1. Ramot Polin Apartments (Jerusalem, Israel)
This mishmash of engineering is actually a three-decade old Israeli housing project near Jerusalem. This settlement structure in Ramot Polin was commissioned by the Israeli Ministry of Housing to settle wider parts of greater Jerusalem after the Six-Day War of ’67. In order to quickly build in open land, engineers experimented with various designs such as Ramot Polin’s use of prefabricated components built around the natural landscape.
2. Hang Nga guesthouse (Dalat, Vietnam)
I imagine this is similar to what a medieval castle would look like if it melted. While this “fairy tale house” is meant to invoke elements of the natural world, this passion project of Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga featuring smooth irregular surfaces seems a more fitting ode to the Nazi face-melt guy from Indiana Jones. Rather than going by a conventional architectural blueprint model of construction, Nga hired local, “non-professional” workers to bring his handmade paintings into reality.
3. Errante Guest House (Ciudad Abierta, Chile)
What we are actually looking at is an experimental building that existed in the late 1990s as part of the Catholic University of Valparaiso in Chile. The peculiar angles of the building were meant to deflect the wind shears to be utilized in temperature control.
4. Le Cube Orange (Lyon, France)
In Lyon, France you will find a building that stands as testament to the very real danger of having a run-in with a trendy asteroid. This six-story showroom sports a gigantic gaping hole in its orange façade.
5. Habitat 67 (Quebec, Canada)
The Habitat 67 housing complex on the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec resembles a modular skyscraper made of giant Jenga pieces that toppled over. The complex was a product of architect Moshe Safdie for the Expo 67 world‘s fair in Canada, but the multiple platforms seems like it was specifically designed for that distinctively new millennium sport of free running.
6. Dancing House (Prague, Czech Republic)
When paying a visit to the real-life fairytale (visually speaking) known as Prague, you can take in a bit of post-modernism via the Frank Gehry co-designed “Dancing House.” While “dancing” seems to invoke elegance.
7. Aqua Skyscraper (Chicago, U.S.A.)
Chicago’s Aqua Skyscraper has a melty, swervy design that seems like it’s doing its best to approximate what a traditional skyscraper would look like after a few minutes in the microwave. But the smooth curves and contours of this residential/commercial complex are meant to approximate the flow of water (thus the name). It’s a beautiful structure, but it does give the impression of being semi-digested.
8. Martin Luther Church (Hainburg, Austria)
What looks like an extreme case of moisture-warping is actually a deliberate artistic decision meant to celebrate the life of Martin Luther.
9. Ray and Maria Stata Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was looking for a new academic center to house some of its cutting-edge research, they turned to bizarre visionary Frank Gehry (who you may recognize from Prague’s “Dancing House”). The ambitious project resulted in a lawsuit against Gehry because of numerous construction problems including cracking components, drainage back-up, and the unaccounted-for effect of ice in the New England winter. This isn’t the first time Gehry has not anticipated problems in his forward-looking projects.
10. Edificio Mirador (Madrid, Spain)
The inhabitants of this 21-story residential building are left with a large, communal lookout area. As another interesting side note, each different-colored section is its own architectural plan holding its own type of apartment unit. The whole building is like its own multi-faceted vertical city.
11. Honorable Mention: The Hole House (Houston, Texas)
The Hole or “Tunnel” house was never meant to be lived in — in its holey form, anyway. It was a house slated for demolition near Houston, Texas. Two local artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck decided to turn it into a grandiose public art installation that laughs in the face of the local housing code. Unfortunately, for those who were looking to use The Hole House as a backdrop for a great Facebook photo, it was finally demolished in 2005. Alas.