The most famous buildings in India: From ancient wonders to modern marvels (part 2)

Infosys Pune

Infosys Pune is located just outside of Pune, Maharashtra. Resembling spaceships come to land, Indian Infosys’ campus provides a futuristic vision of the country’s architecture.

The egg-like buildings was designed by Indian architect Hafeez Contractor. The first was completed in 2006 and a duplicate followed later.

The buildings are made of glass, aluminum, and steel. They are tilted at an angle of around 10 degrees.

Did you know? You can find the designs of Hafeez Contractor across the country, including the twin Imperial Towers in Mumbai.

Rashtrapati Bhavan

The Rashtrapati Bhavan, located in New Delhi, is the official residence of India’s president.

The H-shaped building, former known as the Viceroy’s House, was designed during British rule. In 1947 when India became independent, it was renamed Government House and then in 1950, it took on its current name under the first president of India, Rajendra Prasad.

The most notable feature of the Rashtrapati Bhavan might be the tall dome at its center. It is made almost of stone and a very little steel.

Its design blends Indian and Hellenic architecture.

Did you know? This building contains a lot of rooms – 340 to be exact – with corridors having a combined length of 2.5 kilometers (1.55 miles).

Victoria Memorial

The Victoria Memorial, located in Kolkata, is one of the most typically structural reminders of British rule in the country. It dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria and is used as a museum. The building is a popular tourism destination in the largest city of eastern India.

The large marble building was designed in the Indo-Saracenic (or Indo-Gothic) style, blending classic Mughal architecture with Gothic revival styles that are popular in Europe.

The building’s central dome houses a marble statue of Queen Victoria.

Did you know? The Victoria Memorial was built using marble from the same quarries in Rajasthan like the Taj Mahal.

The Secrets Behind Casino Architecture (part 1)

When entering a casino, does a potential patron, casual player, or high roller feel excited to bet big and win, or does he or she sheepishly move through the casino games en route to their destination? How risk-averse is this gambler or potential gambler, and how determined are they to partake in the many opportunities to spend big bucks?

There are many factors that influence the answers to these questions. Some factors are personal and are the result of the patrons’ upbringing, worldview, and temperament. Other factors, however, are environmental and produced by their surroundings.

There is, perhaps, no environmental factor more influential to the answer to the questions posed above than the casino’s architecture. Casino architecture sets up the stage for any patron to get the experience. It dictates how that person moves through the casino, what they see along the way, and how their emotional state is altered or impacted.

Architecture students often travel the world, learning about and seeing firsthand examples of different architectural styles and periods. They often visit ancient cathedrals, landmarks, and artistic structures to learn about how they were designed and which styles they represent.

What many architecture enthusiasts often forget is that modern architecture principles are often put to work in unexpected places and nowhere are these principles more carefully considered than in casino architecture around the world.

This should come as no surprise, considering that architectural alterations that modify the betting behavior of patrons even slightly can produce a significant increase in revenue. It is therefore not a coincidence that for examples of some of the most extravagant and over-the-top marvels of modern architecture, one need not look further than the world’s casinos.

According to the list of best Vegas casino hotels on Weekly Slots News, one example of striking casino architecture is The Venetian in Las Vegas. A replica of Venice, Italy, the casino and hotel is a spectacle to behold. It lulls guests into a state of euphoric relaxation and provides casinos designed beautifully and strategically.

The most famous buildings in India: From ancient wonders to modern marvels (part 1)

If you’ll boil India’s architecture right down to one word or phrase, what wouldn’t it be? Dynamic? Melting pot? Overwhelming? Complex?

It are often all those things and more. From historic houses of worship to modern marvels reflecting the country’s rising global status, India’s architecture exactly demonstrates where it is.

Here are India’s most famous buildings from the most historically and culturally rich places on Earth.

The Lake Palace

Now home to at least one of India’s most luxurious hotels, the Lake Palace are often found within the middle of Udaipur’s Lake Pichola. The Lake Palace’s gleaming white marble looks as if it’s floating on the surfaceof the lake.

Did you know? If you are a Bond fan, you would possibly recognize the palace from the 1983 movie “Octopussy.”

Konark Sun Temple

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Konark Sun Temple (sometimes spelled Konarak) may be a superb example of Indian temple architecture.

Dedicated to the Hindu sun god Surya, the temple faces east to greet the rising sun, whose rays illuminate the doorway. It had been designed within the shape of giant chariot, pulled by seven stone horses (only six of which still stand) and 12 pairs of wheels, symbolizing the times of every week and therefore the months during a year.

Its main sanctum is believed to possess once stood at 70 meters (229 feet) tall, though it’s since fallen. Despite lying partial in ruins, the temple remains considered a superb example of the region’s so-called Kalinga architecture.

Did you know? The temple is decorated with reliefs including lions, birds, mythological creatures, dancers, musicians, and even erotica.

Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

The regal Taj Mahal Palace hotel is one among Mumbai’s most iconic structures.

The project was started by two Indian architects and completed by an English engineer so it’s an attractive union of European and Islamic architectural influences.

Standout features include so-called “onion” domes and an arch borrowed from 16th-century Islamic architecture. The hotel, which has hosted celebrities and politicians from the Beatles to Barack Obama, features a further modern tower completed in 1973.

Did you know? The hotel features a storied but tragic history. It had been used as a hospital during war I and, in 2008, was the location of a deadly terror attack.

Zaha Hadid Architects design the world’s greenest football stadium

Planning permission has been granted to build Forest Green Rovers’ Eco Park, the first football stadium made almost out of wood in the world, which is designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The Eco Park stadium of English League Two side Forest Green Rovers is going to be a 5,000 capacity wooden stadium on Junction 13 of the M5, along with landscaped parking as well as two pitches, one of which is a 4G playing area, with available access for the local community.

Considered as “the greenest football stadium in the world”, by the club Forest Green Rovers’ website, the new stadium can be built within the next three years.

Forest Green Rovers’ Eco Park

In an interview on the club’s website, Chairman Dale Vince said that it had taken five years for the club to finally get approval, with the first attempt rejected by Stroud District Council in June of last year.

He said, “It may take us some years. I think it may take us one year of detailed design work. This is just an outline planning application. The shortest case is three years if we started soon.”

Forest Green Rovers, the currently sixth team in League Two, became the first vegan football club in the world in 2017.

Zaha Hadid Architects, founded by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, is assigned to design 950 projects in 44 countries. The company opened an office in Dubai in 2016, the same year when Hadid died.

Dubai developer Omniyat began the handover of commercial units at The Opus – the only building in Dubai created by Hadid in October 2018. M.E Dubai, forming part of the outstanding Business Bay property, the first M.E by Meliá hotel in the Middle East and also the only hotel in the world to be designed both inside and outside by the late Zaha Hadid, is planned to open in February 2020.

The s842-metre-long Sheikh Zayed Bridge of Abu Dhabi is also designed by Hadid, who took inspiration from sand dunes in order to create the structure’s curved arches.

Get garden tools prepared for new year

Winter is the time for gardeners and the garden to rest. During this slower gardening period, take the time to check and prepare garden tools for the tasks that begin in spring. Repairing, cleaning and sharpening garden tools now will make them easier and safer to use, plus it will preserve your investment.

An annual inspection of garden tools is recommended to keep them in working condition. Begin by determining whether the handles need repair and if the tool is sharp and sturdy. Wood handles can be revived by cleaning, gentle sanding and then rubbing on boiled linseed oil. Apply a coat of oil with a rag and let it soak in for five to 10 minutes, then reapply until the wood no longer absorbs the oil. Let it cure for eight hours before using the tool. Always wear gloves when working with chemicals. If the handle is cracked, look for a replacement handle. This is often less expensive than purchasing a new garden tool.

Remove any rust with a wire brush. If the rust is significant, soak the tool in pure vinegar for a few hours to overnight. Brush off the remaining rust with a wire brush or steel wool rated 000 or 0000. Repeat if needed. The best way to prevent rust is to always dry tools prior to storing them. Laying them on a warm surface in the sun for a couple of hours will suffice. Coating steel surfaces with lubricating oil also helps prevent rust.

There are two types of pruning mechanisms: bypass and anvil. A bypass pruner cuts when one blade “passes by” the other. Anvil pruners cut when the blade presses against a flat lower plate. Bypass pruners are the preferred tool for pruning live plants, while anvil pruners work best when cutting dry plant material.

To inspect pruners, look at the blades. If there are divots or nicks, the tool might need to be professionally sharpened. The divots are the result of pruning a tree or shrub that is too big for the tool. Typically, hand pruners can cut wood with a diameter of 3/4 inch while loppers can cut up to 1 1/2 inches. For branches larger than 1.5 inches, use a pruning saw or a rope saw. Check the pivot on the pruning tool for wobbliness and smooth motion. Tighten if needed.

The most essential gardening tools for a beautiful backyard (part 3)

Pruning Shears

Like the trowel, a reliable pair of pruning shears is one of those essential things used for gardening. It should be one of your go-to tools because of its wide array of uses.

You can use pruning shears to cut away dead leaves and flowers as well as trim bushes and trees. A durable pair of shears is essential because you want to make a clean cut and avoid damaging the plant.

If you’re dealing with larger or tougher branches, a pair of two-handed shears will be your best bet.

Kneeling Pad

While kneeling pads aren’t a necessity, they do make gardening more comfortable. If you find yourself kneeling on the hard ground and your knees ache, invest in a kneeling pad.

This type of pad protects your knees and keeps your pants from getting covered in stains. The best type of kneeling pad should be thick enough to provide comfort. Some even have handles to help you stand up or double as a gardening chair.

If you don’t want to drag your kneeling pad around, you can use a pair of thick knee pads instead.

Taking Care of Your Tools

Once you have your gardening essentials, you need to know how to care for them. Proper care ensures that your tools will last for years to come.

Make sure to clean your tools after each session in the yard. Wipe them down, use a brush, or spray them with a hose to remove caked-on dirt. Clean tools not only last longer but help to prevent the spread of disease.

To care for wooden handles, rub them with linseed oil. Remove sticky sap or plant residue with turpentine or WD-40.

Rusty tools? Instead of tossing them, try to remove the rust with vinegar.

Proper storage prevents rust and damage. Hang small tools on a pegboard and larger tools from hooks on the wall. Keep them easy to find and access so you’re always ready to maintain your lawn and garden.

Having the right tools is key to caring for your yard and garden. Keep these essential gardening tools on hand so you can keep your backyard looking beautiful all year.

National Stadium designed by architect Kengo Kuma in Tokyo is complete

Opening on December 21, Tokyo’s new National Stadium will replace its older, 56-year-old arena of the same name. (Rendering courtesy Kengo Kuma Architects)

In one month, Japan will celebrate the opening of its new $1.4 billion National Stadium ahead of next summer’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Designed by Kengo Kuma and the Azusa Sekkei Corporation, construction on the 68,000-seat arena has officially been completed as of this week, according to the Japan Sport Council.

The project is located in Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu Gaien district and took almost exactly three years to build under the supervision of national construction giant Taisei Corporation. National Stadium is nearly twice the size of the venue it’s replacing, an arena of the same name that was built 61 years ago for the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics—the last time the city hosted the event. It’s set in the same space as its predecessor near one of Tokyo’s largest parks and features an all-timber-and-steel framing system that will allow lush greenery to spill over the pagoda-inspired structure’s sides when it grows in the next decade.

Kengo Kuma’s vision for National Stadium quickly came after nearly a decade of controversy that surrounded its build-out. Zaha Hadid was originally supposed to design the stadium as the centerpiece of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, but her proposal seemed too costly to complete in time for the 2020 grand opening. Instead, Kuma’s stadium, with its half-covered roof and open-air columns , was both cheaper and easier to build. The design team sourced more than 70,000 cubic feet of larch and cedarwood from Japan’s 47 prefectures, and while it was a clever sustainability move, the gesture also drew criticism over allegations of endangered tropical timber that was used.

The National Stadium is one of 42 venues used during the international event next summer. Eight of the total spaces are completely new and all were designed by local architects. As the largest stadium in the city, National Stadium will play host to the opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympic Games, as well as some soccer and track and field events.

The official opening celebration for the National Stadium is scheduled for December 21, after which the site will host its first event: the Emperor’s Cup soccer final on New Year’s Day.

The most essential gardening tools for a beautiful backyard (part 2)

Garden Cart or Wheelbarrow

When it comes to useful horticulture tools, wheelbarrows top the list.

If you’re a beginning gardener, you may feel a wheelbarrow is unnecessary or too expensive. But if you have a large yard, a wheelbarrow can make transporting leaves, plant matter, and other materials easier and faster.

A wheelbarrow is also useful if transporting heavy landscaping materials because it doesn’t require as much heavy lifting on your part.

You can use your wheelbarrow or garden cart to transport debris from your yard to your trash or your compost bin. You can also use it to carry your garden veggies back to the house.


If you’re serious about gardening, a shovel needs to be on your list of gardening tools. You want a long-handled shovel with a pointed tip. Like the trowel, the pointed tip helps you break up soil and dig larger holes with ease.

Look for a sturdy shovel with a comfortable grip. Wooden-handled shovels are the most common type you’ll see. They’re budget-friendly and good for beginners.

Fiberglass-handled shovels are another option. Fiberglass-handled shovels are both sturdy and won’t give you splinters.

Having a pair of gardening gloves help protect your hands while shoveling or raking.

A Quality Mower

If you have a beautiful garden and you want to show it off, you need to keep your yard in top shape. No matter how stunning your garden is, no one will notice it if you have an unkempt yard.

If you have a small yard or want to reduce the noise you make, consider buying a push mower. Make sure you get one that cuts cleanly to promote a healthy lawn.

A mulching mower is also a useful tool because it chops up the grass so it can be redeposited as fertilizer. Proper lawn care and maintenance are the key to a healthy, beautiful yard.

The most essential gardening tools for a beautiful backyard (part 1)

Did you know that 35 percent of U.S. households grow food either at home or in a community garden? Now more than ever, people are getting into gardening and yard work.

Creating a beautiful backyard and garden takes effort, but having the right tools for the job makes it easier.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of useful gardening tools and their uses. So keep reading to discover which essential gardening tools you need to create your backyard oasis.


A trowel is a handheld tool similar to a small shovel. It has a sharp pointed tip and a scoop blade.

You use trowels to break up the soil, scoop soil, dig small holes, and add fertilizer.  Because of its versatility, a quality trowel should top your garden tools list.

A good trowel should have a sharp enough edge to cut through grass, tough soil, and roots. It should also have a sturdy handle that’s easy to grip and comfortable to hold.

Leaf Rake or Leaf Blower

If you live in an area with deciduous trees in or around your yard, you need to invest in a quality rake or leaf blower.

Leaf rakes rake up dead leaves and small debris like twigs. A good leaf rake should have tines to collect leaves and grass clippings. It needs to be sturdy as well so you can sweep up twigs and small debris.

If you hate cleaning debris out of your rake, you might want to invest in a leaf blower instead. A leaf blower might save you time and effort, but it can create noise pollution. Before buying a leaf blower, make sure your city doesn’t have any noise limit laws.

Did you know that dead leaves can benefit the garden? Moving leaves from your yard to your garden creates food for earthworms. Earthworm castings help improve the quality of your garden soil.

Mohegan Unveils Casino Development Concept for Hellinikon

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, in partnership with GEK TERNA, unveiled INSPIRE Athens, its concept for the first Integrated Resort and Casino in Greece. The resort consists of a luxury hotel, entertainment venues, convention center, shopping, dining, casino, and a comprehensive mix of premium amenities, Mohegan says in a press release.

The development will help launch a new era of tourism growth and economic prosperity for all of Greece and the entire region. The building’s iconic design was created by Steelman Partners, an international architectural firm that specialized in IRC design. The concept form draws inspiration from the architectural history of Greece, especially from Athenian buildings and sculptures including the Caryatids and the Acropolis.

“We understood that INSPIRE Athens was meant to symbolize more than an integrated resort,” said Mario Kontomerkos, Mohegan Gaming, and Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO.

“It is our hope that INSPIRE Athens would be the catalyst that sparks the entire development of the Hellinikon area into the coveted Athenian Riviera, forever redefining the modern identity of Greece.”

Mario Kontomerkos, Mohegan Gaming, and Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO added, “Our overarching design was meant to be iconic in nature, yet characterize Athens’s historic architecture and rich culture while adopting a new stylistic narrative that inspires the region’s future.”

Much of the resort was designed to capitalize on the Greek affinity for the outdoors where virtually all the resort’s restaurants, bars, lounges, and nightclubs offer both indoor and outdoor experiences. The collection of food, beverage, and retail outlets includes internationally-recognized brands as well as domestic favorites that accentuate traditional Greek dining, drinking, and shopping.

INSPIRE Athens intends to be southern Europe’s center for A-list music concerts, theatrical performances, major sporting events, and other arts and cultural activities on a weekly basis. Officiating the announcement of the IRC was Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO, Mario Kontomerkos: “We hope we’ll have the opportunity to turn our vision into a reality and further elevate Greece as a must-visit travel destination with this landmark hospitality destination.”

He also mentioned his direct ties to the region as a Greek-American and his ambition for contributing both locally and nationally to the country by aligning with key travel, tourism, and workforce development goals. The INSPIRE Athens development is estimated to create more than 7.000 jobs in the region during and after construction, including direct, indirect, and induced.

The completion of the Integrated Resort and Casino is expected to increase tourism in the Attica region by at least 10 percent and contribute millions of euros every year to both the government and the people of Greece in taxes, infrastructure improvement, and public services.