18 Puzzling Buildings With Architectural Designs

Architectural styles and influences change and evolve with time. What used to be fashionable in the past is now regarded as vintage. We now live in a period defined by contrasts and architectural engineering, by structures with odd shapes, impressive sizes and designs that embrace their individuality. Geometric designs are popular and intriguing and cantilevers are taking over modern and contemporary designs. These 18 structures play with our perception and stand out from the rest thanks to their clever design approaches.

The VitraHaus building

VitraHaus by Herzog and de MeuronView in gallery

VitraHaus Stacked Building by Herzog and de MeuronView in gallery

To the collection of amazing buildings designed by renowned architects in the Vitra Campus, an impressive new structure was recently added. Named VitraHaus, the building is a collection of stacked boxes designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The boxes have pitched roofs and were designed to house the new Vitra Home Collection.

VitraHaus Stacked by Herzog and de MeuronView in gallery

This project connects two themed which have been repeatedly used by the architects in their previous works, those of the archetypal house and of the stacked volumes. Each individual volume resembles a small house and was conceived as a display space.

The LP House

Concrete And Steel Stacked By Metro Arquitetos AssociadosView in gallery

Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the LP House is a private residence designed by Metro Arquitetos Associados. It consists of two main volumes: a ground floor and an upper level designed as a separate structure cantilevering over the main one. The entire structure is made of reinforced concrete and all enclosures are designed of concrete, glass and wooden panels.

Concrete And Steel Stacked Low By Metro Arquitetos AssociadosView in gallery

Concrete And Steel Stacked Front House By Metro Arquitetos AssociadosView in gallery

The upper level is a smaller and lighter constructions made of steel paneling and with a metal structure. The two structures are connected by the stairway which is positioned on the exterior of the house. This clear distinction between the two floors allows the interior spaces to be clearly organized and defined.

That House in Melbourne

Stacked volumes by Austin Maynard ArchitectsView in gallery

That House is a residence located in Melbourne, Australia. It was designed by Austin Maynard Architects and the team envisioned it as three separate volumes. Each volume represents a box. The main two structures are separated by a walkway while the third one is asymmetrically placed on top of them.

Stacked volumes by Austin Maynard Architects BackyardView in gallery

Stacked volumes angle by Austin Maynard ArchitectsView in gallery

Both the front and the back facades of all three volumes have floor to ceiling, wall to wall glazing. By contrast, the East and West sides are almost entirely lacking windows. The front portion has an open terrace with a tree growing right through it. This is a detail meant to to strengthen the indoor-outdoor connection. At the back of the house there’s a swimming pool built with horizontal wood panels matching the three volumes.

The Shakin Stevens House

White stacked volumes for a house by Shakin Stevens HouseView in gallery

Also situated in Melbourne, Australia, the Shakin Stevens House was a project by Matt Gibson Architecture + Design. The client’s main request was a house connected with green spaces. In order to offer an optimal solution to that, the architects designed the house was a continuous, open space.

White stacked volumes for a house by Shakin Stevens House DecorView in gallery

The building is composed of thee white cubes placed asymmetrically on the site. They organize the interior into programmatic zones with different functions. The cubes are partially open in order to allow panoramic views of the surroundings, letting the green become a part of the interior design.

White stacked volumes for a house by Shakin Stevens House KitchennView in gallery

Interior by Shakin Stevens HouseView in gallery

The interior is predominantly white complemented by various shades of green and the occasional natural wood, mostly as flooring which links the indoor spaces and the exterior open decks/terraces.

Stacked house in Mexico City

Stacked house in Mexico CityView in gallery

Architect Yuri Zagorin Alazraki of Studio ZD+A designed an intriguing residence in Mexico City. The house is a three-story structure made of several stacked volumes. The project was completed in 2011. There many many challenges which had to be overcome. One of them was the shape and size of the site: sloped and narrow.

Stacked house in Mexico City BedroomView in gallery

Because the house is squeezed between neighboring buildings, natural light was a problem. In order to capture sufficient natural light, the architect used a few tricks such as reflective white resin flooring or an open layout. Also, by organizing the house vertically and in separate volumes, it was easier to separate the functions and to offer each one privacy.

Cantilevered house in Sevres

House In Sèvres Stacked Volumes by Colboc Franzen & AssociésView in gallery

Composed of three separate volume, this modern residence is located in Sevres, France and was a project by Colboc Franzen & Associes. It occupies an area of 879 square meters and was completed in 2008. The three separate volumes divide the interior into distinct functional zones.

House In Sèvres Stacked Volumes by Colboc Franzen & Associés AngleView in gallery

House In Sèvres Stacked Volumes by Colboc Franzen & Associés FrontView in gallery

One of the volumes contains the lobby, home office, laundry room, basement and the garage. The second one is a social volume composed on a living room, dining area and kitchen. The third volume is where the children’s bedrooms are situated, organized around a multifunctional space.

Casa Golf

Concrete casa gold with stacked volumes garage underView in gallery

Modern architecture can take many intriguing and unusual forms. Architect Luciano Kruk designed Casa Golf in the center of the Costa Esmeralda development, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The name of the project is derived from the fact that the site is adjacent to a golf course.

Concrete casa gold with stacked volumesView in gallery

The house sits higher than its surroundings and this allows it to offer expansive views. To make the most of those views and to also maintain privacy in all areas, the architect gave the house a sculptural and geometric design composed of numerous volumes treated as independent spaces.

Concrete casa gold with stacked volumes frontView in gallery

One of the volumes contains two bedrooms and an internal staircase which connects it to the kitchen, living room and dining space which forms a distinct volume. The master suite is a private space with smaller openings and views of both ends of the property.

The Crossbox House

The Crossbox House from shipping containersView in gallery

The Crossbox House is an eco-friendly family residence located in Pont Pean, France. It was a project by Clement Gillet Architectes and is made of prefabricated parts, occupying a total of 1,120 square feet of land.

The Crossbox House from shipping containers GreenView in gallery

The Crossbox House from shipping containers ecoView in gallery

The residence was mainly built of recycled shipping containers and offer two main volumes stacked perpendicularly one on top of the other. The top volume was painted green while the bottom one is dark brown. This project is a prototype of a three dimensional, industrialized house. It was built using four shipping containers and the main goal was to keep everything low-cost and environmentally friendly.

The Orchid House

Orchid white stacked House by Andres Remy ArquitectosView in gallery

The architectural design of the Orchid House is the result of a challenging project by Andres Remy Arquitectos. It was built in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2008 on an area of 3640 square meters. The clients, a couple with two kids, requested a family home that was sustainable and, as a result, the architects tried to give it the best orientation.

Orchid white stacked House by Andres Remy ArquitectosBackView in gallery

Orchid white stacked House by Andres Remy Arquitectos viewView in gallery

The clients also had an interesting hobby: growing orchids. That’s how the name of the house as well as its design were born. The inspiration came from the orchid, more exactly its roots, stem and flower. These three components were translated into elegant and modern architecture.

The LK House

LK House in the town of Hard AustriaView in gallery

The design of the LK House can be simplified as a set of two cubes stacked on top of each other. The house was a project by Dietrich Untertrifaller Architects and is located in Hard, Austria. The two cubes or, actually, parallelepiped-shaped volumes, are made of exposed concrete and their heavy structure contrast with the light and open surroundings. They both welcome natural light and beautiful views inside through full-height windows and glazed facades.

LK House in the town of Hard Austria AngleView in gallery

LK Stacked Volume House in the town of Hard AustriaView in gallery

The simplicity of the interior design is meant to put an emphasis on the fresh colors and the views. Only two main colors were used throughout. White covers the walls and ceilings and dark wood and smoked oak were used for the floors and the window frames and doors. Everything else is just as simple.

The Crossed House

Concrete The Crossed HouseView in gallery

Located in Murcia, Spain, the Crossed House occupied an area of 232 square meters an a site which offers views of the adjacent mountains and valley. It was designed by Clavel Arquitectos who envisioned it as a set of two geometric structures. The two structures are stacked one on top of the other at an angle.

Concrete The Crossed House by NightView in gallery


Concrete The Crossed House StackedView in gallery

The volumes have a length of 20 meters and a depth of 5 meters and they are rotated 35 degrees in order to offer optimal views and to create cantilevers of around 10 meters in length. By choosing this orientation, the architects also allowed the volumes to offer sun protection for the facade and the pool area. The edges of the volumes are rounded and this makes the residence look less dramatic but equally imposing.

A stacked cabin in Wisconsin

Stacked mountain cabinView in gallery

Occupying only 880 square feet of space, this cabin was built for a young family on a remote site at the edge of a small clearing in the Wisconsin forest. Its compact design embraces the slope taking advantage of everything the site has to offer. One of the goals of this project developed in Johnsen Schmaling Architects was to reduce the building’s footprint.

Stacked mountain cabin backView in gallery

Cliff Stacked mountain cabinView in gallery

The approach was to design the cabin vertically, stacking the volumes and reconfiguring the traditional organization of the spaces. The entryway opens to a staircase connected to a kitchen and a couple of open bedrooms. The cabin also houses a living area, a workshop, bathroom and a storage space. The social area is framed by floor-to-ceiling curtains which can be retracted to reveal the sleeping zones and the kitchen.

The Birkenhead Point House

Birkenhead Point HousedView in gallery

This is a house meant as a family retreat where the views, the sun and the nature can be enjoyed but also where everyone can feel comfortable. It was designed by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects and is located in Auckland, New Zealand. The house occupies 400 square meters of land and sits on a triangular site.

Birkenhead Point House WindowsView in gallery

Birkenhead Point House interiorView in gallery

The challenge in this case was to fit all the functions into a compact structure and, at the same time, to make the most of the view offered by the site. The resulted design organizes the volumes on three levels. The ground floor contains four bedrooms, a storage area and a bathroom. The one on top of it houses the kitchen, dining area and living room and the top floor contains the master bedroom suite, a dressing room and a study.

The HECTAAR Office Building

Stacked volumes office HECTAAR in Roeselare, BelgiumView in gallery

The office building designed by CAAN Architecten for the HECTAAR company is located in Roeselare, Belgium, on a small corner site where a former fueling station used to be. The surrounding sites are occupied by townhouses and homes with gardens. The challenge faced by the architects consisted of creating a smooth transition between the neighboring buildings and the office in order to maintain continuity.

Stacked volumes office HECTAAR in Roeselare, Belgium AngleView in gallery

Stacked volumes office HECTAAR in Roeselare, Belgium StreetView in gallery

The design of the building consists of a series of stacked volumes with different orientations. The ground floor contains the entrance, meeting area, storage room, technical spaces and bathrooms. A two-meter cantilever adds depth to the design, overlooking the street and parking spaces. The first floor contains the office spaces. On top of it, a third volume functions and a meeting area. This one was added for aesthetic reasons, as a way to offer the building the required scale in order to fit into the context.

The Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art GalleryView in gallery

A new building was recently designed for the Vancouver Art Gallery complex. It was a project by Herzog & de Meuron and comes in the form of several stacked volumes covered in wood. The new structure occupies an area of 28,800 square meters in downtown Vancouver and includes 7,900 square meters of gallery space. In addition, a 350 seat theater, a library and an educational center are also included in the new design.

The Vancouver Art Gallery ViewView in gallery

In contrast with the upper volumes, the lower levels have a transparent design, featuring floor-to-ceiling glazing which connects the internal spaces to the street. The ground floor is dedicated to exhibition spaces, a cafe and a ticketing area, all of which are overlooking an enclosed courtyard. Below the ground the design also includes two parking levels.

The Cube

The cube buildingView in gallery

The Cube is the name of a luxury apartment building created by Orange Architects in partnership with JSA, CIMKA and HofmanDujardin. The building is located in Sin el Fil, in Beirut. It’s a 50-meter tall structure which contains a total of 19 apartments. These range in size from 90 to 180 square meters. The architecture of the structure is definitely unusual.

The cube building closerView in gallery

In order to make optimal use of the site’s potential and to maximize the views, the architects envisioned the structured as a series of stacked geometric volumes which cantilever one on top of the other and extend outward in various ways. Moreover, the floor plans of the apartments are completely flexible. The only spacial constraints are imposed by the fixed elevators and staircases placed at the core of the building.

The CDB Tower & Minsheng Financial Tower

CDB Tower & Minsheng Financial Tower Competition ProposalView in gallery

These are the designs created for the International Conceptual Design Competition for the CDB Tower and the Minsheng Financial Tower. We’ll focus on the ones proposed by Saraiva + Associados. The goal for The Two Towers proposal was to create a pair of landmark buildings with imposing dimensions and forms, which look modern and are also eco-friendly.

CDB Tower & Minsheng Financial Tower Competition Proposal ArchitectureView in gallery

This particular design reflects the city’s history, geography and ecology. By introducing a series of green spaces on the upper floors of the towers, a modern and continuous image is created. The architects wanted to avoid the impression of a main building and a secondary one, giving each one a unique identity but also maintaining cohesion between them.

The biotechnological park building in Mexico

Bioinnova building was designed by Tatiana BilbaoView in gallery

Architect Tatiana Bilbao was commissioned to design a new biotechnology facility for the Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Culiacán, a university campus in Mexico. The building is comprised of commercial spaces, rentable office spaces and areas where students can engage in love research projects.

Bioinnova building was designed by Tatiana Bilbao AngleView in gallery

Bioinnova building was designed by Tatiana Bilbao StackedView in gallery

The building was initially envisioned as a straightforward five-story block but the design was later on changed to include a series of cantilevered forms in order to give it a more iconic form. This staggered arrangement of volumes offers passive solar protections on the levels below the cantilevers and also allows outdoor terraces to be included in the design, making the floor plans more flexible.