. "Angra dos Reis, BrazilBackground: The roof of this architectural masterpiece looks like a giant flower with six petals, each of which covers a different section of the home. A curved swimming pool works its way through the house before culminating as a small pond stocked with fish and vegetation in the backyard.Why Its Unique: Architect firm Mareines + Patalano designed the interior of this house to be free of hallways, providing ample space for
Everingham Rotating House
. Taree, Australia Background: This octagonal house can rotate a full 360 degrees with the touch of a few buttons.Why Its Unique: A rotating drive consisting of 32 outrigger wheels and powered by two 500-watt electric motors are used to spin the house on demand, a process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Geothermal heating keeps the house at a steady 71.6 F, and the electrical wiring and plumbing are centralized so that they don
. Mexico City, Mexico Background: This seashell-shaped home was completed in 2006. The stone steps running along the shrubs lead to the front door, which blends into the mosaic fa?ade. Why Its Unique: Architect Javier Sensonian practices what he calls bio-architecture, a style that has led him to design buildings shaped like snakes, whales and several other creatures. The Nautilus was created to imitate a crustaceans shell, and its cavernous inter
. Woodland, Utah Background: Gigaplex Architects created this unusual and award-winning weekend home in 2006. Why Its Unique: This house was created by joining together two corrugated grain silos, the largest of which has a diameter of 27 feet. This is an approach that is akin to sustainability, Koliopoulos says. This silo home is a lot of fun and is a neat way to look at an existing product in a creative way. With a modest size of 1800 square fee
. Lubbock, Texas Background: Artist and architect Robert Bruno has been at work on his steel home since 1974. Bruno has said that he wants the shape of the structure to be somewhere between animal and machine. Why Its Unique: Most homes have an initial skeleton that is built upon throughout the construction process, but Bruno has approached this home like a sculpture, building it on the fly and making constant modifications. Koliopoulos points out
. Central Kansas Background: Ed Pedin purchased this defunct missile silo in 1983, but it took about a decade of renovations to make it a livable home. Pumping out more than 8 feet of rainwater that accumulated while the site was inactive was one of many makeover challenges. Why Its Unique: Not many homeowners can say their house once stored a four-megaton nuclear warhead. What was once the launch control station, he says, is now a cozy a living s
. Suffolk, England Background: This traditional farmhouse was created by London-based dRRM Architects with one major mechanical surprise. Why Its Unique: The 20-ton outer shell of this home can be retracted in six minutes, revealing a second, mostly glass, inner shell. Power comes from four 12-volt batteries which run a motor that pulls small wheels, built into the timber shell, along an old set of railroad tracks. This feature gives the owners co
The Mushroom House
. Cincinnati, Ohio Background: This was the home and studio of Terry Brown, an architect who died in 2008. Brown, who was a professor at the University of Cincinnatis College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, built the home between 1992 and 2006, bringing in students, on occasion, to contribute to the project.Why Its Unique: Undulating wood work, bizarre shapes and an array of materials come together to form a cohesive, albeit zany, struc
. Theoule, France Background: Designer Antti Lovag long rebelled against traditional structures, and the Bubble Castle is a perfect example of his radical approach to rethinking the built environment. The bulbous compound sits on the southwest coast of France. Why Its Unique: There are no sharp angles or straight lines in this unusual design. Lovag unified the home with its natural surrounding by bringing outdoor elements inside, including palm tr
Klein Bottle House
. Mornington Peninsula, Australia Background: This beach house, which was designed be the firm McBride Charles Ryan, was named the worlds best home at the 2009 World Architecture Festival awards. Why Its Unique: A Klein Bottle is a complex mathematical concept that involves folding a cylinder into itself in order to create an unusual, spiraling form. This notion was the driving force behind the Klein Bottle House, which appears to bring the interi
The Crooked House of Windsor
. Windsor, England Background: Construction of this house dates back to 1592, but it didnt acquire its trademark slant until 1718, when the structure was rebuilt using unseasoned green oak. Why Its Unique: Sure its slanted, but what really makes the house stand out is that its basement had a secret passage to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the UKs royal family. According to the houses website, the passage was allegedly used for
Amory Lovins House
. Old Snow Mass, Colorado Background: Amory Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award winner, is no stranger to eco-friendly initiatives, and this combined home and workspace is a testament to his ingenuity. Why Its Unique: The residential section of the building costs a measly $5 per month to power, thanks to the structures passive solar design, 16-inch-thick walls and krypton-filled windows. As P
. Udaipur, India Background: This relic of architectural days past dates back to 1746, when Maharana Jagat Singh II commissioned it. Nowadays, it is a high-end hotel, outfitted with modern amenities and luxury suites. Why Its Unique: The ornate palace sits on a 4-acre slab of land in the middle of Lake Pichola. Its exterior is made from white marble, which Koliopoulos says isnt exactly compatible with the natural surroundings. You always want to d
. Northport, Michigan Background: Anderson Architecture completed this home in 2006 atop a hill overlooking a cherry orchard and Lake Michigan The striking structure took less than eight weeks to build thanks to the use of prefabricated materials. Why Its Unique: The steel frame of this house is wrapped in corrugated, translucent acrylic slats, allowing it to take on and reflect the changing colors of the landscape, like a chameleon blending into
Free Spirit Sphere
. Qualicum Beach, British Columbia Background: This hanging room is the brainchild of Tom and Rosy Chudleigh, a Canadian couple that builds these spherical living spaces for customers around the world. Why Its Unique: The Chudleighs have two spheres hanging in their property; the Eve model, which has a diameter of 9 feet, and the Eryn model, which has a diameter of 10.5 feet. As PM previously reported, the spheres can be ordered fully loaded, equi
. Pembrokeshire, Wales Background: This house, located within a national park on the southwest coast of Wales, is sunk into the ground so the landscape remains nearly uninterrupted by its presence. It was completed in 1994 by design firm Future Systems. Why Its Unique: With turf-covered roofing and siding, the 222 House fits seamlessly into the surrounding field. This is exemplary sustainable design, where you are integrating the home into the sit
The Winchester Mystery House
. San Jose, California Background: Work on this home began in 1884 and lasted through 1922, when owner and designer Sarah Winchester, heiress of the Winchester rifle company, died. At one point in time, the property sprawled over 161 acres, but has since been reduced to just four acres. Why Its Unique: As PM previously reported, Sarah Winchester was never a huge fan of blueprints. Instead, she preferred an on-the-fly design strategy, sketching roo
. The Heliotrope is Germanys first eco and energy-friendly rotating house. Designed by architect Rolf Disch this is the first PlusEnergy house in the world. The architect created this house as his private residence in 1994. This house produces more energy than it uses and the energy it produces is emissions free. The house rotates to track the sunlight and harness maximum energy of the sun in the form of heat and light. This energy-efficient house
. The Met?ora is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece. It comprises of six monasteries ? all built upon natural rock pillars. The Met?ora has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. These monasteries are created upon high cliffs and can be reached by stairways cut in these rock formations. According to the studies, these summits were shaped by earthquakes and weathering about 60 million years ago ? in the Paleogene Era
. If you wish to trouble your neighbors, the Skinny House is a nice idea. It was originally built as a Spite House ? to frustrate the neighbors. Located in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, this house is the narrowest house in the city. There is no solid evidence to support the reason of its construction. However, according to a legend, one of the neighbors built it to block the sunlight and air of another neighbor.
Ramot Polin Apartments
. An intriguing architectural masterpiece ? the Ramot Polin Apartments in Ireland have been created by Polish-born architect Zvi Hecker. The first look of the apartments makes one think that the building may have been struck by an earthquake, and thus, some of its parts seem to have a rumbled-down look. The structure of the apartments also resemble hive of honeybees. There are 720 housing units in the apartments that were built around 1972-75. Thes
. Located in Czech Republic, the Dancing House was constructed between 1992 and 1996. This unusual house features a deconstructive style of architecture. The house is also known as Fred and Fingers because it resembles a dancing couple, symbolizing the popular dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. This house is the outcome of the joint venture of the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Miluni? and Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry.
. "The Cube houses constructed in Rotterdam and Helmond in Netherlands feature a bunch of cubes placed on the base building as if to form a roof. The Cube houses have been designed by Piet Blom. Each cube house represents a tree and together the houses form a grove?seems like a village within the city. These houses were built in 1997. Looking at the houses, we can say that even diagonal structures can be inhabited. There are three floors in this ho
. This interesting house is the creation of a few steampunk fans. The Neverwas Haul is a Victorian-themed 3-storey house on wheels. It was created by a group of fiddlers using 75% recycled material. They wanted to explore the Black Rock Desert for the Burning Man Festivals.
. It seems a crazy idea, but it is a house. The Stone House is situated in the Fafe mountains of Portugal. Sandwiched between two stones the house is rumored to have been inspired from the American Flintstones cartoon series. We can see a small door, a window and a conventional roof adorning the house. The house draws many tourists every year. Would you like to get yourself snapped at this picturesque spot?
Bart Prince House
. Albuquerque, New Mexico Architect Bart Prince is renowned for his incredibly creative approach to designing structures. The homes he has created look nothing like the boxy houses you and I live in; theyre quirky, theyre organic, and theyre most definitely one-of-a-kind. Prince says his designs start from the inside out, and that every home he builds has an idea behind it. Pictured are Princes own home in Albuquerque (top) and the Seymour residenc
Dar al Hajar
. This striking rock palace is not a hotel or a museum. Its not even a primary residence. Dar al Hajar was built as a summer home by Imam Yahya in the 1930s, and its a stunning example of rock-cut architecture. Standing at the base of this imposing structure, you have to crane your neck to see the top. The palace has since been restored so that visitors can buy a ticket and get a breathtaking 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.
. Nikolai Sutyagin, a former gangster, began building this wooden skyscraper in Arkhangelsk, Russia with the intention of it being only a two-story building. But, a trip to see wooden houses in Japan and Norway convinced him that he hadnt used roof space efficiently enough, so he kept building. First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom, he said. So I added another and it still didnt look right so I kept going. W
The Upside Down House
. Polish businessman and philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski built The Upside Down House as a statement about the Communist era and the end of the world. It took 114 days to build because the workers were so disoriented by the angles of the walls. It certainly attracts its fair share of tourists to the tiny village of Szymbark, who often become dizzy and seasick after just a few moments inside.
Hang Nga Villa
. Looking like something out of a childs fairytale gone wrong, the bizarre-looking structure in Dalat, Vietnam was built by the daughter of Ho Chi Minhs right-hand man. Madame Hang Nga created the Hang Nga Villa ? now known simply as Crazy House ? to reflect her interest in art and architecture. Made of concrete, the house now serves as a restaurant and reception area for an adjacent French colonial-style hotel in a jolting contrast in architectura
Toilet Shaped House
. The worlds one and only toilet-shaped house was built to mark the launch of the World Toilet Association, a campaign for more sanitary restrooms worldwide. Sim Jae-Duck, nicknamed Mayor Toilet, had the 4,508-square-foot concrete and glass structure built in his native city of Suweon, South Korea. At the center of the home is a glass-walled showcase loo that produces mist to make users feel more secure. Sim, who was born into a toilet and has made
Eliphante & Hippodome
. Called the Eliphante house for the look of its entrance, this sculptural home was created by artist Michael Kahn and his wife Leda Livant with found materials over a period of 28 years. Eliphante and several outbuildings occupy 3 acres of land and incorporate rocks and scraps from construction sites. There was never any kind of floor plan for Eliphante ? it just sort of evolved. Ms. Livants residence on the property is the Hippodome, a mosaic-cov
. When two old studio buildings owned by The Art League in Houston were set to be demolished, they decided to take the opportunity to turn them into a temporary art installation. Artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck sculpturally altered the two buildings, peeling off the exterior siding of the front building to simulate the appearance of a funnel-like vortex. The opening was actually a tiny hallway (only kids could fit through it) that passed through th
. The shoe house of South Africa is the work of artist and hotelier Ron Van Zyl, who built it for his wife Yvonne in 1990. The shoe houses a little museum of sorts, showcasing Van Zyls wood carvings. The shoe is part of a complex that includes an eight-chalet guest house, camp site, restaurant, pool and bar.
. Architect Terry Brown created this much-maligned mushroom house, an unusual piece of architecture situated in a rather upscale area of Cincinnati. Browns architectural style developed when he began experimenting with materials like wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics and various metals to create irregular shapes that mimic those found in nature. A professor of architecture and interior design at the University of Cincinnati, Brown frequently ha
. An optical illusion? Trick of Photoshop? Nobody really seems to know much about this supposed floating barn which was reportedly located in Ukraine and may or may not still be standing. Cantilevered barns do exist ? mostly in the Appalachian region of the United States ? but usually arent quite this dramatic looking. Real or fake, its certainly pretty striking.
. The Space House in Signal Mountain, Tennessee was built by Curtis King and his sons in the 1970s and is quite a draw for curiosity seekers in the area, who have been filing by and taking photos for decades. Six concrete support pillars look like landing gear beneath the main part of the building. The Space House sold on the auction block in March 2008 but the buyer defaulted, so its being offered for whatever the public is willing to pay on Decem
. From Poland comes another interesting building, the Crooked House. The design was inspired by the drawings of Polish artists Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg, which have a whimsical and Dali-esque feel. Its not actually a house ? its part of a shopping complex. But, its very cool all the same, with its surreal angles and blue-green glass.
. Austrian artist Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser may not be well known across most of the world, but anyone who has visited Vienna knows of his iconic creation, the Hundertwasser Haus. Its an apartment complex characterized by patchwork paint, undulating floors, the incorporation of vegetation and a fa?ade with seemingly no rhyme or reason to its structure. Hundertwasser reportedly took no payment for designing it, considering it