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20 Weirdest Apartments of the World42

By B.Z.

If you are like most people out there, you live in a pretty run-of-the-mill building. While your home may have its charms, for the most part, it’s probably not too different than any other living space. As the employees of the IKEA-based series Easy to Assemble learn, it takes hard work, focus, and a little imagination to add some pizzazz to your home as well as your life. If you’re one of the lucky ones, someone else will do the heavy lifting for you.

Sometimes an architect takes an ordinary concept like the apartment building and turns it into something extraordinary. Influenced by nature, films, and even video games, here’s a look at 20 of the oddest, quirkiest, and most unique apartment complexes from around the globe.

Easy to Assemble – What’s in Store


1. Expo 67 – Montreal Quebec, Canada

Expo 67 is what would happen if an architect who loved Legos as a kid built apartments with them as an adult. Its unique design is the product of 354 solid cubes constructed on top of each other and coalesced into 146 “square” residences.

2. Nakagin Capsule Tower – Tokyo, Japan

The Capsule Tower looks a lot like an architectural concept from the movie The Fifth Element. It’s too modern for its surroundings and probably knows it. Despite the fact that it looks like a futuristic alien residence, it was actually built in 1972. Today, it’s a mixed-use office/apartment building.

3. Container City 1 – London, UK

The Container City is nothing more than a collection of shipping cargo containers that are converted into whatever the client desires. In this case, the collection has been joined together to form a small office / apartment building. City 1 was built in 5 months and created with 80% recycled materials.

4. Turning Torso Building – Malmö, Sweden

With this building, the name says it all. It truly does look like a person contorting his/her body. The Turning Torso is also a record-breaking structure; when it was completed in 2005, it was the tallest building in Scandinavia and the second tallest residential building in Europe.

5. Wozoco’s Apartment – Amsterdam, Netherlands

At first, Wozoco’s Apartment doesn’t seem too earth shattering in its strangeness. But when you realize that it bends the local laws by making all of its apartments accessible from a North/South entrance yet still faces East/West, is apparent. Everyone gets to face the sun and no laws (technically) are broken.

6. Elephant Building – Bangkok, Thailand

The elephant is an extremely important animal in Thailand, as it represents royal power. Since it’s used ubiquitously in Thai art, it only makes sense that there would be a building fashioned in the likeness of an elephant. This particular elephant is 335 feet high.

7. Reversible Destiny Lofts – Mitaka, Japan

If the creators of the playland at McDonalds and the leading Japanese architect (Shusaku Arakawa) had a love child, it would be the Reversible Destiny Lofts. The architect’s philosophy was similar to that of a kid at Mickey D’s: he believed that people shouldn’t relax at home but instead be invigorated by their environment.

8. Urban Cactus High Rise – Amsterdam, Netherlands

It’s fascinating how architects can flex their creativity when designing these extraordinary buildings, yet at the same time, fail to devise an equally ingenious name. While this building does vaguely resemble a cactus, it’s actually located in Amsterdam.

9. MVRDV Stackable High Rise – Rødovre, Copenhagen

The MVRDV Stackable High Rise looks a lot like a castle spire built out of digital bricks as seen in some sort of video game. Its design was inspired by the concept of individuality… and perhaps ballsiness, as well.

10. Suite Vollard – Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

Love panoramic views? Then let us introduce you to this 360-degree rotating apartment complex in Brazil. Opened in 2001, the building has become a landmark not only for its own city, but also for architectural designers worldwide.

Easy to Assemble – The Team Building Event

11. Marina City – Chicago, Illinois

Marina City is located in the heart of the Chicago skyline and has cast its strange honeycomb-like shadow over the city since 1964. Its 65 stories are mixed-use residential / commercial. Locals have access to a landing dock at river level.

12. Forest Spiral – Hundertwasser Building – Darmstadt, Germany

Austrian architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser built this building between 1998 and 2000. Resembling something a Disney character might live in, Hundertwasser was inspired by the imagery of sediment – one of the earth’s layers. Luckily for the inhabitants of the 105 apartments, the cool, Taj Mahal-esque turret is a restaurant and bar.

13. Cubic Houses – Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam asked renowned architect, Piet Blom to design housing on top of a bridge back in 1982. The result? The Cubic Houses. Blom’s concept is that each cube represents a tree, making the entire development a forest. A forest with very sharp-angled, block-like trees, but a forest nonetheless.

14. Dancing House – Prague, Czech Republic

Designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic, it was meant to look like a dancing couple; especially noticeable is the swaying of the “skirt”. Built between 1992 and 1996, the building was often referred to as “Fred and Ginger” after the famous dancing duo, but also goes by the name of “Drunk House” by many Prague residents.

15. VM Apartments – Copenhagen, Denmark

These apartments are designed in V and M shapes (hence their clever name) and the extra pointy bits allow for each resident to have daylight, privacy, and a view. Granted, everyone wants those three things, but somehow barbequing or hanging out on these patios seems a bit frightening.

16. Tetris Apartments – Ljubljana, Slovenia

Gamers from the 80′s would love to live here. Built between 2005-2007, it wasn’t until the elevators were planned that the resemblance to Tetris was apparent. Regardless of your feelings about Tetris, there is something undeniably clean, linear, and gloriously 80′s about this building.

17. Walden 7 “City in Space” – Barcelona, Spain

Ricardo Bofill, Spanish architect, designed his “city in space” during the early 70′s (1970-1975). The mind-expanding time period in which it was built may help explain the oddity and confusion of its design, encompassing 18 tower structures, 446 residential units, as well as a slew of shops, offices and bars connected via seven different courtyards.

18. Anara Tower – Dubai, UAE – TO BE BUILT

Dubai construction is not known for its ‘less is more’ approach. Construction began on Anara Tower in early 2009 and, at almost 1700 feet, it will become one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. It is projected to have over 125 stories with over 300 luxury apartments. The design is influenced by the tall spires near Muslim mosques (known as a minaret) which are used for the call to prayer.

19. Casa Mila – Barcelona, Spain

Originally constructed as an apartment building by world-renowned Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi in 1910, the modernist architect didn’t use straight lines in his design. Instead, he had it rest on a series of arches and pillars. The balconies resemble waves and the facade’s cave-like appearance earned the building the nickname La Pedrera, or ‘the quarry.’ Casa Mila became a world heritage site in 1984 by UNESCO.

20. The Interlace/OMA – Singapore – TO BE BUILT

Thirty-one apartment blocks, each six stories high, are all stacked on each other in a hexagonal array that forms eight separate outdoor courtyards. Taking the idea of community to another level, each level’s rooftop becomes a garden courtyard. It looks a lot like architectural Jenga.

Easy to Assemble – Bitter is Better

Easy to Assemble – Taking Stock

Watch more episodes of IKEA-housed comedy EASY TO ASSEMBLE

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  • Jim Szinko

    Dude that is amazing. I like it. Coolest buildings I have ever seen.

    Jess

  • http://wwftf Sim Joinkz

    Cool buildings bro

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  • Rif

    Very nice collection. I have seen a couple of these in real life, but I need to see more of them. I am Danish and I did not even know the building in Rødovre.

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  • Susan

    I love inventive architecture. Thanks for introducing me to several buildings I’d not seen before. Will check out The Superman, too.

  • Tanita-Kun

    Hi! Love your post but regarding the building number 19. Casa Mila – Barcelona, Spain, you’ve just misspelled the architec’s surname, it’s just Gaudi. I’ve been there and it’s just amazing. If you go inside, you’ll go crazy ^^

  • http://adu-veintediez.blogspot.com Mamá

    My son Dany has sent this link to me.
    Thanks a lot, darling.

  • ol

    great post,small mistake though;. Urban Cactus High Rise hasn’t been built yet,and its planned in Rotterdam,not Amsterdam!

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  • http://www.kawapanga.com/ ingrida

    cool buildings, but how in a world people live in those cubic houses?! to me its a mystery. :)

  • Raybob

    I think the complex AT Expo ’67 is called “Habitat”.

  • Strepsi

    Great article, thanks! One note, as a Montrealer: the Expo 67 apartments are called “HABITAT”. They were meant to represent the future of houseing, as the cubes are prefab and can be moved (although I think they never have, and most of these are now owned by wealthy professionals who have knocked 2 or 3 cubes into larger apartments). Go 1960′s futurism!

  • kevin

    Just wanted to point out the Montreal building is called “Habitat 67″ it was built in conjuncture with Montreal’s World Fair which was called “Expo 67″

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  • http://www.futureisfiction.com/blog daretoeatapeach

    I would have enjoyed this article more if there were half as many buildings and twice as much detail.

  • http://www.vzwpix.mobi vzwpix.com

    Those apartments were so incredibly cool .. I totally like Urban Cactus High Rise … what a great patio for everyone!

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  • http://www.apartmentninjas.com Texas Apartment Listings

    Awesome article, buddy! I wish I had it on my Texas Apartments Blog.

  • Bettieclaire

    Nice blog…….
    All pictures too seem really awesome collections….
    fantastic stuff

  • Bettieclaire

    Good pictures plus the good article certainly made this segment amazing.Keep it up!awesome!!!

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  • http://www.ebook-reader-shop.de ebook shop

    Hi! Love your post but regarding the building number 19. Casa Mila – Barcelona, Spain, you’ve just misspelled the architec’s surname, it’s just Gaudi. I’ve been there and it’s just amazing. If you go inside, you’ll go crazy

  • http://www.ankenyapartments.com Ankeny Apartments

    Those apartment buildings are crazy!!! I wish I owned everyone one of those. The designers must have a blast and the engineers not quite so much!!! haha

  • http://www.bolcroatia.com Hailfawebbe

    Very nice collection. I have seen a couple of these in real life, but I need to see more of them. I am Danish and I did not even know the building in Rødovre.

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  • Julien

    Another one that could be added to the list: The twisted house in Sopot, Poland…
    Then, once I wrote this, I am not sure it residential…

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  • Futhtoods

    Very Interesting!
    Thank You

  • vzw

    Some crazy has been going down in Northern Europe…

  • Feedback Form

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

    - Andre

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lik-Sa-Pujanki/100000623732797 Lik Sa Pujanki

    I must admit I had a good laugh looking at these pictures! Some of them are really amazing! Makes you wonder what kind of weird ideas people can get for their apartments… :-)

    Dino, from Apartments in Croatia

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