4. Paris Ventilation Chimney in Fake Haussmann Building

In the 10th arrondissement of Paris on rue la Fayette, the windows are always dark on this Hausmann style building. The door is there, and the balconies look just like their neighbors, but they are hiding something unusual behind them. It turns out the façade is only a front with no building behind it. 145 rue la Fayette is a fake building hiding a ventilation chimney for the Paris métro.

5. 23-24 Leinster Gardens in London

In London at 23-24 Leinster Gardens in London also has a little secret. The facade, which matches with the rest of the block (except for the perpetually gray windows) is the front to an empty lot. The original buildings were demolished to build the London Tube in 1863 and used in action as a ventilation location for steam produced by the locomotives. In the back however, you can still see the tube tracks of the Metropolitan Line.

6. Toronto Hydro’s Fake Houses

Canadian Utility company, Toronto Hydro has taken a more suburban approach, though no less historical, putting substations into what appear to be single family homes. There are nearly 300 of these structures, which form a nice catalogue of changing architectural preferences over the last decades from neo-Georgian to Art Deco to Modern. Jake Schabas, Senior Advisor, Economic Analysis & Investment Strategy at Metrolinx tells Untapped that there’s even one in the style of a Victorian house. WebUrbanist has a nice roundup of the many substations and you can read more by Chicago Sun Times columnist Neil Steinberg on Messy Nessy.

Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.