14 of the Most Beautiful Buildings That Defy Gravity

Building: Museum of Tomorrow
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Fun fact: Completed in 2015, 1.4 million people visited the Museum of Tomorrow during its inaugural year, far exceeding the anticipated 450,000 visits. It is currently the most-visited museum in Brazil.


Photo: Getty Images


Building: Takasugi-an (Tea house on the Tree)
Location: Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Architect: Terunobu Fujimori
Fun fact: The name Takasugi-an means, “a tea house [built] too high.”

Photo: Getty Images


Building: Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank
Location: Udine, Italy
Architecture firm: Morphosis Architects
Fun fact: The architects tilted the entire building 14 degrees to the south so the upper floors naturally shade the lower floors of the building, thereby conserving energy.


Photo: Getty Images


Building: Cube Houses
Location: Rotterdam, Holland
Architect: Piet Blom
Fun fact: The design for the 38 homes was meant to represent a village within a city, but practically speaking, the design was intended to optimize the space inside of the home set in an urban space.

Photo: Getty Images


Building: Odeillo Solar Furnace
Location: Font-Romeu-Odeillo-Via, France
Fun fact: The Odeillo solar furnace is the world’s largest solar furnace. The location was selected because of the duration (more than 2,500 hours per year) and the quality of sunlight that hits the area.

Photo: Courtesy of MVRDV


Building: Balancing Barn
Location: Thorington, England
Architecture firm: MVRDV
Fun fact: One one end of the home, visitors inside the space can experience nature at ground level. On the other end, however, they are able to view the world as if they were at tree height, a phenomenon that occurs without the visitor having to climb a set of stairs.

Photo: Getty Images


Building: MARTa Herford
Location: Herford, Germany
Architect: Frank Gehry, Hartwig Rullkötter
Fun fact: The art museum has a statue of Tupac Shakur at the entrance

Photo: Getty Images


Building: Dancing House
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Architect: Frank Gehry
Fun fact: The inspiration for the structure originally came from the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Photo: Getty Images/Martin Kirchner


Building: NORD/LB Bank
Location: Hanover, Germany
Architecture firm: Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner
Fun fact: The bank has invested in an extensive art collection, including some 3,000 works by such postwar artists as Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Sol LeWitt, Jeff Koons, and Jannis Kounellis, among others. The works are displayed within the several company buildings.

Photo: Hufton & Crow


Building: Learning Hub at the Nanyang Technological University
Location: Singapore
Architecture firm: Heatherwick Studio
Fun fact: The design was meant to rethink the ways in which academic buildings are built, allowing students and professors to more easily interact in an open environment.

Photo: Getty Images


Building: One Central Park
Location: Sydney
Architect: Jean Nouvel
Fun fact: With a mix of various plants and flowers on the structure’s exterior reaching nearly 165 feet high, the building’s vertical hanging garden is the tallest in the world.

Photo: Courtesy of MVRDV


Building: Ragnarock
Location: Roskilde, Denmark
Architecture firms: MVRDV and COBE
Fun fact: The city of Roskilde is filled with old cement factories, which makes the design for Ragnarock, a museum dedicated to rock music, all the more exciting.

Photo: Courtesy of Takei Nabeshima Architects


Building: Solo House
Location: Spanish region of Matarraña
Architecture firm: Takei Nabeshima Architects
Fun fact: While the building hasn’t been completed, the design will appears as though two upside-down concrete pyramids have been placed in the middle of a forrest, embedding modern architecture into nature.

Photo: Getty Images


Building: Heydar Aliyev Center
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Fun fact: The significance of the structure’s swooping design is all the more important, as it’s a distinct departure from the rigid Soviet-era architecture that once defined the region.


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