This week I’m appreciating some of the most unusual and creative buildings from all over the world. The architects and designers here have taken “the norm” principals on sprawls of cloned urban buildings and stuffy high-rise office blocks and then stamped all over them. Check out some of these serious eyebrow raisers and unique global gems, they’ll undoubtedly be added to your list of places to visit one day! If you know any others I’d love to see them so please comment and add them below.
Ferdinand Cheval’s Le Palais Idéal - Hauterives, France
That’s ‘The Ideal Palace’ to you and me. A French postman named Ferdinand Cheval built this magical palace with his own hands using individual stones and shells he picked up over 33 years. With a mix of animal statues, and worldwide architectural influences, it’s an incredible vision for a man who had no architectural background at all.
Gaudi’s The Mind House – Barcelona
The gemstone in Gaudi’s enchanting Park Güell in Barcelona is The Mind House. Brimming with fairytale and mythology, The Mind House is covered in colourful mosaics and consists of two huge gingerbread houses topped with toadstools and turrets set in front of a giant lizard shaped bench. Now a World Heritage Site and used as a gallery, tourists flock daily to see this picturesque garden created by the famously imaginative Antoni Gaudi.
Hang Nga Guesthouse – Vietnam
Locally named “The Crazy House” this tree like building was the brainchild of architect Dang Viet Nga, the daughter of a former Vietnamese President. The unconventional guesthouse houses ten bedrooms each featuring a different animal as it’s theme, and includes caves, spiderwebs and mushrooms. You can now pay to stroll around The Crazy House and marvel at it’s nooks and crannies.
City Library – Missouri, USA
This innovative library design was pioneered to inspire the people of Kansas City to get their noses into a good book and revitalize the downtown community. The most striking feature is ‘The Community Bookshelf’ made up of 22 classic titles picked by the locals which acts as the library’s car park. It’s definitely the only time you’ll ever park inside a giant copy of Romeo and Juliet.
The Crooked House – Sopot, Poland
The surrealist Crooked House is the most photographed building in Poland. It’s design was heavily inspired by the children’s book illustrator Jan Marcin Szancer and the artwork of Per Dahlberg. It appears to be melting and sagging from exhaustion but is actually used as a three story shopping centre with a warped entrance.
Eliphante - Arizona, USA
An artistic and imaginative dwelling fit for Mother Nature herself, Eliphante was hand-crafted by husband and wife Michael Kahn and Leda Livant using raw materials scavenged from the desert. Their house is complete with a art gallery, bath house, sculpture garden, wading pond and meditation zone making it a complete one of a kind and perfect for dinner parties.
Experience Music Project- Seattle, Washington
Blurring the lines between brilliance and botch-jobs, the Experience Music Project seems to be suffering an identity crisis. However the critics feel about the mismatched building shapes and textures, they can’t deny that the museum is an incredibly memorable and prominent feature which commemorates some of the world’s most famous landmarks.
The Basket Building – Ohio, USA
A typical example of novelty architecture, the basket building was created by owner of the Longaberger Basket Company in Ohio. Used as an office block it is a replica of the company’s market basket and cost $30 million to make. Nothing like a bit of self-promotion?
Hundertwasser Building - Darmstadt, Germany
Wonderworks – Pigeon Forte, USA
Cubic Houses – Rotterdam, Netherlands
Stone House - Guimarães, Portugal
Bahá’í House of Worship a.k.a Lotus Temple – Delhi, India
Erwin Wurm: House Attack – Viena, Austria
The Ice Hotel – Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Beijing National Stadium – Beijing, China
Fuji television building – Tokyo, Japan
Banknote Office Centre – Kaunas, Lithuania
Walt Disney Concert Hall – L.A, USA
The Mushroom House – Cincinnati, Ohio
Great Mosque of Djenne – Mali
Eden project – UK