Saturday Surprise — Strange Architecture

Good Saturday morning and welcome to the weekend!  I’m so excited about my Saturday plans I can barely contain myself!  After my shower and morning routine, I’m gonna throw a load of laundry in the washer, then spend the next 15 hours in front of my computer!  Whoo Hoo!!!  {Sarcasm very much intended}  I hope you have fun plans, as well!

I was at a loss for a topic for Saturday Surprise … I trolled my usual sources, but nothing jumped out at me, and I was ready to give up, but I also didn’t feel like writing yet another political post just at the moment.  And so, I let my mind meander for a while and came up with something …

While I’ve never had any desire to become an architect, I’ve always been fascinated by different {read weird} buildings, so I went in search of, and found, some weird buildings I thought might make for a fun way to kick off the weekend.

bldg-1This is a residential complex located in Darmstadt, German, called the Waldspirale, which translates to “forest spiral” in English.  On the outside, some of its most notable features are the tower that resembles Russian onion domes, an absence of straight lines and sharp colors, and the multicolored painting of the building.  I was more intrigued by the appearance of uneven layers, as if someone had tried to squish it like a sandwich!


bldg-2This is the Krzywy Domek (Crooked House) in Sopot, Poland.  It is actually part of the Rezydent shopping center. It was designed by Szotynscy and Zaleski, who were inspired by fairy tale drawings.  It reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of some buildings in San Francisco after the earthquake of 1906 … or it makes me think of a huge giant coming along and just squeezing the building from the sides.


bldg-3Here we have the Casa do Penedo, located in the Fafe Mountains of Portugal.  This is a private home built between 4 large boulders. The property includes many amenities, including a fireplace and swimming pool.


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I think this one, the Lotus Temple in Delhi, India, isn’t weird so much as beautiful … it somehow reminds me of the Sydney Opera House.   Its renowned flower-like shape has won it numerous architectural rewards.


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Needless to say, this one captured my attention.  It is the Kansas City Library in Kansas City, Missouri.  The “community bookshelf” runs along the south wall of the parking garage. The book spines measure 25′ by 9′ and reflect a variety of reading interests, all suggested by Kansas City readers.  Several of my readers are huge “Lord of the Rings” fans, so you’ll be pleased to note that is one of the books featured on the wall!


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What you see here is a Low-Impact Woodland House located in Cynghordy, Wales, in the United Kingdom.  Using only £3000, a chisel, a chainsaw and a hammer, Simon Dale and his father-in-law raised this cozy, woodland home up from the ground in just four months.  Built in 2005, the house is set into the earth, giving it the appearance of a hobbit home.  The design allows for increased energy-efficiency, keeping the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.


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This is the one building in today’s collection that is not yet built, but is still in the planning stages.  Still, I thought it interesting enough to include.  It is a Rotating Tower that is to be built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and once completed, all 80 floors will rotate independently, spanning 360 degrees every 90 minutes.  While that may not be a dizzying speed … you might never know which direction to walk when you exited the building at the end of the day!


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The Nautilus House in Naucalpan, Mexico, is shaped like a sea shell (on first glance I thought it was a snail shell).  Built by architect Javier Senosiain, it was constructed to be a livable home and features smooth surfaces, spiral stair cases, and natural paintings.  According to Senosiain it is both earthquake-proof and maintenance-free.


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The Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna, Austria, appears to have had a house dropped on it!  Somehow this reminds me of “The Wizard of Oz”!  Artist Erwin Wurm is known for his unusual, sometimes humorous, and occasionally puzzling work. While his “House Attack” piece could fall into any or all of those categories, it’s at the very least intriguing. It was completed in 2006, but I read that the house atop the museum has since been removed.  Still, I thought it deserved inclusion here.


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This is the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandrina, Egypt.  It is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It resembles an angled discus or giant sundial. It was created to reincarnate the famous ancient library of Alexandrina, which held the largest collection of manuscripts in the world but burned down in the 3rd century.


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bldg-11-bKubus Woningen, or Cubic Houses, are located in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.  They were constructed by architect Piet Blom in the 1970s after he was asked to solve the dilemma of building houses on top of a busy road.  With 38 regular units and two “super-cubes”, each slanted cubic residence is held up by a hexagonal pillar, some of which are located atop a pedestrian bridge spanning the four-lane Blaak Street. While it solved the urban planning problem, it created some highly odd residences in the process.  Although each cube house contains about 1,080 square feet of floor space, only a quarter of this, approximately 270 square feet, is usable due to the sharp angles of the architecture. Even worse, this 270-square-foot area is spread out across four floors. After entering on the ground level, residents must take a narrow staircase to reach the first floor, a tiny, triangle-shaped room which features a living room and kitchen. A flight of stairs up are two bedrooms and a bathroom, and the top floor is a small free space, typically used as a garden.


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Wonderworks is a local attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in the Smoky Mountains. It’s primarily an entertainment center focused on science exhibits. It was designed to look as if the building was picked up by severe weather and dropped upside down on an existing building.  And once again, I am reminded of the “Wizard of Oz”!


The header image is Casa Terracota, or Ceramic House, located in a mountain village of Colombia.  It is known by locals as the Flintstone House.  The house is is entirely built by hand with clay and parched in the sun, freely shaped to look like a cottage.


I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of a few of the worlds oddest buildings.  Now, have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

34 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Strange Architecture

  1. Nice topic change!

    The Rotating Tower that’s to be built in Dubai doesn’t surprise me. From what I’ve seen/read, this is a typical “look” for that area … very modernistic.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These architectures are an amazing combination of art and science! The only one of these buildings that not only am I aware of but also have been fortunate enough to visit is “The Community Bookshelf” at the Kansas City Public Library. The books are made of concrete covered with a metal surface (aluminum, I think) and then covered over with a mylar surface on which the covers of the book titles were printed. They are bolted together with bolts that can be seen when one is closely viewing the edifice. This garage addition to the late 1800’s library was completed in 2004, after the K.C.P.L.’s Board of Trustees final selections of the 22 book titles was made from those submitted by the general public…I loved that fact! My favorite book is “Children’s Stories” which includes some of the best children’s books : Goodnight Moon, Winnie the Pooh, Green Eggs and Ham and The Wonderful World of Oz are the books that I recall as being amongst the longer list on the book’s spine. Another favorite is “Black Elk Speaks”. If I were given the opportunity to purchase the Woodland House in Wales, I would beg or borrow the money and mayhaps even sell the sad remnants of my soul, dust off my long unused passport and move straight away! Should this come to pass, you would be a most welcome visitor! Thank-you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • How awesome to have actually been there and seen it in person! I agree with you about the ‘Hobbit House’ in Wales … it looks so cozy! Thank you for the invitation to visit, and that is one I would happily take you up on, too!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for sharing all this quirkiness with us, Jill. There are a few interesting buildings near where I live created by a man who calls himself a ‘bio-architect’. I’ll see if I can dig up the article I wrote about him years ago.

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  4. Pingback: Saturday Surprise — Strange Architecture — Filosofa’s Word – Sarah's Attic Of Treasures

  5. Your example from Darmstadt, Germany, the “Waldspirale”, is by a man who called himself Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000). He designed hundreds of such buildings, particularly in Austria and Germany. Whenever I see one, I take a picture of it, but I haven’t yet posted any on my current website. His buildings have no straight lines, no right angles and no uniformity — no two windows are the same. Unsurprisingly, these buildings are notorious for requiring constant maintenance, so my advice is the same as for half-timbered houses and other listed buildings: don’t even think about buying one.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Now that would make for an interesting structure, tilted as it was after hitting the iceberg. I rather liked that little one in your neck of the woods that’s partly underground and looks like a Hobbitt House … it looks cozy.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for this lovely post. I was intrigued that you are interested in weird architecture too. That house in Darmstadt looks like a Hundertwasser house. He is one of my most favourite artists and architects. His idea was that western architecture isn’t good for mental health because it’s all hard lines. Nature doesn’t do straight lines and so our man-made environment should be the same. https://hundertwasser.com/en/biography/biography.
    Happy Saturday despite everything. 🙋‍♀️🐝

    Liked by 2 people

    • As you can see from Don’s comment, you are absolutely right about the architect of the Darmstadt House! And thank you so much for the link to his fascinating biography! Happy Saturday … er, um … Sunday now, to you too, dear friend! 💞

      Liked by 1 person

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