Have you ever seen a house, building, or structure that’s incredibly strange? Or maybe you’ve wondered what it’s like to live in a place very different from the usual houses made of stone or brick, with regular walls, windows, and doors.
Well, there are some really bizarre buildings all over the world that are nothing like what you’re used to. They offer a unique way of living, and they’re just as much like art as they are homes.
In Africa, a continent known for its diverse cultures and beautiful landscapes, you’ll find some of the most unusual and special buildings. These buildings break all the usual rules of architecture and will truly amaze you.
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In this article, we’ll take a tour of some of the most peculiar and fascinating buildings in Africa, each with its own unique story and a lot of imagination.
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Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC)
The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi is a prominent symbol of Kenya’s independence built in 1973. It serves as a versatile venue for conferences, exhibitions, and events, including an Observation Deck with panoramic views of Nairobi.
While the building itself is not bizarre, the story behind it sure is. The unique design of KICC was inspired by a donkey’s penis as revealed by architect David Mutiso. President Jomo Kenyatta, deeply involved in the project, insisted on direct instructions to create a headquarters for the Kenya African National Union (KANU).
Despite its unconventional beginnings, KICC now houses government offices, hosts conferences, and remains a favorite for international visitors due to its strategic location near upscale hotels. It was Nairobi’s tallest building until the construction of the Times Tower in 2000.
READ ALSO: Top 5 Kenya’s Tallest Buildings
Africa’s Upside Down House
It may sound like a story straight out of fiction, but it’s true – there’s an upside-down house in Africa! This unique structure, built in 2019 in South Africa, is the first of its kind on the continent. From the outside, it appears as though the house has been flipped over, which can be quite startling at first glance.
However, the engineers responsible for this unusual creation assure us that it’s not only safe but also meets all construction standards. What’s even more astonishing is that this upside-down house is “portable” and can be relocated.
Situated near Hartbeespoort, approximately 75 kilometers north of Johannesburg, the house comes fully furnished, although sitting on the sofa might require defying gravity.
What makes this “upside-down” dwelling even more intriguing is that when you take photos or videos inside, it creates the illusion that you yourself are upside down. This has turned out to be a clever investment for the owner, as people pay to experience the curious sensation of being in an upside-down world within this captivating structure.
Abuja Airplane House
On your way into Abuja on the main highway, you can’t miss the Abuja Airplane House, a massive villa atop a hill.
Liza Said, originally from Lebanon and married to Nigerian contractor Jammal, had a passion for travel. In early 1999, they decided to fulfill a promise Jammal had made to Liza: to build a home shaped like an airplane. Construction started in 1999, resulting in a 100-foot-long plane with a 50-foot wingspan extending over the villa’s roof, complete with a kitchen and a computer room inside the cockpit.
The property also features other aircraft-inspired structures, including a guest house with a plane-shaped roof and a two-story security booth resembling an aircraft control tower.
Located in the heart of Abidjan, the former capital of Ivory Coast is Thierry Atta’s unusual home. His home is unlike any other—it’s a gigantic, grinning crocodile that has been hollowed out to create a living space within its reptilian structure.
This crocodile house, completed in 2008, is the brainchild of artist Moussa Kalo, who tragically passed away just two months before its completion. Having apprenticed under Kalo, Atta decided to make this remarkable crocodile his home. The concrete structure, complete with windows and a bed, provides a fully functional living space and has become a source of delight for the neighborhood’s residents, who often gather in the courtyard to admire and play around this eccentric dwelling.
The Shoe House
The South African Shoe House, built in 1990 by entrepreneur and artist Ron Van Zyl, is a unique shoe-shaped building located on the Panorama Route, at the border of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, near Ohrigstad, South Africa.
Ron Van Zyl originally constructed it as a tribute to his wife’s love for shoes. This three-story structure now serves as a museum and is part of a larger project that includes a campsite, a chalet guesthouse, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a curio shop. Visitors can explore seven underground rooms that depict the Spirit World, and the seventh room also functions as a chapel for weddings, making it a distinctive destination for an extraordinary honeymoon in South Africa.
Africa boasts a collection of some of the most extraordinary and captivating architectural wonders that defy convention and imagination. These unique buildings, each with its own story and purpose, not only serve as functional spaces but also as sources of inspiration and fascination for those who encounter them.
Exploring these structures allows us to appreciate the boundless possibilities of design and the ability of architecture to not only house people but also to tell unique stories and create unforgettable experiences.