Asia has produced some of the most creative, off-the-wall designers and free-thinkers in the world – you only need look at trends like ‘bagelhead’ body modification in Japan to see that! Fashion fads come and go quickly, which is fine when you’re talking about a pair of shoes, a tie – or even injecting a saline solution into your forehead so that you resemble a bagel – but being quirky with the design of a building you hope will last for decades is another thing!
Here are ten of our favorite eccentric buildings in Southeast Asia – buildings that surely took some vision to design not to mention guts to commission!
Gate Tower Building, Osaka, Japan
Dubbed as Japan’s ‘first’ building to have a highway pass through it, we’re wondering if they have more planned!? Perhaps the idea could be expanded, and we’ll all be working from drive-through work stations in the future…you heard it here first!
Elephant Building, Bangkok, Thailand
The 102-meter high, 32-storey Elephant Building in Bangkok was designed to resemble…well, an elephant – hence the name! According to urban legend, the original design featured a waste chute that ejected rubbish from the top rear end of the elephant…OK, we may have just made that up…
Yokohama Landmark Tower, Yokohama City, Japan
The tallest building in Japan, we think this structure resembles a really, really, really big rook for a game of chess that Godzilla might play. Though, thinking about it, he’s probably more of a ‘tic-tac-toe’ kind of lizard…
Hang Nga Guesthouse, Da Lat, Vietnam
This unconventional building in Vietnam is nicknamed the ‘Crazy House’. We’re not sure if that means it was designed by a crazy person or if you actually go crazy after staying there, but it’s certainly unique!
Dragon Temple, Sam Pran, Thailand
There’s no shortage of Wats (temples) in Asia but few feature their very own wrap-around dragon. The dragon itself is also a fun water slide, landing you in a swimming pool in an Eden-like garden surrounded by palm trees. Actually, that’s not true, but we wish it was!
Regatta Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
Although the Regatta Hotel has yet to be completed, we thought it deserved a nod due to the stunning ‘artist’s impressions’ of what this nautically-themed group of structures will eventually look like. We think it’s all rather impressive…let’s see if the prices are equally as jaw-dropping!
Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Tokyo, Japan
This futuristic-looking tower in Tokyo actually ‘cocoons’ three educational institutions and approximately 10,000 students. No-one is too cool for this school!
Robot Building, Bangkok, Thailand
Rather than an evil mastermind’s lair or mad scientists laboratory, the Robot Building is actually (rather boringly) the HQ of United Overseas Bank. No matter what you might have heard, it does not come alive at night and defend Bangkok from alien invasions – that’s an urban legend.
Sanrio Strawberry House, Tokyo, Japan
We couldn’t find any reason this shop selling Hello Kitty merchandise is strawberry-shaped…then we realized it’s Japan, and there’s rarely a reason for much that goes on in the Land of the Rising Sun. Sometimes the best answer to ‘Why?’ is ‘Why not?’
Solar Ark, Gifu, Japan
The Solar Ark is supposedly a solar photovoltaic power generation facility. Actually, we think that’s a ruse and it’s really some kind of spaceship, but it’s so big it’s taking a while to charge. When ready, the ‘Ark’ will take Japan’s best Sumo wrestlers to compete in interstellar bouts to conquer the universe…or something.