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Children value style over functionality, as the "gun that shoots sharks that shoot more guns" design we came up with in second grade will attest. To an imagination that's yet to be beaten down by the realities of the world, appearances are everything. Of course, turning those childish designs into reality would be wildly impractical.

Luckily, plenty of professional folks are 12-year-olds magically trapped in grown-up bodies, and they gave us stuff like ...

The Fire-Breathing Dragon Bridge of Da Nang

The Louis Berger Group

Let's say you're a city looking to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the end of a brutal war. What would be the most sensible and dignified way of doing so? If you said, "Build a giant fucking bridge shaped like a dragon," then congratulations! You share a mindset with the people of Da Nang, Vietnam. We'll give you a moment so you can make preparations to rejoin your chosen people.

Tuankiet65/Wiki Commons
Where everybody knows your name, and where winter is always coming.

If you know of Da Nang at all, it's probably as the location of a major American airbase during the Vietnam War. Since then, it's become one of the country's richest cities, and with great wealth comes a great desire to showboat to your neighbors.

Bui Thuy Dao Nguyen/Wiki Commons
Take that, prefecture of Quang Nam!

So if you're crossing the Cau Rong Bridge over the Han River, you'll see a giant golden dragon head rising out of the concrete. Keep going and you'll see that the arches of the bridge are actually part of the dragon's body. Reports of a massive treasure trove under the bridge are unconfirmed, but probably true.

The bridge supports six lanes of traffic, was designed by the Louis Berger Group, and oh, right -- it sprays jets of fire.

Da Nang takes tollbooth violations fucking seriously.

The dragon puts on a pyrotechnics show every evening at nine o'clock, and at night the bridge is lit up by over 2,500 LED lights. Because when you build a fire-breathing golden dragon into your city's infrastructure, you're not super worried about appearing ostentatious.

Xi Le/YouTube
Dancing Christmas lights can officially suck it.

Zapa Cement's Wonka-esque Company Buildings

Zapa Concrete

In one of our most beloved articles, "The 6 Most Boring Industries Ever," cement mixing easily took the number one spot. You have gray factories producing a gray material that gets driven around in gray trucks: It doesn't exactly scream "childhood wonder." And then there's this Czech company, which looks like Willy Wonka took a sudden interest in construction materials.

Zapa Concrete
"Another group of bratty, spoiled chocoholics took my tour, and I needed extra room to store the bodies."

The Zapa Cement Company is one of the largest and most successful companies in the Czech Republic, despite the fact that the CEO is apparently a very talented 9-year-old. Their buildings and trucks are painted in dozens of different styles, from scientific ...

Zapa Concrete
"The moon's great, except it's so damn crater-y. Time to fix that."

... to psychedelic ...

Zapa Concrete
Sauron: the experimental college years.

... to, uh, pornographic?

Zapa Concrete
Zapa Lubricant: not even once.

While it's great to see cement and masturbation together at last, our favorite design is this gargantuan factory-cannon:

Zapa Concrete
If there's ever some sort of industrial Transformer war, we know who we're betting on.

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Chapelle de Bethleem's Pop Culture Gargoyles

Mark Harkin

The Chapelle de Bethleem is located in Nantes, France, and at first blush it looks like a typical church. It's old, a little creepy, and decorated with gargoyles -- nothing out of the ordinary. But take a closer look, and you'll notice something a little off about one of the statues.

Besides its terrible Mr. Burns impression.

Is that ... ?

20th Century Fox
It's actually less creepy when it doesn't smile.

Yup, it's totally the alien from Alien. How did that get up there? It's just some bizarre coincidence, right? Or maybe God's a huge Ridley Scott fan. But wait, there's more! Here's Gizmo from Gremlins, along with one of his darker brethren:


"I warned you not to chisel after midnight, but clearly you didn't listen."

And here's Grendizer, a character from a Japanese anime about giant robots that's crazy popular in France for no apparent reason.


Fuji TV
"And you thought we were one-hit wonders with that whole Jerry Lewis thing."

The church was built in the 15th century, but of course these characters didn't exist back then (or did they?). But in 1993, the church had fallen into disrepair and needed major renovations. Stone carver Jean-Louis Boistel was assigned the task of replacing several missing gargoyles, and luckily for us, even France has giant nerds.

The Kinshasa Intersections Policed by Robot Traffic Cops

CCTV Africa

When the Democratic Republic of the Congo modernized its roads, good driving habits failed to catch up with them. That left officials scrambling for ways to make sure that their roads stayed modernized. Naturally, their thoughts turned to giant robots.

Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images
"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't let you tailgate."

Stationed on the streets of the capital city, Kinshasa, are traffic lights shaped like robot policemen. Standing at more than 8 feet tall, these solar-powered robots have been incredibly effective at regulating traffic on one of the busiest streets in the city. It turns out that people are much more willing to follow the law when it's being enforced by a giant metal man in sunglasses.

CCTV Africa

It may seem like an absurd solution, but the Traffic Terminator program has been so successful that it's expanded to a second city. It helps that these things aren't just metal scarecrows -- they move like they just walked off the set of a 1950s sci-fi movie.

If that wasn't enough, the robots' eyes are functional cameras that allow them to monitor the flow of traffic and ticket speeders. We are one giant pistol and six giggling schoolgirls away from an anime premise.

Junior D. Kannah/AFP/Getty Images
"Forget everything I said about Jesus, son. This is our God now."

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God's Paper Airplane: The Copenhagen Airport

HC Steensen/panoramio.com

The next time you're flying into Denmark, look out the window and you might spot what appears to be a gigantic paper airplane thrown by Galactus: Destroyer of Worlds.

Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter
He really shouldn't be playing with his food like that.

It's actually part of a walkway at Copenhagen Airport, one of the oldest and largest airports in Europe. Each year it sees millions of tourists, businessmen, and irritating college students claiming they're there to "study abroad" when they really just want to smoke weed and rant about the evils of capitalism.

Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter
"They spend billions on these flying bricks instead of feeding the homeless! It makes me so
angry, I almost want to tear up my first-class ticket in protest."

If you don't have enough of daddy's money to visit Europe for a mid-school vacation, never fear: Someone made a detailed flight simulator model of the whole airport, so you too can experience the unique sensation of landing a plane in a plane.

Somewhere, Xhibit sheds a single tear of joy.

The UOB Giant Robot Building

David Illif/Wiki Commons

If this building wasn't located in Bangkok, we'd swear it's where the robot policemen go when they head home for the night.

Dirk Verwoerd/mimoa.eu
Or perhaps the final resting place for all those R.O.B.s nobody bought.

This is actually an office tower that serves as the headquarters of the United Overseas Bank's Thailand Division. Hey, just because you work for a universally despised parasite industry, that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun! The building stands 17 stories tall, the eyes are executive suites, the eyelids are sunshades, and the giant antennae are lightning rods. At night, the eyes flash to the tune of "The Robot Symphony" by Jacques Bekaert, and that's ... not ominous or anything. Also, we're just going to go ahead and quote this out of context: "His nuts were the biggest in the world at time of development."

The building was designed by architect Sumet Jumsai after watching his son play with a toy robot, so we're sure the people of Bangkok are just happy the kid wasn't playing with a My Little Pony or something (although Fluttershy might make a pretty sweet addition to the skyline). Jumsai is definitely a man after our own heart: When asked why he built the robot, he simply responded, "Why not the robot?"

Sumet Jumsai/Wiki Commons
And why not make it extra spooky and overlordy at night?

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The Quetzalcoatl's Nest Apartment Complex

Jaime Jacott

Mexican architect Javier Senosiain was given the assignment of designing a small apartment complex for a half-hectare property. Cakewalk, right? Ah, but there was a catch: The land had a huge ravine running through it, filling the property with oak trees, irregular slopes, and caves. Only about 5 percent of the land was actually usable by normal standards.

Rather than building a tiny apartment complex for midgets and contortionists, Javier went full Super-Senosiain and built a monument to madness that quite literally snakes its way through the trees.

Javier Senosiain
Jake Roberts goes to heaven.

Named after the Aztec snake god, Quetzalcoatl's Nest grants its owners the most badass home address this side of Cthulhu's Court. The twisting, two-story-tall snake body is located just outside of Mexico City and houses 10 apartments that look as cozy as anything inside a gargantuan god-snake could possibly be. For all of its sinister appearances, however, Quetzalcoatl's Nest is very environmentally friendly: The only changes made to the ravine were done for safety purposes, and the facility even has its own wastewater recycling center and irrigation system.

Francesco Lubbert
The sink offering venom instead of water is unnerving at first, but you get used to it quickly.

Even cooler is the facility's main entrance, which is, of course, the snake's huge gaping maw. If you're lucky enough to snag a condo inside the ancient tribal deity, be sure to warn your friends and family beforehand: Nobody's entirely comfortable just strolling right on into what appears to be Cobra Commander's summer home.

Organic Architecture via. atlasobscura.com
But if he does live there, just break in and take shit. He never stopped the Joes, and he sure as fuck won't stop you.

Kel Zhang is proud that he's finally getting paid to write dick jokes on the Internet. Follow him on Twitter if you like science jokes.

Related Reading: If you'd prefer your hilarious buildings with an added jot of insanity, click here and learn about the freedom ship. And dear lord, the Palace of the Soviets would've been an exercise in madness. Like to close out your reading with some ancient buildings that still somehow exist? We're on it.

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