14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation

14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation

Sometimes it’s hard to figure
out if builders were thinking logically when looking at buildings from the
past. Otherwise why would some apartments end up having garbage chutes right
inside the apartment or why would there be diagonal windows that don’t make any
sense at first glance? Sometimes there’s an actual good idea behind each
strange architectural and household decision and some of these strange things
even turn out to be useful.
Bright Side compiled a list of
architectural details from all over the world and we’re going to show you 14
examples of how builders find solutions to some complex situations.
1.
“Microwave oven” from the beginning of the 20th century, Europe



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
Dual-use radiators were
popular in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. These radiators allowed
people to heat food and dry shoes. Today, these ’boxes’ can hardly be found
anywhere because they have been phased out by more modern technology. Present-day
houses are heated with electricity as the former option to heat with hot water
and steam became very energy-consuming.
2.
“Khrushchev’s fridge,” USSR



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
The houses built in the 60s,
that Russian people are used to calling Khrushchev’s houses, can brag about
having a seasonal fridge. The thick walls of the houses allowed the architects
to design a special niche where residents could keep perishable and canned
products during the winter season.
3.
Blocked-up windows, Great Britain



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
Blocked up windows in the old
buildings of Great Britain are a good example of how ridiculous laws have
affected a culture. In the 17th century, the British and the Scots paid taxes
for the number of windows they had in their houses. At those times, only rich
people could afford to have all their windows be glass. It can be compared with
having yachts and private jets in modern times. This all happened because it
was extremely expensive and difficult to produce glass.
If people didn’t want to pay
the tax, they had to block up windows with bricks. Poor people, in turn, didn’t
have any windows at all and had to live in complete darkness for generations.
4.
Phoenix bird, Stockholm (Sweden)



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
There is a symbol of a Phoenix
bird that hangs over the doors of some buildings in the historical center of
Stockholm. This medallion used to cost a fortune in the 18th century. It
started because houses in the old city were built so close to each other, that
whenever there was a fire, it had the potential to destroy the whole block or even
district. Firefighters first extinguished the houses with this distinctive
medallion on the façade, while the houses of poor people were tended to later.
The medallion with the Phoenix
bird was like fire insurance. And here is an interesting fact about the
consistency of the Swedish people – the fire insurance company that used to
sell these medallions back then is still in business today.
5.
Manhole, Wiesbaden (Germany)

          14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
The lid of this manhole in
Wiesbaden, Germany resembles the ’Millennium Falcon’ spaceship from Star Wars.
In reality, it’s the entrance to the dungeon of the Salzbach canal. Initially,
the construction served as a canal, but now it’s used for excursions.
6.
Doors to saloons, Western United States



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
The feature of any respected
saloon in the Wild West is a hinged door that can freely open to both sides. At
first glance, it might seem to be a completely impractical construction.
However, this door device has a few very direct purposes.
The first most obvious one is
ventilation. The second one is puritan in nature, it was to protect the gazes
of the pious inhabitants of western towns from the indecency inside the saloon.
At the same time, frequent saloon-goers could see the light from afar and knew
that the bar was open. The third reason has a more commercial meaning, the
shape of doors, called “bat wings,” made saloons recognizable even without a
sign.
7.
Garbage chute, former USSR



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
How does one turn a cool idea
into a nightmare? It’s very simple — create a garbage chute. The instant waste
disposal device was first designed for a house in Vladivostok back in 1938. At
first, the chute outlets were located inside of the actual apartments, but
later they were moved to be in a central location on each floor of the
apartment block for sanitary purposes. However, that didn’t help either. Today,
residents of apartment buildings ask management organizations to weld waste
chutes closed because of the unsanitary conditions they create.
8.
The absence of windowsills, Montenegro and Bulgaria



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
It’s not customary to build
window sills inside rooms in Bulgaria and Montenegro. It might seem impractical
for people who move to Bulgaria for work, but it’s all because of the walls in
Bulgarian and Montenegrin homes. They are thin because of the climate and
there’s really no space left for a windowsill. Additionally, the Montenegrin
language doesn’t even have a word for “windowsill.”
9.
A window between the bathroom and the kitchen, USSR



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
A window between the bathroom
and the kitchen is a design feature of a Khrushchev house. People living in
these houses have wondered why these were there for many generations. First of
all, this window visually expands the space — a standard bathroom in a panel
house is pretty small. The second reason is that this window provides extra
light. This architectural solution is not used in new houses anymore.
10.
Pull-string light switches, Great Britain



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
Bathrooms in old British
houses still have pull-string light switches. They are there for safety reasons
because humidity and electricity are a dangerous mixture. Standard light
switches were not used in bathrooms because residents were afraid that they
might be in danger of electric shock. This switch could’ve been placed just
outside the bathrooms, but British people decided to solve it this way and now
a pull-string light switch is an outstanding feature of English houses.
11.
Milk doors, USA and Great Britain



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
Buying milk is not an issue
for us in the modern world — there are numerous types of milk products in
stores. However, until the middle of the 20th century, milkmen used to deliver
our milk. And the walls of some houses prove it with these tiny milk doors.
Milkmen would open this door and leave a bottle with milk right between the
walls.
12.
Witch windows, Vermont



        14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
Diagonal windows are a feature
of the old houses of Vermont. But why are they called “witch” windows? An old
legend says that due to unknown reasons, witches can’t enter diagonal windows
on their flying brooms.
However, there’s a more
realistic explanation too — it’s difficult to figure out where to install a
normal window in an attic. So, they had to find a way out by turning the
windows by 45º. Windows in an attic provide better lighting and much needed
ventilation.
13.
Well-yards, Saint Petersburg (Russia)

14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
Courtyards (or well-yards) are
a symbol of the Northern capital of Russia. But whose idea was it to start
building houses this way? According to one of the legends, Peter the Great
ordered the construction of buildings in the Dutch style so the old buildings
looked beautiful from all sides.
According to another version,
it’s all because of the ground water. It was pretty expensive to prepare the
soil for construction and, therefore, each foot of the land was to be used for
building. Another reason had to do with the price of property — many people
from all over the country used to come to the Northern capital and each person
needed a place to live. That’s perhaps how these multi-story courtyards
appeared.
You can find the addresses and
photos of all the well-yards in Saint Petersburg here.
14.
American toilet



14 Strange House Details From All Over the World That Actually Have an Explanation
The drainage system in
American toilets might scare a European person. The fact that the toilet is
filled with water gives the impression that the drain is clogged. However, this
is not true. The high level of water protects the bowl’s walls from getting
dirty. It enables Americans to not have to use brushes as often. Also, some
urinals in the USA don’t have an actual bowl.
Are there any strange features
in the houses in your neck of the woods? We would love to read about them in
the comments!
SOURCE:
BRIGHTSIDE
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.