Unusual Architecture – Odd Buildings That Should Be In Your Bucket List

Summer break may be over, but that does not mean your travels should be. From the Philippines to another part in Asia to Europe to the United States and to the Latin Americas, depending on your budget, here are some places you definitely must see first-hand because their Architect must have been truly… inspired.
CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES (Metro Manila, Philippines)

Cultural Center of the Philippines
image via jon mannion on Flickr

In 1969, National Artist Leandro V. Locsin finished the construction of a national center for culture and the arts. Consigned by the infamous first lady, Imelda Marcos, he built an 88 hectare complex. It was made mostly of concrete with the main building square shaped and a fountain pool in front of it.

During its construction, a lot of people, Locsin included, highly criticized the total cost of the CCP, making it more of an extravagance for the elite than anything else. In subtle retaliation, rumor has it that Locsin designed the CCP to look like a toilet bowl. There goes ?50 million flushed down the drain.

Nowadays, it is no longer only the Marcos family that holds the cards on what can be built or not. More businesses in the private sector are investing in property development. Big players such as Megaworld are building communities, while startups such as Lamudi Philippines  are selling individual real estate online.
SANZHI PODS (New Taipei City, Taiwan)

Sanzhi Pod Village
image via Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr

Futuro is a Finnish house design that was devised around 1960-1970. It was meant to be a movable home that could suit any environment. Unfortunately, the design was met with public hostility, as they were seen as too unrealistic looking.
In 1978, Futuro-styled homes, now known as the Sanzhi pods, were built originally as a vacation resort for the U.S. military in East Asia. To make things even creepier than it already is, the construction was abandoned only two years later due to numerous superstitious deaths and accidents.
Today, these pods are a popular tourist destination in northern Taiwan. They are actually color coded depending on their location. The northern ones are white, the southern ones are blue, the western pods are green, and the eastern pods are blue. These may be Futuro for students of architecture, but for the rest, they look like UFOs.
ATOMIUM (Brussels, Belgium)

The Atomium, Brussels, Belgium 2009
Image via Jeremy Crawshaw

For those who watch the Big Bang Theory, this construction must definitely be in the gang’s bucket list. The Atomium is a 335 feet (102 meters) stainless steel architectural accomplishment that was built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair. It has nine spheres 59 feet (18 meters) in diameter with 6 of it open to visitors, containing exhibitions, and offering panoramic views. Each one is connected by 12 diagonal tubes that contain escalators. An elevator is found within the vertical tubes.
At the top-most sphere is the Belgium Taste Restaurant with a seated capacity of only 80 people. Reservations, especially during dinnertime, are strongly recommended as a gourmet menu is offered.
P.S. The spheres are for rent!
HAINES HOUSE (Pennsylvania, United States)

Haines Shoe House
image via Beck Gusler

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

 

This might just be the most blatant form of advertisement yet. Built in 1948, this house was built by Mahlon Haines… a shoe salesman. It has actually five floors, and is even next to a dog-house of course, also shaped like a shoe.

 

CALAKMUL BUILDING (Mexico City, Mexico)

 

Lavadora_0489
image via Omar Barcena on Flickr

 

The invention of the washing machine must have really changed architect Agustin Hernandez’s life. The Calakmul Building, also called La Lavadora, was inaugurated in 1997, and is located at the center of Santa Fé, one of the wealthiest areas in Mexico. Unlike a real washing machine where you can see inside the circular pane, the Calakmul building has a mirror effect and reflects the city, making it looking out than looking in.

 

The Calakmul building was actually named after a Mayan city during the period of the Mayan Civilization. Calakmul is one of the largest of the Mayan sites that were discovered in Southeastern Mexico. It was rediscovered in 1931.

 

Nowadays, Mexico has the 14th largest economy in the world, and the 10th strongest in purchasing power. Santa Fé is one of the country’s major business zones, and the third largest shopping mall in Latin America is located here. Companies such as the Chrysler Group and Liverpool (not the soccer team) have their head office here. However, over investment in the city has caused an influx of commercial properties, and it now has a vacancy rate of 27%… more than a quarter of the city.

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