Architectural wonders of the past have been eye-catching and inspiring architects for centuries to come. When these brilliant minds are given the freedom to express, some largely mindblowing structures come to the fore. While a lot of modern architecture might not capture your imagination as you'd hope, there are some magnificent outliers. Ambitious designs and quirky new styles have been adapted into modern architecture that outshines the run-off-the-mill skyscrapers resting between the clouds. Here are ten astounding creations around the world to keep your eyes peeled for.
Stone House, Portugal
I remember as kid watching The Flintstones and wanting to live in a house like theirs. Located in the Fafe Mountains of Portugal, this house is the concrete representation of how the Flintstones might have lived in the modern world. Constructed between two giant stones, like any urbane house this has a fireplace, front door, windows, and a swimming pool. With its lush green surroundings, the Stone House's setting couldn't be more ideal.
Think back to science lessons when your teacher spoke about atoms: those tiny participles that make the smallest unit of existence, but you couldn't see them. Built for the 1958 edition of the Universal Exposition held in Brussels, the Atomium as its name suggests takes inspiration from the atom, only this time you can see it larger than life. Its spheres contain exhibition rooms and public halls. A powerful symbol of the "democratic will to maintain peace amongst nation" at a time when the world was delving into atomic power, the Atomium's iconic construction has continued to captivate hearts since.
Dancing House, Czech Republic
A common sight in Prague is that of Fred and Ginger grooving it under the starry night sky and the glittering mornings. A mastermind work of architecture, Fred and Ginger is a combination of two buildings creating a reality-like illusion of them dancing with each other. There is something unusually charming about the two buildings locked in a tight embrace. The Dancing House's quirky style has seen it become a popular symbol of the Czech capital.
Kansas City Library, USA
If you happen to be in love with books, then there is no better world to get lost in than the Kansas City Library. Though the original structure was in constructed in the 1870s, it is this recent feature of the library which has attracted major eyeballs. The Community Bookshelf runs along the south wall of the Central Library's parking garage in an attempt to bring character to the structure. Books like Romeo and Juliet, The Lord of the Rings, Tao Te Ching, and Fahrenheit 451, all titles suggested by the locals are part of this bookshelf.
Cubic Houses, Netherlands
Exquisite, remarkable, and unprecedented are some ways to describe these exceptional set of buildings. 38 small cubes all attached to one another, each situated at a different angle over hexagon formed polygons come together to form a forest. Each cube is an essential element to the forest with each standing for an abstract tree in this concrete jungle in Netherlands.
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt
Another library, another sublime architectural wonder. Seeking inspiration from the world-renowned ancient library of Alexandria, the modern version has become the cultural centre of the African nation. The library was a major hub for education housing manuscripts from all over the world before being burnt down. Located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina resembles a giant sundial with the collections of books inside gathered from around the globe.
Ripley's Museum, Niagara Falls, Canada
I can recount flicking through Ripley's Believe It or Not book and the astonished look on my face when I came across the list of unusual facts. The building in Niagara stays true to its philosophy with it leaving you awestruck even before you step inside. The museum shares a striking resemblance to the Empire State Building, only, in this case, it happens to be resting on its side. Added to that King Kong on the spire and yellow cab pointing straight at the sky, your hunger for surprise and the strange will surely be fulfilled here.
Biosphere Environmental Museum, Canada
On our list of the strange and unusual, we have encountered some truly offbeat designs. The next destination known for its remarkable architecture happens to be a short trip from the Niagara Falls. The Biosphere Environmental Museum in Montreal is unlike any other museum you might have ever gone to. A giant geodesic dome safeguards the inner structure of a museum and offers a delightful visual treat to any tourist.
Timsah Arena, Turkey
If football and architecture are your two true loves, the Timsah Arena in Turkey will feel like home. The magnificent football stadium is a standout in the sporting world for its fascinating structure. Called the Crocodile Arena, the arena is created in its namesake shape. The entrance to the stadium will require you to walk through the mouth of the massive crocodile. Just imagine watching your team play here, the prospect is simply too tantalizing isn't it?
Bombay Art Society, India
Closer home, this mesmerizing architectural marvel in Mumbai is a must-visit. Taking inspiration from Cubist sculpture and representing European expressionist architecture, it is one of the most visually pleasing buildings in the nation. The complex structure houses several galleries and is a space solely dedicated to art and the art community.