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11 of Europe's most bizarre buildings

By Jessica Benavides Canepa, Special to CNN
updated 8:27 PM EST, Wed January 23, 2013
As one of the only remaining symbols of the 1958 Brussels World Fair, this extraordinary structure, conceptualized by late engineer André Waterkeyn, represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It features nine spheres interconnected by 20 tubes. While three spheres contain either permanent or temporary exhibitions from around the world, it's the highest, at 92 meters (300 feet), that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city. <!-- -->
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Capturing visitors' imaginations with its progressive vision of the future, <a href='http://www.atomium.be/' target='_blank'>Atomium</a> receives an average of 600,000 visitors each year.<!-- -->
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(Image: Courtesy Atomium © www.atomium.be - SABAM 2012 - Frankinho) As one of the only remaining symbols of the 1958 Brussels World Fair, this extraordinary structure, conceptualized by late engineer André Waterkeyn, represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It features nine spheres interconnected by 20 tubes. While three spheres contain either permanent or temporary exhibitions from around the world, it's the highest, at 92 meters (300 feet), that offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

Capturing visitors' imaginations with its progressive vision of the future, Atomium receives an average of 600,000 visitors each year.
(Image: Courtesy Atomium © www.atomium.be - SABAM 2012 - Frankinho)
HIDE CAPTION
Atomium, Brussels
The Banknote Building, Kaunas, Lithuania
Casa Mila, Barcelona
Castel Meur, Brittany, France
Dali Theatre-Museum, Figueres, Spain
Nationale-Nederlanden Building, Prague
Le Kinémax Poitiers, Poitou-Charentes, France
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
Krzywy Domek, Sopot, Poland
Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria
Eden Project, Cornwall, United Kingdom
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Designs truly and completely capture the imagination
  • Designs vary from molecule representations to cartoon-like edifices
  • Many designs were hit by controversy during construction
  • Some house art exhibitions and museums

(CNN) -- Bizarre is in the eye of the beholder.

With modern architecture, that can mean just about anything.

Some of the extraordinary edifices above were designed to entice a reaction -- contemporary museums and exhibition centers come to mind -- while others astound by their mere existence.

The most controversial are the buildings inspired by whimsy; designed by architects with free rein to exercise their creative impulses on ordinary spaces.

Whether you consider the buildings above awe-inspiring in their architectural complexity or hideous monstrosities, there's no question they capture your attention.

Inspirational, intriguing or visually grating? What do you make of our selection of buildings above? Let us know your favorite bizarre buildings.

Europe's hottest destinations for 2013

Where to see the buildings

1. Atomium: Atomiumsquare B1020, Brussels; +32 (0) 2 475 47 77; open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; www.atomium.be

2. The Banknote Building: Taikos str. 88a, Kaunas, Lithuania (office building); www.1000lt.com

3. Casa Mila: Provença, 261-265. 08008, Barcelona; +34 934 84 59 00 ; open November 5-February 28: daily, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., March 1-November 4, daily, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; www.lapedrera.com

4. Castel Meur: Brittany, auto route D25, 29260 Kernouës, France. (Private residence not open to public)

5. Dali Theatre-Museum: Plaza Gala-Salvador Dalí, 5 17600, Figueres, Spain; +34 972 67 75 00; open November 1-February 28, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m., March 1-June 30, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., July 1-September 30, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Mondays; www.salvador-dali.org

6. Nationale-Nederlanden Building: Rašínovo Nábřeží 80, 120 00 Prague 2. (It's an office building and not open to the public, but there's a restaurant/bar on the top two floors, details here.)

7. Futuroscope: Avenue du Téléport (avenue René Monory), 86360, Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, France; +33 (0) 549 493 080; opening times vary, check website for dates and times; futuroscope.com

8. Guggenheim Bilbao: Avenida Abandoibarra, 2 48001, Bilbao, Spain; +34 (0) 944 35 90 80; Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; www.guggenheim-bilbao.es

9. Krzywy Domek: ul. Haffnera 6, 81-717 Sopot, Poland; +48 (0) 58 55 55 125; krzywydomek.info

10. Kunsthaus Graz Museum: Lendkai 1, 8020 Graz, Austria; +43 316/8017-9200; open Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; www.museum-joanneum.at

11. Eden Project: Bodelva, St Austell, Cornwall, UK; +44 (0) 1726 811911; opening times vary, check website for dates and times; www.edenproject.com

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