Modern humans require buildings to live and exist in, and these come with functional stuff like rooms, walls, halls, stairways, and so on.
But just because these spaces are functional doesn’t mean that architects can’t have a little bit of fun in the design process. Sometimes, as we’ll see here, that sense of fun entails creating stuff that demands a second glance.
1. Optical illusion house — Tokyo
Looking at the photos of this place is enough to mess with your head. There’s a lot to take in, and I think actually living in this space could lead to a few injuries.
2. This unique floor
This big room kind of gives the impression that if you slip in between the grid lines, you’ll fall into another dimension (or at least trip and stub your toe).
3. Mirror house — Poland
The way this house blends into the surrounding forest is nearly seamless — and it’s all done through the use of mirrors that reflect the nearby foliage.
4. Optical illusion room — Istanbul
It looks amazing, but I don’t think I’d actually want to set foot in it. As a clumsy person, this crazy design has “injury” written all over it.
5. ‘The Birth of Venus’ — Lyon, France
Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting is one of the finest of the Italian Renaissance, and Venus’ hair merges perfectly with the contours and lines of this building.
6. This floating floor
It’s just a flat surface with a design on it, but you wouldn’t guess that when it’s viewed from this angle. There’s something about black and white that really helps optical illusions pop.
7. Docklands — Melbourne
No, the interior floors aren’t all sloped at crazy angles (pretty sure, anyway). But when you study this building, it’s pretty difficult to see the straight horizontal lines.
8. Reflected house — London
It might not be particularly functional, but it sure is fascinating. The side of a house is built into the ground, and a massive mirror projects the image above.
9. International Gem Tower — New York
This shimmering, ghostly building stands out against the beige, brownstone backdrop of Manhattan’s skyline. It was designed to resemble the cut on a diamond.
10. This cubist masterpiece in Calgary
This design is as functional as it is clever. The angles and glass mean that it lets in lots of natural light, while also messing with the head of anyone who walks by.
11. This tile floor
There’s no black magic trickery going on here — the tiles just look this way when viewed from this angle. You can kinda-sorta see the real floor by looking at where it starts, but it’s tough.
12. This ghostly ‘floating’ building
It would be another mundane office building if not for the fact that it’s designed in such a way that its reflection appears to create a ghostly structure in the middle.
13. This crazy tile wall
The longer you stare at the lines, trying to make sense of it all, the less sense it all makes. I wonder if these tiles come in a kit or if they’re custom-made.
14. Real-life take on Escher’s “Relativity”
This crazy structure takes its inspiration from M.C. Escher’s classic piece, with its impossible stairways. It’s pretty intricately designed — just getting your head around the different stairways is a chore.
15. Office building — Singapore
This building is nondescript enough at first glance that you might not even notice that its left half appears to be a flat texture. It isn’t — but clever angles make it look that way.
16. The Montcalm Signature Tower — London
This incredible building on Old Street in London was completed in 2015 and creates quite an odd illusion as you approach it. Is it pointing outward or inward?