Fun buildings

An overview of projects, products and exclusive articles about fun buildings

Project • By MVRDVHousing

Balancing Barn

The MVRDV project is built on a beautiful site by a small lake in the English countryside near Thorington in Suffolk. From the road, the barn is almost invisible; the front being only 7 metres wide, with a pitched roof, faces the long straight driveway approach, suggesting a small house with a traditional shape. The volume, however, has a length of 30 metres. At the midpoint it starts to cantilever over the descending slope; a balancing act made possible by the rigid structure of the building; resulting in 50% of the barn being in free space, and giving a wide view over the Suffolk landscape, adjacent lake and surrounding gardens. The long sides of the structure are well hidden by trees allowing privacy inside and around the barn. The exter... More

Project • By Neutelings Riedijk ArchitectenMuseums

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision divides into three distinct elements, each designed as a separate volume: the national archives, where all the audiovisual material ever produced since the early days of Dutch radio and television is preserved, the TV and Radio exhibition centre for the public and a research institute for professionals. The audiovisual archives - that need rigorously strict climatic conditions but no daylight - are conceived as five underground vault floors. The exhibition rooms are organized in a huge ziggurat shape floating in the air. The institute’s offices are housed in a simple slab on the side. Together these three distinct volumes form one giant cube, half above ground and half under ground, whil... More

Project • By VTN Architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)Private Houses

Stacking Green

Whoever wanders around Saigon, a chaotic city with the highest density of population in the world, can easily find flower-pots crampped and displayed here and there all around the streets. This interesting custom has formed the amused character of Saigon over a long period of time and Saigonese love their life with a large variety of tropical plants and flowers in their balconies, courtyards and streets. The house, designed for a thirty-years-old couple and their mother, is a typical tube house constructed on the plot 4m wide and 20m deep. The front and back façades are entirely composed of layers of concrete planters cantilevered from two side walls. The distance between the planters and the height of the planters are adjusted according... More

Project • By MVSA ArchitectsShops

Shoebaloo Amsterdam

SHOEBALOO, a designer footwear boutique in the Netherlands, has three shoe shops in Amsterdam and is as popular for its shoes as for its cutting-edge interiors. One of the shops is situated in the ultra chic P.C. Hooftstraat. Despite being only 100 square meters, the shop’s high-end shoe collection speaks in measures, including Gucci, Prada, Fendi and miu miu. The shop in the P.C. Hooftstraat started up 12 years ago and the first interior was designed by Borek Sipek. Looking for something new, something special, offering a completely new shopping experience the client commissioned Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten to remodel the interior. The exterior as well as the interior of the remodelled shop are in many ways contrary to the o... More

Project • By Heatherwick StudioPavilions

Shanghai Expo 2010 British Pavilion

The UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo expresses British creativity and environmental engagement at the biggest event of its kind since the Expo phenomenon began in 1851 with the Great Exhibition at London's Crystal Palace. Since then, there have been more than 50 Expos – which have also been known as World’s Fairs or World Expositions – and the most spectacular have included those at Chicago in 1893 and Paris in 1900. The latter attracted 50m visitors, a record at the time, setting an early benchmark for a country’s portrayal of innovation and progress. Held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions, the Shanghai Expo will be the largest the world has ever seen. Staged on a 5.28km2 city centre site beside the Hu... More

Product • By Studio RoosegaardeDUNE


DUNE is a public interactive landscape that interacts with human behavior. This hybrid of nature and technology is composed of large amounts of fibers that brighten according to the sounds and motion of passing visitors. Our most recent version is filled with hundreds of interactive lights and sounds. DUNE investigates nature in a futuristic relation with urban space by means of looking, walking and interacting. DUNE 4.1 is a public, interactive landscape placed in the Maastunnel as in-situ commission for Rotterdam City of Architecture 2007. DUNE 4.2 is a new, permanent interactive landscape situated alongside the Maas River in Rotterdam, NL. This sixty-meter-long public artwork utilizes fewer than 60 watts of energy as it intui... More

Product • By Studio RoosegaardeLUNAR


The interactive artwork, LUNAR features a series of interactive light objects placed at the Youth division of Mental Health Care GGz in Breda, the Netherlands. Filled with LEDs and interactive technologies, the objects are designed to ‘come to life’ by emitting sounds and color upon detection of children’s touch. By intervening with the existing architecture, LUNAR creates an informal play between children, their therapy and the building. Specifications: 2010-2011. Tubes of diameter 30cm, heights 100-160cm. Molded objects, LEDs, electronics, sensor and software. Google Map (open for public via appointment). Client: Commission for the Mental Health Care GGz Breda, developed with SKOR| Foundation for Art and Public Domain. More

Project • By Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-WestfalenExhibitions

In Orbit

A gigantic installation work by Tomás Saraceno, entitled “in orbit,” has been assembled in the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. At a height of more than 20 meters above the piazza of the K21 Ständehaus, Saraceno has suspended a net construction within which visitors can move, apparently weightlessly. This highly contemporary safety net, which covers altogether 2500 m², spreads itself out across three levels below the massive glass cupola of the K21. The levels are held apart from one another by a series of “spheres,” airfilled PVC balls measuring up to 8.5 meters in diameter. “To describe the work means to describe the people who use it – and their emotions,” explains Tomás Saraceno concerning his largest installation to date, planned... More

Project • By Maurer United ArchitectsCommercial Landscape


This watchtower with the shape of a gigantic robot has the exact same dimensions as the original Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the seven classic wonders of the world. It provides views over the spectacle of the brown coal excavations that are transforming the landscape around the towers into one of Germany’s biggest lakes. The tower is constructed entirely from steel and refers to the industrial appearance of the enormous machines in the open cast mine. Transparent grid floors and metal fabric façades create a game of views and vistas. 40,000 LED lights have been incorporated in the metal fabric, which create a media façade on all sides at night. More

Project • By Superuse StudiosPlaygrounds


For the foundation “Kinderparadijs Meidoorn” 2012Architecten designed a new playground on their 1200m2 plot. The existing playground was in a bad shape and in need of renovation. 2012Architecten mapped the old situation and selected the elements that were fit for reuse in a new playground. After this process a design was made. Five (discarded) rotor blades are used to create a maze like space with a panna court in the center, placed on the existing concrete circle. Four towers are placed around it, each with a distinctive character. Between the towers a net is hanging. This is functioning as a climbing structure, but will also prevent balls ending up in the garden of the neighbours. More

Project • By SO – ILExhibitions

Pole Dance

In this proposal for MoMAPS1 ’s Young Architects Program we take the opportunity to further contemporary explorations to create sensory-charged environments, rather than finite forms. Especially in the case of envisioning a temporary structure for the PS1 courtyard, which needs to perform two seemingly contradictory tasks (calming and carousing), a worthy proposition will need to consider the choreography of situations rather than object-making. We designed a participatory environment that reframes the conceptual relation between humankind and structure. It consists of an interconnected system of poles and nets whose equilibrium is constantly affected by human action and environmental factors, such as rain and wind. Upon discovery of its... More

Project • By MVRDVShops

Building transformation Gangnam Style

Just before a Korean pop-song became a global success on YouTube for the first time in history, and Gangnam became world famous as the nouveau riche hangout of the South-Korean capital Seoul, MVRDV was commissioned by Woon Nam Management Ltd. to redefine a building on Gangnams chic Apgujung Road. Even though the Chungha building was completed in the 1980’s it was already outdated in a street dominated by flagship stores. The transformation, which added an extra level, was completed in just 9 months. The Chungha building had become a rotten tooth in a fast changing streetscape dominated by single brand stores, this building contains a collection of brands in one. On the previous façade, a motley collection of fonts competed for the attent... More

Project • By By Will AlsopExhibition Centres


The Public represents a radical gesture for community architecture, born from the conviction that art and architecture can be catalysts for regeneration and renewal. On five principal levels, the building is intended to give great scope to exhibition designers, artists, educators and users of all kinds, while encouraging and challenging all users to work in innovative ways. The Public is intended to inspire new ideas from its creative users rather than simply make way for them. The building itself is a statement of its creators' belief in art, in the broadest sense, as a means to empower communities and individuals, and to permeate lives in surprising and beneficial ways. Among its many functions, The Public hosts exhibitions of local an... More

Project • By By Will AlsopUniversities


A distinctive cultural force in Ontario, OCADU's impetus to expand comes with a growing recognition at national level of the contribution of the creative industries to Canada's modern economy. The decision to employ Alsop was based upon a significant track record in the design of cultural buildings of enduring effectiveness and appeal which also offered iconic representation of the client body as the school enters a new age. Following the appointment, Will Alsop instigated a series of client workshops in which early concepts were developed with college staff and students. During this time, conventional ideas of teaching, learning and architecture were explored as the group sought to redefine their new college of art and design. The parti... More

Project • By MZ ArchitectsOffices

ALDAR Headquarters

Driving along the desert road and with the anticipation of reaching Abu Dhabi a shining element captures one eye from a distance. As one moves closer to the object, it becomes obvious that the extensive blurring of scale generally experienced in the desert landscape is once again apparent but this time through an iconic man made creation: the HQ. THE IDEA In the wake of the construction boom of Abu Dhabi and in an effort to put the area on the map, MZ Architects were commissioned the design of the Aldar HQ, a building that will change and expand the Abu Dhabi skyline forever. This architectural icon was to shine at the center of Al Raha Beach Development, also a project by Aldar and a newly envisioned microcosm that would bring new life... More