A building’s architecture often gives way to practicalities. Dictates of the city planning administration or simply the urgent need to finish a building in the fastest time possible have left structures that do not complement the cityscape.

Do not fret however, as there are still artists left in architects. There are living spaces, apartments to be specific, which are innovations on their own. If you want to live in an address that is uniquely its own, scope out the following apartments.

Block 16

Designed by René van Zuuk for a new development in Almere, this apartment complex appears like it is constantly moving. The inspiration for the design lies in the construction technique of tunnel formwork. Like the prefabricated construction of tunnels, the building’s floors and walls have been built at the same time. Sectioning was made as the work progressed. Inside the central tunnels which serve as the central passageways were uniform. The alternate tunnels were the ones they lengthened or shortened in order to give the external area of the building that wavy look. The firm OMA which the designer is from reports that performing this particular construction method did not increase the costs for making the building. The project which was finished last July 2005 was reported to have cost only € 5,6 M.


The translations of its German name means forest spire; Spire because of its U shaped design that seems to spiral in on itself and because of the large spire at its peak and forest because of the use of plants as roofing.  Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an artist from Vienna, created the designs for this innovative apartment. He has made so that   the building transgresses the grid based planning common in building practices. People living in the Waldspirale do not look out at the same windows as not one of the thousand are alike. Aside from these innovations, there is an artificial lake in the courtyard and a playground for the children. A cafe and a bar serves residents at the topmost floor.

Walden 7

Situated in what has been the remains of a cement factory, Walden 7 arose out of the limited budget the architect was given with 18 towers tapering and interconnecting with one another. These spaces where the towers bisected would become common areas for residents to mingle with one another. This social housing project, which appears to be quite the labyrinth, breaks the mold of government housing. Residents stay in studio apartments with some of the spaces increasing in other areas to accommodate four room ones. Any common rooms like game rooms, shops and arcades can be found at the bottom of the Walden 7.

Lace Apartments

Imagine a lace striped amber, orange, brown and green floating and folding. Now think that that lace is creating a structure as it goes and then gets fixed in the facade of that building. The 3D rendering of a lace is the one that animates this particular building in Nova Gorica in Slovenia. Nova Gorica is near the country’s border with Italy. Špela Vide?nik and Rok Oman led the design team that created this structure. A lot of features have also been built around the lace like pergolas, dividing walls, balconies including loggias, terraces and projecting roofs. At first glance, the design appears impractical. However the facade’s features mitigates the temperature levels in the bedrooms and the living rooms. The outcroppings protect against gusts of wind and unpredictable weather. The building promotes privacy as common spaces and service areas are limited. Shafts provide the entry of sunlight into the interior. It is because of these limitations that residents inside the building have very low energy consumptions resulting in savings.

Casa Mila Barcelona

Ever seen a building that looks like a giant fountain? Casa Mila Barcelona is the last civil design of Antoni Gaudi, an architect who happens to be a surrealist as well. As one can see the meandering white stone facade looks like flowing water. The portals appear like they have sculpted from sand ala a sand castle. If that’s not enough scope out the figurines at the top of the building. Commonly called La Pedrera or the Quarry in Spanish because of its resemblance to mines stones are gathered, the casa has long been retired from civil use. It is however seeing increased traffic as a venue for artistic affairs and its being granted the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

VM Houses

Seen from sky these two new residences in Copenhagen’s new district of Ørestaden, look like a V and an M and thus their collective name VM Houses. For the V house, the grid based design was opened up in the middle and along the sides, pushing the foundation more to the center. This particular manipulation of space creates wider vistas for residents and the materials for the building were chosen to maximize the entry of daylight and air. On the northern part of each apartment there is more head space while there is more diagonal space and increase views on the southern part. The terraces on the southern edge protrude of the building like spikes. The V House is lifted by columns in order to create common meeting areas with other residents. The building will be able to impale a giant. On its opposite side the M building was designed after several sections of what should have been a grid based design were taken off piecemeal by piecemeal to appear like an M. The M House employs the same materials as the V House with two shafts providing light into the building.

Reversible Destiny Lofts

Arakawa + Gins is a pair of artists who use living space and architecture as medium to create art which make people think about life. Reversible Destiny Lofts is the culmination of the pair’s philosophy towards architecture. The couple has made it their mission to turn back mortality. For practical purposes, the death they are trying to avert is not of our physical bodies but that of our sense of wonder. True enough the buildings are designed in a surreal manner. The floors are meandering and the kitchens are likely sunk in the center of the room. Some rooms are designed in such a way that you will feel you are in two places at once. Comfort leads to death according to the artists and that is why  they made the living spaces challenging. It is the kind of strange apartment that makes you feel strange to the point that you are not the same person coming out of its doors. People who want to live in this conceptual art of a residence need to shell out $750,000.

Liulin Residential Complex

Bulgaria, particularly the city of Sofia, is in the cusp of change. As for 2009 the Foster + Partners are churning out designs for a new section of the city which includes a large park in the center. This particular development has spurred the rush for the creation of new structures. One such structure being built is the Liulin apartment complex which has a predecessor in the area two decades ago.

However since the times are changing, the old one deserves an upgraded version. This structure is sitting on the crossroads of time and of metropolis and natural environment. As such certain features takes advantage of nature like its maximization of residents views of Mt. Vitosha. Despite the grid based allotment of the space, the designers have rounded out the edges to provide an ambiguity that drinks in the pavements and the nature around it. It’s scale and dimensions do not depart from the city’s standards so the Liulin apartment complex appears down to earth despite the newness the design effects.

Tetris Apartments

The Tetris apartments is architecture adjusting to homeowner’s needs for privacy and intimacy. Since the structure faces a highway, the apartments’s windows were turned by at least 30 degrees to the quieter South side. The loggias and the balconies have been planned in such a way that neighbors will not have to see each other hence the shape of the facade. It is through this particular measure when the elevations were done that people started giving the social housing complex the nickname of Tetris Apartments.

Habitat 67

The architectural showcase of the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Habitat 67 has long since stopped being an exhibition piece to a utilized one. It’s inspiration came from the writer Antoine de Exupery who wrote that one of the truths about housing is to live in it. The houses were the designer residences in 60s Canada and has been the pride of the people of Montreal. Now residents are still living on the innovative and unique lifestyle that the buildings which appear like lego blocks inspire. Moshe Safdie, its architect, envisioned a design that mimics eternity through the values of the blocks. The 354 cubes which comprise the 148 housing units here do not merely represent squares but the values of origin, truth, moral perfection and wisdom. It is a sculpture that seeks to make people meditate on man’s place in nature.



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