From a stadium shaped like a crocodile to a bridge shaped like a giant koala, animal-shaped buildings have long existed. But when travel writer David Whitley shared pictures of such buildings on Twitter recently, it led to people appreciating such architectural marvels and also sharing images of animal-shaped buildings they have visited.
Known as zoomorphic architecture, this novelty architectural design style uses animal forms to create buildings — ranging from a cat to a sea creature.
If you too wish to visit any such building, you can take your pick here:
Universum Science Center, Bremen, Germany
There are two interpretations of the science center’s design — a giant silver clam shell and a giant chrome sperm whale rising from the reflecting pool. Designed by architect Thomas Klumpp’s in 2000, the center houses exhibits that are meant to provoke and engage the visitor, making it an interactive experience.
Lucy the Elephant, New Jersey
Built in 1882, Lucy was the first example of zoomorphic architecture in the USA. The building, shaped like an elephant, has been used as an office, a bar and also a summer home. The patented 65-foot-tall tin and wood construction was meant to be one of a pack, but giant elephants didn’t take off the way the architect intended. To this day, it stands alone.
Crocodile Arena Stadium, Bursaspor, Turkey
The remarkable aspect of the Timsah (Turkish for crocodile) Arena, which opened back in 2015, is its green roof in the form of a crocodile, which includes the head sticking out on one side. It has a capacity to hold 43,331 people.
Cat Kindergarten, Wolfartsweier, Germany
Designed by artist Tomi Ungerer and architect Ayla Suzan Yöndel, this preschool is designed in the shape of a cat. The children enter through the cat’s mouth, where the classrooms and cafeteria are located. The exit, into the backyard, is via a slippery dip for a tail.
National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad, India
Closer home, the fisheries department office in Hyderabad is shaped like a fish. Opened in April 2012, the four story building called Matsya Bhavan is reported to have been inspired by another plus-sized fish monument — Starchitect Frank Gehry’s Barcelona Fish statue or El Peix, on the Spanish city’s waterfront for the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Giant Koala Tourist Complex, Australia
One of the most iconic roadside tourist spots in Australia is Dadswell Bridge which is designed in the shape of a gargantuan koala bear. Completed in 1989, it is affectionately named ‘Sam’ in remembrance of a sweet-natured female koala that was rescued during the catastrophic Black Saturday bush fires of 2009. The 46-foot-tall Giant Koala Tourist Complex is also home to an restaurant, outdoor BBQ area and a small zoo comprising two real-life arboreal marsupials named Karla and Cuddles.
Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Kakadu National Park, Australia
A bird’s-eye view of the four-star accommodation reveals that it is uniquely shaped to represent Kakadu’s most famous inhabitant, the saltwater crocodile.
The Dog Bark Park Inn, US
The Dog Bark Park Inn in Idaho is shaped like a beagle. As a famous landmark in the state, it is colloquially known as Sweet Willy by local residents.
Elephant Tower, Bangkok, Thailand
One of Thailand’s most talked about structure, the Elephant Tower is also known as the Chang Building. The cubist tower is 335 feet high and 560 feet long. The landmark structure references the elephants, which have been an integral part of Thai culture, industry and religion for centuries.