[Editor’s note: For the next two Fridays, Flavorwire will be counting down our 20 most popular features of 2010. This post, which originally ran on August 9, 2010, comes in at position number 20.] A gray, concrete rectangle isn’t the only option available when it comes to designing buildings. The final shape and style of an edifice is limited only by an architect’s imagination. To showcase some other possibilities, we collected 10 buildings that resemble something else, including an elephant, picnic basket, pair of grazing armadillos, and much more. Click past the jump and let your structural creativity soar!
Located in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
In architect Octavio Ocampo’s seashell house, you can pretend to live under the sea while remaining above ground.
Located in Graz, Austria
We can’t help thinking about a giant heart when looking at this building.
Located in New Delhi, India
Who wouldn’t feel a sense of calm even before entering this lotus-like Baha’i Temple by architect Fariborz Sahba?
Located in Singapore
This photograph of the Esplanade near Marina Bay in Singapore — a joint project by DP Architects of Singapore and Michael Wilford & Partners, a London firm — makes the theater and concert hall look like two overgrown armadillos.
Located in Bangkok, Thailand
We wonder how much the suite with the elephant-eye window costs. Probably more than the rooms obstructed by the ear.
Located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
The owner of the whale house must be the most envied individual in the area.
Located in Newark, Ohio
Can you imagine how many ham and cheese sandwiches, bottles of wine, and apple pies you could cram in there? Forty days and forty nights of Sunday afternoons aboard this picnic-basket equivalent to Noah’s Ark.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee
Richard Miller, the architect behind the AT&T Building, clearly had the design of a Taser in mind when working on the blueprint. That, or he just finished watching Batman Returns and couldn’t get the image of Michael Keaton in costume out of his mind.
Located in Salzburg, Austria
For the car-obsessed, comes the car home. Bachelors only.
Located in Bilbao, Spain
Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is meant to resemble a ship, but we think it looks like a gigantic ribbon made out of tinfoil.