These Unique Buildings Are Delightful Feats Of Architecture

Added by Nicola Porrill on Apr 1, 2016

15 Hotel Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Spain)

If you've ever seen the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, you'll already be familiar with the work of architect Frank Gehry. One of the other eye-catching projects that he has under his belt is the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, a luxury hotel in Spain.

From the inside it offers guests opulence like nowhere else, including a fantastic restaurant, an immense library and an in-house winery, while outside it's a feast of cutting edge design. The extravagant, curving titanium roof means that there isn't a straight line in sight; instead, this building seems to be full of movement and life. This is actually a working hotel which tourists can visit…holiday, anyone?

14 Atomium (Brussels, Belgium)

Photo credit: 'The Atomium' by O Palsson via Flickr

No prizes for guessing why this building's called 'Atomium'. You only have to have walked past a science classroom at some point during the last century to recognize the distinctive shape of a chemical substance – in this case, the building is designed to resemble a crystal of iron. It might look pretty scientific, but it's actually an art gallery, with specially designed elevators to take visitors between the pods – or exhibition rooms. In 2013 CNN declared Atomium 'Europe's most bizarre building'; with a title like that, it's got to be worth a visit!

13 Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Valencia, Spain)

Image By Diliff

The Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (which means 'the Queen Sofia Palace of the Arts' in English) is Spain's answer to the Sydney Opera House. Interestingly, this opera house, theatre and cultural center was designed by the same architect behind the Turning Torso which also appears on this list. In fact, this is the tallest opera house in the world; it features a large, dome-style roof and a moat-style expanse of water which can be crossed by a simple bridge.

12 Pabellón de Aragon (Zaragoza, Spain)

Photo credit: 'Expo Zaragoza 2008, Pabellón de Aragon' by hansbrinker via Flickr

Essentially, the Pabellón de Aragon is a massive hall and exhibition space in Spain, which has been built with special materials and skylights to maximize the amount of natural light that filters inside. Apparently, it was designed to look like a wicker basket from the outside. Aside from the undulating walls, I'm struggling to see the resemblance! It is an incredible building to look at, but I can't help but feel that comparing it to a wicker basket is taking it one step too far.

11 Air Force Academy Chapel (Colorado, USA)

By Carol M. Highsmith

Chapels are meant to be majestic, and this Air Force Academy Chapel certainly delivers. It cost a whopping $3.5million to build over the course of three years, but for that price the designers delivered 17 spires.

It was originally meant to have 19, but that would have stretched the budget too far. However, it does beg the question: when it already cost millions, how much extra were two extra spires really going to add on? Nevertheless, it's just as impressive from the inside. The chapel was made with small gaps between the spires, which have been filled with bright, vibrant colored glass: a modern take on the stained glass window. It might have been built over 50 years ago, but if you ask me, this is what the chapels of the future will look like!

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