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The bitter cold and windy winter weather of the midwestern US has transformed frozen sand on the shore of Lake Michigan in St. Joseph, MI into a sea of tiny wind-sculpted towers. The Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena is currently debating whether they look more like features from an alien landscape or part of a miniature national park. Photographer Joshua Nowicki happened upon this incredible sight, and captured these marvelous photos of what turned out to be a short-lived phenomenon. As soon as the sun came out, its warmth caused the wee sand castles to disintegrate.

Visit Joshua Nowicki’s SmugMug portfolio to check out more of his fantastic photography.

[via Colossal]

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Behold the amazing whimsical Wing’s Castle! Wing began constructing his castle more than 45 years ago, and is still working on it. He never received any kind of architectural schooling. The castle’s interior is 3400 square feet, and some of the towers reach up four stories. It is constructed of more than 500,000 stones. He also made his own stone circle. But the really impressive thing about Wing’s Castle is the fact that it is constructed from more than 85% recycled materials!

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AL BAHR TOWERS

Standing 25 stories tall, these twin cylindrical structures ingeniously marry local customs with technical innovation. (The complex serves as the headquarters for the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, an arm of the government.)

Embellishing the glass-and-steel buildings are second skins inspired by mashrabiya, the latticework window coverings often seen in Arabic architecture. Unlike the traditional carved-wood screens, however, these automatically react to the sun—their modular panels of Teflon-coated mesh opening and closing to reduce solar gain and energy consumption while creating shifting geometric motifs.

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Photos: Christian Richters