For most people, the term “pyramid” often triggers the vision of an Egyptian pharaoh mummified after death to live forever. By definition, a pyramid is a structure that’s constructed with triangular exteriors and that converges to a single point at the top to form a shape that’s roughly reminiscent of a pyramid. Although the ancient Egyptian pyramids still live on, there are other pyramid shaped buildings that have been constructed in a similar design. We’ve compiled a long list, and then winded down to the ten most interesting pyramid shaped buildings in the world.
Check them out below:
Muttart Conservatory – Edmonton, Canada
One of the most iconic structures in Edmonton, the Muttart Conservatory provides a 24/7 escape into the gorgeous world of plant life. Designed by Canadian based award-winning architect Peter Hemingway, the pyramid shaped building was officially opened on September 1976, and then renovated in 2009 with new educational classrooms, a gift shop, and a new entrance. In the late 2010, a spectacular food joint was opened in the building’s cafe area, dubbed the Culina Family of restaurants, providing creative, locally sourced comfort food.
The display gardens in the pyramids are vibrant, tranquil, colorful, and inspirational, offering an oasis for everyone. In fact, the four pyramids are home to countless plant species, with each pyramid maintaining a unique environment for different biomasses in the world.
Palace of Peace and Reconciliation – Kazakhstan
Astana, the new capital of Kazakhastan since 1997, has been home to one of the most captivating and visually futuristic pyramids in the world – the Palace of Peace & Reconciliation, also known as the Pyramid of Peace & Accord. Designed by brilliant British architects foster and partners, the pyramid like structure cost about $46,432,750, and was initially meant to host the triennially held “congress of world & traditional religions”. After a remarkably rapid two years of engineering and construction, the resultant product is evidently a masterpiece.
Pyramid of Tirana – Tirana, Albania
Between 1944 and 1992, Albania was ruled by a strict Communist ideal that was inspired by Stalinism. Landmarks like the pyramid of Tirana are reminiscent of the darker days. Initially built as a museum to honor a former Albanian leader known as Enver Hoxha, the out-of-place pyramid shaped building was designed by his daughter and son in law in a bid to keep his legacy alive. As such, it was unofficially referred to as “The Enver Hoxha Mausoleum” and maintained its original purpose until 1991, when the space was turned into a convention center.
As national attitudes began to shift, the pyramid structure was further converted into a military staging area and then a television station before being massively neglected. Owing partly to its unpopular association with the Communist legacy, the materials inside started being looted and the building daub in graffiti. Today, the Pyramid of Tirana isn’t entirely disused (as it still hosts a private Albanian broadcast company), the country’s government is trying to impeach the site into demolition.
Walter Pyramid – Long Beach, California
The Walter Pyramid has been accommodating Long Beach State Volleyball and Basketball for more than twenty years, slowly becoming a nationally-recognized icon both for the city of Long Beach and the University alike. Thanks to its dramatic appearance, its attraction for television production, and distinct multi-purpose capability, the Walter Pyramid is considered one of the best collegiate athletic facilities in that part of the U.S. The building was officially given the name “The Walter Pyramid” on 5th March 2005, thanks to the generous contributions of Dr. Mike & Airline Walter to the university.
The unique cobalt blue exterior of the structure has permanently changed the city’s skyline. Rising up to 18 stories, the building is visible in all directions from miles away. The design can be traced back to Long Beach based architect Don Gibbs, while the construction itself was done by the Nielson Construction Company based in San Diego at a cost of about $22 million.
Slovak Radio Building – Bratislava, Slovakia
Also simply known as “the Pyramid,” the building that accommodates the Slovak Radio is located just a short distance from the heart of Bratislava, in the Mytna Ulica street. Considered one of the strangest pyramid shaped buildings in the world, the building has been drawing attention for numerous years. It took quite a long time to complete, subsequently leading to the title of “the building of the century”. The pyramid-like building took sixteen years to finish and has been in use for more than thirty years. The sole purpose for its construction was to accommodate a radio station.
The Gold Pyramid House – Wadsworth, Illinois
The 6-story Gold Pyramid House sits on 17,000 sq. ft land in Wadsworth, Illinois, and is described as one of the most interesting homes ever built. Its builders – Linda and Jim Onan – explain it simply as: Impressive, Exotic, Mystery, Gold, and Power. The two are avid believers of the 70’s cult concept of “Pyramid Power” and their home is said to be the biggest gold plated structure(utilizing 24 karat gold) in North America. Surrounded by a large moat on an island, the structure has several impressive features, including a 4-car garage topped by 3 smaller pyramids, a metal palm-tree, and a fifty-foot statue of King Tut.
The Nima Sand Museum
Located in Japan, the Nima Sand Museum is actually six pyramids. The tallest one was built as a home for a a very unusual tourist attraction – the largest hourglass in the world. The fully functional sand timer measures the length of a single complete year, and has to be flipped every December 31st at the turn of New Year. The pyramid above it is about 69 feet high with a 56-foot base. The independent glass structure is rumored to have been designed by architect Shin Takamatsu, which provided an excellent view of his mother’s grave.
However, it is evident that the design was inspired by the pyramids of Egypt. The other five glass pyramids were also designed for a similarly bazaar purpose: when the dunes on Nima (which is a beach-side resort town) are walked on, they produce a peculiar sound that has led to the nickname “singing sand”. The pyramids have art exhibits designed from these dunes’ sand.
Olbrich Bolz Conservatory
Designed by Stuart Gallaher, the Boltz Conservatory is regarded as one of the most valuable Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin. The pyramid stands 15 meters (50 foot) high and made almost entirely of glass panels. It was opened on November 1991, having cost a stunning $4.6 million to construct. Inside, a vibrant stream falls down a twenty-foot high waterfall before cascading along the almost five hundred different plant species on display. The computerized control and glass paneling helps maintain a temperature of 65 to 90 degrees F on the inside, even during the cold winters. The structure is also fitted with spray nozzles that help keep the humidity above 60 percent.
The Louvre Pyramid
The star of the Louvre Pyramid has got to be its state-of-the-art artwork collections from throughout history. The building also contains 3 glass pyramids within the courtyard, and is a renowned tourist destination that attracts up to ten million visitors every year. Designed by popular architect I.M. Pei, the pyramid was commissioned by President Francois Mitterrand. The tallest pyramid is 71 feet high with a base width of 115 feet. The structure is enclosed by 673 glass panes and supported by a steel frame. It was first launched in 1989 and cost a chilling $76 million.
The Historical and Architectural Complex of the Kazan Kremlin
Located in the middle of Russia, in the Kazan Kremlin, this breathtaking pyramid shaped building stands a little over 100 feet. It was designed by architects Victor Tokarev and Gulsine and features a glass facade that allows visitors to enjoy panoramic views of Kremlin and the gorgeous Qolşärif Mosque. The interior is fitted with two restaurants, a cafe, disco, gym, a bowling alley, and six bars. The building was opened in 2002 after a $44 million investment, and is considered one of the most attractive pyramid shaped buildings in Russia and the world alike.