While some buildings can be dull or even ugly, some can be thought-provoking—so much so that they will be deeply ingrained in our memories after just a fleeting glance. You’d think that you’ve seen pretty much every iteration or configuration out there, but there might be a few that you’ve yet to see.
From museums to offices, and an endlessly useful mixed-building construction, these are some of the more unusual buildings from around the world that get people talking. Whatever you think of them, you’ll be sure to remember them for some time—and maybe even mention them to someone else who may be interested in their aesthetics or uses.
The Office Space
The Basket Building was built as the corporate office structure of the Longaberger Company, and the company founder wanted to build an exact replica of his favorite basket. The unusual headquarters was seen as a way to draw attention to the company, and in turn, help to promote the brand.
Construction of the seven-story building started in 1995, and includes details of the company’s most popular basket model—including the two handles, which are heated during the winter to avoid snow and ice deposits. The structure covers 25 acres, and has a square footage of 180,000 for its employees. The building is also 160 times larger than the model on which it is based.
A barndominium can trace its roots to hunting (which is popular in Texas) and having a space for storage or livestock, which also has comfortable living quarters is a logical solution. With this particular example, the client wanted a barn as well as a guest condo—yet building two separate structures can be expensive, in terms of everything from using separate systems to needing to pay additional taxes on two structures.
So, it was suggested that the two requirements were combined for one larger structure, with guests and animals all housed under one roof. However, keeping horses close to the living quarters can cause problems, and the solution was to separate the two areas with a covered breezeway, therefore allowing air to circulate between the two.
The stable and tack room were under the same roof and, as the structure was to also include living quarters, the structural requirements were modified for increased loads and safety specifications. This allowed the finishing touches to the residential area to be included.
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao represents one of the best examples of 20th-century architecture. It is also part of the Guggenheim Foundation, which aims to promote the understanding of contemporary and modern art. It was the largest museum of the Guggenheim projects when its construction was completed in 1997.
There’s also the Graz Art Museum, which is a futuristic-looking building in the center of the Austrian city. It is the shape of a robotic heart, so it stands out from the rest of the local architecture. There are nearly 1,000 fluorescent rings on the surface of the museum, which create spectacular patterns at night.