Top 10 Bizarre Feats of Architecture


Since mankind began, we’ve sought shelter as a place to conduct domestic and later, work life. As innovations developed, many different materials and building methods came into play, and architects got increasingly ambitious. Here’s a list of interesting architectural creations throughout the world – the good, the bad and the ugly.

10. Dar Al Hajar, Yemen

Dar al-Hajar Rock House

This palace, which protrudes from a rock formation above a valley in Wadi Dhahr, was constructed in the 1930s by the ruler Imam Yahya. Originally built as a summer residence, this remarkable building and its grand interior is now open to tourists. Photo by [email protected]

9. Manchester Civil Justice Centre, England


Australian architects Denton Corker Marshall designed this multi-court building, which boasts the largest suspended glass wall in Europe, at 11,000m2. The same design team is currently in talks to create a sister court building in nearby Birmingham. Photo by Iain Peacock

8. The Stone House, Portugal

Stone House

This domestic home was meticulously carved out of a large piece of stone. Although it’s privately owned, many trek to the top of this hill in Guimaraes to take photos and marvel at the unique residence. Photo by Jsome1

7. Beijing National Stadium, China

Beijing National Stadium, China

This stadium – used in the 2008 Summer Olympics – was the brainchild of architects Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach, Li Xinggang, and artist Ai Wei Wei. They came up with the design after studying Chinese ceramics and deciding on a “Birds Nest” theme. Photo uploaded by fgcp035

6. Kansas City Public Library

Kansas City Public Library

Kansas City Public Library

Established in 1873, Kansas City’s library was adapted to include this incredible wall of books, which run down 10th Street between Wyandotte Street and Baltimore Avenue. There are twenty-two 25 x 9 feet book spines featuring titles suggested by Kansas City readers, such as Catch 22, Huckleberry Finn, The Lord of the Rings and Charlotte’s Web. Photo by jonathan_moreau and Gwen’s River City Images

5. The Crooked House, Himley, England

Crooked House

This pub in the English West Midlands fell foul to too much coal removal beneath its footings during the mining period. The result was that it sunk to one side, causing drinks to roll off the table and punters feeling incredibly drunk after just a couple of beers. Buttressing has secured the building so it won’t slip any more, even though it’s still 15 degrees off angle. Photo by Gary S. Crutchley

4. Upside-Down House in Szymbark, Poland

Upside-down House

Philanthropist and businessman Daniel Czapiewski created this house in 114 days, as a statement about Communism. It attracts thousands of tourists a year, who often complain of sea-sickness and dizziness after walking around the structure. Photo by Dirk Wegman

3. Habitat 67, Canada


Habitat 67

Moshe Safdie was the designer behind this multi-cubed residential area in Montreal. Ironically, although they were designed with the intention of creating affordable but stylish accommodation, the domiciles rose in price as they rose in architectural infamy. Photo by P M M and hubertk

2. The Winchester Mystery House, California


The Winchester Mystery House, California

This ex-personal residence of Sarah Winchester is now a popular tourist attraction due to its sheer oddness. Winchester demanded daily “from-the-ground-up” construction around-the-clock, without interruption, from 1884 until her death in 1922. This resulted in a huge mansion with seven stories (now four), 160 rooms, two ballrooms, spider motifs hidden in the designs and staircases and doors leading to nowhere. Photo by dalvenjah and Slightlynorth

1. Atomium, Brussels


The Atomium is a monument built for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.
Designed by André Waterkeyn, it is 102-metre (335-feet) tall, with nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes which connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center enclose escalators connecting the spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. Photo by fatboyke

Honorary Mention – The Ice Hotel, Sweden

The Ice Hotel

This seasonal ice hotel was built in Jukkasjärvi after a French artist held an exhibition in an igloo and visitors asked to stay the night. The hotel is rebuilt each year, between December and April, using over 5,000 tones of ice for the church, Absolut Icebar, reception, main hall and suites. Photo by Weerf

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  1. I love the house on the rock, it was build long time ago. Plus the other places are good, but I love the old ones. But the new ones are amazing tooo.

  2. How unusual – i'm from the town nearby the Crooked House. Its a great little pub and very disorientating, it's a shame that when they built an extension on to it they had to adhere to modern building laws so the new part is all on the level.

    Great place to visit though.

  3. The House On The Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin should totally be included. The Infinity Room is definitely a bizarre feat of architechture.

    Yes, that's exactly what it looks like. A room sticking out 218 feet (off of a house built on a rock) with NO supports. The rest of the house is really cool too, but the Infinity Room just blows your mind.

  4. How did the Kansas City Library make the list? The books shown are the facade of a parking garage, the library is across the street. For four bucks you can park approximately between pages 45 and 190 of Catch 22.

    • i have to agree with mike. the book facade looks cool, but it is just a aesthetic feature. the ice hotel in sweden is much more deserving to be on the list then the kansas city library.

  5. Josh Garner on

    Being in Florida, I most desire the stone house. Virtually hurricane proof.

  6. Bullwinkle use on

    There are some incredible feats of architecture in here, many of which I had been aware prior to reading this article. Very fascinating stuff!

  7. Wow! I’ve never seen a library like Kansas City’s that advertised its being a library right up front!

    And have you ever seen the series of Ripley’s Odditoriums throughout the world, that usually have a facade cracked in two?