6 Asian Architectural Marvels.

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1. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Petronas towers are twin skyscrapers that dot the skyline of Kuala Lumpur. Designed by Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli, the iconic structure evokes Malaysia’s Islamic culture and heritage of Malaysia and features arabesques, repetitive geometric patterns and an 8-point star formed by intersecting squares.

The towers were constructed using high-strength concrete, with steel and glass facades designed to resemble motifs found in Islamic art. Linked on the 41st floor by a bridge, the towers are used for primarily as office spaces and have a base that includes a concert hall, shopping center as well as public parks and plazas.

1. Elephant Tower, Bangkok, Thailand.

While it’s not necessarily the most visually stunning structure on this list, Bangkok’s Elephant Tower makes up for that in its uniqueness. Considering the elephant’s cultural and historical importance within Thailand, Elephant Tower invites viewers and tenants to consider the place that the majestic animal holds in the heart of Thai people.

The actual tower itself is a 332 feet tall high-rise located in a busy Bangkok junction, and is filled with high-tech offices, residential suites and a shopping plaza. Designed by Thai engineer Arun Chaiseri, the building is a complete elephant replica with eyes, tusks and four legs.

3. Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

Ryugyong Hotel’s astonishing heights are matched by the controversies surrounding its construction. Construction originally began in 1987 in preparation for a festival, but was abandoned due to an economic crisis. Construction did recommence in 2008, with an Egyptian telecommunications company funding the glass façade’s completion.

However, ensuing mismanagement and disputes led to yet another abandonment of the project. Couple that with poor construction materials and bare concrete surfaces, and the building was completely written-off by the European Chamber of Commerce during a 1990s inspection. Intentional or not, the building’s disrepair and derelict status is befitting of a failed totalitarian regime.

4. Bank Of China Tower, Hong Kong, China

Once the tallest building in Hong Kong, the Bank of China Tower is a soaring skyscraper that towers over the Chinese skyline over 1000 feet in the air. The crystalline-like structure was designed by Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei and boasts 72 stories, two masts and glass curtain walls.

Taking inspiration from the bamboo plant (resembling growing bamboo shoots), the Bank is meant to symbolize livelihood and prosperity; two things that all good banks should aspire toward. Feng Shui masters, however, took issue with the building, saying that it brought bad luck to neighboring buildings.

5. Circle Of Life, Fushun, China

Architecture firm Shanghai Modern Architectural Design Co spun this spherical structure in Fushun as a tourist attraction. Soaring into the sky at 515 feet tall and 50 stories high, the Circle of Life features an observation tower in the upper decks, offering panoramic views of the city.

The structure was constructed with 3,000 tons of steel and sets itself apart from many other Shanghai buildings by lighting up the night skyline with over 12,000 LED lights.

6. Hang Nga Guesthouse, Da Lat, Vietnam

Popularly known as the “Crazy House”, the Hang Nga Guesthouse is located in Da Lat, Vietnam and was constructed by Dang Viet Nga, the daughter of the ex-President of Vietnam. Many describe the abode as a “fairy tale house” due to its fantastical, design-defying features including winding corridors, oddly shaped roofs and rooms, and enormous animal sculptures.

The banyan tree-shaped building opened in 1990, and is adorned with animals, mushrooms, spider webs and caves. The product of a painting rather than a traditional blueprint, local craftsmen transformed Nga’s two-dimensional artwork into the trippy structural form that can be seen today. The home’s interior is just as zany, with handcrafted furniture filling ten animal-themed guest rooms that range all the way from kangaroos to ants. Many have compared the Hang Nga Guesthouse’s architecture to the works of Gaudí, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney.

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