Although travel is often seen as a chance to visit the museums, restaurants, and monuments of cities around the world, it is their architectural wonders that leave the greatest impression on the mind. These constructions are the buildings that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. They tower over you, twist into unique shapes, and stand as grand testaments to the keen mind of their architects. Here are the top 5 constructions around the world that are worth your visit.
The Crooked House aka Krzywy Domek (Sopot, Poland)
|The Crooked House aka Krzywy Domek (Sopot, Poland)|
The Crooked House looks like the cross between a Photoshopped building and a cartoon. Despite its unreal appearance, the Crooked House shopping center is 100% real and a well-constructed job. It was inspired by the fairytale illustrations of Polish artist Jan Szancer, who drew streets and houses with a magical charm and skewed lines. The Crooked House has become the most photographed building in Poland. Photographs can’t completely capture its unique façade; in person, the curves give make the building appear bigger, smaller or stretched out.
Kansas City Public Library (Missouri, United States)
|Kansas City Public Library (Missouri, United States)|
At the center of Kansas City, the Central Library’s parking garage has become art. Dimensional Innovations polled residents on their favorite books and used these titles to create a wonderful tribute to reading. It transformed a potentially bland eye-sore into an amazing 9-meter tall bookshelf. Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Plato’s Republic sit side-by-side with a larger-than-life Lord of the Rings. Complementing the beautifully rendered books is a glass-and-steel-framed staircase that allows you to gaze out at the books from a more advantageous height.
Cubic Houses aka Kubuswoningen (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
|Cubic Houses aka Kubuswoningen (Rotterdam, Netherlands)|
Originally dreamed up in the 1970s, the Cubic Houses in Rotterdam represent a kind of “urban forest,” where each cubic unit has a narrow base and staircase that “blooms” into the house at the top. Each cubic house can be thought of as an abstract tree that creates its own shaded area underneath. These houses were designed by renowned architect Piet Bloom, and the first houses were built in 1977. While the entire “forest” was never built, the 39 houses that do exist represent an achievement in planning urban living spaces. So much public interest has been created by these houses that a “show cube” exists for interested parties to glimpse at the geometric living quarters inside of these “living” houses.
Ferdinand Cheval Palace aka Le Palais idéal (Hauterives, France)
|Ferdinand Cheval Palace aka Le Palais idéal (Hauterives, France)|
Can you imagine what a house that takes 33 years to build looks like? Le Palais idéal (The Ideal Palace) is the creation of one man who found inspiration in everything from Hindu temples to baroque palaces. What he created is a tribute to ornamentation that follows no formal style—just his own inspiration. Cheval began building his palace in 1879. Before his death, the palace gained recognition by other artistic minds of his day, like Pablo Picasso. Though formal architecture views this kind of building as “naïve art” (untrained art), the building is nothing if not a master-work.
The Great Wall Of China
|Great Wall Of China|
Enough has been written about the Great Wall to know that it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is over 3,800 miles long and spans jaw-dropping hills and valleys. One of the most breath-taking sections of the Great Wall is where it ascends the steep slopes, and watchtowers dot the hills at Jinshanling. As the wall snakes through the trees, it really makes you believe that anything in human endeavour is possible. It is a humbling, and unique experience among all of the constructions of the world.
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