Car House (Salzburg, Austria)
The compact Volkswagen Beetle has always been a fuel-efficient car, but what about applying that conservationist model to a house? German architect Mark Voglreiter took up the challenge and nailed it with the “Auto Residence.” Its thermal insulation makes it very energy-efficient. The house was rented in 2004 for a pricey $2,500 euros a month-and we thought people living in their cars were trying to save money!
Upside-Down House (Syzmbark, Poland)
This upside-down design seems totally nonsensical but that is exactly the message the Polish philanthropist and designer, Daniel Czapiewski, was trying to send. The unstable and backward construction was built as a social commentary on Poland’s former Communist era. The monument is worth a trip be it for a lesson in history or balance.
Airplane house (Abuja, Nigeria)
At first glance, we thought this was a horrible plane crash! But it turns out this site was no accident. To honor his wife’s love of travel, Said Jammal built their home in a shape of an airplane. The things we do for love.
The Pineapple House (Dunmore Park, Scotland)
In 18th century Europe, nothing said affluence like a massive pineapple. This tropical delicacy became a symbol of coveted exoticism stretching from cuisine to architecture. And the IV Earl of Dunmore just had to have one. In 1761, he built this home addition as a garden retreat and hothouse and today it is one of the most famous buildings in Scotland.
Cactus House (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Cool-looking would be a good enough reason for us, but this housing design was created to maximize each apartment’s outdoor space and indoor sunlight. The splaying stack of slabs creates big terraces for gardening and the irregular shape allows sun to enter from multiple angles.
Cube House (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Living in a tilted house is much easier than it looks — just ask the people living in these the Kijk-Kubus homes. Architect Piet Blom tipped a conventional house forty-five degrees and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pole so that three sides face down and the other three face the sky. Each of the cube houses accommodates three floors: a living space including a kitchen, study and bathroom, the middle floor houses bedrooms and the top is the pyramid room that can act like an attic or viewing deck. These houses are quite expensive, but you can satisfy your curiosity by visiting the museum show house.
Floating Castle (Ukraine)
Supported by a single cantilever, this mysterious levitating farm house belongs in a sci-fi flick. It’s claimed to be an old bunker for the overload of mineral fertilizers but we’re sure there’s a better back story . . . alien architects probably had a hand in it.
Shell House (Isla Mujeres, Mexico)
While the materials used to build the Shell House were fairly traditional, the design of it was anything but. This whimsical conch construction on Isla Mujeres seems straight out of the Little Mermaid! The house has attracted a lot of attention throughout the years and it’s currently available as a very unique vacation rental.
The Shoe House (Hellam, Pennsylvania)
Taking the idea straight out of the beloved folk tale, shoe retailer Mahlon N. Haines (aka the Shoe Wizard) built this house in 1948 to advertise his business. After Haines passed away, the Shoe House was sold and turned into a destination ice cream parlor. Today it is back in the Haines family’s hands and open for tours.
Mushroom House (Cincinnati, Ohio)
So disparate in materials and shapes, this hodgepodge house looks like its been welded and glued together. But this is no hobo-construction, it was designed by the professor of architecture and interior design at the University of Cincinnati, Terry Brown, and was recently on the market for an estimated $400K