When cookie-cutter planned communities are the standard, it takes balls to step outside the box with some seriously daring design. A crazy concept can become the trademark of the neighborhood or the bane of the block. Here are 10 monuments to end the monotony, built and owned by those not afraid to buck the trends.
1. The Tree House in Cincinnati
Architecture professor Terry Brown aimed for a whole new box with this livable art. Dubbed “Mushroom House” and “Tree House” by Cincinnati locals, twisted metal features really make this building stand out.
2. The Dancing House in Prague
Fred and Ginger have nothing on this wavy pair. The Dancing House, a project by Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry, is an icon of the modern Prague landscape.
3. Eco-consciuos Roundhouse in Australia
Owner-builder Tony Clarke fought hard with local councils to build his eco-conscious Roundhouse in Ballan Australia. This monolithic dome bravely withstands the sometimes vicious windstorms of the Australian countryside.
4. Conch House in the Caribbean
Isla Mujeres hardly needs anything special to enhance its perfect Caribbean vibe. Nevertheless, the seashell-inspired Conch House has become the subject of nearly every drive-by photographer.
5. Stone Age Home in Portugal
Fit for the flintstones, this Stone Age home in Fafe, Portugal makes a big statement on the wide open plain.
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6. UFO-style Houses in Sanjhih, Taiwan
Good things don’t last forever, unfortunately for this development of UFO-style houses in Sanjhih, Taiwan. Left to disrepair, these stellar wonders were demolished in early 2009.
7. Space-inspired House in Chicago
Whoever built this spacey space clearly consulted The Two Gs (Roddenberry and Lucas) for tips on design. Ready to take flight, the Oak Park section of Chicago will never be a boring place to live.
8. Forest Spiral Apartments in Germany
The legendary Waldspiral (Forest Spiral) apartment building is a landmark extraordinaire and helps put Darmstadt, Germany on the map.
9. Crooked House in Poland
No camera tricks needed here. The Krzywy Domek (Crazy or Crooked House) of Sopot, Polland has curves enough to give you vertigo.
10. Cheetah House in Chicago
Another Chicago house proves the Windy City isn’t afraid to blow away all expectations. Rogers Park plays host to the infamous Cheetah House. Even with zero architectural budget, the determined artist can make an exterior go to the extremes.