There are almost 70 strange and amazing houses around the world. Here are the 10 top most houses that caught my eye.
Bubble Castle – Theoule, France
Designer Antti Lovag’s Bubble Castle is a perfect example of his radical approach to rethinking the built environment. The bulbous compound sits on the southwest coast of France. What makes it amazing is that there are no sharp angles or straight lines in this unusual design. Lovag unified the home with its natural surrounding by bringing outdoor elements inside, including palm trees and a waterfall. The house has already been deemed a historic monument by France’s Ministry of Culture, despite the fact that it’s not even 50 years old.
The Upside-Down House – Szymbark, Poland
Polish businessman and philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski built The Upside Down House as a statement about the Communist era and the end of the world. It took 114 days to build because the workers were so disoriented by the angles of the walls. It certainly attracts its fair share of tourists to the tiny village of Szymbark, who often become dizzy and ‘seasick’ after just a few moments inside.
The Crooked House – Windsor, England
Sure it’s slanted, but what really makes the house stand out is that its basement had a secret passage to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the UK’s royal family. According to the house’s website, the passage was allegedly used for trysts between King Charles and a mistress, as well as for running supplies to the castle’s kitchen. The passageway has since been sealed off. Through the centuries, the crooked house has been the home to various businesses, including a brewery and jewelry shop. It is now a restaurant.
Shoe House – South Africa
The ‘shoe house’ of South Africa is the work of artist and hotelier Ron Van Zyl, who built it for his wife Yvonne in 1990. The shoe houses a little museum of sorts, showcasing Van Zyl’s wood carvings. The shoe is part of a complex that includes an eight-chalet guest house, camp site, restaurant, pool and bar.
Leaf House – Angra dos Reis, Brazil
The roof of this architectural masterpiece looks like a giant flower with six petals, each of which covers a different section of the home. A curved swimming pool works its way through the house before culminating as a small pond stocked with fish and vegetation in the backyard. But the most amazing part of this design is the house is free of hallways, providing ample space for the beach winds to blow through.
The Mushroom House – Cincinnati, Ohio
This was the home and studio of Terry Brown, an architect who died in 2008. Undulating wood work, bizarre shapes and an array of materials come together to form a cohesive, albeit zany, structure. “This isn’t something you draw up and say ‘go build’ it, when you’re doing something this custom, you’re fabricating and designing simultaneously in the field.” The fantastical design doesn’t stop at the front door. The interior is adorned with angular cabinets and multicolored rock walls.
Crooked House – Sopot, Poland
From Poland comes another interesting building, the ‘Crooked House’. The design was inspired by the drawings of Polish artists Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg, which have a whimsical and Dali-esque feel. It’s not actually a house – it’s part of a shopping complex. But, it’s very cool all the same, with its surreal angles and blue-green glass.
Inversion House – Houston, Texas
When two old studio buildings owned by The Art League in Houston were set to be demolished, they decided to take the opportunity to turn them into a temporary art installation. Artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck sculpturally altered the two buildings, peeling off the exterior siding of the front building to simulate the appearance of a funnel-like vortex. The opening was actually a tiny hallway (only kids could fit through it) that passed through the two structures and emptied out into an adjacent courtyard.
Bart Prince House – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Architect Bart Prince is renowned for his incredibly creative approach to designing structures. The homes he has created look nothing like the boxy houses you and I live in; they’re quirky, they’re organic, and they’re most definitely one-of-a-kind. Prince says his designs start from the inside out, and that every home he builds has an idea behind it. Pictured are Prince’s own home in Albuquerque (top) and the Seymour residence in Los Altos, California.
The Winchester Mystery House – San Jose, California
Owner and designer Sarah Winchester, heiress of the Winchester rifle company, was never a huge fan of blueprints. Instead, she preferred an on-the-fly design strategy, sketching rooms and architectural oddities whenever inspiration struck. Notable features include 40 bedrooms, three elevators, 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys, and 467 doorways. The house originally had seven levels, but an earthquake in 1906 collapsed three of them. Tourists now flock to the house to see its many quirks, including a staircase that leads straight to the ceiling.