Buildings are not just structures that people live and work in. They are pieces of art. Architects design and engineers build extraordinary art that defy gravity, incorporate extreme creativity, and turn heads. 10 of the most unusual buildings in the world include:
1. Fuji TV Building, Tokyo, Japan
The Fuji TV Headquarters building is one of the most unique structures in the world. A large, 105-foot (32 m) silver sphere, weighing 1,200 tons, is featured on this metallic building. It was initially built on the ground and hoisted into position 403 feet (123 m) off the ground. It is used as an observation deck with views of the Odaiba area and Tokyo Bay.
Designed by Kenzo Tange, the building stands 25 floors and is untraditional in every sense of the word. The fully earthquake-proof building consists of two solid structures connected by a series of walkways and narrow towers. The unique architecture allow the building to fit right into the waterfront area where it is located.
2. Twisting Torso, Malmö, Sweden
Standing at 623 feet, 190 metres, the Twisting Torso was completed in 2005. A sculpture inspired architect Santiago Calatrava who designed the building to look twisted like rope. There are nine segments of pentagons that span five stories each, placed offset on top of each other to create a twisting effect. There are 54 stories in all. The segment on the top is set ninety degrees clockwise in relationship to the one on the very bottom.
3. Atomium, Brussels, Belgium
Originally built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair, the Atomium was designed by André Waterkeyn, an engineer, and André and Jean Polak, architects. The stainless steel building is 335 feet tall (102 m) and has nine spheres connected together in the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal.
Tubes connect the spheres along the dozen edges of the cube, as well as all eight vertices to the center. Escalators and elevators in the tubes connect five usable tubes, which are often occupied for public events. The four highest spheres are not safe and are therefore off limits to people.
4. National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China
Often referred to as “The Giant Egg,” this opera house seats 5,452 people in three separate halls. A French designer, Pau Andreu, designed the building that took six years to complete. The inaugural concert took place in 2007, six years after the start of construction.
The Giant Egg’s 151-foot (46 m) dome is 695 feet (212 m) from east to west, and 472 feet (144 m) from north to south. In order to enter the building, audience members walk through a hallway that goes under the lake.
5. Krzywy Domek (The Crooked House), Sopot, Poland
Built in 2004, the Krzywy Domek is an irregularly shaped structure that is part of the Rezydent shopping mall. Szotynscy and Zaleski designed the building, which was inspired by Jan Marcin’s fairytale drawings. From the exterior, it seems there isn’t a single straight wall inside. The curvy lines give the building a whimsical look.
6. Museum of Contemporary Art, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Oscar Niemeyer designed this circular building that seems to be emerging from within the ground. According to Niemeyer, it emerges like a flower in the rock that holds it down. The double curvature building is set on a cliff, symbolizing a lighthouse built to overlook the bay.
7. Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
One of the tallest glass buildings in Abu Dhabi, the Capital Gate leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this architectural marvel is the “world’s most furthest leaning man-made tower.” It leans 18 degrees, which is four times the one in Pisa.
8. Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt
In 1988, UNESCO organized an architectural competition to design a re-build of the original library. A Norwegian architectural office, Snohetta, won the competition, rising above roughly 1,400 entries. The designers mimicked the legendary ancient library that was built during the classical Greek era. The reflection pools located around the perimeter of the building provide visitors with an amazing sight.
9. The Piano House, Anhui, China
Shaped like a giant grand piano with a violin leaning against it, the Piano House in Anhui was built in 2007. Hefei University of Technology architectural students designed the building. The humongous glass violin houses the elevators that allow access to the piano, which is the actual building itself. Currently, the building is used as a showroom for city planners.
10. Container City, London, England
The Urban Space Management Ltd created Container City, a residential system of reused shipping containers. The containers are linked together, creating high-strength modules that can be pieced together into interesting schools, offices, nurseries, residences, sound studios, among others. This low-cost method of reusing industrial materials is extremely environmentally friendly.
Although there are many additional, spectacular buildings in the world, these ten stand out to be some of the most innovative, artistic ones. They challenged architectural style and are often studied as exemplars of creative genius.