In light of my recent talk on The Power of Place, I was intrigued when my friend Pam forwarded me an email of some of some of the strangest buildings in the world. You can check out the full list (there are actually three parts to view) at http://villageofjoy.com/50-strange-buildings-of-the-world/ but you can see several of them below taken from this site’s top 50 list (I just selected some random ones I liked so the numbering below won’t necessarily be sequential).
The question for me is this: When does strange become meaningful? When does something move from a mere curiosity to something that provides meaning or significance to your trip or your life? I think it all comes down to context.
I recall visiting La Sacrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. At first view, the building looked like a church created by sand drippings on the beach. But when I stepped inside, even though it is still under construction (and will be for years and years to come), something about the combination of light and stone, despite all the people around me, made this a sacred space, a meaningful moment.
How about for you? Ever come across a place that on the surface seemed downright bizarre but after you were there you realized that it touched you in a special way?
Sometimes we travel just to see the curious. That’s great. The buildings below definitely grab your attention and often that is enough. But when you find that the story of that place and your own intersect, it makes for more than just an interesting photo.
Enjoy some very strange buildings…
1. The Crooked House (Sopot, Poland)
Construction of the building started in in January 2003 and in December 2003 it was finished. House architecture is based on Jan Marcin Szancer (famous Polish artist and child books illustrator) and Per Dahlberg (Swedish painter living in Sopot) pictures and paintings.
Image via: brocha
2. Forest Spiral – Hundertwasser Building (Darmstadt, Germany)
The Hundertwasser house “Waldspirale” (”Forest Spiral”) was built in Darmstadt between 1998 and 2000. Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the famous Austrian architect and painter, is widely renowned for his revolutionary, colourful architectural designs which incorporate irregular, organic forms, e.g. onion-shaped domes.
The structure with 105 apartments wraps around a landscaped courtyard with a running stream. Up in the turret at the southeast corner, there is a restaurant, including a cocktail bar.
Image via: Kikos Dad
4. Ferdinand Cheval Palace a.k.a Ideal Palace (France)
Image via: Mélisande*
5. The Basket Building (Ohio, United States)
The Longaberger Basket Company building in Newark, Ohio might just be a strangest office building in the world. The 180,000-square-foot building, a replica of the company’s famous market basket, cost $30 million and took two years to complete. Many experts tried to persuade Dave Longaberger to alter his plans, but he wanted an exact replica of the real thing.
Image via: addicted Eyes
6. Kansas City Public Library (Missouri, United States)
This project, located in the heart of Kansas City, represents one of the pioneer projects behind the revitalization of downtown.
The people of Kansas City were asked to help pick highly influential books that represent Kansas City. Those titles were included as ‘bookbindings’ in the innovative design of the parking garage exterior, to inspire people to utilize the downtown Central Library.
Image via: jonathan_moreau
8. Habitat 67 (Montreal, Canada)
Expo 67, one of the world’s largest universal expositions was held in Montreal. Housing was one of the main themes of Expo 67.
The cube is the base, the mean and the finality of Habitat 67. In its material sense, the cube is a symbol of stability. As for its mystic meaning, the cube is symbol of wisdom, truth, moral perfection, at the origin itself of our civilization.
354 cubes of a magnificent grey-beige build up one on the other to form 146 residences nestled between sky and earth, between city and river, between greenery and light.
Image via: ken ratcliff
9. Cubic Houses (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
The original idea of these cubic houses came about in the 1970s. Piet Blom has developed a couple of these cubic houses that were built in Helmond.
The city of Rotterdam asked him to design housing on top of a pedestrian bridge and he decided to use the cubic houses idea. The concept behind these houses is that he tries to create a forest by each cube representing an abstract tree; therefore the whole village becomes a forest.
Image via: vpzone
12. Dancing Building (Prague, Czech Republic)
Image via: jemil75
15. Manchester Civil Justice Centre (Manchester, UK)
Image via: tj.blackwell
16. Nakagin Capsule Tower (Tokyo, Japan)
Image via: pict_u_re
17. Mind House (Barcelona, Spain)
Image via: angelocesare
18. Stone House (Guimarães, Portugal)
image via: Jsome1
19. Shoe House (Pennsylvania, United States)
Image via: James Gordon
27. Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao, Spain)
Image via: disgustipado
28. Bahá’í House of Worship a.k.a Lotus Temple (Delhi, India)
Image via: MACSURAK
29. Container City (London, UK)
Image via: y Fin Fahey
30. Erwin Wurm: House Attack (Viena, Austria)
Image via: Dom Dada
31. Wooden Gagster House (Archangelsk, Russia)
Image via: deputy-dog.com
22. The Hole House (Texas, United States)
Image via: melinnis
25. Grand Lisboa (Macao)
Image via: Michael McDonough