Architecture and design are fascinating topics. There’s a seemingly never-ending discussion about the right balance between function and form, and we’ve recently written about the importance of ordinary beauty, as well as the disturbing trend of design homogenization. So naturally, we believe that aesthetics and artistic expression are definitely worth protecting. Here’s the issue though: should aesthetics trump safety?

To help you ponder this question, we’re featuring some of the very best posts from the r/ArchitectureForAdults subreddit (and a select few from elsewhere). It’s a niche online community that has a very unique perspective on the world. The members share photos and videos of truly gorgeous architectural and engineering designs that flirt with the line between safe and unsafe.

Scroll down and upvote your fave pics! Let us know which of these designs wowed you the most… and which scared the bejesus outta ya! If you’re anything like me and have a not-so-subtle fear of heights and falling, then you might want to hang on to your hats, Pandas. You’re about to get a big dose of vertigo. Go on ahead, I’ll be right with you, I just need to collect myself for a bit.

Bored Panda got in touch with an urban planner and designer from Sweden to get her opinion about the r/ArchitectureForAdults subreddit. She was kind enough to share her thoughts about safety and security in public spaces, as well as why the sub's tagline might not work in real life.

#1

Mural On The Back Of Acme Incorporated

Mural On The Back Of Acme Incorporated

jabbett Report

The Swedish urban planner and designer asked Bored Panda to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of her job but was otherwise happy to shed some light on the entire debate regarding safety and security. Bored Panda was interested to get her opinion as to where safety lies in the hierarchy of priorities for someone like her.

"Safety is self-evidently a top priority to an urban designer. I doubt this hierarchy is ever questioned besides the occasional self-centered architect and designer who de-prioritize safety in favor of an original design. However, if a space is to be usable and livable, at least a threshold of safety compliance has to be achieved," she told us.

At the same time, the expert noted that there may be instances where governments might decide that, unfortunately, safety 'should' be overlooked for a "more cost-effective choice."

"Each government establishes and enforces safety guidelines that the built environment must follow," the expert told us, adding that the discussion then moves on to what safety entails to different governments and societies.

#2

Almost Pulled A Michael Scott While Delivering Groceries Today

Almost Pulled A Michael Scott While Delivering Groceries Today

Samxvalle Report

#3

You Don‘T Need To Be Drunk Anymore

You Don‘T Need To Be Drunk Anymore

Zerfallsgesetz Report

"The concept of safety and security in urban design conversations usually primarily refers to crime prevention (for example, decent night-time lighting, CCTV cameras), transportation infrastructure safety ( traffic accident prevention, walkability), or more social aspects like livability (how the environment can foster a healthier and more inclusive society)."

According to the urban planner, small-scale objects like railings on a bridge or warning signs "usually follow straightforward building regulations and do not generate much debate."

The expert stressed that the perception of whether or not something is 'safe enough' will differ from government to government and society to society.

#4

"Stairs"

"Stairs"

Mod-Bait69 Report

TheAquarius1978
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dude, i'm blind from my left eye which means i have no depth perception, which causes me vertigo, in sum, i would probably die of broken neck syndrome on these stairs....

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#5

This Staircase

This Staircase

whitae Report

Sergy Yeltsen
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Forget about walking on them while drunk, I couldn't do it if I was sober.

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#6

All These Houses Are Connected By A Pool

All These Houses Are Connected By A Pool

Starlord2047 Report

Tomasz Zakrzewski
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

On the one hand, this is really cool. On the other, maintenance and changing water must be hell, and stupidly wasteful.

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"Meanwhile, judging ethically, ‘safe enough’ cannot be achieved until there are absolutely no more traffic accidents and other types of injuries caused by the built environment. Therefore, an urban designer will always strive to achieve more safety."

The urban planner and designer also added that she sees an issue with the tagline that the r/ArchitectureForAdults subreddit uses, about how only 'morons' would feel unsafe. "Adults, too, can suffer from clumsiness. Even intelligent adults are not safe from this curse."

#7

In The 20’s, Fiat Had A Test Track On Top Of Their Production Warehouse

In The 20’s, Fiat Had A Test Track On Top Of Their Production Warehouse

piefordays Report

#8

Bruh

Bruh

abyigit Report

#9

Just Don’t Swing It Side To Side Too Much

Just Don’t Swing It Side To Side Too Much

TraumaticAcid Report

Trillian
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's not as bad as it looks. It's Pontcysyllte Aqueduct - Trevor, Wrexham, Wales. Search for pictures and you can see that the sides are actually a bit higher than the angle makes it look. No way you could row your canoe over the edge.

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At the time of writing, r/ArchitectureForAdults had exactly 3,761 members. We hope that the community grows and expands over time because the content they share is very interesting. It’s also good mental prep for when you go traveling abroad!

You can’t expect every single place to have the exact same safety standards that you’re used to. You have to focus and not wander about daydreaming when you’ve got tiny stone steps in front of you, railings that don’t even come up to your knees, and double-decker buses that you can just hop on by grabbing the pole.

From the perspective of r/ArchitectureForAdults, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice beauty and ingenuity for the sake of safety. The subreddit claims that all of these designs are “unsafe for morons but safe for everyone else.”

Though, personally, I feel like it’s ridiculous to have railings too low. Safety and beauty can coexist, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice one for the other, I feel. And, to be honest, just because a design is unique doesn't automatically make it beautiful.

#10

Construction Of The Hindenburg- Yes, Those Are Ladders

Construction Of The Hindenburg- Yes, Those Are Ladders

TheBirdman532 Report

#11

These Obstacles Are Almost Invisible On The Bike Lane

These Obstacles Are Almost Invisible On The Bike Lane

reddit.com Report

#12

What Was Their First Idea, Stairs Made Made From Piles Of Rusty Nails?

What Was Their First Idea, Stairs Made Made From Piles Of Rusty Nails?

jonmpls Report

TheAquarius1978
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well this actually makes sence If you want to cover all your bases, off you fall down a flight of stairs you may brake your neck and die but its not a sure thing, but here it is, even if you don't die from a broken neck, sure as f**k you Will die from brain trauma, after hitting those boulders with your head...

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Whatever your feelings towards safety, you can’t deny that there are certain minimalist trends sweeping the world. Designs are starting to look and feel homogenized. Not just in architecture and in corporate art but also in urban spaces, as well as corporate logos. Everything’s starting to feel a bit too functional, with less emphasis on the form.

Consumer psychology specialist Matt Johnson, a professor at Hult International Business School and Harvard University, very recently explained to us why we’re seeing a certain level of design homogenization, especially in terms of brand logos. He saw a few reasons for this trend that has led to fewer unique designs being used.

“The first is that as we move towards a more digital environment, there’s a need to make brand logos as legible and as easy to identify as possible. The consumer’s attention is strained even more in the online world, so logos can’t afford to be disfluent or challenging to process,” he told Bored Panda earlier.

#13

Meteora Monasteries, Greece

Meteora Monasteries, Greece

fleebinflobbin Report

#14

The Storseisundet Bridge In Norway

The Storseisundet Bridge In Norway

petershaw_ Report

#15

This 1930s Design Let You Hang Your Baby Over The Side Of A Building In A Cage

This 1930s Design Let You Hang Your Baby Over The Side Of A Building In A Cage

Honeyontoast123 Report

Brandon Marlowe
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Fresh air,.. check. Sunshine,.. check. Pigeon droppings,.. check. Lifelong acrophobia,.. check.

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“Secondly, there also may be a growing realization of the ‘fluency effect’: the relatively robust behavioral science phenomenon that the more fluent a font is written in, the more likable and trustworthy the message. As more brands become familiar with this phenomenon, they may want to test new, more fluently written logos to capitalize on this effect,” the professor told us.

#16

Step Out Of A Bathtub Down A Flight Of Stairs, Anyone?

Step Out Of A Bathtub Down A Flight Of Stairs, Anyone?

TheLoneGinger9 Report

#17

This Architect Accidentally Built A Death Ray That Melts Cars And Fries Eggs... Again

This Architect Accidentally Built A Death Ray That Melts Cars And Fries Eggs... Again

badsalad Report

#18

The Cannonball Loop Waterslide, A Slide So Dangerous It Was Shutdown Almost Immediately After Opening

The Cannonball Loop Waterslide, A Slide So Dangerous It Was Shutdown Almost Immediately After Opening

metricrules Report

“While this logo trend is seen across a wide array of industries, there may be only one or two within each industry that may make this change, since if everyone did, they would not be differentiating as well. There may be a broader implication of this: if companies begin to recognize that consumers, at least in digital environments, prefer more basic logo designs, brands will rush to be the first in their industry to do so to plant their flag first. While all brands want to be at the razor’s edge of consumer preferences, no brand wants to be seen as the copycat of their competitor,” Professor Johnson noted.

#20

Hope You Don’t Drop Anything

Hope You Don’t Drop Anything

IrishPubstar Report

T.
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Guys I know we just arrived, but I need to pee.

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#21

On The Floor Of Doctor's Office. If You Trip On It, You're In The Right Place

On The Floor Of Doctor's Office. If You Trip On It, You're In The Right Place

Chriss899 Report

See Also on Bored Panda

“I imagine the general trend will persist, especially in the digital environment. If it turns out to be the case that more basic, legible logos are more suitable for online preferences, we may also move to a system where each major brand has at least two distinct brand logos: one in the digital world, and one for the physical world. This is already happening to a certain extent since many brands that have gone to a more basic font haven’t completely jettisoned their originals and retained them for specific uses,” the consumer psychology specialist said.

#22

A Footbridge With Knee-High Sides

A Footbridge With Knee-High Sides

MaxPowerzs Report

#23

Indian Stepwells | The Construction Of Stepwells Is Mainly Utilitarian, Though They May Include Embellishments Of Architectural Significance, And Be Temple Tanks

Indian Stepwells | The Construction Of Stepwells Is Mainly Utilitarian, Though They May Include Embellishments Of Architectural Significance, And Be Temple Tanks

wikipedia_it Report

#24

Stairwell In A Hotel I Stayed In

Stairwell In A Hotel I Stayed In

Hun10dog Report

excuse.you
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I will probably be gripping on to the handrail like a baby koala riding the back of a cat walking across a tightrope upside down while having fire being thrown at it while being 500.00000000000000001million metres above a pool full of dolphins and skinwalkers.

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“Since branding is fundamentally about differentiation, there will be an upper limit to how much brand logos can homogenize and go together on a single dimension. It’s great to adapt to new consumer preferences, but if every brand does that in the same way, it fails to differentiate in a significant way. This is why I think there is a ‘race’ within each industry to be the first to do so, which then makes things more difficult for their competitors: should they persist in making their logo more basic, at the risk of looking like a copycat? Or should they cede that positioning and devise a way to differentiate by some other means?” he mused.

#25

Oh No

Oh No

Chriss899 Report

#26

Window That Turns Into A Balcony

Window That Turns Into A Balcony

TheGr8Canadian Report

Sasha
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"why are there footprints on your window?"

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#27

I Don't Even Know Where To Begin

I Don't Even Know Where To Begin

drillbit16 Report

#28

Looks Too Easy To Slip And Fall

Looks Too Easy To Slip And Fall

desraR Report

Janine Schmitz
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the Rakotz-Bridge was not intended to be used - stepping onto it is prohibited. It was only built to look nice as a garden architecture highlight.

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#29

Wavy Stairs To Make Going Downstairs More Fun

Wavy Stairs To Make Going Downstairs More Fun

mugbee0 Report

Astra-nomical
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The way I'd step in every wrong spot and plummet down the stairs

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#30

Hammock Bathtub

Hammock Bathtub

LagoonRoom Report

Béatrice Gallet
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My big concerne would be : how to clean under it with all of the dusty Peebles ?

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#32

Emergency Exit Looks Like Emergency By Itself

Emergency Exit Looks Like Emergency By Itself

Report

Astra-nomical
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If there's a fire or anything you just have to do some parkour! Super easy when there is impending doom! :D

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#34

What Kind Of Stairs Is That Even????

What Kind Of Stairs Is That Even????

Lolammo Report

Piper Panda
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So, we here at “Break Your Ankle” would like to show you our newest design. We also take great pride in that we worked closely with our sister company “Break Your Neck” on this one. Edited for the spelling aficionados out there that were kind enough to point out that I used the wrong homonym. 🤦🏻‍♀️

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#35

Train To Machu Picchu With A Balcony

Train To Machu Picchu With A Balcony

robotevil Report

MiriPanda
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, so? I would certainly stand on that balcony.

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#36

Skyslide At OUE Skyspace In Los Angeles, CA | An Outdoor Glass Slide That’s Attached To The Exterior Of The U.S. Bank Tower. The Skyslide Is 45 Feet Long, About Four Feet Wide And Made Entirely With 1.25-Inch Glass. Visitors Glide From The 70th To The 69th Floor. Now Permanently Closed

Skyslide At OUE Skyspace In Los Angeles, CA | An Outdoor Glass Slide That’s Attached To The Exterior Of The U.S. Bank Tower. The Skyslide Is 45 Feet Long, About Four Feet Wide And Made Entirely With 1.25-Inch Glass. Visitors Glide From The 70th To The 69th Floor. Now Permanently Closed

wikipedia_it Report

#37

Internal Staircase For People Who Like Every Trip To Be An Adventure, And No Longer Have Children

Internal Staircase For People Who Like Every Trip To Be An Adventure, And No Longer Have Children

MightyTribble Report

Astra-nomical
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who needs kids when you can have... ✨Fancy stairs!✨ Now with even less railing!

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#38

These Urinals Where You Can Look Out To The Street. Windows Aren’t Tinted At All So You Can Also See In. Even Has A Sink On Top Of Each One

These Urinals Where You Can Look Out To The Street. Windows Aren’t Tinted At All So You Can Also See In. Even Has A Sink On Top Of Each One

Starlord2047 Report

#39

The Statue Of Liberty’s Torch, New York, NY

The Statue Of Liberty’s Torch, New York, NY

The torch has been closed since the "Black Tom" explosion of July 30, 1916, which was one of the largest acts of sabotage to our nation prior to the event of pearl harbor on December 7, 1941

wikipedia_it Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It was closed because shrapnel from the explosion struck the statue, and caused damage to the arm. Visitors were putting undue stress on that part of the statue anyway, and the decision was made to close it off. You can visit the original torch (replaced in 1986) in the museum.

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#40

Adult Transportation

Adult Transportation

pinkflyingpigs Report

Note: this post originally had 64 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.