Some are fun, some are wonderful and some are downright BIZARRE. In a bid to challenge the wealth of natural wonders our planet possesses, humanity has done a pretty good job at designing some of the weirdest buildings you could ever think of. Here are seven of them:
Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
Blossoming skywards like a flower hungry for sunlight, the Lotus Temple is an architectural icon in New Delhi. It boasts 27 marble-clad petals and, in its surrounds, nine reflecting pools and a plethora of well-manicured gardens. The delicate-looking building was completed in 1986, and today it is used as a Bahá’í House of Worship, although its doors are open to people of all religions and walks of life.
Casa Caracol, aka the Shell House, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres, an island off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, is a pretty magical place anyway – home to turtles, whale sharks and vast swathes of pillow-soft sand. But add to that this whitewashed holiday rental and it really becomes unique. Designed by famous native Octavio Ocampo, the house’s conch-like design would lead any inhabitant to believe it had simply been washed ashore by the gently lapping waves below. The interior remains true to the design too, with soft furnishings and fixed items – like sinks, beds and chairs – all opting for a seaside feel. What better way to feel at one with nature?
National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China
It may look like something plucked from an alien movie, but Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts – otherwise known as ‘The Giant Egg’ – is one of the most diverse performance venues in the country. Its titanium dome houses an opera house, a concert hall and a theatre, so whatever style of show you prefer, this is a great place to catch it.
Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland
In the Land of Ice and Fire, it’s no surprise that Hallgrímskirkja – the capital’s main landmark –was inspired by cooled lava. Likened to an oversized pipe organ, the church’s columns actually represent basalt rock, similar to that found on the black sand beach of Vik, in the south of this island-nation.
The Basket Building, Ohio, USA
Unsurprisingly, this building is owned by a basket-making firm. The Longaberger Company has been manufacturing picnic-packers of the maple-wood variety from its office here in Ohio since 1997. But as the demand for baskets has reduced, as has the company’s need for such a quirky HQ; employees were actually moved to a different – far less weavy – building earlier this year. If you want to see this unique piece of architecture in the flesh, visit quick, before the owners decide to pull it down.
All the buildings in Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain
If you thought one unusual building was impressive, try seeing dozens of them in one place. Gaudi knew how to turn heads, and no more so than in Barcelona’s Park Güell. It’s a strange, almost fairytale miniature city, with a real Hansel and Gretel /gingerbread house feel. The walls are inspired by trees, the buildings by abstract shapes and the colours seem to reflect the vibrancy of the surrounding, perfectly-landscaped mansion grounds. Created in 1900, it was meant to be a home for the affluent, but the idea didn’t quite take off so, 22 years later, the city transformed the area into a public park. Today, you can admire the gardens and quirky buildings for yourself. And if you decide not to stump up the cash to visit the Monumental Zone (the park’s centre), you can still get a good view of the entire park from just above it for free.
Contemporary Art Museum, Rio, Brazil
The saucer-shaped structure of the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum looks more like a villainous lair from a Bond flick than a home for artistry. But no dastardly criminals lie within this unusual building. Instead, it boasts one of the biggest private collections of contemporary art in the world, on loan from Brazilian collector João Sattamini. Even if you’re not that into art, visiting just to see the building and the outline of Rio in the background makes it worthwhile.