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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)