There’s an Impossible Upside-Down Building in Vancouver

Would you consider living in a top-heavy tower that looks like a Jenga game ready to fall? It may not be among the wonders of the modern world or on the list of biggest skyscrapers in the world, but the 53-story Vancouver House is definitely a marvel. The building fits in a tiny triangular footprint between off-ramps and the Granville Bridge. Most people thought it was an impossible place to put a building, but Danish architect Bjarke Ingels designed one that gets larger the higher up it goes. The result is a trippy “Upside-Down” tower that looks like it’s ready to topple over.  

The video above is part of the Smithsonian Channel’s series How Did They Build That? For those interested in learning about amazing feats of engineering, the channel also shares other clips from episodes of the show on YouTube. There are more wild architectural marvels like bridges, parks, and even an Antarctic base on the list to go along with the upside-down building. Another cool clip shows off the design of the skinniest skyscraper in New York City and how it keeps from blowing over in the wind. Add that to the list of places we would love to see but may be too scared to get into. But that’s just as well since it’s not exactly an affordable place to live.

The Vancouver House skyscraper is narrow at the base and gets wider at the top, the building looks upside down.
Smithsonian Channel

The Canadian skyscraper is 515 feet tall, the fifth highest in Vancouver, British Columbia. Despite its risky appearance, the building is home to almost 500 apartments. After years of construction, it was finished in 2020. Most of the units, including a three-story penthouse, sold long before the building had even opened. It’s certainly a beautiful place for a home. But we’re not sure we could ever relax knowing there is nothing solid below our feet. The view from the plentiful balconies must be extra terrifying as well. We guess maybe this is one building that would be better in Stranger Things‘ realm of The Upside Down.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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