We are surrounded by the built environment day in and day out, but how many buildings still turn your head, make you scratch it or even turn it upside down (your head, not the building … well, not most buildings anyway). Over time we have collected some of the most crazy architectural designs and creative engineering marvels from around the world and grouped them by type, theme and (as always) adjective – from the remotest and most unattainable luxury private island architecture to hidden rooms and doors that may be lurking in your own house.
Contemporary Architecture and Cutting-Edge Design
Though there are some unbelievable homes and amazing house designs around the world, many of the most incredible buildings designed today do not fit readily into our standard vision of architectural types. Tree houses bring us back to our childhood while house boats bring out the adventurer in us. The institutional places where the public come together, however, are where you can find the work of many of the world’s most talented architectural designers.
Amazing Treehouses and Treehouse Designs: We all dreamed of having them as a child – or, if we had them, we dreamed of bigger, better and more awesome ones. Here are some dreams come true – unbelievable real-life tree houses that may make you wish to never return to the ground again. Bonus: here are 15 more.
Brilliant Houseboats and Houseboat Designs: Some are conceptual, some are real. Some are eye-poppingly ingenious and incredibly innovative while others are hilariously ill-conceived and quaintly impracticle. Whatever your budget, you can find a house boat to buy or at least one to ogle at. Bonus: here are 15 more.
Airport, Train and Bus Station Architecture: Planes, trains and automobiles make the world go ’round but too often overlooked are the designs of these buildings which harbor our indispensable vehicles. These architectural innovations push the limits of contemporary design to new heights, levels and speeds.
Ultramodern Museum Architecture and Interior Design: Museums are historically the places we house our most precious artefacts. Lately they have become themselves the subject of artistic endeavors – and critique. Here are some of the most offbeat, avante garde and thought-provoking modern and postmodern museum designs.
Green Architecture Past, Present and Future
‘Green design’ has become a perhaps-overused buzz-phrase in the world of contemporary architecture. What does it mean, after all, to go green? Some of the best examples that truly break the mold include works that take advantage of technological advances in prefabrication or utilize buildings that would otherwise be wasted. Here is a look at current creative and crazy green designs as well as ones soon to come in the ever-approaching future of green design and technology.
Prefab Architecture and Flat-Pack Furniture Designs: There are many advantages to building a structure off-site and transporting it to its destination – but also many unique design challenges and opportunities that help prefab designs transend any potential limitations to become an art form and design innovation all their own.
Current Green Architecture, Art and Design: Green can mean so many things – some serious, some humorous and some somewhere in between. This collection spans the spectrum and includes a little bit of everything from the world of current green art, architecture and other forms of design.
Recycled Architecture and Adaptively Reused Buildings: Some of the greatest architectural creations in the world were born out of existing buildings, believe it or not. There is something about the obstacle of an old structure that can become the perfect opportunity in the hands of the right designer.
Future and Futuristic Green Architecture and Design: We are developing green technologies at a rate like never before, both to meet climate challenges but also to save our local environments (and save on our energy bills). Whatever the reason, there are innumerable incredible eco-friendly architectural designs that will boggle your mind.
Art, Castle, Jail and Theme Hotel Architecture
When we want to get away from our daily grind it does not have to just be about the destination or the means of getting there. The strange theme hotels in which you stay and unbelievable theme restaurants in which you eat can themselves be a once-in-a-lifetime aesthetic experience, whether you seek a kitsch theme hotel or luxurious castle lodgings, artistic immersion or faux incarceration. – there is sure to be an incredible offbeat interior design for you.
Sweet, Sexy and Surreal Art Hotel Rooms: Art hotels have become increasingly popular as people pick their place to stay not only based on the surrounding attractions but also on the experience of their temporary abodes. These range from quirky and comical to serious and sensual. Bonus: here are 20 more. Double-bonus: here are 18 more.
Distinguished Palace, Castle and Fort Hotels: Here you can sleep like a duke, king or even emperor for a night. Some can be reserved by the room or are rustic and affordable entire buildings. Others can only be rented in their resplendent entirety and would cost the crown jewels just to reserve for a single weekend.
Luxurious to Painful Prison and Jail Hotels: Some jails have been converted into plush resort-like settings, completely redone to the point where their former lives are more of abstract note than real interest. Others have been maintained in the frightening condition they were left in and give visitors a disturbingly real prison experience.
Smallest Hotels and Hotel Rooms in the World: Some people shoot for the biggest and most impressive accommodations they can find. Meanwhile, some strange hotels are vying for the position of ‘smallest in the world’ – from hollow pipes to pod hotel room slots or even a whole hotel room packed into a suitcase.
Recycled Architecture and Reused Materials
Offbeat Buildings from Standard Recycled Materials: Tin cans, hay bales, tires, glass and plastic bottles – all are ubiquitous urban detritus but each can be re-appropriated in much more creative ways than simple recycling. See how ordinary people have created extraordinary architecture from everyday trash objects.
The Art of Urban Adaptive Reuse: It never ceases to amaze most viewers when a building that seems perfectly sound is demolished and replaced. Could they have not found some use for the old structure? These architects have turned that question into a compelling challenge and in many cases have created something to outdo the original. Bonus: here are 7 more.
The Art of Oceanic Adaptive Reuse: One of the most incredible sets of building types to ever be abandoned and later reused are the army and sea forts found off the coast of Great Britain. These structures have been transformed over time into everything from luxury resorts to pirate radio stations and micronations.
Cargo Container Home and Office Architecture: Shipping container homes are a universal unit, found in the same sizes around the world. When they can no longer handle the hefty duties demanded by the shipping industry, however, this opens up international opportunities to create amazing architectural designs. Bonus here are 10 more and a how to buy, build or design your own.
More Uncanny Architecture, Related Art and Design
Of course, much of the best architectural work won’t fit neatly into a group based on the materials used, the intended purpose or even the type or style of building generated. For that reason, here is a collection of the remaining oddballs – the wonderful topics that simply refused to conform to any conventional categories. Enjoy!
Organic Architecture: Form over Function: Organic architecture can refer to a style, movement, approach or aesthetic. Here are a number of examples of each of these – curvilinear buildings that swoop and swerve, spirals that wrap around like conch shells and more.
Architectural Movement: Sweet Spinning Structures: A rotating building is not what people normally mean when they refer to ‘architectural movements’ – after all, aren’t buildings fixed in place virtually by definition? Perhaps these and other marvelous moving buildings are the exceptions that prove the rule.
Architectural Illusions: The Art of the Third Dimension: There are buildings that challenge our perceptions, defy conventions and bend in ways we never imagined a structure could. There are also architectural optical illusions that play with the second and third dimensions in novel and curious ways.
Architectural Apocalypse: The Art at World’s End: What would the planet be like without us? Many artists, architects and filmmakers have envisioned eye-popping post-disaster worlds in which our tallest buildings and most precious monuments have decayed and turned slowly back to dust.
More Green Architecture and Design from WebEcoist
Want more? The archives of our green sister site are also filled with all kinds of amazing eco-friendly and offbeat designs, from ancient wonders of green design to buildings carved from living rock and even incredible works of animal architecture. From the WebEcoist galleries, be sure to check out elementally themed ecological design and technology revolving around the earth, water, wind and the sun.