The race to climb the highest is not the only competition in the world of architecture. On the contrary, the prevailing trend in recent years seems to be to innovate the typology of the skyscraper: instead of battling to have the tallest skyscraper in the world, the great global metropolises are seeing the growth of huge iconic objects, whose shapes recall everyday objects, animal silhouettes...
The Helix, Amazon's new US headquarters, is just the latest architectural oddity, the result of a market that puts the aesthetic impact of a project before its functionality.
The global centre of this trend is without a doubt London, where in recent years it has become fashionable to give skyscrapers nicknames to enhance their iconicity. The new skyline is now characterised by the accumulation of bizarre architectural objects such as the Gherkin, the Cheese Grater, the Shard, the Walkie-Talkie, or the Boomerang.
I was wondering how long it would be before we saw a building inspired by the 💩 emoji – and lo, Amazon has delivered https://t.co/eWrJUgDbxz— Olly Wainwright (@ollywainwright) February 2, 2021
Another place of concentration of skyscrapers and strange buildings is China, which in addition to the iconicity of the buildings features unlikely reproductions of Western structures such as the White House, the Arc de Triomphe or the Eiffel Tower. Here, however, in 2016, the State Council and the Central Committee of the Communist Party issued a directive that goes against "oversized, externalized and strange" architecture, indicating that buildings should be "appropriate [to the context], economical, green and pleasing."
We can say that this recent phenomenon is an evolution – or degeneration – of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown's critical interest in "ugly and ordinary architecture" (so a chapter in Learning from Las Vegas is titled).
"The duck is the special building that is a symbol" reads the famous 1972 book, commenting on a building in the shape of a duck. From this to 💩 the passage is not so short, but it is not our job to tell the story of weird architecture. We prefer to look to the future, and see what other "great works" the world of construction has in store. From snakes to Beyoncé's curves, from tulips to crescent moons, we have made a selection of the oddest skyscrapers currently under construction.