Ferdinan Cheval was delivering mail in April, 1879. He tripped on a stone and inspired by its shape, he started collecting stones. For the next 33 years, Cheval carried stones from his delivery rounds and at home used them to build his Palais idéal, the Ideal Palace. First he carried the stones in his pockets, then a basket and eventually a wheelbarrow.
Cheval spent the first two decades building the outer walls. The Palace is a mix of different styles with inspirations from the Bible to Hindu mythology. The stones are bound together with lime, mortar and cement. Cheval also wanted to be buried in his palace. However, since that is illegal in France, he proceeded to spend eight more years building a mausoleum for himself in the cemetery of Hauterives. Cheval died on August 19, 1924, around a year after he had finished building it, and is buried there.
For more info and photos go to oddity.
Everything in Eliphante, a property in Cornville, AZ, USA is made from found materials. The three acre site was created over 28 years by Michael Kahn and his wife, Leda Livant and includes a residence, Hippodome, which has 25-foot ceilings and incorporates rocks and scraps from construction sites and a studio, one wall of which is the Ford pickup that brought the couple west.
Hippodome has electricity, heat, a phone line and water, but no bathroom or toilet. To wash, one goes across the property to the bathhouse, where the solar-heated shower is a length of chopped hose but the windows are stained glass.
For more info on Elephante follow this link to the New York Times.
The Mushroom House, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Another unique home made with found and used materials of wood, glass, tiles, and shells selected to make the building “look like it belonged in nature. Terry Brown spent over 14 years building this home with the help of his architecture students.
The Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea
NO, THIS IS NOT PHOTOSHOPPED.
This monstrosity is a testament to North Korea’s bizarre totalitarian leadership. Construction began in 1987 and was designed to be 105 stories, have 3000 rooms, 7 revolving restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and Japanese lounges. Originally scheduled to be completed in 1989, by 1992 construction was completely halted due to funding problems amid electricity shortages and famine.
Japanese newspapers estimated the cost was US $750 million, consuming 2% of North Korea’s GDP.
Even more strange, the North Korean government denied the building’s existence for many years! Though mocked-up images of the completed hotel had once appeared on North Korean stamps, the government manipulated official photographs in order to remove the structure, and excluded it from printed maps of Pyongyang. Imagine denying this!
The Crooked House-Sopot, Poland
Low impact woodland house (Wales, UK)
Boeing-727 house in Benoit,Mississippi
This house cost Joanne Ussary $2,000, cost $4,000 to move and $24,000 to renovate. The stairs open with a garage door remote and one of the bathrooms is still intact. Check out the jacuzzi in the cockpit.
Bird Island Zero Energy Home (Kuala-Lumpur)
Cubic Houses (Kubus-woningen) Rotterdam, Netherlands
Earth house Dietikon Switzerland
Forest Spiral, Darmstadt, Germany
The Piano House, Huainan, China
The old Mill House in Vernon, France
Cactus House Rotterdamn, The Netherlands
Dar al hajar house, Wadi Dhahr, Yemen
Hang Nga Guesthouse a.k.a Crazy House, Vietnam
Kansas City Library, Missouri
Lotus Temple, Delhi, India
Olympic Stadium Montreal, Canada
Shoe house Abel Erasmus Pass, Branddraai, Mpumalanga South-Africa
Spaceship house , Chattanooga , Tennessee
The Basket Building, Ohio, USA
Thomas Point Lighthouse, Maryland, USA
Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
The National Library, Minsk, Belarus
Okinawa tree house at entrance to Onoyama Park
House Attack Viena, Austria
For more details about many of these buildings go to weburbanist.
Thanks to Claire Elizabeth for inspiring this post.