Check Out These Unique Buildings in America
Updated: Jul 19
What do you think of when someone says house? Is it a white picket fence? A gable style roof? A typical American roof is sloped with asphalt shingles. This is to ensure water run-off and to prevent roof damage. However, there are some unique houses and roofs that bring art and nature into the neighborhood. Here is some unique architecture from around the United States.
Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio
The first cool house that comes to mind in Ohio is the Cincinnati Mushroom House. This structure was built by Professor Terry Brown and some of his architecture students. The house used building materials like ceramic tiles, wood shingles, metal, glass, and shell to achieve the fungi look. This structure actually served as a residence for Professor Brown for two years.
The Futuro House sits between Cincinnati and Dayton. Futuro buildings were first built in the 1960s as a need for cheap, easily heated, and easily built housing increased. They were made of fiberglass reinforced plastic, which means they were very lightweight. Unfortunately, these buildings were short lived as the oil crises put a limit on the plastic needed to build the Futuros. This Futuro House is still standing for all to enjoy, though.
Near Columbus in Circleville, OH, sits The Octagon House. This cool house was built in 1855 for the owner to be able to watch his farm from all sides of his home. The house had to be moved in 2004 as it was going to be demolished to make way for construction. The Roundtown Conservancy saved this piece of unique architecture, although it is still in the process of being restored.
The Toledo and Central Ohio Railroad Station is situated in downtown Columbus, OH. The architectural inspiration came from the Macklin Hotel, which has since been demolished. It is an unusual mix of Japanese and Art Nouveau, which can be seen through the glazed brick and tile roof. Although it is not used as a passenger railroad station, freight trains can use the second floor platform.
Built in 1935, the Fallingwater House is a perfect balance of nature and modern architecture as water flows right through the building. This cool house is constructed of concrete and stone, allowing the natural beauty of the area to take precedence. Today this building is open to the public as an art museum so that everyone may enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique architecture.
Kentuck Knob is another cool house by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is made of glass, sandstone, copper, and wood to blend right into the mountain. This structure is hexagonal in nature with hexagonal windows decorating the overhangs around the building. Kentuck Knob is now open for tours for everyone to experience this cool house integrated into nature.
PPG Place sits downtown Pittsburgh, PA. This building consists of six buildings that were constructed with 19,750 pieces of glass. This helps reflect the sun in the summer to keep energy costs down. The 40-story office has dominated the Pittsburgh skyline since 1983. The glass spires make the building look like a modern-day castle. The main building is used as an office, but smaller buildings are used as event spaces.
Pennsylvania’s Frick Environmental Center runs completely off of solar energy. The building materials used for this structure were all locally sourced and vetted. It even has a feature to collect rainwater on the roof for use in the building later. This environmentally friendly building is a great example of natural and modern architecture.
Towering over Dallas, TX is the Reunion Tower. The very top of the tower sits a ball made of aluminum and glass building materials, which allows guests to see 360 degrees of the city. It also houses a rotating section which used to be a restaurant. LED lights light up the sky at night while guests can enjoy one of the three inner levels. This unique ball in the sky shows off some of Dallas’s best modern architecture.
Fountain Place Tower sits in downtown Dallas. This structure was built to look different from every angle. Slanted sides and glass reflected building materials help achieve the prism effect of this tower. It was finished in 1986 and now features a twin tower with the same prism effect.
The Dallas County Courthouse was built in 1892 and is now a historic museum. It used building materials such as red sandstone and marble, which creates a bright and colorful piece of architecture. It features a striped pattern on the roof with cone shaped tops. This type of architecture was popular in the late 1800s, as it often has one tall column surrounded by clusters of shorter columns.
Dallas is also home to the Chapel of Thanksgiving. This building sits in Thanks-giving Square which is a park that includes gardens and art. The structure itself is a work of art with spirling walls and stained glass windows. The shape of the spiral is meant to emanate the path of the soul. There is a lot of symbolism included in the unique architecture of this chapel.
The Henry B. Plant Museum was built in the 1800s as a hotel. This building was advertised as being one of the first Florida buildings to exclusively run off electricity. The structure itself is made of concrete and steel so that it could be fireproof. Today this building is part classroom for the University of Tampa and part art museum to showcase all of the art that Henry B. Plant collected.
Rivergate Tower, also known as the “beer can”, is the seventh tallest building in Tampa, FL. It gained its infamous nickname by the appearance of this building with its cylindrical walls and tan color. The structure is made of limestone and is subsequently one of the tallest limestone buildings in the world. It features 31 floors plus two sub-levels for parking.
An iconic piece of modern architecture in downtown Tampa is the Tampa Museum of Art. It features a 14,000 square foot LED installation that is meant to mimic the Tampa night sky. This art museum has a translucent ceiling, and is made of pierced aluminum, concrete, and glass. It is used today both as an art museum and as a school for aspiring artists.
A medieval looking building called Palace of Florence Apartments is a part of Tampa’s Davis Islands. The architecture was meant to emanate a giant Italian palazzo, or a grand residence. It features 28 units and a battlement tower to look over the Tampa scenery. This romantic piece of architecture has been renovated and restored, and is still used as apartments to this day.
Art Inspires Art
All of these amazing pieces of unique architecture and art can be found around us. Unique homes have been around for centuries, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Take some inspiration from these local buildings for your next project.
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