10. Takasugi-an, Japan
Takasugi-an, a teahouse in Nagano, Japan, was built by jamming downed trees into the ground, giving the building a surreal appearance. In order to reach the teahouse, visitors must first ascend a precariously balanced ladder, then take off their shoes and ascend a second precariously balanced ladder. The teahouse’s interior is charming, but patrons should be aware that the building is vulnerable to swaying in the wind. The name “Takasugi-an,” which means “too high” in Japanese, suggests that whoever constructed the building did so with a sense of humor.
09. Sutyagin House, Russia
The Arkhangelsk, Russia, crime lord Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin began building the Sutyagin House in 1992 and spent the next 15 years perfecting it. The Sutyagin family expanded their three-story home into a 13-story structure without a building permit or formal plans, making it the world’s tallest wooden structure. The building was torn down in 2008 after it was deemed a fire hazard by city officials. In all honesty, though, we think it’s for the best that way.
08. Phoenix House, Hawaii
The Phoenix House is currently listed on Airbnb, so if you’ve always wanted to sleep in the shadow of an active Hawaiian volcano, now’s your chance! The Phoenix House on Hawaii’s Big Island is perilously close to the lava flow during an eruption of Kilauea. In addition, Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes right now, so you’ll almost certainly see some eruptions if you decide to take a vacation there.
07. Drina River House, Serbia
In 1968, two brothers built a house on an island in the Drina River not far from the town of Bajina Bata in Serbia. It was unfortunately washed away during the rainy season, but it was reconstructed the following year. The house became famous all over the world in 1994 when it was passed by some 20,000 people at the first annual Drina Regatta. Nowadays, it’s a popular tourist destination in Serbia.
06. Elliðaey Island, Iceland
Do you consider yourself an introvert? If so, do you think you’d be able to handle life in the world’s most isolated home? This isolated home was once used as a hunting lodge on Elliaey Island, which is located off the southern coast of Iceland. Also on the island is a decrepit warehouse that was once occupied by scientists. Why, then, do you think it’s risky to be here? Let’s just say that if you have the misfortune of breaking your leg in a fall, good luck getting to a doctor.
05. Castellfollit de la Roca, Spain
Catalonia’s Castellfollit de la Roca sits on a cliff formed when two lava flows stacked on top of one another, towering over the confluence of two rivers below. The town, which is over a millennium old, stretches for almost a full kilometer and is home to fewer than a thousand people. In the event that you absolutely must traverse this neighborhood, there is a teeny, tiny street that winds its way around the perimeter of the houses. Imagine, for a moment, that your backyard is a precipice.
04. Chemosphere, Los Angeles
The Chemosphere is a 2,200-square-foot, one-story octagonal house in Los Angeles that sits atop a 30-foot-tall, 5-foot-wide concrete column. It was once called “the most modern home built in the world,” and it was designed by John Lautner in 1960. Considering that the house was built on a 45-degree incline, the ingenuity of its design is being singled out for special praise.