Skip to main content

10 of the world's 'blobbiest' buildings

By James Durston, CNN
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 0943 GMT (1743 HKT)
The Metropol Parasol is one of the world's largest wooden structures. Located in Seville, Spain, it stands in stark contrast to the city's historical and urban environment. Its architect, J. Mayer H., received the Red Dot Design Award in 2012 for its sophisticated design.
<strong>Architect</strong>: J. Mayer H. The Metropol Parasol is one of the world's largest wooden structures. Located in Seville, Spain, it stands in stark contrast to the city's historical and urban environment. Its architect, J. Mayer H., received the Red Dot Design Award in 2012 for its sophisticated design. Architect: J. Mayer H.
HIDE CAPTION
Metropol Parasol (Spain)
Kunsthaus Graz (Austria)
Experience Music Project (United States)
New York by Gehry at Eight Spruce Street (U.S.)
Selfridges Building (England)
The Sage Gateshead (England)
De Admirant Entrance Building (Netherlands)
Golden Terraces (Złote Tarasy) (Poland)
City Hall (England)
DZ Bank Building, Pariser Platz (Germany)
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Blobitecture" comprises buildings with few or no right angles and fluid, flowing forms
  • Experience Music Project in Seattle, locally known as "The Blob," is a prime example
  • Blob building Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la Création, designed by Frank O. Gehry, to open in Paris in 2014

(CNN) -- "Gigantic, alien-looking buildings" that bring to mind melted guitars, mushroom-like parasols and UFOs.

That's how some of the world's finest examples of "blob buildings" have been described, by the company that wants to celebrate them.

Building data company Emporis of Hamburg, Germany, usually gives kudos to more traditional architectural triumphs, such as these new skyscrapers completed last year.

But this time "we felt that it's time to highlight this interesting and visually appealing topic," says Sarah Krenz, in the Emporis public relations office.

What makes a building a blob?

"Unconventional, right-angle-free geometric shapes," according to the report. It's also known as "liquid architecture."

Emporis cites the Experience Music Project in Seattle, locally known as "The Blob," as a prime example.

Others include the Golden Terraces in Warsaw, "whose wavy roof, created from 4,700 separate glass elements, rests like a frozen liquid over the atrium of this multi-story shopping center."

As well as standing out from other buildings in their vicinity, blob buildings often conjure imaginative responses from the public, not always complimentary.

While the Selfridges Building, a shopping center in Birmingham, England, is known as the Beehive due to its honeycomb-like façade, the London City Hall was once described as a "glass testicle."

This list anticipates the opening next year of another "blob" -- the exhibition building Fondation Louis Vuitton pour la Création in Paris, designed by Frank O. Gehry.

What do you think? Are blob buildings creative and inspiring or ugly and over the top? Comment below.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 0957 GMT (1757 HKT)
At these fun Los Angeles bars, the the drinks come with a chaser of kitsch.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
From dining next to massive predators to drinking atop a rock in the middle of the ocean, Africa boasts some of the most interesting places to eat.
September 7, 2014 -- Updated 0921 GMT (1721 HKT)
Just weeks after Bill HIllman, known as a veteran, expert bull runner, was badly gored in Pamplona, he's back at other smaller bull runnings in Spain, but walking with a cane.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Don't like the country you live in? Why not create your own, as many people have done. We uncover the parallel world of "micronationalism."
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 0124 GMT (0924 HKT)
A CNN producer experiences China's poor on-time flight record firsthand as his plane takes off eight hours late.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0600 GMT (1400 HKT)
New Yorker Kerrin Rousset's exploration of Swiss city aims to lure cocoa fans over to the dark side.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 0347 GMT (1147 HKT)
Some things are just better after dark. These experiences around the world prove it.
ADVERTISEMENT