7 Silly Structures in Europe
European parks and museums are certainly charming, but there are also quite a number of kooky sights to spot in the continent. These buildings have tourists doing a double-take.
Palais Bulles, France. It’s all about curves in this house created by architect Antti Lovag. Overlooking the Mediterranean, the “bubble house” looks like astronaut’s helmets piled on top of each other, with stairs crisscrossing them. Swimming pools and gardens surround the residence, while the huge windows offer panoramas of Cannes. Its colour is meant to be ever-changing, depending on the lighting. It has been called “one part house, two parts hallucination.”
Crooked House, Poland. Lopsided, warped, and psychedelic, “Krzywy Domek” by the architect Szotyńscy Zaleski is inspired by the undulating fairy tale pictures by Per Dahlberg. Built in 2003, it already holds the record for the most photographed spot in the country. At once dazzling and dizzying, it has a white façade with roofs like dragon scales. It’s not just a pretty face, either. There are shops, bars, and restaurants inside.
Crooked House / Siden House / The Glynne Arms, United Kingdom. With one end about four feet lower than the other, this is a pub where illusions hit its patrons before the drinks start rolling in. What’s even cooler is that Siden House is rumoured to be haunted. This “sinking” watering-hole even has a little ditty dedicated to it. “You can't walk straight when you get inside… It's a kind of a motion you feel on the ocean.”
Cubic Houses of Rotterdam, Netherlands. Conceptualised by Piet Blom, these were meant to be like tree houses, but no child has ever had anything quite like it. These Paalwoningen or “pole dwellings” are made up of a hexagonal “trunk” and a cube “treetop” which seems to be on the verge of falling forward. This way, residents can have their shops on the lower floor, and their living areas on the upper level.
Dancing House, Czech Republic. Looking like a couple locked in an embrace, this curiosity was the brainchild of Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry. It was first called “Fred and Ginger” after one of Hollywood’s favourite onscreen dance partners, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Wavelike shapes form the exterior of business offices, while a French restaurant sits on the crown.
Gangster’s Wood House, Russia. This might just be Harry Potter’s “The Burrow,” in the flesh. Much like his friend’s hodgepodge of a home, it seems to teeter precariously, while some of its boards have started to rot. While neighbours think of it as an eyesore, owner Nikolai Sutyagin calls his masterpiece “a happy accident,” one which has 13 floors and rises up to 144 feet.
Hundertwasser Waldspirale, Germany. Named after the artist who conceived of this 105-apartment complex with a thousand windows, it is a zigzag of red and yellow with a sloping roof planted with all sorts of greenery. The “wooded spiral” winds around a playground and an artificial lake, and has “gilded onion domes” and “colourful ceramic columns.”