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16 Bizarre yet Inspiring Structures

23 August 2011 No Comment

The field of architecture has always been a subject of fascination for people and beauty is clearly in the eye of the beholder. This compilation will take you on a tour around the globe, pinpointing some of the most wonderful architectural landmarks, which do not respect the rigorous lines or the well-set rules of traditional architecture.

All of the buildings here are pure reflections of the rich imagination and creativity of their masters and each of the structures is filled with intense symbolism. Enjoy this collection of bizarre, yet extremely beautiful landmarks from all over the world!

1. Futuroscope Theme Park – Poitiers, France

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This is an utterly bizarre yet extremely beautiful multimedia plaza, located in the province of Vienne (north of Poitiers) in France. The Futuroscope has several 3D and even 4D cinemas inside, and there are wonderful shows held here which are unique in the World. The theme park opened its gates in 1987, and ever since it was visited by almost 40 million people.

The structure is made up of many pavilions that are built of glass and metal. The shape of the plaza is extremely modern, reminding one of a conglomerate of ice slopes or a wonderful huge chiseled diamond. The master mind behind the design of the structure is architect Denis Laming.

Futuroscope is like a giant theme park of curiosities that projects you into a future era, and where children and grown ups alike spend some wonderful and thrilling moments!

2. The Esplanade – Singapore

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This is a complex of buildings, called “Theaters on the Bay” located in Singapore. It spreads over 6 hectares of land right alongside Marina Bay, and it is a centre for performing arts. The main building has quite a unique architectural design, since everything is covered with a cladding of aluminum sunshades, which create quite a bizarre overall effect.

Some say it looks like the eye of a fly, while others liken it to the “durian”, a tropical fruit which has a thorn covered husk.

3. The Salvador Dali Theatre Museum in Figueres, Spain

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This building can be found in the town of Figueres, Spain and the tower structure is actually called “Torre Galatea”. Salvador Dali was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter, and this is somehow reflected and symbolized by this odd structure, which has some randomly placed egg shaped structures on its roof.

This tower is an extension of the museum itself, and it was named after the painter’s deceased wife, Gala. It is important to know that Salvador Dali inhabited this place until his death, in 1989, and he is buried in a crypt of the main exhibition hall of the museum. Within the museum, there is a hallucinating and wonderful world of surrealistic creations of the master himself.

4. The Stone House – Guimaraes, Portugal

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This is quite an authentic piece of bizarre architecture, where the traditional meets the modern. The house can be found in Guimaraes Portugal, and despite the fact that it look like a primitive dwelling, it actually is designed for ultra modern and comfortable living inside.

It is a private building, and there is very little known about details such as who is the architect, or the exact location of the house…some even say it does not exist!

5. Kunsthaus – Graz, Austria Kunsthaus-1

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The structure belongs to what is known as “blob architecture”, and it is the museum of contemporary art in Graz, Austria. Buildings in the blob architectural style have amoeba like shapes, organic and somehow bulging forms. The building is informally called “the Friendly Alien”.

Designed by Professor Sir Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, the museum was built in 2003, and it specializes in presenting exhibits of contemporary art pieces from the 1960’s and onwards.

6. Puzzling World – near Wanaka – New Zealand

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This is indeed a puzzling world of crooked houses, and optical illusions spread all over the place. One very interesting facts is that the operators of this little tourist spot have offered a prize in cash for anybody who can prove he/she has real psychic powers.

In order to win the cash, they would have to locate a given item that is hidden somewhere in Puzzling World using their “magic powers”…nobody succeeded yet!

7. Mind House – Barcelona, Spain

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This amazingly surrealistic house, with beautiful curvaceous lines can be found in Barcelona. Master architect Antonio Gaudi, who was the main representing figure of Catalan Modernism, designed the house.

His magnum opus is world renowned la Sagrada Familia (The Sacred Family) church, but Barcelona is actually filled with many important and extremely visually impressive works of his.

Catalan Modernism is an architectural current defined by the use of curved lines instead of straight ones, just like the ones you can see at the Mind House. Then, the heavy use of decorations and many tiny details are also characteristics of the movement. Asymmetry, dynamic shapes and many times organic motifs are used in the designs of Gaudi.

8. The Atomium – Brussels, Belgium

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This structure was built for the 1958 Expo in Brussels, and it was meant to stand there for only 6 months. However, even today this bizarre structure stands as a monument, being visited by millions of tourists every year. It was designed by Andre Waterkeyn, a renowned Belgian engineer.

The structure is comprised of 9 spheres of steel connected to each other, and the entire monument is meant to reproduce an iron crystal which is magnified almost 170 billion times. The structure is 102 meters tall, and each of the spheres has a diameter of 18 meters (the spheres are mainly exhibition halls and the top one is used as observation deck).

9. Nautilus House – Mexico City, Mexico

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This is actually a home, designed by Architectura Organica, a bio architecture firm from Mexico. The house is designed to recreate “life in the shell of a mollusk” and both the exterior and the interior follow lines that are flowing and blending one into the other.

The interior space is rather small, yet it offers a very comfortable living atmosphere, because the lines tend to blend in aesthetically, giving the feeling that you are into a fluid labyrinth. The house was constructed in 2006 and a young non-conformist couple inhabits it.

10. National Theatre – Beijing, China

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This beautifully bizarre structure, seemingly simplistic yet quite sophisticated and elegant at the same time, was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Informally, it is known as “the Egg”.

The structure is a spherical dome made of titanium and glass combination, and it is surrounded by an artificial reflecting lake that helps creating that mirror effect. The structure is ellipsoid in shape, and its size is around 12,000 m2 (it seats 5,500 people in total in its three main interior halls).

11. Ferdinand Cheval – Ideal Palace- France

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The construction of this building started as early as 1879. The structure was the life ambition of a simple postman, called Ferdinand Cheval, who wanted to build the ideal palace. He has actually spent more than half of his life designing, building and decorating this palace.

The structure is regarded as an exquisite architectural piece belonging to naïve art architecture. Naïve art is represented by the fact that pieces usually have a childlike simplicity, and the designers have never studied architecture or other arts. The palace can be found in Hauterives, France.

12. Robot Building – Bangkok Thailand

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This building is actually serving as the headquarters of the United Overseas Bank in Bangkok. The entire building has a robotic appearance; the walls are progressively receding, there are several antennas placed on top of it and the structure also has got robot “eyes”.

The main architect of the building was Sumset Jumai, who initially designed it for the Bank of Asia headquarters, but it was later taken over by United Overseas. It was completed in 1986 and its total cost was US $10 million.

13. Kansas City Library – Missouri, US

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Potentially one of the most unique structures in the World is called “The Community Bookshelf”. It is an annex to the Kansas City Public Library, and is actually the south wall of the parking garage of the establishment.

The books alignment measures 25 x 9 feet, and they are made of signboard mylar. The entire structure looks like an amazing row of beautiful new & antique books arranged on a shelf. The “shelf” contains 22 books, the titles of which have been selected based on the reading interests of the public of Kansas.

14. Beijing National Stadium – China

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This stadium is imitating the structure of a bird’s nest, which is also its informal name. It opened in 2008, and construction took 5 years. Its cost was nearly US $430 million, and the designer is Swiss architectural firm called Herzog & de Meuron.

Over 110,000 tons of steel was used for its construction, and all of it was made in China. The structural engineering group involved in the project was AroupSport. During the 2008 Summer Olympics it had a capacity of 91,000.

15. Museum of Contemporary Art – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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This is the Niteroi Museum of Contemporary Art, and it is one of most fascinating landmarks of the city. The main architect was Oscar Niemeyer, in collaboration with structural engineer Bruno Contarini.

There is a reflecting pool at the base of the building, which is 817 square meters, and the building upon this pool looks like an elegant flower which floats. The building is constructed in the modernist current style, and many have likened it to a saucer-shaped UFO like structure.

16. Conch Shell House – Isla Mujeres- Mexico

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This is quite an unusual, bizarre, yet somehow authentic piece of dwelling. However, those who reside within have a fantastic view of the Caribbean ocean at 180 degrees, and the house gives one the opportunity to experience how life would be in a real seashell.

The rooms inside have no corners, everything is fluid and rounded. Inside, everything is “shell” themed, starting from the main room and up to the bathroom and the kitchen.

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