According to the rules of gravity, whatever goes up must come down. However, the ten homes on this list seem to defy this rule. With architectural features ranging from precarious overhangs to mid-air suspension; it is sometimes difficult to determine what if anything supports these structures. These structures are located in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and redefine the meaning of the term “home” in many respects.
1. Gangster House, Arkhangelsk, Russia
This incomplete structure is believed to be the tallest wooden house in the world, soaring to a height of 144 feet, or approximately half the height of Big Ben in London. The house gets its name from the fact owner Nikolai Sutyagin has been in and out of jail three times. After his release from his third jail term, Sutyagin no longer had the money to continue construction on the house, but lives in the ramshackle contraption anyway.
2. Free Spirit Houses, British Columbia, Canada
These spherical wooden homes take their name from the fact that they can be hung from a tree, a cliff, a bridge or any solid surface. The anchor at the top replaces a conventional foundation. Residents gain entry by a spiral stairway or a suspension bridge. The structure can be anchored at both top and bottom for additional stability, or left hanging to sway in the gentle breeze (or swing in brisk wind gusts, as weather conditions dictate).
3. Upside-Down House, Syzmbark, Poland
The phrase topsy-turvy takes on an entirely new meaning when associated with the Upside-Down House in Syzmbark, Poland, deliberately constructed to appear upside down by its designer, Polish philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski. The structure is meant to serve as social commentary on the backward nature of Poland’s former Communist history. The unstable structure is only upside down on the outside.
4. Cactus House, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Cactus House in Rotterdam in the Netherlands takes its name from its odd shape rather than from the presence of succulent plants. The irregular shape is designed to allow each room to maximize natural sunlight. The odd-sized slabs of concrete also allow large terraces for gardening and for outdoor living.
5. Floating Castle, Ukraine
With its single cantilever support, the Floating Castle house in Ukraine appears to be in imminent danger of tilting over, or even collapse. Supposedly the structure was built as a bunker for mineral fertilizers. Nonetheless, its appearance makes it a suitable backdrop or main setting for a futuristic science fiction feature.
6. Mushroom House, Cincinnati, Ohio
Although it appears to be a haphazard contraption, the Mushroom House in Cincinnati, Ohio is actually a deliberate design by Terry Brown, a University of Cincinnati professor of interior design and architecture. Would-be buyers may have been shocked at the home’s reported asking price of $400,000 US.
7. Cube House, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Photo: Berto Garcia
These cube-shaped houses in Rotterdam in the Netherlands are tilted at a forty-five degree angle so that three sides face the ground and three sides face the sky. These pricey structures each feature three floors, with a living room and kitchen on the bottom, bedrooms in the middle and a viewing deck up top. Visitors can experience the Cube House by exploring the museum show model.
8. Extreme Tree House, Irian Jana, Indonesia
You may have built a tree house when you were a kid, but it was nothing like this. This extreme tree house was constructed in the low land forests of Irian Jana in Indonesia. Perched right at the tops of the trees, this house is exposed to the elements, including strong winds. A very tall ladder is required to reach the house from the ground.
9. Heliotrope Rotating House, Freiburg, Germany
The Heliotrope Rotating House located in Freiburg, Germany redefines the meaning of “going green.” This completely solar-powered structure rotates toward the warmth of the sun during the summer. During the winter, the house rotates back toward its rear, which is well insulated against the cold.
10. Rozak House, Darwin, Australia
The stilt-built Rozak House in Darwin, Australia is located in the heart of cyclone country. However, its brave residents are prepared for inclement weather and for resulting power outages. The house is equipped with solar power panels and rainwater collection receptacles which allow the house to remain functional. Bargain hunters will find themselves disappointed by these pricey abodes. Defying gravity, highlighting social issues and pursuing sustainability are often associated with steep price tags. Those without money may find themselves stuck with unfinished edifices — and if you wish to sell, you may find that the market of potential buyers is somewhat limited. However, for those individuals with means who wish to remain in their off-kilter creations for the duration, coming home to any of these unique structures provides abundant insulation against boredom. In addition, residents can draw satisfaction from the fact that their homes are truly one of a kind.
Top Image Source: Berto Garcia