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Architecture

Big Baskets and Giant Fish: 6 Unusually Shaped Buildings Around the World

By Sarah Etinas
Read time: 4 minutes

One can discover eye-catching architecture in just about every major city across the globe — from the modern, glass-covered skyscrapers of Asia to the historic medieval walled cities of Europe. But there are some uniquely shaped buildings that would stand out in any cityscape. From guitar-shaped hotels to fish-shaped government buildings, here are six of the most unusually shaped buildings around the world.

Big Basket Building – Newark, Ohio

Exterior of building shaped like a giant picnic basket in Newark, Ohio
Photo credit: Kenneth Sponsler/ Shutterstock

When the Longaberger Company, a now-defunct basket manufacturer, was looking to construct its new headquarters in 1997, the company found inspiration in its signature product. The result was the striking — and aptly named — “Big Basket” building in Newark, Ohio, taking the shape of a massive picnic basket complete with “woven” sides and 75-ton handles. The seven-story building has certainly caught the attention of those driving by on Ohio State Route 16 ever since, but sadly, the original Longaberger Company shuttered in 2018, and the “Big Basket” closed its doors. While you can no longer step foot inside of this unique building for the time being, you can still drive by and admire it from the outside. At one point, there were plans to convert the building into a luxury hotel, but those plans were abandoned and the building’s fate remains uncertain.

Krzywy Domek (Crooked House) – Sopot, Poland

Whimsical exterior of the "Crooked House" in Sopot, Poland
Photo credit: katatonia82/ Shutterstock

Krzywy Domek — otherwise known as the “Crooked House” — is like a surrealist painting brought to life. Built in 2004, this whimsical building in northern Poland boasts curvy walls, a purposefully sunken roof, and even seemingly warped windows — which all makes sense when you discover the design was inspired by Polish artist Jan Szancer’s fairytale illustrations. Surprisingly, the inside of this fairytale-inspired building is much more conventional. It’s part of the Rezydent Shopping Center and is filled with the usual stores, spas, bars, and restaurants.

Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum – Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum building with roof modeled after rolled carpet
Photo credit: RuslanKphoto/ Shutterstock

Modeled after a curled, golden carpet, this eye-catching building hints at exactly what’s inside: the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world. Designed by Austrian architect Franz Janz in 2014, the building is home to the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum, which was established in 1967. With over 6,000 Azerbaijani carpets — both traditional and modern — within its glass walls, you could easily spend hours admiring the time-consuming creations inside. You may even be able to take a paid carpet-weaving class at this one-of-a-kind museum.

Fish Building – Hyderabad, India

Building shaped like a giant silver fish in Hyderab
Photo credit: Exotica/ Alamy Stock Photo

Similar to the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum, the unmistakable shape of this building — which houses the offices of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDC) in Hyderabad, India — gives passersby a clue to its purpose. Built in 2012 and unofficially known as the “Fish Building,” the striking structure features fins, eyes, a mouth, and a giant tail. Even the silvery sheet metal used on the body of the fish gives the structure a scale-like quality, taking the aquatic feel to the next level. 

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood – Hollywood, Florida

Hotel shaped like a giant guitar in Hollywood, Florida
Photo credit: JJW Photography/ Shutterstock

The Hard Rock brand is known for all things music-related, so it only makes sense that the theming extends to its architecture. Opened in Hollywood, Florida, in 2004, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood takes the shape of a 36-story glass guitar. Within its shiny blue walls, you’ll find 638 rooms and suites, dozens of restaurants, a casino, and a 7,000-person live music venue. A selection of Fender guitars is even available for guests to borrow free of charge as part of the Sound of Your Stay experience. It probably comes as no surprise that the building — the first of its kind and which cost a whopping $1.5 billion to construct — is known by the nickname, “the Guitar Hotel.” 

Dog Bark Inn – Cottonwood, Idaho

Hotel shaped like a giant beagle in Cottonwood, Idaho
Photo credit: Martyn Skorkin/ Shutterstock

Hollywood’s “Guitar Hotel” isn’t the only unusually shaped accommodation in the U.S. — Cottonwood, Idaho is home to the Dog Bark Inn, a cozy bed-and-breakfast that claims to be the world’s largest beagle. Standing 30 feet tall and nicknamed “Sweet Willy,” the hotel is the brainchild of artist couple Dennis J. Sullivan and Frances Conklin, who opened their one-of-a-kind hotel concept in 1997. Once you make your way inside the beagle building, located off U.S. 95 in north-central Idaho, you’ll enter the single one-bedroom suite filled with books, board games, and freshly baked cookies to make you feel right at home. And, of course, your furry friends are welcome to join you at this dog-themed inn.

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