Bizarre Buildings
Bizarre Buildings
Bizarre Buildings Bizarre Buildings Bizarre Buildings

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Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: by Paul Cattermole with Ian Westwell; foreword by Gwynne Headley
Audience: Trade
Specs: 200 color photographs, index
Pages: 224
Trim Size: 10 3/4" x 10 3/4" x 7/8"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20070914
Copyright Year: 2007
Price: Select Below

Bizarre Buildings

A well-illustrated survey of some of the world's most extreme and sometimes weird buildings and structures. Some are personal expressions and follies, others are innovative and iconic masterpieces by architects, all are intriguing.

The most unusual and wonderful structures from around the world.

This intriguing book selects the world's most extreme and sometimes weird buildings and structures. Some illustrate the personal expression of an individual builder or patron who has a vision well beyond the norm, while others were built by architects pushing the conventional boundaries of design. Some of the buildings are masterpieces on a larger scale. Examples include Frank Gehry's iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, with its glistening, undulating walls.

Some are indeed "follies" -- buildings that have no purpose -- including the surreal shark sticking out of the roof of a house in Oxford, England.

Many of these strange buildings have a more obvious provenance, not as architectural follies, but as deliberate marketing ventures of the owner's product. In Flanders, New York, the Big Duck building is actually shaped like a duck in honor of the poultry once sold there.


Paul Cattermole is the former creative director of a specialist architectural picture library and an architectural writer based in London. His most recent work is Buildings for Tomorrow: Architecture That Changed Our World.

Gwyn Headley is the founder of the Folly Fellowship, a society dedicated to extreme buildings of architectural interest, and the author of Architectural Follies in America.


Excerpted from the
The Odd, The Eccentric and The Extravagant

This is a book of outrageous oddities and extravagant exceptions, of buildings that brazenly invite the prefix of "bizarre." But for these sensational structures to be considered "exceptions to the rule" there must be rules to begin with. Few creative disciplines are fonder of formulating rules than architecture, that aristocrat of the applied arts, whose practitioners have spent centuries literally drawing up the fabric of our urban world. These rules come in many forms, permeating every level of the profession, from the mundane building regulations to the highbrow minefield that is the "ism." Constructivism, brutalism, expressionism, postmodernism -- the proliferation of schools of architectural thought throughout the 20th century has left a rich legacy of buildings, but without always leaving the layman with any easy explanation as to their underlying rationale. This is modern architecture's Achilles' heel, the veil of elitism that can so easily prevent those outside of the profession from being able to relate to the buildings that surround them. Great architecture has the power to excite and engage all who come into contact with it, inviting the viewer to offer his or her own interpretation and judgment. The stories behind a building, the hidden narratives of architecture, need to be shared.

This is not intended as a scholarly survey into every intricacy of architectural thought but as a visual primer, an accessible introduction to the wild side of a discipline that has the power to change the way we live but can all too often be content to follow a path well-trod. This is a collection of projects that dared to be different, instead of follow the herd. They are not drawn together by a unified movement, a convenient "ism" with which to be pigeonholed. They are themselves. Put simply, they are "bizarre buildings."



Pavilions and Follies

  • Geodesic Dome, Montreal, Canada
  • Le Palais Idéal, Châteauneuf-de-Galaure, France
  • The Scared Grove, Bomarzo, Italy
  • Owl House, Nieu Bethesda, South Africa
  • Pineapple, Dunmore, Scotland
  • The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Sussex, England
  • The Needle's Eye, Wethworth Woodhouse, England
  • Upturned Boat Sheds, Lindisfarne, England
  • Big Duck, Flanders, New York, NY
  • Triangular Lodge, Rushton, Northamptonshire, England
  • Schloss Neuschwanstein, Bararia, Germany

Residential Buildings

  • Hundertwasser-haus, Vienna, Austria
  • Habitat '67, Montreal, Canada
  • Spaceship House, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Building with a Hole, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
  • Hernandez House, Bosques de Las Lomas, Mexico
  • Casa Amalia, Mexico
  • Cubic Houses, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Cyclops Sound Wall Houses, Diependaal, The Netherlands
  • Casa Batllo, Barcelona, Spain
  • Twisting Torso High-Rise Apartment Tower, Malmö, Sweden
  • Shark in a House, Headington, Oxford, England
  • Five Sphinxes Apartment Buildings, Huizen, The Netherlands
  • House in the Clouds, Thorpeness, Suffolk, England
  • The Jungle, Lincolnshire, England
  • Tsui House, Berkeley, CA
  • Xandu House for the Future, Kissimmee, FL
  • High Desert House, Palm Springs, CA
  • Sun Valley House, ID
  • Egyptian House, Penzance, England
  • Prince House, Albuquerque, NM
  • Chemosphere House, above Los Angeles, CA

Commercial Buildings

  • Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai, China
  • Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai
  • Lloyds Building, London, England
  • Tods Omotesando Building, Tokyo, Japan
  • Fuji Sankei Building, Tokyo, Japan
  • Nakagin Capsule Tower, Tokyo, Japan
  • Goetheanum Boiler House, Doern, Switzerland
  • Medium Market Basket, Dresden, Ohio
  • Torre Agbar, Barcelona, Spain
  • Swiss RE Building, London, England
  • Selfridges, Birmingham, England
  • Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, England
  • Chiat/Day Building, Venice, CA
  • United Equipment Company, Turlock, CA
  • Best Store, Sacramento, CA
  • The Rasin Building, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Jongno Tower, Seoul, South Korea
  • New York, New York, Las Vegas, NV

Municipal Buildings

  • Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
  • Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, Canada
  • Tokyo City Hall, Japan
  • Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Bicentennial Conservatory, Adelaide Botanical Gardens, Australia
  • Orion Building, London Metro University, England
  • Ray and Maria Stata Center, Cambridge, MA
  • Commonwealth Courts, Adelaide, Australia
  • Waterpump Gemall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • TGV Station, Lyon, France
  • Bus Station Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
  • TWA Terminal, New York, NY

Cultural Buildings

  • Sydney Opera House, Australia
  • Casa da Musica, Porto, Portugal
  • Auditorio de Tenerife, Santa Cruz, Spain
  • Kunsthaus Graz, Austria
  • Media Stand, Lords Cricket Ground, London, England
  • Singapore Performing Arts Centre, Singapore
  • Allianz Arean, Munich, Germany
  • Museu de Arte Contemporânea (MAC), Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Canada
  • Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
  • Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany
  • Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany
  • Phaeno Science Center, Wolfsburg, Germany
  • Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia
  • Eden Project, Bodelva, St. Austell, Cornwall, England
  • Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
  • Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA
  • The Sage, Gateshead, England
  • The Imperial War Museum North, Salford Quays, England
  • The Louvre, Paris, France
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ
  • Beth Sholom Synagogue, Elkins Park, PA
  • Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Milwaukee, WI
  • Church of the Holy Trinity, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Gandhi Matapan, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India
  • The Grand Mosque, Djenne, Mali

Bibliography and Websites

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