World's Wildest Houses VI
This Old House brings you a new crop of amazing abodes so wild, you'll have to see them to believe it
In our last installment of World's Wildest Houses, we showed you ridiculous residences from all over the world—both inside and out. Our tour included Texas' Steel House, China's Porcelain House (made from 400 million porcelain fragments) and plans for the world's first floating apartment complex.
Now, we've rounded up a whole new batch of daring dwellings, including an eco-friendly igloo, a Hello Kitty-lover's dream house, and a creative spin on a classic log cabin.
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!
U.S. History buffs might recognize this structure: Architect Jack Ainsworth handcrafted the Dome House in 1922 after the Teapot Dome scandal. The scandal involved the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, who was jailed for accepting bribes from oil companies that wanted access to government-owned oil fields. The cornerless building has a sheet metal handle and concrete spout. The pot, which housed the pay station of a gas station until 2004, has been moved several times since it was built. Now, the city of Zillah is moving it again, from outside city limits to the town's center.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
This pair of identical igloos is located near the village of Kvivik, off the coast of Denmark. Each structure is about 300 square feet and features a kitchen, living room, and loft with a double bed. Each igloo goes the extra eco-friendly mile with a lush green roof, and both are surrounded by mountain and oceans views. They're also available for vacation rental for about $150 a night (two-night minimum). Contact GreenGate Incoming Travel for more.
This house is in pretty good condition—considering the tree it's made from is 1900 years old! Carved out of a 42-ton redwood, this wacky mobile home was "built" in 1946 by logger Art Schmock. He took the log house to fairs and festivals across the country to bring awareness to Northern California's beautiful giant redwoods, the source of his life's work. The tour was ultimately cut short because of the tree's massive size, which made it hard to move. The 32-foot-long house boasts six-foot ceilings and a fully functional living space that includes a bedroom, living room, and dining area. It's now owned by Dan Baleme in California, who restored it and opened it to the public in 1999.
Built by Bolle Tham and Martin Videgard, the Mirrorcube is part of the Treehotel modern treehouse complex in northern Sweden. The structure is made of lightweight aluminum and plywood, and features a double bed, small bath, and living room. The mirrored exterior reflects its surroundings to blend in with the natural environment, and prevents bird collisions with an infrared film.
The Treehotel complex is made up of five different treehouse rooms that are all available for rental (two new rooms will be added in 2011). A tree sauna is also available for guest use. For more information, visit treehotel.se.
Built by the famed Austrian architect and painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who was known for the onion-shaped domes and curved lines seen here, this apartment complex was completed in 2000. At its highest point, the winding structure is 12 stories tall. The roof houses a cafe, a bar—and a manmade forest-garden for residents to enjoy. In total, the building contains 105 apartments and more than 1,000 windows. Some windows feature “tree tenants”—or trees planted indoors that are trained to grow out of the windows—a design element typical of Hundertwasser's style.
Taipei County, Taiwan
These UFO-inspired houses, constructed in 1978, were meant to be a part of a resort property. The project lost its funding and was abandoned in 1980, leaving these modern structures as ruins in the landscape. After standing vacant for years, the government ultimately decided to demolish them. Some locals believed the vacant buildings to be haunted, and rumors swirled that demolition crews found dead bodies inside. Contractors have denied these rumors.
British television personality James May built this temporary house of Legos in 2009. One thousand volunteers constructed the structure out of more than three million Lego building blocks after May promoted the project on his show. The house featured a staircase, toilet, and shower—all made entirely of Legos. Landowners demanded the structure be removed and May called out for a preservation-minded Lego-lover to take the structure, and move it to another location. There were, surprisingly, no takers, and the house was ultimately demolished.
Richey and Karen Morgan began building their pointy-peaked house the 1980s, as an homage to classic fairy tales. Extensive landscaping elements—including a ten-foot, hollowed-out fir tree fountain—surround the house. The interior features a staircase that wraps around an artificial tree. The house was the star of a documentary titled Labor of Love, which tells of the renovation.
The namesake for this hotel, Hang Nga, designed the unusual building and, according to travel sites, she is often on hand to chat with guests. Hang Nga—who cites Salvador Dali and Walt Disney as her inspiration—is the daughter of the former president of Vietnam, which may explain how she was able to create such a far-out structure in communist Vietnam. Ten individually designed guest rooms were opened to the public in 1990. The interior features a network of bridges, ladders, and passageways that include odd ornamentation, such as spider webs, caged birds, and a giant giraffe. A night at the Crazy House ranges from about $30 to $85 USD, depending on when you go.
Suq al-Wadi, Yemen
This massive palace was originally built as a summer home for the King of Yemen in the 1930s. Nothing says summer getaway like a house carved from the surrounding rock cliffs with seven stories and 35 rooms, right? Unfortunately for the Iman, he never spent much time in the palace because he was assassinated only a few years later. Dar Al Hajar is currently owned by the Yemeni government and is a popular tourist attraction.
Calling all Hello Kitty fans! The Hello Kitty Castle, which opened in a Taiwanese resort in 2009, is a tribute to the Japanese anime character that has a bit of a cult following all over the world. The pinked-out palace is decorated in head-to-toe Kitty, including details such as Hello Kitty wallpaper and cushions. A word to the wise: Many sources say the castle is in Shanghai, but it is in fact located in Taiwan.