Which are the 10 craziest buildings in the world? via Quora

Answer by Archie D’Cruz

There are plenty of Googleable (is that even a word?) stories that feature some really crazy structures around the world, so I’m going to make this more interesting for myself by sticking mostly to buildings I have already seen, all of them in Canada. (Of the two I haven’t, one is on my must-visit list and the other is missing a home).

1. Absolute Towers (a.k.a. the Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio buildings), Mississauga

This rather striking pair of towers—only a few minutes’ drive from where I live—was the result of an international design competition hosted by the tower’s developers. The undulating towers, nicknamed Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, were designed by young Beijing-based architect Ma Yansong, and were named Best Tall Buildings in the Americas in 2012. Pro tip: Actually living in an apartment here may not be quite as enjoyable—some of the room shapes make for awkward spaces.

2. Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Toronto

When the ROM decided to expand, they reached out to noted Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind (I encourage you to check out his very impressive portfolio). Libeskind took his inspiration from the museum’s gem and mineral collection and sketched his initial concept on paper napkins while attending a family wedding at the ROM. The 100,000 sq. ft. extension was named the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal because of its crystalline shape.

3. Sharp Centre for Design, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), Toronto

Designed by British architect Will Alsop, this “floating” two-story structure stands on stilts 26 meters above the ground, straddling existing buildings of the College. The pixellated black and white exterior is a perfect fit for Toronto’s premier design college. Lifting the building above ground created a new outdoor public space while also improving pedestrian circulation in the area.

4. Habitat 67, Montréal

Conceived by Israeli-born Canadian architect Moshe Safdie when he was just 21 (!), this pioneering development was presented at the 1967 World Expo in Montréal as an experiment in modular housing and a vision for the future of cities. Comprising 354 stacked concrete “boxes”, Habitat 67 combines the urban garden residence and the modular high-rise apartment building. Each property in this 12-story complex features its own roof garden and can be accessed from an external “street”.

5. Biosphère, Montréal

Designed by noted American architect Buckminster Fuller, this architectural masterpiece housed the United States pavilion during the 1967 World Expo. The building originally formed an enclosed structure of steel and acrylic cells, 76 metres in diameter and 62 metres high. Today, the Biosphère is a museum dedicated to the environment.

6. Olympic Park Tower, Montréal

It takes a funicular (cable railway) to ride up to the top of this 165-metre tower, which at 45 degrees is the tallest inclined tower in the world. As comparison, the Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts only 5 degrees, so the Montréal tower is either quite the engineering feat or somebody got things really, really wrong. Part of the Olympic Park (Montréal hosted the Summer Games in 1976), the tower offers excellent views over the city.

7 Hôtel de Glace (Ice Hotel), Québec

The only ice hotel in North America, this magical structure lasts less than three months each year. Featuring 44 rooms and suites sculpted out of ice, the hotel is built each winter on the slopes of the Laurentian mountains just outside Québec City. Even the beds are made of ice, but a wood base, comfortable mattress and cozy sleeping bag ensure you won’t be cold. (I haven’t stayed here myself yet, but have had friends who have and they vouch for this as being a fantastic experience). The virtual tour is worth checking out as are the images from the gallery.

8. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, Niagara Falls

Ripley’s needs no introduction, of course, and the picture says it all. All that’s missing is Jessica Lange. Located on Clifton Hill, close to the Horseshoe Falls.

9. Sam Kee Building, Vancouver

At just 4’11” (1.5m) wide, it is listed in the Guinness Book as the world’s shallowest commercial building. It’s easy to miss the Sam Kee because it looks like the front of the larger building behind, to which it is attached. Rumour has it that the owner of the Sam Kee Company, Chang Toy, built it in response to the City of Vancouver’s expropriation of his lot in 1912.

10. Device to Root Out Evil, current location unknown

This 22-foot Dennis Oppenheim sculpture is well travelled, if nothing else. The upside-down church represented the US to both acclaim and censure at the 1997 Venice Biennale. It was supposed to be later set up in New York, but fears of offending religious leaders scuttled that. Stanford University in California purchased it in 2004, then backed out after its president John L. Hennessy feared similar controversy. From there it travelled to Vancouver where it was set up in Stanley Park for two-and-a-half years, before being moved to Calgary where it lasted another five. The lease however expired last year and the installation is currently believed to be looking for another home.

Which are the 10 craziest buildings in the world?