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Frank Lloyd Wright Practiced Sustainable Design Before It Was A Movement

In the United States, many conceive of the 20th century as a time when man successfully separated humanity from nature. One of the most obvious examples of this can be found in popular visions of modern architecture. After World War Two, the American economy thrived and suburban development quickly churned out homes to meet nationally increasing demand. And thus the suburbs as we think of them today were born. American city growth continued to expand outside of city centers and by the 1980s, suburbia was not just a growing reality but an ideal destination for many.

But some were uncomfortable with the cost of suburban sprawl. It seemed that homes grew bigger at the risk of habitat destruction and energy waste, while giving way to an aesthetically unpleasing uniformity. Born out of the 1970s environmental movement, contemporary architects have injected the concept of sustainability into their designs, seeking not to use the home to separate people from nature but as a device to re-integrate the two. For these designers, new home plans are focused on native material usage, energy efficiency, recycling and blending nature with human construction. But this isn’t completely a new concept; it’s a rediscovery of earlier principles.

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A Postman’s Dedication: The Pebble Castle of Ferdinand Cheval

pebble castle front view

Source: Bored Panda

Building a castle is a monumental undertaking any way you look at it. But constructing an entire castle pebble by pebble, stone by stone, using only materials found while making your mail route? That’s absolutely inconceivable. Yet that is exactly what Ferdinand Cheval did, and more than 100 years later his pebble castle still stands, drawing tourists from around the world to Hauterives, France.

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St. Augustine’s Architecture Tells The Story Of Its Rich Multicultural History

St. Augustine Lions Bridge

St. Augustine’s lions guard the entrance to the Bridge of Lions. Source: Susan Sims

The Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, but by this time the Spaniards already had a colonial experiment in action—and it wasn’t in frozen Massachusetts. St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest continuously occupied European-founded city in the United States. Existing long before the American Revolutionary War, affirmative action, and women’s suffrage, this multicultural city’s impressive history can be seen in its architecture.

Lions Bridge in Florida

Known as “the most beautiful bridge in Dixie,” the Bridge of Lions was designed not only for transport but to be a work of art. The lions at the head of the bridge are copies of the Medici lions found at the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy. Source: Susan Sims

Cannons St. Augustine

Cannons guard the gates of the Fountain of Youth, an area originally explored by Pedro Menéndez. Source: Susan Sims

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The Most Stunning Roman Ruins Outside Of Italy

Roman Ruins Spain

The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain Source: Wikimedia

At its apogee in the early second century, the Roman Empire controlled five million square kilometers of land that stretched from Britain to the Persian Gulf. Speckled around this massive range of earth, remains of this former global hegemon still stand today. The sites below are among the most stunning reminders of Rome’s past power.

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The Aspendos Theater near Serik, Turkey

Roman Ruins Aspendos Turkey

This spectacular theater near the southern coast of modern-day Turkey can seat 7,000 people and still holds musical and dramatic performances more than 1,800 years after it was built. Source: Flickr

The Terrace Houses at Ephesus, Turkey

Roman Ruins Ephesus Houses

Constructed on the Bulbon Mountain terraces, these were the homes of the first century’s “one percent”. In addition to gorgeous mosaics, these incredible houses had hot and cold water as well internal heating, via steam pipes that ran beneath the floors. Source: Wikimedia

The Hippodrome and Roman Theater at Caesarea, Israel

Roman Ruins Caesarea Israel

It’s hard to get more Roman than naming a city Caesarea, and this ancient spot on Israel’s Mediterranean coast is home to two monumental structures. The hippodrome, or horse tracks, could seat about 10,000 spectators for chariot races. The 4,000-seat theater facing the sea was built over two millennia ago. Source: Wikimedia

The Coliseum at Pula, Croatia

Roman Ruins Pula Coliseum

Better preserved than its counterpart in Rome, the coliseum in Pula, Croatia, held gladiatorial combat for roughly six centuries with criminals released to wild beasts for public entertainment until at least the second half of the 7th century. Source: Flickr

Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany

Roman Ruins Trier Germany

Porta Nigra is the almost-finished, massive city gate of the Trier in modern Germany. UNESCO declared this enigmatic edifice a World Heritage Site in 1986 as “a unique achievement of 2nd century Roman architecture.” Source: Flickr

The Arena of Nîmes, France

Roman Ruins Arena Nimes

120 well-preserved arches circle around a stadium where crowds 24,000 strong began watching gladiatorial battles in the 1st century. Gore enthusiasts still gather here, as the arena has been used for Spanish-style bullfighting since 1863. Source: Flickr

The Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain

Roman Ruins Segovia Aqueduct

From tip to tail, the 1st century Roman aqueduct in Segovia stretches for nearly 15 kilometers. Much of this run is underground, but for a full kilometer the aqueduct rises upward in a remarkable sequence of 166 arches that crosses right through the center of town. Source: Flickr

The “Archeological Ensemble” at Mérida, Spain

Roman Ruins Merida Spain

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the impressive collections at Mérida include a gladiatorial amphitheater, a river-spanning bridge, a crumblier aqueduct than the one in Segovia, and a beautiful theater (pictured). All this wealth is here because, starting in 25 BCE, Mérida was the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania. Source: Flickr

The Abandoned City of Cuicul at Djémila, Algeria

Roman Ruins Cuicul

Built as a military outpost in northern Algeria’s low mountains, the city of Cuicul was occupied for roughly six centuries and then abandoned as the empire collapsed. Today, visitors can wander through the skeletons of the city and imagine what the forums, bathhouses, pagan sites of worship, and the Christian basilica would have looked like. Source: Flickr

The Ancient City of Leptis Magna at Khoms, Libya

Roman Ruins Leptis Magna

This Phoenician port town received a massive investment of Roman coin when one of its children, Septimius Severus, grew up to become Emperor at the end of the 2nd century. Under his reign, Leptis Magna became known as one of the empire’s most beautiful cities. Source: Flickr

The Amphitheater of El­Jem, Tunisia

Roman Ruins Djem Tunisia

This grand arena could hold 35,000 fans for gladiatorial battles and chariot races. As UNESCO puts it, the 3rd century “monument of El Jem is one of the most accomplished examples of Roman architecture of an amphitheatre, almost equal to that of the Coliseum of Rome.” Source: Flickr

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Interested in Rome’s effects in North Africa? Check out this video below:

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