Exterior Architectural Design: 5 Unusual Buildings

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Studying architecture, I always wanted to design ‘normal’ homes and buildings. It’s not that I’m not creative, but maybe just too practical. When I come across unusual buildings, I try to figure out the thought and creative processes of the designers. Why would someone put a window here, or make this wall on an angle, or make the upper stories all so different? I want to know how things are made and how they work. It was no different when I found these buildings!

1. Casa Batlló

Everyone studies Anton Gaudi in design school. Even though he is probably best known for Sagrada Familia, I am intrigued by Casa Batlló . It was originally commissioned by a textile industrialist and is now a museum. The fish scale roof and the waves of the façade are fluid and watery, but other parts are reminiscent of dinosaur bones and joints. Exterior walls are mosaics. Look at the gallery for details of the building.

Casa Batlló in Barcelona (Photo: lukasz dzierzanowski )

2. Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health

Frank Gehry is another out-of-the-box designer.This is one of my favorite buildings as far as wondering how he arrived at this design. The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas is a tribute to those with brain disease.

Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health

Lou Ruvo Center For Brain Health, Las Vegas (Photo: Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose)

3. The Church of Hallgrimur

Many years ago, I had a friend who built pipe organs from scratch. This church in Iceland reminds me of that, and how fitting it is a church!

The Church of Hallgrimur

Hallgrimskirkja (“church of Hallgrímur”), Reykjavik (Photo:Mark Hintsa)

4. The ‘Flintstone’ House

The ‘Flintstone’ House in northern California is a series of domes that were created by making a form and stuccoing over aeronautical balloons. Domes are not new to me, but in a connected series and some being two stories make this an unusual home. The owner has now added a second home, which is way more unusual!

The ‘Flintstone’ House, Hillsborough CA (photo: Beatrice Murch)

5. The ‘Box Office’

Recycling shipping containers into buildings is one of most creative and useful ways to build, if you ask me. Here is a colorful office complex made of 32 shipping containers. I think what makes is unusual for me are the cantilevered sections that look like they are hanging freely.

Shipping container offices in Providence RI

The Box Office in Providence, RI (photo: Noah Scalin)

Maybe I will stick to space planning and floor plans and let someone else get creative with the exteriors. 😉

For more unusual buildings, take a look at this article that talks about The World’s 18 Strangest Buildings  from  Popular Mechanics.

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Nan Fischer

Nan Fischer has been living and building green for over 35 years. Nan’s emphasis on the BuildDirect blog is about how to make your dollar stretch further, while also moving toward a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as upcoming and existing technology to help us live in an ecologically-friendly way. Nan also authors posts on the website of her seed business, sweetly seeds.