10 Most Unique Buildings in Europe
Architectural wonders around Europe are numerous, and you will see so many great buildings and landmarks that you’ll love. From classical buildings to the most eccentric and even weird ones, you will see so many different styles. For this list, we picked some of the buildings that we found the most interesting — the 10 most unique buildings in Europe.
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, a part of the Guggenheim foundation, is one astonishing museum building and an amazing cultural landmark. This extraordinary building, built in 1997, was designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, and it is one of the best examples of architecture of the 20th century. It’s a museum of modern and contemporary art, and you can tell that the first moment you look at this fascinating building. This unique-shaped museum is covered in titanium panels that resemble the fish scale in a way and you can only imagine what a great reflective surface they make — the museum looks extraordinary in the sunlight.
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
Casa Batlló, Barcelona, Spain
You will find quite a few unique architectural wanders around Barcelona, and it’s all because of Antoni Gaudí — the most remarkable Catalan Art Nouveau architect. We’d love to put all of his works on our list, but it wouldn’t be fair, so this time we chose Casa Batlló, set in the center of Barcelona. This unique building is also known as the House of Bones, and once you see its marvelous façade, it might be clear for you — the fencing on its small balconies looks like it’s made of bones. But those skeleton-details are not the only reasons why this building is so famous and unique. Its roof is designed in a way that resembles the back of the dragon, and it’s covered in scales of course. All those fun details, plus the broken tiles that it’s covered to make the building so beautiful and unique, and it’s classic Gaudí!
If you’re interested in Art Nouveau architecture, check out our previous blog post: “Everything You Need to Know about Art Nouveau in Europe”
Cubic Houses, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Cubic Houses in Rotterdam is a large residential complex built in 1977, that is also a pedestrian bridge that crosses one traffic artery. The complex was designed by the Dutch architect Piet Blom, who had an idea to create a structure that resembles the tree with houses of them. It’s a whole structure of apartments on the higher levels, small businesses on the ground level, and even a school and children’s playground. The structure looks very interesting from the outside, and many tourists were interested to see how it looks like to be inside one of the cubes, so one of the house owners decided to make his cube available for tours.
Cubic Houses in Rotterdam
Kunsthaus Museum, Graz, Austria
In the heart of the old and beautiful historic city center of Graz, you will find another unique museum building — Kunsthaus Graz (Graz Art Museum). This robotic-heart-shaped building is an example of blob architecture, and it was designed by Colin Fournier and Sir Peter Cook. It was built in 2003, as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations, and it became the new architectural landmark of Graz. Because of the way it contrasts its historical surroundings, it looks like it came from another world, so the locals nicknamed it a “friendly alien“.
Crooked House Sopot, Poland
The Crooked House, or Krzywy Domek, how it’s called in Polish, is located in Sopot — a small city which is known as a seaside resort. This building is a part of Sopot’s shopping mall, and it was built in 2004. Its unique “wavy” design was inspired by fairytale illustrators Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg and beautiful houses designed by Antonio Gaudí.
The Crooked House in Sopot, Poland
Dancing House, Prague, Czech Republic
The Dancing House (Czech: Tančící dům) is one unusual building set in the center of Prague that attracts many visitors during the whole year. The building was designed in 1992 by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with architect Frank Gehry — the designer of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Even though it was supposed to house something related to arts and culture, the building became an office building with a restaurant on top. This unique architectural wonder was nicknamed Fred and Ginger after the dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but the nickname was quickly abandoned because Frank Gehry didn’t want to force the Hollywood names in Prague.
Prague’s famous Dancing House
Waldspirale, Darmstadt, Germany
The Waldspirale, or the Forest Spiral, is a residential building complex in Darmstadt, Germany, built in the 1990s. This unusual building resembles the Hundertwasserhaus that we already told you about in our blog post about the most impressive buildings in Vienna. The architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser hated straight lines and angles. He was an ecologist and all of the buildings he designed are a combination of architecture and nature — that’s why you’ll see very few straight lines on each one of his buildings.
Markthal, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Market Hall, or Markthal, a residential building with a market hall underneath, is another remarkable architectural wonder that can be seen in Rotterdam. It was opened in 2014, and design came from an architectural company called MVRDV. The gray building is shaped like a horseshoe and is completely covered in glass. But the most impressive part of this structure is the inside — it is covered with 11.000 m2 of artwork done by Arno Coenen, which shows flora and fauna presented in 3D technology. It is so big and beautiful, some people call it The largest artwork in the world or The Sistine Chapel of Rotterdam.
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
St. Basil’s Cathedral is the most colorful spot in Moscow’s Red Square with its red façade and colorful domes that all look different. The building of the Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century, to commemorate the victory of the Russians over Kazan Khanate. The church is known for it’s beautiful and vivid colors, but those were not there all the time. Apparently, it used to be white, while the domes were gold. During the 17th century, the façade and domes began to be painted in the remarkable colors that you can admire today. Today, this gorgeous church is a museum and holds service only once a year – on the Day of Intercession in October.
St. Basil’s Cathedral and its Colorful Domes
Hallgrimur Church, Reykjavik, Iceland
Hallgrimur Church (Hallgrimskirkja) is the largest church in Iceland and one of the most unique architectural wonders in its capital city of Reykjavik. This unusual church was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, but it took a while for it to be built. The construction started in 1945 and was finally finished in 1986. Even though it looks very futuristic, the church was designed to resemble the basalt lava flows, which are often seen in the Icelandic landscape. It is completely different than any other church, and definitely one of the most interesting places of worship we’ve ever seen.
Hallgrimskirkja — One of the Most Unusual Churches in Europe
These are just some of the examples of unusual and unique buildings in Europe. If you’re curious to read more, feel free to check out part two of this blog post.