World's Wildest Houses V
TOH has rounded up a new crop of quirky domiciles, including a floating apartment complex, a walking house, and more
Last we met, for World's Wildest Houses IV, we toured some of the coolest and quirkiest living spaces. We saw Mercury House One, an advanced-concept, high-tech, mobile lounge. We checked out the Cosmic Muffin, a floating home made from a 1939 plane that once belonged to Howard Hughes. And we almost passed right by the Boulder House, with its unassuming rock facade, camouflaged in the landscape of Joshua Tree, California.
Here, we continue the journey with a new crop of quirky domiciles, including the 727 Fuselage Home in Costa Rica, a floating apartment complex in Belgium, and more. As you've requested, we'll give you a look inside the strange abodes, too.
Got a wild house of your own? Or know about one that we should include in the next installment of World's Wildest Houses? Tell us in the comments section below!
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...an airplane-shaped house? Actually, it's Hotel Costa Verde's refurbished 1965 Boeing 727-turned-suite. The two-bedroom unit includes a roomy porch built over the plane's wing. You can rent the place—with its scenic ocean and jungle views—for $400 to $500 a night, depending on the season.
The window-lined interior of the house-plane is wrapped with Costa Rican teak paneling, and features hand-carved Indonesian teak furniture. Each of the suite's two air-conditioned bedrooms have private baths, and the place comes complete with a kitchenette and dining area, too.
Bham Design Studio refurbished this water tower—which dates back to the early 1930s—to create this sleek, six-story living space. The tower was once used as a lookout tower during World War II. In 2004, architect Wouter Bilzen reverted the exterior to its original facade, adding a panoramic terrace that allows for 360-degree views of the area.
The year-long interior renovation of the water tower started in 2007, and preserved original features including the main water conduct and concrete ceilings. The black-and-white living space features modern lines, Wenge flooring, and fun chalkboard-painted walls.
Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Architect Koen Olthuis of the Waterstudio Design Firm created this, the world's first floating apartment complex, to be completed in December 2010. This image is a projection of the finished project, which will have 60 apartments, a parking garage, and a road that goes from one end of the complex to the other. When completed, the apartments will be part of a larger floating community of buildings.
The interior of the energy-efficient floating complex mirrors its modern facade with white, simple decor.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Designed by architect Piet Blom in the early '80s, this row of cubic houses sits on top of a pedestrian bridge. Each unit has three triangle-shaped levels: the first is a living area with kitchen, the second level holds the bedroom and bathroom, and the top level can be used for a guest bedroom or additional living space.
Large skylights let in loads of natural light, but about a quarter of each apartment's space is unusable due to angled ceilings and sharply sloped walls. So, space-saving solutions—like the table built into the column shown here—were worked into the design. Blom built similar cube houses in Helmond, also in The Netherlands, in the 1970s.
Pensacola Beach, Florida
After hurricanes Erin and Opal destroyed Mark and Valerie Sigler's home in 1995, a FEMA grant helped them rebuild this hurricane-resistant structure. The homeowners brought on architects Bob Bissett and Jonathan Zimmerman to design this monolithic dome with concrete-enforced pilings to allow the home to withstand high winds and heavy rain. The house is mostly concrete, so there are no shingles to fly loose, and instead of fiberglass insulation, which is susceptible to water damage, the house is coated in polyurethane.
So far, the home has endured hurricanes Ivan and Isadore in 2004, and Arlene, Dennis, and Katrina in 2005, all with minimal damage. The house sits near the ocean and was once available for vacation rental, but it's currently closed to the public. Due to the shape of the house, the second story ceiling and interior walls are curved, as shown here, in the kitchen.
Businessman Zhang Lianzhi spent 20 years building a collection of antique porcelain goods. But, what to do with it all? Cover a 100-year-old house, that's what! The facade took five years to, well, porcelainize‚ and the property is now valued at more than $60 million. The place has been open to the public since September 2007.
More than 400 million porcelain fragments and 13,000 ancient vases, plates, and bowls were used in Zhang Lianzhi's massive DIY project. Ceilings are covered with plates featuring ornate patterns and these decorative cat-shaped "pillows" are scattered throughout the interior of the house.
Danish artist collective, N55, created this abode for dwellers interested in pursuing "a nomadic, peaceful lifestyle." It debuted in October 2008 and reportedly cost about $45,000 to build. The body of the house is built with steel plating, wood, and polycarbonate. It's outfitted with solar panels and small windmills to provide energy. The house also features built-in rainwater collection. Designer Sam Kronick gave the Walking House this particular shape with hopes that someday many structures could be nestled together in a honeycomb-like formation.
As you might have expected, the interior of this mobile home is quite minimalist. There's little more than a built-in platform for sleeping and a sink. A touchscreen interface allows for control of walking direction and speed. The designershope to to add GPS navigation, a roof deck, extra interior storage, and a bathroom module.
Ransom Canyon, Texas
The late architectural sculptor Robert Bruno began the 23-year-long construction of his Steel House in 1974. He started the build primarily for the love of sculpting, but it didn't take long to attract critics who called the home "weird" and "ugly." Now, the structure—made of 110 tons of scrap steel that was welded together on-site—is a favorite stop for tourists and road-trippers.
The interior of Bruno's Steel House mimics the curves of the exterior. The place features beautiful hardwood floors throughout. Handmade stained glass windows make for a dazzling light show at sunset.