With today’s growing suburban culture, it’s extremely common to see cookie-cutter houses and less-than-creative designs and colors. Amidst these uniformity, there are still a handful of exotic and unique dwellings scattered around the world –ranging from cave houses to gnome huts. Their quirkiness adds a little bit of spice to our surroundings, and a touch of creativity to our world. For curious travelers, these houses not only make for interesting places to visit but also memorable holiday homes.
1. The Stone House — Guimarães, Portugal
Not much is known about this Stone House, also Casa de Pedra in Portuguese, that lies quietly in Portugal‘s Fafe Mountains. Built in 1974 as a private getaway for a family, it was built from a rock and concrete mix conjoining two giant boulders. It is said that the inspiration for this house comes from the Flintstones, and American cartoon show.
2. Nautilus House — Mexico City, Mexico
Built in 2006, the Nautilus house is shaped and structured in the form of a seashell. It was designed by Javier Senosiain for a family of four who wanted something a little more off-beat than the traditional home. Senosiain drew his inspiration for the Nautilus house from Spain’s famous Gaudí, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and of course, none other than a seashell.
3. Shoe House — Mpumalanga, South Africa
Reminiscent of the popular nursery rhyme about the lady who lived in a shoe, Ron Van Zyl built the Shoe House in 1990 for his wife. It is a three story building and now houses a museum to display Van Zyl’s other work, such as wood and rock carvings.
4. Oast Houses — Kent, United Kingdom
An Oast House can also be called a hop kiln, which is used for drying hops (the female of a hop plant) as a step in the brewing process. Oast houses are considered to fall under the category of vernacular architecture, when an architect is absent in the designing process and when structures are built based on society’s needs. Many of the Oast Houses have been modified to work as homes.
5. Crazy House — Dalat, Vietnam
The Crazy House has a dual name in Vietnam called Biệt thự Hằng Nga, which was designed by the female Vietnamese architect, Đặng Việt Nga. It is often portrayed as being a magical, “fairytale” like house because its designs incorporate natural elements, such as trees, animals, and mushrooms. The architect drew her inspiration from Gaudí though many visitors catch similarities with artists such as Disney and Dalí.
6. Hundertwasser House — Vienna, Austria
Artist-turned-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed the Hundertwasser House with the help of Joseph Krawina and Peter Pelikan. It was built between 1983 and 1985, the Hundertwasser House consists of both one and two story apartments, where many of these apartments have balconies. This house works with nature: trees grow inside the rooms and the limbs of trees climb outside windows.
7. Kvivik Igloo — Faroe Islands
On the Faroe Islands, a territory belonging to Denmark, not only one (as pictured), but two igloos sit nestled near the valley and the sea. The igloos are about 300 square feet equipped with a kitchen, loft, living room, and a double bed–the best part is, each igloo can be rented for at least two nights.
8. Upside-Down House —Szymbark, Poland
This house will turn your world upside-down–literally. It’s located in Szymbark, a small northern town in Poland and was completed in 2007 after being designed by a businessman and a philanthropist. The idea of the house was inspired by Poland’s communist period and its end–also a period of an unpredictable future.
*Compiled in partnership with Freedom Holiday Homes.