I had this idea for this article as I drove around my hometown of Indianapolis with my dog Sandover admiring Indianapolis architectural design of some of my favorite buildings. As Sandover stared out the window and looking back at me to see if my excitement matched his, I wondered if any architects designed any of their structures because of their love for their pets. My research into this astounded me.
Throughout history, human beings have taken animals as references on a cultural, artistic, literary, spiritual level and even to create war strategies.
In the case of architecture, the natural forms of many species have served as an inspiration to create unique, impressive, and wonderful structures. This is because the geometry of these animals gives them strength and beauty through aesthetics.
If we combine these sources of inspiration with the constant advancement of the materials and techniques used for construction, we are left with incredible buildings, which fulfill their purpose at the same time that they become architectural icons within the countries to which they belong.
These buildings have even helped to repower many localities at an economic level, thanks to the fact that they have served to increase tourist visits to these attractions. Therefore, it can be highlighted that in addition to being very striking constructions for their originality, they have a lot to contribute to the local history, culture, and economy.
Top 13 Architecture buildings inspired by pets
If you are planning a trip to someplace full of originality, we have the perfect alternatives for you, since these are just some of the most emblematic buildings in the world, whose architecture is inspired by pets and animals, which you should undoubtedly know:
1. The fish of the Olympic Village, Barcelona, Spain
This is a structure made of titanium and metal. It was built by architect Frank Gehry, who investigated the possibilities he had to freely express various fish-shaped structures from the beginning of his profession.
In the 80s, he made several objects that explored this idea. For the year 1992, the Olympic Games were to be held in Barcelona. Intending to modernize the city for this event, the site authorities entrusted Gehry to build an immense sculpture located on the Paseo de la Villa Olímpica.
Fish inspired him since in his childhood he enjoyed long baths where his friends (fish of different colors) accompanied him in the bathtub; and the structure has become one of the most iconic in Barcelona, especially because it seems to be connected to the Mediterranean Sea that is located in front of it. It measures 35 meters wide and 54 meters long, so this work of art can’t go unnoticed.
Thanks to the use of titanium as the main material, this piece of architecture usually shines when the sun’s rays point at it, obtaining different shades of color that make it look more impressive.
2. Kindergarten in the form of a cat, Wolfartsweier, Germany
This building is quite recent; it was created in 2011 by the great artists d’Ayala-Suzan Yondel and Tomi Ungerer. It has been considered one of the schools, architecturally speaking, with more style and creativity. Ungerer wanted to be inspired by the animal he likes the most, claiming that cats are extremely intelligent and aware of what they represent as living beings.
From the outside, it can be easily seen that it is a giant white cat that is lying down. It has many details like the whiskers, a small nose, its large legs that go to its sides, a huge mouth that turns out to be the entrance door to kindergarten, and some stunning round eyes that are the main windows.
This building beauty was designed so that children could stimulate their imagination and always want to go back to school. When people enter, it gives the illusion of being swallowed by the huge cat. Inside your “stomach” are the classrooms, cafeteria, and locker rooms. However, the real fun is in its legs; both are play areas so that, during recess time, children can have fun like never before.
3. The Elephant Building, Bangkok, Thailand
In short, this is one of the most famous buildings that exist in the capital of Thailand. Its construction was completed in 1997 and is characterized by its shape that represents an elephant.
Its height is 102 meters, and it has 32 floors throughout its structure. One of the elephant’s legs is a residential building, and the other two are for offices. These three are connected directly from the upper area of the structure, which supports a series of additional floors.
It has green areas, a shopping center, and a swimming pool. It should be noted that the elephant is a sacred symbol in Thailand, so when the architect Ong-ard Satrabhandhu was commissioned with this project, he had an excellent idea of building it in this way to make it a symbol of the city, and that, in turn, it could stand out from the other 80 skyscrapers that exist.
It has details that, in addition to representing the elephant, were also used practically. The characteristic tusks are the main administrative offices of the building. The queue is a series of rooms with tinted wallpaper, and their ears are balconies from some of the upper floors.
4. Universum Science Center, Bremen, Germany.
This beautiful museum, which receives more than 400 thousand visitors a year, was made with the intention that all the people who entered could directly interact with most of the exhibits.
Its inauguration was held in 2000, and since then, everyone has named the structure as three different things, a clam, a whale, and they have even called it a giant pistachio. The architect who achieved this beauty of a building was Thomas Klumpp. He was able to create all this controversy from “what does this building look like?” and that people could automatically identify that it is a museum specialized in science.
It has an area of up to more than 4,000 square meters and was built from stainless steel. In addition, it has an outdoor area of approximately 5,000 square meters, created by landscapers from Bremen, where you can see a large lake, trees everywhere.
5. Burj Qatar, Doha, Qatar
It is a building created for offices and designed by Jean Nouvel, an architect of French nationality. It is more than 230 meters long and has 46 floors. In 2012, the Burj Qatar was considered one of the finest buildings in North Africa and the Middle East.
Quite apart from this building being beautiful and extremely elegant, it is inevitable not to think of the giant narwhal, one of the rarest species of whales, when viewed in more detail. This is because it has an aerial pointed beak and its white metal facade.
6. Lucy the Elephant, New Jersey, USA
This famous New Jersey structure was built primarily to attract tourists and to increase the real estate business. In the 1960s, it was scheduled to be demolished due to the poor condition it was; however, nine years later, a group of people from the city raised the money to move Lucy and completely remodel her.
At present, the birthday of this building is celebrated every July 20, holding recreational events, and it became a historical monument of the nation.
7. Dog Shaped House, Idaho, USA
This iconic house is originally called the “Dog Bark Inn.” It measures nine meters and is rented for 130 USD per night. This was an excellent technique for attracting tourists to Cottonwood, a town of only about 900 people.
The hound-shaped house has two rooms that are located, one in the head and one in the belly. In addition, it has a gift shop for tourists and a study where the owners carry out their administrative processes. It also has a large outdoor space and a statue, also in the shape of a can, called Toby.
Of course, guests are allowed to keep their pets, especially dogs. According to its owners, Dennis Sullivan and Francis Conklin, the space is perfect for four people. It is a very comfortable and fun experience.
8. Building fish, India
The National Fisheries Development Council of India has the most representative building for this area in the world. The building was built by the Central Department of Public Works and was planned from the beginning to look like a fish.
The objective of all this is to represent, at a glance, the activities that take place inside the building. Inside there is a central government organization focused on coordinating the various fisheries agencies that exist.
It was inspired by the fish that the architect Frank Gehry created in Barcelona, achieving a more marked and fun design. It has approximately 2,000 square meters, three floors, rectangular-shaped windows that simulate its scales, and its eyes are blue glass windows.
9. Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi
It was done by Foster + Partners, an architecture firm based in London. It was inaugurated in 2016 and is characterized by its beautiful design inspired by the falcon’s flight. This can be noticed because the vertical structures, made of steel, simulate the feathers of the bird.
They act as natural standoff towers, towering up to 400 feet high.
10. Fort of San Diego, Acapulco, Mexico
This Acapulco historical museum is the most important monument in this coastal area. It has existed since the 1980s and is characterized by its unique turtle-shaped design. To build it, military engineering concepts had to be applied, which were extremely advanced for the time.
People who attend this museum will be able to enjoy a total of 12 rooms with permanent exhibits and one in which exhibits are made temporarily.
11. Crocodile Hotel, Australia
This particular piece of architecture is a hotel located in Jabirú, Australia. It was built in the late ’80s, and it can be said that it is the only Crocodile that everyone would want to enter.
The architects wanted the design to be a crocodile because this animal is of great cultural importance to the people of Gagudju in Kakadu. It is 250 meters long and 30 meters wide.
It has four circular parking lots that represent the eggs of a crocodile, and guests enter through, what would be, the animal’s open mouth. In addition, it has more than 100 rooms, a restaurant where you can enjoy typical Australian dishes and a swimming pool.
12. Kura-Kura Ocean Park, Indonesia
This is another turtle-shaped building that is absolutely stunning, the Kura-Kuka Ocean Park, located in Jepara, Indonesia.
It was created with the intention of being an ideal tourist destination for fun and learning because it is also an aquarium where you can find an infinity of marine species.
It measures 3,000 square meters and has many interesting attractions, such as a touch pool called Wahana Kolam Sentuh. In it are goldfish, Koi, and many turtles, which can be seen inside the aquarium.
13. The Chicken Church, Java, Indonesia
In 1990, an architect named Daniel Alamsjah built a church that is now abandoned. However, what is special about this structure is that it has the shape of a chicken with a crown.
Alamsjah claimed that, at that time, he had a vision of God; and he came to the conclusion that he should create a church where all Christians around the world could meet and praise the creator. With this structure, they wanted to simulate a dove (the holy spirit). Still, with the passage of time, it has become known as “the church of the chicken,” where many tourists visit it annually due to its great peculiarity.
Wild buildings all over the world
Modern life and nature can coexist in perfect harmony, and these buildings proved it completely. The architects in charge of carrying out these works managed to fully represent those animals’ main characteristics that they took as inspiration for the construction, some more literally than others.
Architecture has the advantage that it can always reinvent itself and break all established norms; it just takes an avant-garde vision and a little creativity.
These buildings have become very important attractions in the places where they are located. They have managed to be considered as places of obligatory visits during tourist trips, and even traditional celebrations have been established around some of them.
This trend will undoubtedly not disappear with time, as more and more architects turn their eyes to nature to study their designs and apply them within the field of architecture.