Everyone loves a bit of architecture, don’t they? From The Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s emblematic Barcelona temple and magnus opus, to modern architecture such as Canary Warf’s iconic Gherkin and The Shard, buildings have a way of capturing our imagination and excitement.
Of course, most of the world’s most famous and extraordinary buildings are reserved for places of worship, art galleries or centres of business. However, what about regular, everyday houses that are, well, anything but regular and everyday? There are tons of beautiful and eye catching properties around the globe that people have actually lived in.
Whether as a home to permanent residents, or accepting weary travellers as guest houses, please join us as we present to you (in our opinion, and in no particular order) the five most extraordinary houses in the world.
Krzywy Domek (Poland)
Meaning “Crooked Little House” in Polish, this building was designed by Szotyńscy and Zaleski who were inspired to create it after seeing the fairytale art of Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg.
Though once a residential building, the house is now part of the Rezydent Shopping Centre. Yes, I realise that I stated that these were all going to be houses, but I’m certain that this still qualifies, and it was just too brilliant not to include.
The Waldspirale (Germany)
Translated as “Forest Spiral” from the German, this wonderful residential complex was built by architect Heinz Springmann in the 1990s.
With the appearance of a multi-layered and slightly melted dessert and featuring Russian style minarets, the real unique selling point of this beautiful building is the windows.
There are over 1,000 windows on the Waldspirale and no two are the same. Combine this with the fact that the windows appear as if placed at random and out of line with one another and you have a really striking building that never fails to impress.
Habitat 67 (Canada)
Sounding like the title of a George Orwell novel, Habitat 67 is a community and housing complex conceived by Moshe Safdie as his thesis for his Master’s degree in architecture.
Inspired by a desire to combine the advantages of suburban living such as gardens, fresh air and privacy, with the need for economical and dense design in an urban environment, the high cost of each unit unfortunately doomed the project to failure.
However, the complex was repurposed to form part of Expo 67 and was visited by thousands of visitors during the show.
Translated from the Dutch as “cube houses,” this crazy design by architect Piet Blom is located on a pedestrian bridge in Rotterdam.
The philosophy behind the design was “living as an urban roof” and took the traditional square building design and rotated it by 45 degrees before placing them on hexagonal pylons. Each individual building is supposed to represent a tree, with the whole row standing as a forest.
Casa Do Penado (Portugal)
Located in the Fafe Mountains in Northern Portugal the Casa Do Penado (Stone House) wouldn’t look out of place in the suburbs of Bedrock, the fictional prehistoric city of Hanna-Barbera’s classic cartoon The Flintstones.
Created as a family holiday home between four giant granite boulders, the house boasts bulletproof windows and its own swimming pool. However, it does lack such luxuries as electricity.
It is unclear why the owner thought that he needed bulletproof windows, but it certainly does stir up the imagination as to what manner of “family” this holiday home was intended for.
Biệt thự Hằng Nga (Vietnam)
The Hằng Nga Guesthouse or Ngôi nhà quái dị (Crazy House) is a truly bizarre building that can be found in Đà Lạt in Vietnam. Designed and constructed by local architect Đặng Việt Nga, the guesthouse appears as if ripped straight from the pages of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – by way of Salvador Dali and Walt Disney.
Rather than using architectural plans as blueprints as is traditional with construction, Nga preferred instead to paint her ideas and then hire local tradesmen to transform her imagination into structures.
Each of the building’s ten rooms is themed on an animal that represents a nationality (Tiger Room = China, Eagle Room = America, Kangaroo Room = Australia etc.) and the interior is just as off-the-wall as the exterior. The furniture is all crafted by hand and is a permanent part of the structure in many places, and the passageways that connect the rooms have the appearance of tunnels and caves.
Originally created as a personal project of the architect, Nga was forced to open the Ngôi nhà quái dị as a guest house in an attempt to alleviate the not insignificant 30 million Vietnamese dollars in debt that she had accumulated during its construction.
There you have our six favourites of the world’s most extraordinary houses. What do think of the buildings on show here (the Biệt thự Hằng Nga is my favourite) and are you aware of any other unique and extraordinary buildings from around the globe?