10 of the Most Unique Buildings in the World

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The Dancing House Prague

Here’s a look at some of the most unique architectural designs in the world.

10. Oriental Pearl Tower

Oriental Pearl Tower
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Dmitry A. Mottl [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Built in 1994, the Oriental Pearl Tower is a radio and television tower located in Shanghai, China. It gets its name from the eleven spheres adorning its struts and trunk. It’s rumored that the pearls (or spheres) were inspired by a Tang Dynasty poem about the sound of a traditional Chinese musical instrument known as the pipa.

The tower also houses a rotating restaurant 875 feet in the air, a “Space Hotel,” sightseeing decks, each with a transparent glass bottom, and a 300-foot-tall space-themed roller coaster. On the tower’s ground floor is Shanghai’s Municipal History Museum.

9. The Crooked House

The Crooked House
Source: Wikipedia

The Crooked House is a restaurant, pub and popular tourist attraction in South Staffordshire, England. As, you can see from the picture above, The Crooked House is indeed crooked. It’s so crooked in fact that one side of this eatery is four feet lower than the other. Not only that, but the pub’s crookedness has been known to leave customers feeling like they’d had one too many drinks. So, just how did this restaurant end up crooked anyway? Local mining caused the building to subside.

-The Crooked House was originally built in 1765 as a farmhouse but became a pub in the 1830s.
-There’s also a popular tourist attraction in Sopot, Poland, called The Crooked House. Known locally as Krzywy Domek, this 4,000 square meter structure has a “vertigo-inducing entrance” and looks like it was warped in Photoshop. Built in 2004, this house was inspired by a Polish fairytale.

8. Atomium

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Flickr user Mike Cattell [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

This 9-sphere structure was built for the World Fair in Brussels in 1958. There’s a permanent exhibition located in two of the spheres. Three spheres are reserved for temporary exhibitions devoted to architecture, design, and society. The upper sphere provides panoramic views of Brussels. And, according to the landmark’s website, “when the sky is clear, the view reaches till Antwerp.” In the upper sphere is a gourmet restaurant as well. The other four spheres are off limits to the public.

FYI, Atomium is open every day of the year from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., with closure ticketing at 5:30 p.m.

7. WonderWorks

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Leonard J. DeFrancisci [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

This entertainment center features over 100 hands-on, interactive exhibits, plus laser tag, dinner shows, rides, an art gallery, and other activities! There’s also an in-house pizzeria, a banquet room, and a gift shop filled with interactive toys, puzzles, and more. Student groups receive a 10 percent discount for purchases in the gift shop during their field trip visit. Speaking of visiting, WonderWorks has five locations (Orlando, FL; Pigeon Forge, TN; Panama City Beach, FL; Myrtle Beach, SC; Syracuse, NY) you can visit, plus one more coming this year (Branson, MO).

6. The Ice Hotel

Ice Hotel
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Chensiyuan assumed (based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Also known as Hôtel de Glace, this structure is the only ice hotel in all of North America. Made entirely of snow and ice, Hôtel de Glace features a chapel, an ice slide, exhibitions, themed suites, the Great Hall, and the Ice Bar. Speaking of bars, you can order a delicious cocktail served in a glass made of ice. And, if all that snow and ice gets to be a little too much for you, you can always warm up in the outdoor spa and sauna.

Located in Québec City, Québec, Canada, the Ice Hotel is closed from late March to December. Admission is $20.99 for adults, $15.99 for seniors, and $15.99 for children 1m to 1.32m tall. Children under 1m get in for free.

5. Longaberger Basket Building

Longaberger Basket Building
Source: Wikimedia Commons

This seven-story, 180,000-square-foot structure once served as the headquarters for Longaberger Company, which, no surprise here, used to make baskets. Completed in 1997, the Longaberger Basket Building cost a whopping $32 million from start to finish. Unfortunately, the Ohio-based company downsized in 2015 and the building went on the market for $7.5 million. Since then the building has changed hands several times, with the last buyer, who purchased it in 2017, putting the building up for sale–or lease through the real-estate company NAI Ohio River Corridor–yet again. Laurie Stanbro, one of the leasing agents, told The Columbus Dispatch, “We’re working with the mayor, the town, everyone to try to get it occupied. We just don’t want it to sit empty. We want to get someone in the building and use it to its full capabilities.”

4. Dog Bark Park Inn

Dog Bark Park Inn
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Alan Levine from Strawberry, United States [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

This modern marvel is a two-story bed and breakfast guesthouse located in Cottonwood, Idaho. Known to some as “the world’s biggest beagle,” the Dog Bark Park Inn also features a loft bedroom and additional sleeping space above the dog’s muzzle. Built and run by artists Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin, the Dog Bark Park Inn was named by London-based daily newspaper The Times as one of the top 20 most fun and exciting places to stay.

FUN FACT: The Dog Bark Park Inn is located about halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

3. Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Vandelizer [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

The Lotus Temple, in Delhi, India, east of Nehru place, is a temple built in the shape of a lotus flower–hence its name. It’s architect, Furiburz Sabha, chose this shape because the lotus flower plays a central role in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam. Around the flower’s petals are nine pools of water, which light up in natural light.

Completed in 1986, it is the last of seven Major Bahai’s temples built around the world. Although the Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship, adherents of any faith are welcome to visit the temple to pray or meditate. The temple is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day of the week except Mondays. Admission is free, but you’ll need to get permission if you want to take photographs.

2. Elephant Building

Elephant Building
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Jarcje [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Located in Bangkok, Thailand, the Elephant Building, also known as the Chang Building (the word “chang” means “elephant” in Thai), is 32 stories high and overlooks the city’s northern business district. The building is comprised of offices, apartments, and luxury penthouses. So, what made someone want to design a building in the shape of an elephant, you ask? Well, the elephant plays an important role in Thailand. It’s the country’s national animal and is seen as a symbol of royalty and mental strength. Elephants have also helped the Thais in warfare, during harvest time, and with transportation.

1. Montreal Biosphere

Montreal Biosphere
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)]

The Montreal Biosphere was built specifically for the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal, Québec, Canada. The U.S. government commissioned Buckminster Fuller, a well-known scientist and architect, to design the pavilion for the Canadian exhibition. It stands at 200 feet tall and measures 250 feet in diameter. But, it didn’t always look the way it does today. In fact, the Montreal Biosphere started out as an enclosed structure, but a fire in 1976 destroyed its outer layer, leaving behind nothing but the dome’s steel skeleton. Unfortunately, the fire forced the dome to close to the public. It reopened more than fifteen years later (in 1995) as a museum dedicated to environmental issues. But, that’s not all: Another disaster struck the dome in 1998. This time it was a severe ice storm. This also forced the dome to close–only for five months this time. Thankfully, it reopened and still houses the museum today.


Do you live near any unique buildings? Tell us about it in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!