If you ever feel like some architects live in their own fantasy land, you’re not the only one. The buildings that they create can range from majestic all the way to magical, and they’re sure to catch your eye with their flying buttresses, stoic columns, angelic balconies, and fearsome facades. However, you can sometimes get the idea that some of these artistic innovators haven’t fully thought some things through—like the fact that people actually have to live and work in the buildings they design.
We’ve got some dreamy and confusing buildings to show you today, dear Pandas, so take out your opera glasses, grab yourself some popcorn, and let’s go take a tour through the crème de la crème of the ‘Bizarre Buildings’ subreddit. Check out some of the coolest-looking buildings that people might have a hard time living in, upvote the ones that you enjoyed the most, and let us know which one you’d pick as your home in the comment section.
I had a lovely chat about architecture with Dr. June Komisar from Ryerson University. Dr. Komisar, who is a specialist in architectural design, the history and theory of architecture, and designing for urban agriculture, told Bored Panda that professionals should look to the "wise" ancient Roman writer Vitruvius for inspiration. "What he said about balancing commodity (the suitability of the building to needs), firmness (structural integrity), and delight (the aesthetics of the building and its relationship to site and context) still holds."
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Dr. Komisar pointed out to Bored Panda that no matter how good an architect is, they won't be able to be prepared for all potential problems and eventualities. "But understanding the site conditions and evaluating other buildings using the same construction techniques and materials can help avoid problems," she said.
I was also interested to learn about how architects can innovate and create originality when it sometimes seems like every single idea has already be done. According to Dr. Komisar, the changes don't have to be something profound. Start small.
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"Innovation does not have to be radical, but can be an incremental change that will benefit the users and society at large. At the moment we have a huge opportunity to build sustainable buildings that approach or attain a 'net zero' energy cost. By using local and/or sustainable materials, designing for passive and/or active solar and wind power, designing for very low energy usage, and renovating and adapting existing buildings we can help to mitigate climate change."
Dr. Komisar continued: "Addressing this environmental crisis is not only an issue that we must address but also is a tremendous opportunity for design innovation. Addressing these concerns will most definitely introduce a variety of creative solutions."
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Architecture is a tough nut to crack. On the one hand, it’s a very functional and rational sphere of activity that literally designs the spaces in which we live, work, and sleep. On the other hand, it’s an artistic expression that puts form on the same level of importance as function. After all, if you’re going to build something (anything!) at all, why not make it stunning?
So of course, it’s up to the architect to solve an engineer’s ever-lasting riddle: how do you innovate and create something iconic while also making sure that your building doesn’t cause people to riot and denounce it in the news?
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Well, 99 Designs points out that buildings should be innovative, eye-catching, and ought to pop out of their surroundings. And that means bending the rules and bucking (at least some) conventions.
However, paradoxically, the architect should also be very aware of the building’s surroundings, using them as a complementary backdrop. You can still have your modern masterpiece as long as you pay tribute to the building’s more traditional surroundings with the details, colors, etc.
And it’s with regards to the surroundings that your choice of materials and the way that you shape your project come in—they’re deeply expressive decisions that you should be thinking about as soon as you start sketching out your ideas for your project.
And always, always keep in mind that even though you’re creating a work of art, it’s got to be practical. Otherwise, what’s the point of architecture when sculpture-making would give you the full freedom to express yourself.
The r/bizarrebuildings community celebrated its 5th birthday just a few short months ago, in March, and it’s going strong. Currently, the subreddit has over 131k members and we can see that number rising in the future.
Be sure to give the community a visit if you enjoyed the photos in this list. Pop in for a quick ‘hello, how are you?’ or consider posting a weird-looking yet totally awesome building, too.
“If it's a bizarre building, it belongs here. No, not pictures of buildings having a Christmas bizarre [look]. We want unique, one-of-a-kind buildings!” the ‘Bizarre Buildings’ moderators shared what their online group is all about.
You heard it here, folks—your regular holiday-decoration-bizarre just won’t cut it. You’ve got to go for bizarre bizarre. Crank the weirdness all the way up to eleven so even Alice thinks she’s still in Wonderland. Just remember that when you innovate, you also have the ability to do the climate some good, too!