The world’s craziest upside-down houses

For decades, architects have been coming up with fun and zany designs. Across the world, there are numerous examples of novelty or mimetic architecture. Some of the earliest examples have stood the test of time and are still popular today.


Lucy the Elephant is the perfect example. The six-storey elephant-shaped hotel was built in 1881 in Margate City, New Jersey, near Atlantic City. It is so precious to locals that they raised the money and provided some of the labour to physically move it. They did so to stop it from being demolished.

There are many different types of novelty architecture out there, but, today we have decided to talk about one specific genre – upside-down houses. Surprisingly, there are quite a few of these unique buildings scattered throughout the world.

Upside-down House, Szymbark, Poland

Our first upside-down house was completed in 2007, and was designed by Daniel Czapiewski. He had the building built as a statement about the uncertainties of life in post-Communist Poland. The interior is furnished in the communist style of the 1970s, including a TV that shows propaganda films from that era. It is now a popular tourist attraction.

Building this upside-down house was quite problematic. The foundations alone swallowed up 200 cubic meters of concrete. It also took nearly six times longer to build the timber house than it would have taken to build a similar structure that was the right way up.

Upside-down house, Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls

Interestingly, it was two Polish immigrants who built the famous upside-down house in Clifton Hills Niagara Falls. They specifically designed it to be a tourist attraction.

The interior is set up to enable visitors to take photos or each other in the house. Once printed out and turned upside-down, it looks like the people in the photo are actually standing on the ceiling. Since it opened in 2012, the two-bedroom, 1,200 sq. ft. house has been visited by thousands of tourists, every month.

Two examples of upside-down White Houses

It may surprise you to learn that there are 10 replicas of The White House located throughout the world. Even more surprising is the fact that four of them have been built upside-down.

One of them is the White House in Batumi in the former Soviet state of Georgia. This replica sits at a strange angle, and is a big attraction for the city, which is located next to the Black Sea. Unlike many of the upside buildings we have already spoken about here, this one has a function. It is used as a restaurant, where diners are given the opportunity to enjoy a meal on one of its three floors.

A ‘Top Secret’ upside-down White House can be found in the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and is a very quirky and tongue-in-cheek replica. The details are largely right, but the Bigfoot in a jail cell and the fact that a canon goes off when you trigger a motions sensor in one of the rooms makes it a little unconventional. Of all of the upside-down White Houses, this is the biggest.

Die Welt Steht Kopf, Trassenheide, Usedom, Germany

This upside-down house in Germany was built at a 6% incline. The idea is that the building looks like it just fell from the sky and hit the ground.

Again, it was a pair of Polish architects that were responsible for building this tourist attraction, which was completed in 2008. This house has several nice extra touches, including an upside-down bicycle, bench and wheelbarrow. There is also an upside-down house built in the grounds of the Gettorf Animal Park, in Germany.

Three-storey upside-down house in the Huashan Creative Park, Taipei, China

Most topsy-turvy houses are only two-storeys. In China, a group of architects decided to take things one step further.

The house they built had three storeys. It even included a garage, which meant that they had to fix a car to the ceiling. Sadly, this $600,000 (£425,000) full-sized house is no longer there. It was built as part of an exhibition, so was dismantled after five months, along with the rest of the exhibits.

Upside-down theme park in Orlando

The designer of Wonderworks in Orlando, Florida has taken the quirkiness a step further. From the outside, this 35,000 sq. ft. amusement park looks like a mansion has crashed upside-down into another building. Terry O. Nichoson, who was born in Orlando, is the architect around this unique building.

Inside, this amusement park is over a hundred interactive exhibits. Wonderworks have parks in several other locations, all of which are housed in novelty buildings.

House of Katmandu, Magalluf, Mallorca, Spain

This unique building was built in Magalluf as a tourist attraction and museum. It was built in the Tibetan style and is surprisingly big.

What does the future hold for upside-down buildings?

As you can see, most of the upside-down buildings we have spoken about above have been built to prove that it is possible and to attract tourists to an area. It will be interesting to see whether any more will be built and how long the ones that have already been constructed will be maintained.

It is highly unlikely that anyone would choose to live in an upside-down house. Visitors to these buildings report that entering and walking around one is very disorientating. That is not surprising because all of the furniture is nailed to the ceiling.

Plans for an upside-down super skyscraper

However, there is a possibility that people will one day end up living in an upside-down building. A firm called Clouds Architecture Office is working on a concept that should lead to super tall upside-down skyscrapers being built.

Instead of being built from the ground up these buildings would be suspended from an orbiting asteroid. Effectively, the skyscraper would hang from space in a manner not unlike how a chandelier does from a ceiling.

Initially, this idea seems far-fetched, but not so much when one factors in the consideration that in 2021, NASA is planning to capture an asteroid. This is the first step in determining whether asteroids can in fact be relocated, so the science needed to put the foundations of an upside-down a skyscraper in place above the house is being developed.

Posted by Mark
December 27, 2018

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