Ten Most Unique Buildings in the US
The Basket Building
City: Newark, Ohio
The Longaberger Company, well-known for its products that define American households, especially for its maple baskets, is located in a building shaped like a giant basket. The building resembles the company’s bestseller (Longaberger Medium Market Basket) and holds the record for being the world’s largest basket. The seven-story Longaberger headquarters has been the company’s home since December 1997. The building was the brainchild of company founder Dave Longaberger. The Longaberger Company has, however, seen a steady decline in revenue over the past decade and its overall workforce has fallen from about 8,200 to 230. Dave Longaberger died soon after the building’s construction in 1999 at the age of 64 years from kidney cancer. The company has recently announced its intention to move out of the Big Basket Building which still remains a unique attraction.
City: Salt Lake City, Utah
The Summum Pyramid is referred to as a “sanctuary and a temple” by those who belong to the Summum religion. The 30 feet tall, 40 feet long pyramid is the primary center of Summum worship and religious philosophy classes are held within this pyramid each week. It was built between 1977 and 1979 primarily from donations coming from the followers and through voluntary efforts. The Summum faith combines the practices of ancient Egypt and the Old Testament. Not surprisingly, the Summum Pyramid was constructed on precise geometrical designs derived from this era. The use of crystals is believed to energize the pyramid and lend strength to its initiation chamber.
Kansas City Public Library
City: Kansas City, Missouri
If you thought libraries are boring places, think again. The Kansas City Public Library’s parking garage is built to resemble one gigantic bookshelf. The 22 “books” on display in this parking garage facade come complete with 25 foot tall 9 foot wide signboard rendering some well-known titles including Silent Spring, Invisible Man, Charlotte’s Web, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Republic, The Lord of the Rings, and Fahrenheit 451. The garage behind this giant bookshelf was constructed in the year 2006.The local community was asked to help plan out a beautiful new structure and this idea of the bookshelf came up. The community also voted to finalize the 22 titles that have been put up on this facade.
City: Orlando, Florida
The Wonderworks Museum is an entertainment center with various science-based shows and rides that are designed to thrill and entertain at the same time. Wonderworks has five locations – Orlando (Florida), Panama City Beach (Florida), Pigeon Forge (Tennessee), Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), and Syracuse (New York). Each of these is housed in a building that is designed to look like it has been uprooted by a storm and smashed into another structure on the site. The first of these to open was the one in Orlando, Florida, in March 1998.
Dr. Seuss House
City: Willow, Alaska
Often referred to as “America’s most whimsical home”, the Dr. Seuss House of Willow in Alaska is a strange looking stacked house. The owner built 12 stories one atop the other in his attempt to see the mountain peak (Denali) as the surrounding trees grew taller. Though currently abandoned, it is a private property and is a great attraction of Alaska. Dr. Seuss House, thus named for the owner’s imagination, is located somewhere between Willow and Talkeetna. The original owner, Phillip Weidner, worked on this 185 feet wonder for 10 years. After that, it remained abandoned for nearly 10 years. The new owner then purchased and renovated it.
Phoenix Financial Center
City: Phoenix, Arizona
A financial center designed to look like a computer punch card – this is perhaps why the Phoenix Financial Center of Phoenix City is called “Punchcard Building”. Apart from the high-rise, the financial center has two rotunda buildings side by side. The complex was completed and dedicated in 1964. In 1972, 9 floors were added to the existing 10 storied main tower. Another tower was meant to be built complementing the existing high rise but this was never worked upon. This iconic Phoenix building was designed by Wenceslaus Sarmiento, a well-known architect.
City: Colorado City, Colorado
Bishop Castle in central Colorado has been described by RoadsideAmerica as “one man’s massive-obsessive labor of medieval fantasy construction”. One look at this strange looking structure is enough to explain the statement. Jim Bishop acquired the land and started building his family a cottage in 1969. He used stones from the nearby forests. Soon the building started to take the shape of a castle and Bishop worked on it for about 40 years. Though often called crazy, Bishop is a happy man since Colorado State Chamber Of Commerce now recognizes his fortress to be a key attraction.
Dog Bark Park Inn
City: Cottonworld, Idaho
The Dog Bark Park Inn is a hotel that opened up in Cottonworld, Idaho in the year 2003. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t have been worthy of notice except for the fact that the hotel is built to resemble a beagle. The two bedrooms of the hotel are also done up in dog themes and it is now a famous landmark. The “dog” has also been named Sweet Willy by the local residents of Cottonworld. The 30 foot Dog Bark Park Inn is owned by Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin.
Weisman Art Museum
City: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry in 1934, the Weisman Art Museum located in the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota is a landmark. The wavy stainless steel skin, manufactured and installed by A. Zahner Company has become its unique identity. The shiny glass and steel exteriors form the perfect prelude to the wonderful art collection inside the museum.
The Markel Building
City: Richmond, Virginia
The Markel Building in Richmond, Virginia is unique in many respects. Not only was this building the headquarters of the Markel Insurance Corporation, inspired by a foil-wrapped baked potato that was served to its architect, Haig Jamgochian, it is also popularly regarded as one of the ugliest buildings in the country. The shiny, round building often referred to as the “Potato Building” is unique but certainly something of an eyesore. The building was commissioned in 1962 by the Markel Insurance Corporation.