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World's Strangest Buildings

The Bar Code Building, St. Petersburg, Russia

Near the banks of the Neva River, this trade complex by Vitruvius & Sons transforms the world’s most ubiquitous symbol of commerce—the bar code—into a powerful architectural motif. It can be read as an update of American-style roadside classics like the giant Dixie Cup water tower of Lexington, KY, or Detroit’s giant Uniroyal Tire. The rust-red steel building brightens an otherwise bleak urban setting.

Strange Trend: There’s also a Barcode House by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV on the outskirts of Munich, but it’s much more subtle.
—Karrie Jacobs

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