In pictures: 8 of Sweden's weirdest looking buildings

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
In pictures: 8 of Sweden's weirdest looking buildings
Ting1 in Örnsköldsvik is surely one of Sweden's weirdest looking buildings. Photo: Photo: Gunilla G/Flickr Creative Commons

Sweden may have a reputation for its minimalist style, but occasionally the country breaks from the norm, and the results can sometimes be… odd. With that in mind, The Local rounds up eight of Sweden's weirdest looking buildings.


Svampen (Örebro)

As its name suggests, Svampen ("the mushroom" in Swedish) has a fungus-like feel, and if the frequency with which it appears on "Sweden's ugliest building" lists is anything to go by, it’s not universally loved.

The water tower in central Swedish city Örebro was designed by architect Sune Lindström, who is better known for the Kuwait Towers in Kuwait City. If you're particularly keen on seeing the giant mushroom up close, there's a cafe and restaurant at the top – with the advantage that you’re unable to see Svampen from there.

Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Globen (Stockholm)

Seeing Globen on a daily basis may mean you get used to it, but there's no denying that the thing is a bit, well, odd.

At best, the sports and music arena conjures up images of similarly golfball-like Spaceship Earth at Disney's Epcot theme park in Florida. At worst, it looks like the Death Star from Star Wars. Not the cool first one though – the unfinished, crappy looking second one from Return of the Jedi.

Photo: Fredrik Sandber/TT

Lilla Bommen (Gothenburg)

If you squint your eyes, then at night when it's lit up, Lilla Bommen (better known as the "lipstick building" locally) in Gothenburg has some kind of charm, but during the day when it doesn’t have smoke and mirrors to help its cause, it's pretty hideous.

With few tall buildings in its vicinity, the skyscraper has nowhere to hide, and if you're coming from the north over Götaälvbron, the tower does a great job of sticking out like a sore thumb on the central Gothenburg waterfront.

Photo: Erik Svensson/TT

Dragon Gate (Älvkarleby)

A sprawling Chinese-style hotel complex built next to a motorway in an otherwise unremarkable Swedish town for no obvious reason at all – even before you actually see an image of Dragon Gate, you know it's going to be weird.

The story is suitably bizarre: in 2004 Chinese billionaire Jingchun Li bought the former Hotel Älvkarlen with the hope of converting it into a popular attraction "where east meets west", but though the building has earned a reputation, it's not for its outstanding merit.

More than a decade later, parts of the property have still to be opened to the public and perhaps never will: in May it was put up for sale.

READ ALSO: Sweden's weirdest tourist attraction is up for sale

Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Ting1 (Örnsköldsvik)

According to its Wikipedia page, Örnsköldsvik is known as "an exporter of pulp and paper products", but it's also home to a particularly unique building: Ting1, a multi-coloured apartment tower built on top of the town's old courthouse.

With protruding, cube-shaped balconies and a red, green and yellow colour scheme, it's easy to see why the thing has the nickname "the Lego house". Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh is the brains behind it, by the way.

Photo: Gunilla G/Flickr Creative Commons

Villa Villekulla (Visby)

Pippi Longstocking fans will likely love this yellow, pink and green mess of a structure just outside Gotland's medieval city Visby. Others may not be so enthused…

First built in 1902, the house was used in the 1969 Pippi Longstocking TV series as well as some of the movies, and originally stood in a different Visby location before being moved to its current home in the Kneippbyn resort.

Oh, and there’s sometimes a horse on the front porch, naturally.

Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang/Flickr Creative Commons

Turning Torso (Malmö)

Unlike many of the buildings on this list, the Turning Torso in Malmö's Västra Hamnen neighbourhood isn’t necessarily ugly, but it is… different. Marketed as "the world’s first twisting skyscraper", the tower has been open for more than a decade now and is probably the Swedish city's most eye-catching building. Just ask nearby neighbours Copenhagen, who can see it from across the Öresund Strait on a clear day.

Recognize the tower even though you haven't been to Sweden? It features in the intro to and transitional shots from hit Swedish-Danish drama The Bridge. The exterior shots of Saga's apartment are also filmed in Västra Hamnen.

Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Victoria Tower (Stockholm)

Everything was going so well with the Victoria Tower until they got to the top.

In the unlikely event that you haven't already noticed it, keep your eye open for the disproportionate structure the next time you’re on the road between Arlanda airport and Stockholm. Currently a Scandic hotel, there's a skybar at the top where you can take in some spectacular views of Stockholm suburb Kista...

All joking aside, like all of the buildings on the list the reflective tower divides opinion: some love it, some hate it. It's definitely not boring in any case.

Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT


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