9 extraordinary buildings that don’t look like buildings

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We’ve handpicked nine of the most interesting buildings that look like things

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Imagine sleeping in the ankle of a shoe. Or, why not, going to work in an office that looks like a child’s toy. From robot banks to seashell houses, we’ve handpicked nine of the most interesting buildings that look like things.

Want to see some mountains that don’t look like mountains? See these.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Haines Shoe House © Beck Gusler

This building looks like a shoe

The Haines Shoe House, Hallem, Pennsylvania, USA

Built in 1948 as an advertising technique by offbeat shoe salesman Mahlon “Colonel” Haines, the five-level Pennsylvania building is a quirky structure that resembles a work boot.

Featuring an ice-cream shop at the entrance, two bedrooms in the “ankle”, a kitchen in the heel and a living room in the toes, the house was renovated in 2007 and is open for public tours.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Robot Building © Michael Cory

This building looks like a robot

Robot Building, Bangkok, Thailand

Designed by Thai architect Sumset Jumsai for the Bank of Asia, the Robot Building was completed in the mid-1980s. Now home to the United Overseas Bank, the building’s bizarre shape was initially a reference to the robot-like bankers inside.

It’s not pure aesthetics, though: the eyelids and antennae also serve as functional parts of the building, which adds an extra touch of quirkiness to the modern construction.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Nautilus House © ButterflyMahfuz

This building looks like a pelagic marine mollusc

The Nautilus House, Mexico City, Mexico

If The Little Mermaid was your favourite film, then the Nautilus House might just be the ideal house for you.

Built in 2006, the home was designed by architect Javier Senosiain to bring a piece of the ocean into the city.

Reminiscent of the works of Antoni Gaudí and Frank Lloyd Wright, the building sits comfortably on the right side of bizarre.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Pineapple at Dunmore © MonkeyMyshkin

This building looks like a piece of fruit

The Dunmore Pineapple, near Airth, Scotland

The pineapple-shaped pavilion of this building was constructed in the 1760s by the 4th Earl of Dunmore as a gift to his wife.

Appropriately enough, the building contained a greenhouse for the growing of warm-climate plants.

Visitors can now rent the Dunmore Pineapple as a holiday accommodation through the Landmark Trust.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
Lotus Temple © Peking.Duck

This building looks like a flower

Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India

Peace and serenity come together in this lotus-shaped structure, complete with 27 petals.

The Baha’i house of worship is one of the most visited monuments in the world, and was designed in the mid-1980s by Persian architect Fariborz Sahba.

Water ponds surround the construction, which furthers its resemblance to a real lotus, as the plants only grow in water.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Longaberger Company © ellenm1

This building looks like a picnic basket

The Longaberger Home Office, Newark, Ohio, USA

A 160:1 replica of the company’s best-selling market basket, the “basket building” was constructed in 1997 by founder of the company, Dave Longaberger.

Longaberger wanted to make sure that his company would be synonymous with the products they were selling.

The oversized basket is a seven-storey building, and the handles alone weigh over 150 tonnes.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Giant Egg © Marko Klapper

This building looks like an egg. An ENORMOUS egg

The Giant Egg, Beijing, China

Formally the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the “Giant Egg”, as it’s colloquially known, brings a solid dose of modernity to the Chinese capital.

Taking more than six years to build, the structure was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and inaugurated in December 2007.

With underwater corridors and an artificial lake, this building is one of the quirkiest and most intriguing modern constructions in China.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
Atomium © elPadawan

This building looks like a building block of matter

Atomium, Brussels, Belgium

Built in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair, this stainless-steel construction was made to resemble a group of atoms in a crystal structure formation.

Regarded as one of Europe’s most bizarre buildings, the Atomium hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions dedicated to architecture and culture.

As a bonus, the restaurant in the top “atom” offers incredible views of the city.

9 extraordinary buildings that don't look like buildings
The Elephant Building © xophe_g

This building looks like a pachyderm‎

The Elephant Building, Bangkok, Thailand

Located in Thailand’s capital, the Elephant Building (known officially as the Chang Building) was built in 1997.

Designed by architect Ong-ard Satrabhandhu the skyscraper resembles a giant elephant. Its legs house shops, luxury apartments, a stack of offices and a roof garden.

The building has also become a popular venue for weddings, as the elephant is a symbol of good luck in Thai tradition.

Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas 

(Feature © William Perry/Hemera/Thinkstock)

9 extraordinary buildings that don’t look like buildings was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Claire Bullen
Author: Claire Bullen (120 posts)

Globetrotter, chowhound, travel writer for Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to... and contributor to Cheapflights Travel Blogs.