From Margaret Everton on October 21, 2009 in Window Replacement
Man, windows can be so square! They slide up. They slide down. They glide right, they glide left. It’s all very humdrum, don’t you think? Don’t window companies understand that there is more to geometry than squares, rectangles, and the occasional circle? There have got to be some architects and window designers in the world who see the curvature in things. Where we see a rectangle, they see a rhombus. Where we see a transom, they see a trapezoid… Following are 15 of the world’s weirdest, wackiest, wildest window designs. Heres some optical architecture to make Roald Dahl and Lewis Carroll proud - buildings and oddball windows hailing from all around the world. Strange and fantastic achievements in architecture, one and all. I’d like to see some of these windows on an Andersen showroom floor!
1. The Crooked House
In Sopot, Poland, stands one of the strangest buildings in the world. The Crooked House was built in 2004 and inspired by the paintings and drawings of Jan Marcin Szancer, a Polish artist and illustrator of children’s books, and Per Dahlberg, a Swedish painter. There is absolutely no other building like this one these are the kind of windows you stare at, not through.
2. The Crazy House
From crooked to crazy, and from Poland to Vietnam we go. The Hang Nga Guesthouse, or “Crazy House,” is a testament to the belief that no window shall be round or square, that 90-degree angles simply should not exist. Unique is an understatement for this hotel, with its randomly winding hallways, giant giraffe and many strange windows. Vietnam travelers, be sure to pop in for a cup of tea.
3. The Dancing House
How about this for a curtain wall?! The somewhat rectangular windows are only there to contrast the building’s conical corner and swimming architecture. Besides, they are put to shame by the “dancing” wall of glass and concrete that crawls up the building’s side like a rolled newspaper come to life. Located in Prague, Czech Republic, The Dancing House was originally called “Fred and Ginger,” as it vaguely resembles a pair of dancers. It certainly has some windows I’d love to get behind!
4. The Hole House
How about a window thats actually a wormhole that runs the length of the house? Well, maybe this isn’t technically a window, but its definitely weird. And you can bet no window companies have yet added wormholes to their repertoire. The Hole House was constructed by a pair of artists in Houston, Texas out of a condemned house. The intention, apparently, was to remind people of the fragility of the space-time continuum. Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, the house has since been torn down.
5. The Air Force Academy Chapel
Churches are historically known for ornate window designs, and the Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado is certainly no exception. Once again, the windows are (literally?) a testament to the unique structure of the building that carries them. The chapel is built on a tubular frame of 100 identical tetrahedrons that create a row of seventeen identical spires. The tetrahedrons are set one foot apart, a space filled with some very interesting colored glass windows.
6. Pavilion for Japanese Art at LA County Museum of Art
The Pavilion for Japanese Art in Los Angeles blurs the line between wall and window. The roof structures are suspended by cables so that the walls can be non-load bearing they are instead translucent window-ish walls that provide ideal lighting for the artwork inside, as well as adhere to a certain Japanese architectural aesthetic. Kyoumishinshin! The Pavilion was designed by architects Bruce Goff and Bart Prince.
7. The Price Residence
Also by architect Bart Prince, the Price home is a very interesting house with stained-glass window designs that seem to illuminate like solar-made artwork when under direct sunlight. Together, they expand up and outward from the entry door, blending seamlessly with the unusual wooden structure, which in turn blends seamlessly with the building site.
8. Futuro House
The Futuro House, or UFO House, resides in New Zealand and was designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968. It has a fairly simple, flying saucer-esque design, but its convex, oval-shaped windows are nevertheless strange and quite rare. And from what I hear, you need at least three eyes and greenish blood to gain entry.
9. Nautilus House
In Mexico City sits the Nautilus House, a giant nautilus shell (presumably from the mythical land of giants) with some very interesting window designs - designs that culminate in a stained-glass mosaic masterpiece where the once-upon-a-time nautilus would have come and gone from his shell. The house is truly a feat of creative architecture and the interior is as colorful as a tropical reef, thanks to its incredible window designs.
10. Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia
In 1970, the Cathedral of Brasilia was dedicated. Meant to resemble two hands reaching up to heaven, these concrete, parabolic columns (fingers?) are separated by some very fancy windows. The odd, wavy, triangle-like windows are made up of a series of equally odd panes of glass. They not only point passersby to a good place to genuflect, but allow plenty of heavenly light into the nave of the cathedral.
11. The Cybertecture Egg
The very shape of the Cybertecture Egg demands wacky windows. Okay, so the windows on this fascinating building in Mumbai, India are actually just a bunch of diamonds, but they cover nearly the entire structure, stopping at a few points to allow some fresh air in. Someone’s going to get a permanent window washing job from this project…let’s hope his last name’s not Dumpty.
12. BMW Welt
The BMW Welt building exemplifies curvaceous potential in window making. It’s a whole bunch of glass with nary a straight line or level surface at its entry. These windows that look so black on the outside actually allow a lot of light into interior rooms and give the odd building quite an airy feel…like speeding down the Autobahn in a Beamer, I suppose.
13. The Turtle Building
Once upon a time in Niagara Falls, a large turtle-shaped building was built as a museum to honor Native American culture, possibly referencing creation myths of the Algonquin people or Turtle Island, a name for the North American continent used by many Native American tribes. What is most fascinating is the head of the great turtle, whose windows are made to resemble the eyes, nose and mouth of a turtle. Unfortunately, the Native American museum failed economically and is now closed.
14. Piano Building
Somewhere in Huainan, China, a large clear-glass violin is resting against an even larger grand piano. It’s the sort of piano Paul Bunyan would’ve played had he and Babe had a more artistic calling. But instead, its a very unique house holding the strangest “window” on this list. Inside that glass violin is the staircase up into the main piano - that is, house. Paul Bunyan definitely would’ve had to leave his axe at least 100 yards away. Where are the window companies on 50-foot tall tempered glass musical instruments?
15. Bar-Code Building
“Schtrikh Kod” in Russian, the Bar-Code building is perhaps the most literal homage to shopping I’ve ever seen. The most amazing thing about the Bar-Code’s windows is not their shape or complexity, but that theyre part of a behemoth barcode. Schtrikh Kod is, as you might’ve guessed, a shopping center, and it certainly needs no large or neon sign to be recognized. An arbitrary assortment of numbers and windows will take care of that.
OK, so we’ve seen a nautilus and a turtle (posthumous Lewis Carroll story, perhaps?). Windows that are crooked, crazy, dancing and full of holes. Then there’s the giant pianos, violins, eggs, art and a few stylish places of worship. Well, it sure seems as if there’s quite the demographic for weird, wild and wacky window designs. So let this article be a notice to all window companies that we want stained-glass tetrahedrons, 50-foot violins and our penchant for dancing built right into our homes, and we want it standard!
Oh, and if you can’t find my billing information, just come on over and scan my barcode… you can’t miss it. Thank you, come again.