When it comes to buildings the majority of the time it’s a matter of function over form. However, every now and then architects get to flex their creative muscles and when they do the results can be breath-taking. So without further ado, allow us to present to you the top ten most remarkable buildings in the world.
10. The National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing
The National Centre for Performing Arts is more colloquially known as The Giant Egg. The structure took nearly six years to build and was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. The constructions use of Titanium resulted in a spiralling build cost of over £380,000,000 (it used to be a lot more but hey, at least we can have bent bananas now). In effect what this means is that each seat cost around £60,000. Someone somewhere has egg on their face, big time. Still it does look nice.
9. Cathedral of Brasilia, Brasilia
When you think of Brazil many things come to mind. Scantily clad carnival dancers, the Zika Virus and governmental corruption to name but a few. However, what you may not be aware of is the concrete Cathedral of Brasilia. The Cathedral is as much a monument to modernism as it is to God, not surprising given its designer was Oscar Niemeyer. Completed in 1970, the Utopian structure can still take the breath away today, with the interior being arguably even more incredible than the exterior.
8. Cubic Houses, Rotterdam
The Netherlands is renowned for its progressive attitudes and the Cubic Houses are a perfect expression of outside the box thinking. Piet Blom designed these actual houses to represent trees and they are clustered around making “a village within the city”. They certainly combine old world charm and futuristic craziness. Living in one of these cuboids certainly wouldn’t make you a square.
7. Forest Spiral, Darmstadt
Whilst it may look like it was designed by Escher, the Forest Spiral in Germany was actually the creation of Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The complex is home to 105 different apartments which are inhabited by normal people rather than hobbits. That said, there must be a few arguments over whose turn it is to mow the grass.
6. Habitat 67, Montreal
The unimaginatively named Habitat 67 (one wonders what happened to the other 66) looks like it was plucked straight out of a game of Minecraft. In fact, Lego bricks were actually employed to create various design models prior to construction. Habitat 67 was actually designed to be the centrepiece of Canada’s world fair in 1967. Boasting features such as private rooftop terraces and views on three sides, as a building it certainly ticks all the boxes.
5. The Crooked House, Sopot
Inspired by the works of artists such as Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg, the appropriately named Crooked House looks like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie. In somewhat of a twist it is actually part of a shopping centre. This is what happens when you tell your architect to “get bent”.
4. La Pedrera, Barcelona
Casa Mili, or La Pedrera (The Quarry) as it’s more commonly known, was designed by none other than Antoni Gaudi. In fact, it was to be his last civil work. It was commissioned by the Mila couple and raised a few eyebrows when it was built between 1906 and 1912. It’s easy to see why too. La Pedrera looks more like it’s been carved from solid rock than built. This, combined with its inside out inside make a stunning piece of architecture. Even if it is a little Gaudi.
3. Contemporary Art Museum, Niteroi
The Contemporary Art Museum in Niteroi, Brazil, is certainly contemporary and a work of art in its own right. It combines the aesthetics of a bond villains lair with a generous lump of Barbarellaesque kitsch. We think it looks out of this world.
2. The Dancing House, Prague
The Dancing house, or ‘Fred and Ginger’ as the locals like to call it, is a perfect example of deconstructionism. The Fred and Ginger moniker was first uttered by one of it’s co-creators but officially ditched due to being overtly American. However the name stuck. The real reason behind the buildings wacky appearance is that it was meant to symbolise Czechoslovakia’s transformation from an old staid communist past to a more dynamic democratic parliamentary system. Perhaps that’s the real reason the name stuck.
1. House of the Rock, near Celorico de Basto
If modernism isn’t your thing, how about this offering from Portugal? The type of home any respecting Flintstone would be happy to live in, the Casa do Penedo (House of Rock) started its life as recently as 35 years ago as a family holiday home. It has various amenities such as fireplace, log staircase and even a stone carved swimming pool. However, it doesn’t feature electricity or running water, due to its isolated position in the Fafe Mountains. These days it serves as a local museum and its security has been beefed up by the addition of bulletproof glass window and solid steel front door. One has to concede it’s hard to find a boulder statement.