It's a sad fact of life as a building that, eventually, you're going to wear out your welcome within the community. At that point, you have two options: be torn down or become something else. All of the buildings on this list chose the latter option, with insanely impressive results.
#3. China's Water Cube Becomes Happy Magic Water Park
Built for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Water Cube was a bold statement to the world that, yes, the Chinese do know how to build structures that look like they're ready to hatch the next gigantic monster that will destroy every city in its path.
It was modern, beautiful and almost completely useless after the Olympics were over. That's when China came up with a radical idea: They would turn this former home of Olympics swimming into ... a water park.
OK, so the plan doesn't sound impressive, but look at that thing. There just had to have been a copious amount of drugs used to come up with that design.
And once again, the finished product proves what we've always known ...
... drugs and swimming are a great combination. In its first year of operation, the perfectly Chinese-named Happy Magic Water Park drew 768,000 visitors. Not too shabby for a building that would have sat unused otherwise.
#2. A Water Tower You Can Live In
A water tower is an especially problematic structure. Even when it's operating precisely as intended and serving its stated purpose, it's still a gigantic eyesore. So when a water tower square in the middle of London fell into disuse, you'd expect that it would have been promptly torn down to make room for more David Beckham stores or whatever the hell England is into these days. Architect Tom Dixon had a different idea, though.
Dixon redesigned an old water tower in London into the "upscale" apartment pictured above. At almost four grand a month, a tenant can enjoy the views, and then probably enjoy the four-story walk up the stairs just to get to the front door much much less.
But still, with four floors of living space in a prime location ...
... a person who doesn't mind giving up on the possibility of ever hanging anything on the wall in the future could do a lot worse.
#1. A "Best Of" Collection of World War II Bunkers
Take a close look at the building in the above photo. Does it look odd in any way? Like maybe someone just stacked one building on top of another? Yes, it does, because that's exactly what happened. See, the bottom half of that building is what remains of a World War II Nazi bunker. Bunkers like this one are nearly indestructible, which means they're great for times of war, but far less great when it comes time to tear them down and build something that doesn't remind millions of people of an unspeakable tragedy. So, Germany's second best idea was to just build something else on top. To sell the surrounding neighborhoods on the plan, we're guessing they promised it would look cool as shit at night.
But building on top of an indestructible bunker isn't the only option.
The bunker pictured above was used to store potatoes for years until a savvy British realtor decided it would make a much better darkest, depressingest, windowlessest apartment on the market.
But think of what you'll save on renter's insurance!