In this section we will feature the top 10 (no. 1-10) amazing buildings of all time. It is a compilation of world’s most amazing buildings, their profile including Salient Features and Construction Details. In Part 2 we will feature the next 10 (no. 11-20 of the world’s strangest buildings).
- Kansas City Public Library Parking Garage – Kansas City, USA
At the top spot has to be the facade of the parking garage for the Central Branch of the Kansas City Public Library public library. The garage wall was designed to look like a row of giant books lined up on a shelf. The book spines, which measure approximately 25 feet by 9 feet, are made of signboard mylar. The shelf showcases 22 titles reflecting a wide variety of reading interests as suggested by Kansas City readers and then selected by The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees.
The garage behind the “books” was constructed in 2006 in response to the need for additional downtown parking. Community input was requested on ways to beautify the new structure and ultimately the idea of a bookshelf evolved.
Community members and patrons were asked to vote on the titles to be displayed and the ones chosen reflect a wide range of famous literature. Titles of the 22 volumes represented include “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, Catch-22 among many others.
- Capital Gate Tower Tower – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Capital Gate, developed in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), is certified as the ‘World’s Furthest Leaning Manmade Tower,’ by Guinness World Records and is also known as the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi. The 35-story, 525-foot Capital Gate tower was built to lean 18 degrees westward. According to ADNEC, the building’s floor plates are stacked vertically until the 12th floor, after which point they are “staggered over each other by between 300mm to 1400mm.”
ADNEC says the building features “the world’s first known use of a ‘pre-cambered’ core, which contains mind boggling over 15,000 cubic meters of concrete reinforced with 10,000 tons of steel.
“The skyscraper is 160 m high with 35 stories and was designed by RMJM architects.
3. Atomium – Brussels, Belgium
The Atomium is a building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by the engineer Andre Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (59 ft) diameter Stainless Steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times! It is a museum.
Tubes of 3 m (9.8 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. CNN named it Europe’s most bizarre building.
- Habitat 67 – Montreal, Canada
Habitat 67 is a model community and housing complex in Montreal, Canada, designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It is located at 2600 Avenue Pierre-Dupuy on the Marc-Drouin Quay next to the Saint Lawrence River. Habitat 67 is widely considered an architectural landmark and one of the most recognizable and significant buildings in both Montreal and Canada.
This complex comprises 354 identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various combinations, reaching up to 12 stories in height. Together these units create 146 residences of varying sizes and configurations, each formed from one to eight linked concrete units. Each unit is connected to at least one private terrace, which can range from approximately 225 to 1,000 square feet (20 to 90 m2) in size.
- Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, also known as the MAC, was designed by the famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1996. This iconic saucer-shaped structure, situated on a cliffside above Guanabara bay in the city of Niteroi, brilliantly frames the panoramic views of the city of Rio De Janeiro and encapsulates the simple, yet brilliant signature aesthetic of Niemeyer.
Speaking of the MAC’s rocky cliffside site, Niemeyer claimed that the “field was narrow, surrounded by the sea and the solution came naturally.” This “natural,” intuitive solution was an elegant, curvy structure that rises from a water basin, creating an ambient sense of lightness and allowing for full panoramic views of Sugar-Loaf Mountain and the Guanabara bay. Although the MAC is often described as UFO-like, Niemeyer’s poetic intention was for the form to emerge “from the ground” and “continuously grow and spread,” like a flower that rises from the rocks.
The sixteen-meter high structure is situated on a paved public square, accessed via a swirling, red-carpeted, 98 meter-long ramp. The 50 meter diameter copula contains three floors, set on a 2.7 meter diameter cylinder, anchored in a 60 centimeter deep 817 square meter pool. The hexagonal main hall provides 400 square meters of a column-free exhibition space surrounded by a circular viewing promenade with windows slanted at a forty degree angle.
- The Piano House – Huainan, China
‘We’ve seen a homemade made of nautical artifacts and zeppelins. We’ve seen a home with a slide in it. We’ve even seen a man living on a plane. So we’re no strangers to really weird real estate. But never did we ever imagine that we’d one day see this: introducing Chinas’s Piano House. Yes, it’s a house – in the shape of a grand piano – which you access via a staircase and escalators inside of a giant glass guitar’ – Business Insider.
The building in Huainan City was reportedly designed in 2007 by architectural students at Hefei University of Technology. It acts as a showroom for city planners to show off their plans for the Shannan district in Huainan City.
- Ideal Palace – Hauterives France
Ferdinand Cheval (1836 – 19 August 1924) was a French Postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le Palais ideal (the “Ideal Palace”) in Hauterives. The Palace is regarded as an extraordinary example of naive art architecture.
Cheval began the building in April 1879. He reports:
“I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few meters away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well… I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn’t thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was… It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease. The next day, I went back to the same place. I found more stones, even more beautiful, I gathered them together on the spot and was overcome with delight… It’s a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature.”
“I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture”.
For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais ideal. He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls. At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then switched to a basket. Eventually, he used a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.
The Palais is a mix of different styles with inspirations from Christianity to Hinduism. Cheval bound the stones together with lime, mortar and cement.
- Basket House – Ohio, USA
The Longaberger corporate headquarters on State Route 16 is a local landmark and a well-known example of novelty architeture, since it takes the shape of the company’s biggest seller, the “Medium Market Basket”. The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building was designed by The Longaberger Company, and executed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering. The building opened in 1997. The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons
And can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage. Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death. About 50% of the building has been listed for lease.
On May 5, 2015, it was announced that Tami Longaberger, who led The Longaberger Co. since her father died in 1999, resigned as chief executive officer and director of the company.
- Stone House – Fafe, Portugal
It’s a bit of a shame that the easiest way to describe this magnificent structure requires reference to a cartoon from the 1960s, but the way in which it incorporates its natural setting defies most conventional description. Located in the Fafe mountains of northern Portugal, A Casa do Penedo, or “the House of Stone,” was built between four large boulders found on the site. Although the house may seem rustic, it is not lacking in amenities, which include a
Fireplace and a swimming pool–carved out of one of the large rocks. But, as word has spread, the sleepy little house has had visitors venturing to see it in droves.
Because of the recent interest generated by the house and its remote location, Casa do Penedo has been the subject of robbery attempts and vandalism in recent years. Now, the house is equipped with bullet-proof windows and a steel door. Inside, however, the home is said to be quite cozy, with stone furniture, stairs, and railings made of logs.
- Antillia – South Mumbai, India
This residential house took 7 years to be constructed and was completed in 2010. Nicknamed the 8th wonder of the world, the antillia was design by Perkins and Will and approximately 173 metres high, covers 48,780 ft², and featuring 27 floors and takes its name from the mythical island, Antillia. The house is served with 21no. Lifts of which 9 are High-speed. It has 600 staff to maintain the residence.
Built by India’s richest man and chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, the antilla has several floating gardens, three helipads at the rooftop which provides the most scenic and panoramic view of the city. It has six floors dedicated to parking, a 50-seat theatre for recreation- theatre has a wine room, snack bar and entertainment space. Other accommodation features include a guest apartment, maintenance floor, Health floor-with a lap pool, in-door swimming pool and Jacuzzi.
It estimated that it is the world’s most expensive private residential property.