Strange Buildings of the World

We don’t profess to have the definitive list of the weird and fantastical buildings that grace the world’s skylines, but pictures of the new building shaped like a hashtag have whetted our appetite for more. Take a look at our favourite picks. Have we left any out?

Cross Tower

If all goes to plan, the Cross # Towers will be the latest skyscraper to grace Seoul’s ever-expanding skyline. The 21,000sqm cross-hatched interlocking skyscraper was designed by Danish architects BIG, and it’s thought the building will eventually house private residences, a library and a gallery. Architect Thomas Christoffersen said the aim was to ‘triple the amount of social interaction and reintroduce the idea of neighbourhood.’ A tweet-worthy soundbite indeed.

Anto Diejun

Known locally as the friendly alien, the Kunsthaus looks more like a discarded human organ than your average art museum. The building is the work of London architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier, who are both fans of what they describe as ‘blob architecture’. At the Kunsthaus, the art isn’t just available to those who venture inside – one art installation can be found on the building’s exterior: thousands of LEDS have been embedded within the building’s skin and illuminate the structure throughout the night. If only all aliens were this pretty…

The pangu Seven Star Hotel

The Pangu Seven Star Hotel is a tribute to all things dragon-related – the building itself has been built in the shape of the mythical creature and the 66 columns that support the main structure are each topped with granite dragons, while the rooms all feature dragon-themed lampshades and carpets. The Pangu is the work of Taiwanese architect CY Lee, who also designed the world’s second tallest building, the Taipei 101 Tower. However, Mr Lee was obviously going for length over height when he designed the Pangu – the building is the length of seven football pitches.

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum, otherwise known as the North Building, is the work of Italian architect Gio Ponti, and was apparently designed to represent Denver’s growth as a city. The exterior features over 9,000 titanium panels and one million glass tiles – ceramic tiles were considered but Ponti decided that they’d crack and weaken during the cold Colorado winters. The tiles alone took a team of workers two years to fit, due to the fact each one had to be set individually.

Peter B Lewis building

Located on the campus of Case Western Reserve University, the Peter B Lewis Building was designed by Frank Gehry, who was apparently keen to redefine the way a business school should look. The building is named after the man who donated £23 million to the educational institution – although considering it cost £39m to build, we can’t help but think Mr Lewis’s hard-earned cash could have been put to better use.


The Radisson Frankfurt is Europe’s only round, all-glass hotel. Designed by London-based architect John Seifert, the blue glass facade protects against solar glare while also providing thermal insulation. The unusual design called for an extremely complicated support structure in the form of huge internal supporting pillars and a 15-metre-high base, but even more impressive is the fact that the entire hotel was built in just 10 months – German engineering at its finest.

OTC Nice

Thought libraries were boring? Think again. The Tête Carrée (which means ‘the square head’) houses the administrative offices for Nice’s central library, and is the work of local artist and sculptor Sacha Sosno. The 26-metre-high structure contains three floors of office space and is regarded as the world’s first ‘inhabitable structure’. And, let’s face it, when your workplace is the shape of a human head the average office block will certainly look quite tame.

Roberto gerometta LP

Located in the Spanish wine region of Rioja Alavesa, the Hotel Marques de Riscal is the work of legendary architect Frank Gehry, who was inspired by the many varieties of wine produced in the area. The sheets of metal apparently symbolise the foil surrounding a bottle’s cork, while the undulating ribbons of coloured titanium represent the pink hues of Rioja. Either way, this is definitely one hotel best viewed from behind sunglasses if you’re planning on overdoing the vino.


When plans for the residential-use Cloud Towers were first revealed, critics slammed the design – two towers joined by a cloud-shaped bridging section housing gardens and restaurants – and accused Dutch architects MVRDV of taking their inspiration from the collapse of the twin towers. However, the South Korean developer behind the project announced that the design will remain unchanged, with construction scheduled to start in January 2013.

Mark lennihan

Proof that chain hotels aren’t always soulless, concrete creations comes in the form of the Westin Times Square. Designed by Miami-based architects Arquitectonica, the main structure comprises a 45-storey tower built atop a 10-storey base while the impressive facade is made from 8,000 panes of brightly coloured glass. Construction of the building was a truly international effort – the individual glass panes were manufactured in Italy and painted in the Netherlands before fitted by a Croatian engineering team.

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