The Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa -- architectural wonders that illustrate what humanity can achieve with a singular vision and a complete disregard for workers' lives. But just because most of our greatest hits are a few millennia old doesn't mean we've stopped dazzling the world with architectural pornography. Here are a few modern buildings so bizarre that you'd think they were dropped here by clumsy aliens.
Ole Scheeren is an architect, which is kind of a shame, since he would've made one hell of a grizzled prospector with a name like that. But maybe he went into the right field after all, since his creations are mind-blowing wonders. Like this sucker:
That two-moves-from-a-game-over Jenga tower is Thailand's tallest skyscraper, the 1,120-foot-tall MahaNakhon. This multipurpose building in Bangkok's pricey central business district not only hosts retail spaces, eateries, exercise facilities, and an entire Marriott hotel, but also 200 apartments.
Those "pixels" are cantilevered balconies and observation points, as well as light-spewing focal points custom-designed to mess with passing stoners.
American subways are basically dirty holes in the ground that we reluctantly visit when our cars break down. Not so in Sweden, where the subways aren't just nice, they're works of art:
That's the Tekniska Hogskolan stop, one of Stockholm's many psychedelic metro stations. Since the 1950s, more than 150 artists have volunteered their time to transform Stockholm's sprawling, 70-mile tunnel system into what some have called "the world's longest art gallery." It ranges from the purely aesthetically pleasing ...
... to the cutesy ...
... to hell on Earth:
Remember crazy ol' Ole Scheeren, the mad architect who pixelates buildings? Here's another of his greatest hits:
Located in swanky Singapore, The Interlace is composed of 1,040 condominiums arranged into 31 blocks, each six stories tall, making them look like the classiest shipping container accident we've ever seen.
Scheeren says he designed the complex because he was tired of traditional tower blocks and their boring conventional skylines. Instead he decided to create a "vertical village," presumably to spite some sort of HOA somewhere.
At a cost of more than $1,100 per square foot, the apartments vary in price from just under $1 million to over $6 million. Hey, quirky ain't free.
In what is surely an attempt to rile up its populace for an impending world war, China has erected this behemoth statue of Guan Yu, a warrior god:
Designed by Han Meilin, creator of those 2008 Olympic mascots that look like rejected Pikachu drafts, the 157-foot-tall, 1,320-ton Guan Yu stands atop a 33-foot-tall warship which houses a cultural museum, looking over the city of Jingzhou like he's expecting a Godzilla attack any minute now.
He's depicted wielding his legendary massive halberd, the "Green Dragon Crescent Blade," and it's becoming increasingly clear why Asian action movies name everything better.
There's minimalism, and then there's this:
The Gateway is a 37-story skyscraper complex composed of two hexagonal towers, meant to symbolize the thresholds in and out of Singapore. But if you look at it from certain angles, you'd swear someone had poorly Photoshopped it into the skyline.
The building was designed by I.M. Pei, the same dude who cursed all those people in Hong Kong with his non-feng-shui-friendly skyscraper. The Gateway didn't help the guy either. While it was lauded as revolutionary by many architectural firms, the city's actual residents refer to it as "two towering cardboard boxes."
Plenty of buildings around the world use the same trick. From Atlanta's 700-foot-tall Georgia Pacific Tower, which looks like an oversized punch card from one angle ...
... to the 536-foot U.S. Bancorp Tower in Portland, which offers a similar effect ...
... as does Boston's John Hancock Tower:
So really, this is old news. We're hardly even impressed anymore. Get back to us when someone designs a one-dimensional skyscraper.
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