Places we don't want to live: 9 buildings shaped like things

Architecture these days has never been more advanced: Buildings are making their own energy and using ice as air conditioning. Creative buildings don't always involve special technology, however. One could build a home shaped like a giant toilet or shoe, for example. We've found nine buildings that are sure to disorient their residents, either by making them feel like mice in giant land, or by making them extremely dizzy. Check them out after the jump.

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The Toilet
The World Toilet Association recently had its first general assembly meeting — what better way to celebrate than to build an enormous toilet-shaped home? This house contains four bedrooms and four accompanying bathrooms, each with a deluxe toilet and other attractive amenities like whirlpool tubs and motion sensors that turn on classical music when you enter. It's located south of Seoul in South Korea. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by to explore. For just $1 you can increase your awareness and appreciation of fancy porcelain thrones.

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The Basket
Longaberger's 500 employees head to work every morning to be cradled in the cubicles and offices in this enormous basket. This seven-story building with 150-ton handles serves as Longaberger's corporate headquarters and turns 10 years old this year. The company is known for its hand-woven baskets, but we were surprised to find that it also makes wrought-iron furniture and fancy-pants candles. Perhaps they can be inspiration for another office, should the company ever need to expand.

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The Cubist-Inspired Guitar
The University of Iowa opened this building last year as part of its school for art and architecture. The Art Building West is shaped like this Pablo Picasso guitar sculpture. Its interior is filled with cubist-style oblique angles. The building is truly a mixture of art and architecture, though whether it makes students of those subjects dizzy during class is another question entirely.

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Shoes
This shoe-shaped building was built in 1948, perhaps in some sort of overzealous post-war fit of creativity. Located in Hellam Pennsylvania, it was used for a while as the guesthouse (it has three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room) of Mahlon N. Haines, who was the owner of a local shoe empire. It was an ice cream parlor for many years after Haines death, but is now a museum teaching visitors about the eccentric life of its creator.

shoe_building_small.jpgThis smaller shoe-shaped building was built all the way across the country in Bakersfield, California, in 1947, just one year before its Hellam cousin. It was built to be a shoe repair shop, and later it was sold with the stipulation that it would remain a shoe-related business. The store that the shoe currently houses is called the Big Shoe Repair and was still fixing soles when we called it last week.

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florida_upsidedown_house.jpgUpside-Down Houses

Here's a building that's shaped like: a house. A house that's been blown over and uprooted by the Big Bad Wolf, that is. The upside-down house opened this year in the small town of Szymbark, Poland, and has become one the country's major tourist attractions. It's apparently quite disorienting on the inside and was built by a Polish businessman as a kind of protest against governmental actions that are detached from reality — think Poland under the Communists and the world's current treatment of the environment. Poland doesn't have a monopoly on flipped houses, however. There are others, to be found in Japan (top picture) and Florida (right), respectively.

ipad_building.jpgThe iPod
We know that iPod obsession knows no bounds, so it was almost inevitable that someone would construct an iPod-shaped building. And where better to put it than in that city of insanely tall and insanely weird buildings, Dubai? The iPad even sits in a dock. Construction for the building began in March, and is set to be completed by the end of 2009.