10 of the Strangest Buildings in the World
The strangeness of an architecture can contribute to its uniqueness. Whatever its odd features are make it amazing to our eyes. The strangest buildings in the world we know off are products of great imaginations and sometimes of obsession.
The design approaches in making these buildings are often out of the box. They are truly extraordinary and all we can do is marvel at them. Here are some of the strangest buildings that your eyes could ever ogle at.
Ontario College of Art and Design (Toronto, Canada)
Upon seeing this crossword puzzle building you will either look for a giant newspaper or just wonder what it is doing in this rather mundane neighborhood in Toronto. The improbability ups as you approach the strange structure that was created by Architect Will Alsop.
The crossword puzzle structure is actually a space devoted for galleries and studios. Another odd feature of the building is the thin colorful angled columns which support the structure. These columns look like they can barely carry the weight of the building.
About a mile away from this building is the Royal Ontario Museum where you can see pieces of history and some pieces of strangeness as well.
The Bar Code Building (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Vitriuvius & Sons made this trade complex just by the Neva River banks was inspired by the ubiquitous commerce symbol, the bar code. The rust-red structure brightens the bleak urban landscape in the area.
The bar code transformed into the steel masterpiece is like an upgrade of some American roadside classics like the Uniroyal tire in Detroit or the Dixie Cup in Lexington, Kentucky.
In Munich, there is also what they call the bar code house made by the Dutch firm, MVRDV. It is much subtler though compared to the one in Russia.
Bioscleave House (East Hampton, New York)
Wild asymmetrical plan and hilly floors, angled electrical outlets. That’s not what you will imagine for a home but that is the fancy of Arakawa Gins and his wife Madeline. They are both artists and they designed their home at the posh East Hampton community. The design of the house is aimed at stimulating the body’s immune system by preventing the occupants uncomfortable. According to the couple, the “tentativeness” can lead to immortality.
The house is in auction by the way in case you want to bid. Sotheby’s asking price is for at least $4 million. Now, that is really uncomfortable.
Selfridges Department Store (Birmingham, England)
Future Systems pretty much lived up to their company’s name when it designed the branch of Selfridges in Birmingham. The building is like a big balloon flapping while it is being inflated on the ground and add to it the 15,000 shiny discs made of aluminum wrapping the whole structure.
The structure really liven up the city center. People see the department store as a big blob, a giant sea creature, an alien, an urban cliff, and all other names you can associate with its shape.
Go inside and you will see the crisscrossed white escalators which seemingly float in the open atrium. It is like a scene from a good fiction novel.
Ramot Polin Apartments (Jerusalem Israel)
Mosh Safdie might have called some attention to his Expo 67 multi-residential house design in Montreal but it is far smaller compared to the 20 units of Zvi Hecker, a Polish-born architect, which is like a big pile of mess in Jerusalem.
The shape of the building is just crazy and according to the architect, the apartments actually try to resemble the home structure of the honeybees. The project also used prefabricated materials for its first fe phases of construction.
The unorthodox looking building was commissioned by the ministry of housing of Israel specifically for families of orthodox Jewish.
Columbus Lighthouse (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
This spooky, monstrous building is 688 feet high and about half a mile in length. It took about 40 years to construct. It was inaugurated during the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. The light house which is said to house the bones of the explorer cost $70 million from the struggling economy of the Dominican Republic.
The lighthouse can actually beam a cross-shaped light to the sky which is so bright that people from Puerto Rico can see it. It is not turned on often though since it shuts down the power of the surrounding communities.
Oriental Pearl TV Tower (Shanghai, China)
You cannot find something like the Oriental Pearl anywhere in the world. It was the tallest structure on the Pudong side of the Huangpu River until the Shanghai World Financial Center was built in 2007.
The 1,535 feet structure was completed in 1995 with the design works coming from Jiang Huan Cheng. It is really looking like disco balls linked to form the structure. The building houses a space hotel, a revolving restaurant, and some sightseeing observatories.
More buildings are scraping the skies of Shanghai. The World Financial Center and the Oriental Pearl now looks up to higher structures like the Sightseeing Tower and the Guangzhou TV building which is about 2,001 feet high.
Toilet House (South Korea)
Known locally as the Haewoojae in Suwon, South Korea, the toilet shaped house was built by an Assembly Representative who has a nick name of Mr. Toilet through his World Toilet Organization. The structure is symbolic of the difficulties faced by those who are toilet-less and how the toilet is a big part of cultural centrality.
The late owner of the place said that the toilet is not only a place where we clean ourselves but is also a place where we can meditate, rest, and be happy. Now, who will argue with that?
Living up to its hype, the house has four toilets. A central restroom is a work of art with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass which automatically turns opaque when it is in use. There is also a nice surround sound that airs classical music to complete the ambiance.
Spittelau District Heating Plant (Vienna, Austria)
Friedensreich Hundertwasser is known as an eccentric architect and painter. One of his famous creations is the heating plant in the Spittelau District in Vienna where it is a total visual cacophony with all the crooked lines and bright colors. It is like a Magical Kingdom type of thing but only its main purpose is to burn the city’s garbage.
It is like a mirage in the urban landscape with gold balls atop decorative columns and a loud quilt façade.
An exact replica of this plant can be found in Osaka, Japan. It is also an incineration plant.
Elbe Philharmonic (Hamburg, Germany)
What’s pretty strange with this building in Hamburg is the strong contrast between the glass thingamajig on top and the 1960’s structure it uses as its podium. It is like an old couple along the waterfront designed by the Herzog & e Meuron. It is scheduled for completion by 2012.
The structure will serve as a cultural complex which features a hotel, a plaza, apartments, and a philharmonic hall.
It seems the marriage of the new and the old is an architectural trend. Try to check out the Hearst Tower in New York done by Foster and Partners.
The Atomium (Brussels, Belgium)
The Atomium is far more electric and eccentric than Seattle’s Space Needle and New York’s Unisphere. The structure is actually a replica of the molecule of an iron crystal. The project was designed by Andre Waterkeyn to symbolize the use of the atomic energy through peaceful means and for the purpose of science.
Those who want to check out the building can visit five of the spheres. There is a total of nine spheres linked by a maze of tubes.