A Unique Year in Review: 2018 Offbeat Stories

12/17/2018 | By Sarah Kloepple

At BUILDINGS, we aim to create content that you, our readers, find useful and inspiring. And once in awhile, we come across a story or a concept that’s just plain fun or simply piques our curiosity. In 2018, that included things like tracking down some of the country’s most haunted hotels, in honor of Halloween, and taking a peek inside Europe’s very first underwater restaurant.

These stories are meant to engage, show off a bit of our editorial staff’s personality and highlight the unusual, unique topics that interest us and our audience.

Below are just a few examples of the more offbeat topics BUILDINGS covered this year and our reasons for covering them.

Leaning Tower of… San Francisco?

Leaning Tower of... San Francisco?In early September, staff writer Adrian Thompson came across news about a 645-foot-tall luxury apartment building in San Francisco that was slowly sinking into the ground. She felt the novelty of the situation boded well for an article and sought out local news outlet for more information.

She ultimately learned that not only was the building sinking – causing it to tilt – but that residents have reported hearing creaking noises and pops, and one even reported a large crack in his window.

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“It’s worrisome news for occupants who reside in the 400+ multimillion-dollar condo units spread throughout the skyscraper’s 58 stories, as they already content with the fact that their building is sinking,” Thompson writes.

After reporting on the history of the building’s construction and the likely cause of the issues, she also highlights what this means for you. Although it’s unlikely you’re facing this exact problem, she advises reviewing other emergency plans for things like a fire and being more aware of your surroundings.

How are your neighboring buildings affecting you? (Hopefully, they’ll fully upright.)

Read more about this shocking legal nightmare...

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Runs into Permit Troubles

This year, BUILDINGS architecture and design expert Kadie Yale dug deep into an unusual feud playing out in Barcelona – one that involves building permits. La Sagrada Familia is a Catholic cathedral church in the Spanish city that’s famously been under construction since 1882.

It recently agreed to pay a $42-million settlement to the city because it failed to file the correct permits to build the structure for the last 136 years.

“The suit is, of course, political. Mayor Colau campaigned on the promise to find ways around Spanish law that exempts religions and other nonprofit organizations from paying taxes,” she writes. “The settlement is seen as a victory for the far-left party governing Barcelona.”

With this story, Yale was able to connect the topic of building permits – and their importance – with the country’s politics, making for a layered story on a unique situation and subject.

Find out more about this one-of-a-kind situation...

Sneak Peek at the World’s Largest Underwater Restaurant

Another novelty topic Thompson thought was worthy to pursue this year: the world’s largest underwater restaurant, located on the Norwegian coastline by the village of Båly. “Why eat somewhere that has a view of the ocean when you can now eat in the ocean?” she writes.

Strong visuals were paramount for this story, so Thompson communicated with the architectural and design firm that worked on the restaurant, Snøhetta, for high-resolution photos of the interior and exterior of the space.

She also reported on the unique specs of the restaurant – 110 feet long, submerged 18 feet below the North Atlantic – the design details, and its environmental benefits.

The purpose of the piece was not only to awe-inspire our readers but to explore the ways in which architecture and sustainability are evolving and pushing the envelope in the world of buildings.

Get a sneak peek at this unique restaurant...

When Tiny Hotel Rooms Go Wrong

While traveling for work, Yale found herself booked overnight in a rather small hotel room – one that left her dubious. Writing in first person allowed Yale to share her opinions with personality and flair, in order to better engage our readers.

“I don’t need a lot of room, so staying in a tiny room makes sense for me,” she writes. “I love seeing the innovation of how interior designers make the hospitality experience work in confined spaces. Give me a place to plug in my phone and computer, and a place to sleep (sometimes the same place) and I’m golden. Or, so I thought.”

Critiquing the ways in which the room fell short allow Yale to touch on a wide array of topics from lighting to plug-ins to bathroom layout – all things BUILDINGS media and its sister publication interiors+sources has covered more in depth.

Yale was also able to draw from her expertise to create an interesting, eye-opening case study that could better inform building owners, facilities managers and interior designers on their next (or current) hotel project.

Read the rest and listen to the most annoying sound ever...

6 Haunted Hotels - Have Any... Reservations?

With Halloween on the horizon, Thompson thought rounding up some of the country’s most haunted hotels would be a fun way to celebrate the holiday. She crowd-sourced some of her picks by sending out a team-wide message asking for suggestions.

The results include a storied family mansion in St. Louis (where BUILDINGS staff writer Sarah Kloepple is from) and a ghost ship in Long Beach, CA.

“Whether you’re a fan of fright or a modern-day ghost hunter, we advise you to enter at your own risk when it comes to making a reservation with any of our picks,” Thompson writes.

The article not only showcases our keenness for festive content, but also our penchant for teamwork on pieces that involve many moving parts.

Check out these hotels that will up your spirits (or that have technically upped their spirits)...


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