six-meter-tall machine and some ambitious architects, the world’s first printed 3D house is in the works. Using a giant special printer called KamerMaker (“roommaker” in Dutch) the Dutch firm DUS Architects is attempting to construct a life-size house from parts of biodegradable printed plastic along the Buiksloter canal in Amsterdam.  (more…)

UntappedCities_FreezingFavela_1

A group of artists known as the United States of Opera has taken over the inside of a warehouse in Amsterdam. This warehouse, otherwise known as the Freezing Favela, is a temporary city located within an industrial park in the Oostenburg neighborhood of Amsterdam. For those of you unfamiliar with the word, “favela” is a Brazilian term referencing a shanty town or slum; often located on the outskirts of a city. Such was the place I found myself in after having wound my way through an interminable parking lot and past a makeshift beach park to come upon the entrance, which was marked by two unassuming sentries in the form of cows.

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