What is it with the human fascination of big things? Often it’s about having something that is bigger and better than the rest of the world, and a lot of the time it’s to create something entirely unique and so strange that people just have to visit it. Here are some interestingly big structures located around the world that are well worth a visit!
The Big Sperm Whale in Hep Five, Japan
The one-of-a-kind Hep 5 shopping centre in Osaka, Japan, offers a unique shopping experience with two very big and very red features. The centre, which opened in November 1998 and consists of over 45,000m² of floor space, boasts a giant Ferris wheel hovering 106m above street level. It has 52 four-person gondolas that take around 15 minutes to spin completely. More interestingly though, the complex also sports a massive 20m red sperm whale and its baby suspended from the ceiling in the main lobby. The whales were designed by Japanese celebrity and multi-artist, Tatsuya Ishii, who worked closely with Hankyu on the construction of the Hep 5 building.
The World’s Largest “Catsup” Bottle, United States of America
The world’s largest catsup (ketchup) bottle stands proudly next to Route 159 in Collinsville, Illinois. This unique 52m tall bottle is, in fact, a water tower that was built in 1949 by the W.E Caldwell Company for the G.S Suppiger catsup bottling plants. Like most great historic icons, this landmark was once at risk of demolition, but was saved and beautifully restored to its original appearance in 1995. The water tower is famous the world over and draws plenty of visitors and tourists daily. A festival is held each year to celebrate its birthday where a “Little Miss Tomato and Sir Catsup” contest is held. The tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, and can notably hold up to 640,000 bottles of regular catsup (around 378,541 litres)! Interestingly, legend has it that the tower can cause red hair in unborn babies if pregnant women pass too close to it. Steer clear, ladies!
Big Banana, Australia
The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour is claimed to be the first “Big Thing” in Australia’s list of at least 150 large structures that rival each other in both size and weirdness. This enormous yellow banana was first created in a desperate attempt to get people to stop at what was once just a roadside banana stall. Today, the banana marks a large entertainment complex equipped with water slides, toboggan tracks, a theatre, and ice skating rinks. It makes a great stop for travellers to let off some steam after long car journeys. There is a gift shop to explore as well as a “Going Bananas” café for some tempting refreshments and snacks. Don’t forget to get a picture taken underneath the 11m long banana!
Basket Building, United States of America
You may do a double take when you see this strangely shaped building in Newark, Ohio which was completed at the end of 1997. It is in fact a giant basket – the largest in the world! The 7-storey basket building is the corporate headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company and was the brainchild of the Longaberger Empire Founder, Dave Longaberger, who said “if they can put a man on the moon, they can certainly build a building that’s shaped like a basket”. Inside, a large atrium soars up to a glass ceiling where you can see the handles of the basket that come together over the roof. These handles are constantly heated during the winter months to avoid ice and snow collecting on top of it.
Piano House, China
This incredibly unique piano shaped house is located in Huainan City, in the Anhui Province of China. The beautiful structure contains a transparent violin with a winding staircase that leads to the piano house located upstairs. The 50:1 scaled piano house was built in 2007 for the love of music and contrary to what you may think, it is not privately owned. This public house provides a place for local artists and students from the nearby college to perform and practise music. Another feature of the house is its exhibit of the plans for the newly created district of Shannan in Marihuana City, China. It has become a popular tourist attraction and locals have even dubbed it “the most romantic building in China”.
What other large structures have you encountered around the globe?