The Chimney’s Claim to Fame – The Most Famous Chimneys in the World!
It may be hard to imagine a world renowned chimney, but these chimney examples will have even those who are somewhat less enthused by chimneys, very impressed. While for the most part chimneys are built for functional purposes, there are a few cases where the design of the structure goes far beyond that of simple functionality and instead develops into ostentatious displays of wealth or unusually emphasized structural components.
Most Creative Chimney
A one-of-a-kind chimney was designed by Rudolf Steiner and finished in 1914. The chimney dominated the building that housed the boiler room for the 15 building complex. The unique structure called Das Heizhaus is part of The Goetheanum complex that is the center of the School of Spiritual Science and the Anthroposophical Society in Donarch, Switzerland. Rudolf Steiner, a spiritual leader and founder of the Waldorf Education system among many other accomplishments, used his work to reflect his belief in a form follows function style of building with the boiler building’s dominant feature of a prominent chimney. He also believed in integrating his architecture with nature in every one of his designs, which is again exemplified in the supposed leaves growing out from the sides of the chimney structure.
Artists are often known to pay attention to things others may ignore and Antoni Gaudi is no exception. Known for his unique designs that are considered to fall somewhere in between Modernism and Art Nouveou, he is often referred to as “God’s Architect”. Throughout his life as an architect, he was in constant demand and created designs considered to be way ahead of his time. Each project Gaudi took on became elaborately decorated. Every last inch of each of his structures right up to the chimneys on the roof of the homes were carefully and intentionally designed. For this reason, three of the most notable chimneys in the world were designed by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, all of which are today UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
One of the most popular architects in history, Gaudi receives recognition for his fantastic tile work and creative art deco designs. One of the unique sets of chimneys he created is at Casa Mila, an apartment building originally built for Roser Segimon and Pere Mila. Don’t bother looking it up, although his work appears “gaudy” to many it is not the source of the word! The set of ventilation towers on top of the roof of the building look like guards keeping a lookout from the top of the complex. The distinct chimneys are known as espanta bruixes, which means “witch scarers” in Italian. The whole structure has the peculiar look to it that only Guadi’s buildings have and at the time it was built, it was considered a controversial design, but now the building is highly regarded and revered and visited regularly by awed tourists.
Along these same lines of Casa Mila, on a building restored by Antoni Gaudi, the artist and legend created a colorful variety of chimneys for Casa Batllo. Locally known as the “House of Bones”, Casa Batllo was just like every other Gaudi creation where every part of the building looks distinctly like only his designs do. This includes the lack of straight lines and use of colorful ceramic tiles incorporated into every area of the home. Even the decorative curvy chimneys that cheerfully lined the rooftop are completely covered in colorful tiles.
The most distinct feature of this building, besides the chimneys of course, is the fact that the entire home is based around the living room. This home was ordered by one of Gaudi’s close friends and is one of his largest projects. The decorative chimneys look almost as if they are delicious candies with their bright colors and fun designs. The home was completed in 1888 and after a recent renovation is now once again open to the public.
Most Chimneys in One Place
The Chateau of Chambord, which Francis I started in 1519, has 365 chimneys, each different, each decked out with sculpted shields, wreaths, columns, animals or nymphs. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King François I in part to be near to his mistress the Comtesse de Thoury. The Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for François I. The château also features 440 rooms and 84 staircases.
The Oldest Chimneys
One of the most famous older chimneys Thornbury castle is a Tudor structure that was built in 1511 for the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, but the fancy chimneys were added on 3 years later. This castle was later confiscated by King Henry VIII and this notorious king occupied the castle for a short time with Anne Boleyn. The intricate designs on this castle’s majestic chimneys are made from molded and carved bricks. It is one of England’s oldest and most historic homes.
We see evidence of earlier chimneys, but perhaps the oldest chimneys still standing are in the massive kitchen building of the 12th-century abbey of Fontevrault, where Henry II of England, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitame, and their son Richard the Lion Heart are buried. The abbey’s five huge wood-burning fireplaces, used for cooking and smoking meat and fish for a monastic community of several hundred persons, are ingeniously connected to 20 pencil-shaped stone chimneys that blend harmoniously with the structure’s Romanesque architecture.
The Tallest Chimney
Currently the record goes to the Ekibastuz GRES-2 Power Station with a 1337 ft tall coal-fueled power generating station that was built in 1987 in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan. The US currently has a 1217 ft. chimney at another coal burning power station in Homer City, Pennsylvania which falls short of the tallest in the world but the US will be taking back that distinction soon in Arizona with a unique Solar Chimney.
Future Tallest (& Greenest) Chimney
In the coming years, the tallest chimney in the world will also be the second tallest structure in the entire world. Set to soar to 2625 ft the tower will be only about 100 feet less than the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest structure) recently completed in Dubai. This “chimney” will be over a half mile high will take solar heated air and draft it up the chimney which will in turn generate power by use of wind turbines inside the structure! This will be the cleanest chimney in the world as well since there is nothing burning, but since it is used to draft air up and into the atmosphere we do consider it a chimney stack none-the-less. Not your average chimney for sure, and no there is no fireplace attached. The huge chimney is to be located in the middle of Arizona and this solar energy generating structure will cost about $750 million to build. It will then create enough energy to run 200,000 homes in the area. This new chimney is planned to be built by 2015 and will be twice the size of the Empire State Building in New York City. This enormous solar powered energy plant will be built by an Australian company called EnviroMission. Besides a small test project in Spain, nothing quite like it has ever been built. This is sure to be one famous chimney!
Don’t let your notions of how a chimney should look become limited by the types of chimneys you grew up with. The spectrum goes far beyond the classic red brick and the designs can be as wild as you can imagine!
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