Dangerous Houses In The World
Here are the riskiest houses in the world!Entertainment
From caves to condos, homes have always been a safe space for us humans to retreat. However, not all houses are exactly fit for the purpose of providing that much-needed safety, security, and comfort. From ones that teeter at treacherous heights, to ones that are a little too close to sharks and volcanos, let's check out some of the riskiest houses in the world!
Sutyagin Wooden House
In 1992, businessman, Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin, began building his entirely wooden home in the city of Arkhangelsk. Being the city’s richest man, Sutyagin wanted to flaunt his wealth with an extravagant 2-story house.
But, as it neared completion, he was left feeling dissatisfied. Something was missing. Another story, perhaps. So he added one. Though that still didn’t hit the spot. So he added another. And another. Eventually, he found himself peering up at what can only be described as a half-finished, 144-foot, 13-story haunted mansion. Or rather, ‘Sutyagin House’.
But even after all that hard work, in 1998 Sutyagin found a new home: prison. Sutyagin’s business practices, it turned out, weren’t exactly squeaky-clean, and landed him with racketeering charges, culminating in a 4-year sentence. And his incomplete wooden skyscraper, with its top floors being little more than a hollow, unfurnished shell, fell into disrepair and dilapidation.
It wasn’t long before neighbors began complaining that the inmate’s vacant mansion was an environmental hazard. The lightest brush of a breeze would apparently cause the house to make ominous noises and stronger gusts would shed planks of wood into neighboring yards.
Things didn’t get much better when the homeowner returned from prison and moved in. Unfortunately for Sutyagin, the law stated that buildings beyond 2 stories required official permission from authorities, which he didn’t have.
With it being so tall and made of wood, it was also deemed a fire hazard, with authorities fearing that in the event of a fire, it would wipe out the rest of the neighborhood. With that, he was ordered to remove the upper floors, and he continued living in what remained until, eventually, he was ordered to fully demolish the rest of his not-so-humble-abode in 2008.
Truth is, Sutyagin was probably safer back in his jail cell anyway. With the house said to quiver in the wind, and shoddy workmanship evidenced by the fact that chunks of it were regularly flying off, it’s not unfathomable to think that it would have eventually collapsed altogether.
Living At The Water's Edge
According to recent brain-imaging research, living within close proximity to water might just be what the doctor ordered, what with it being shown to stimulate the brain’s feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine and oxytocin. However, it also turns out that life by the tide might just be one of the riskiest places to be.
In June 2022, the Yellowstone National Park Region experienced unprecedented storms. A system of warm and wet air, known as an ‘atmospheric river’, unleashed on Yellowstone, and resulted in devastating floods. In all its chaos, houses, roads, and bridges were destroyed, and certain areas had to be evacuated.
After 3 days of weathering the storm, things were about to get a whole lot worse for a local Montana couple, TJ and Victoria Britton. Their home of 16 years sat right on the embankment of the Yellowstone River. In the midst of the storm, they began to notice their house was shaking.
By the following morning, the river water had reached around 14 feet and it was rapidly eating away at the embankment, rendering their home more and more unstable. For their safety, they were forced to evacuate, and watch helplessly from afar that their house was washed away in the river.
Just like that, TJ and Victoria’s home of 16 years and lively possessions were swept down the river into the great beyond, leaving them with nothing. In their desperation, the family spent the coming days scavenging the riverbank attempting to salvage any possessions. And while this was certainly a cruel twist of fate, living that close to a river is known to be a troublesome choice for homeowners to make.
Even with elaborate flood-control systems in place, rivers can still cause catastrophic flooding, so opting for a home with lovely riverside views comes with some inherent risks. But even without flooding, a river’s water can, over time, be naturally destructive to the land.
It’s what’s known as avulsion, the natural changing of a river’s permanent path over the route of least resistance over time. One good example is Peru’s Ucayali River which meandered its path from just 1984 to 2012.
But sadly, the Montana river-bitten home isn’t the only time a house has been lost to the changes of a river. In 2017, a riverfront house in Warren, New Hampshire, was also swept from its foundations and sent down the river. And as if things couldn’t be much worse, any vague hopes of fishing the house back out were crushed after the house was completely destroyed.
And that’s why you don’t mess with mother nature; she will quite literally fold your house in half like a sheet of wet paper. But bizarrely, by contrast, a house, which is literally in the middle of New York’s St Lawrence River, is still standing after 70 years.
Known as ‘Just Room Enough Island’, the miniature island was bought by the Sizeland family during the 1950s, who built a house on it as they wanted a remote getaway. And somehow, having defied erosion and flooding, it still stands strong!
While the water level of much of the St. Lawrence River is closely monitored and controlled by dams, there’s always a chance that one day Mother Nature might just decide to sweep the picturesque little home away regardless. Something a house in Serbia knows all too well.
The story of this bizarre little building begins in the summer of 1968. Brothers, Milija and Milan Mandic, and their pals would often swim in the Drina River in the town of Bajina Basta. Amid this river was a rock where the swimmers would take rest. However, under the scorching sun, it would become unbearable, so they hatched a plan. They’d construct a whole cabin on top of the rock, known as the Drina River House.
Unfortunately, as fall came around, rainfall and a higher water level washed their cabin away. It would be restored. And then destroyed again. Restored. Destroyed again. And so on. Until 2011, when it was restored for its 7th time and has been standing there strong for the last 11 years, though we can only assume it’s just a matter of time before it’s knocked off its rock once again.
The Volcanic Phoenix House
They say you should ‘love thy neighbor’, but what about when your neighbor is a humongous hot-head like the Mauna Loa in Hawaii, AKA, the world’s largest active volcano? Sitting at the foot of this volcano is quite possibly the ultimate daredevil’s Airbnb, ‘Phoenix House’.
For some 700,000 years now, Mauna Loa has occasionally been spewing lava into the surrounding lands. Some of Mauna’s heated outbursts have been pretty serious, like an eruption in 1950 left neighboring villages entirely devastated. But despite knowing that, Will Beilharz, the founder of sustainable tourism company ArtisTree, still had the boldness to build a house there.
And while it’s not exactly like the house is surrounded by lava right now, it does sit upon the solidified remains of a previous lava flow, and its 4-mile vicinity to the volcano certainly puts it in striking range of one of Mauna Loa’s mood swings.
Until very recently, her last eruption was way back in 1984. But, in November 2022, Mauna proved she was still feisty when she erupted, spewing a lava flow that traveled 11 miles before stopping. Thankfully, this flow missed the Phoenix house, and there were no recorded injuries at all from this eruption.
Thanks to this more merciful eruption, the house is still listed on Airbnb as of early 2023. But that doesn’t mean this tiny home will be safe forever and remains at risk of lava flows and bursts of carbon dioxide from the spicy bowels of the Earth.
Butt it’s still a pretty darn cool spot to stay at. Where better to live out your supervillain fantasies than an Airbnb where there’s a chance you could wake up in the morning to view of your own personal lava moat?
Designed in 2014 by Australian housing firm, ‘Modscape’, the vertiginous Cliff House concept came about after many of their clients requested homes in extreme coastal locations. And the extreme coastal location is certainly what they got! Fastening itself to the cliff face, the modular home accommodates panoramic ocean views.
However, while in theory, it’s completely possible, it’s only a concept at this point, and if it were to be built for real architects say unconventional construction techniques would be required. Each floor, being its own prefabricated module, would need to be individually anchored into the cliff, using ‘specifically engineered steel pins’.
Though the ocean, the very appeal of this house, could, in fact, cause the house’s demise. On average, rock cliffs recede at around 2-7 inches per year, due to the erosion caused by the constant battering of the tide and wind. So, it’s possible that within a few decades, the lower part of the cliff could erode enough to create a structurally-unsafe overhang, waiting to collapse.
That is similar to the fictional concept image below, taken from an advertising campaign in 2013. Of course, that campaign’s design would only be possible if the rock was sturdy enough to support the weight of the house, and avoiding the overhang snapping like a Graham Cracker. Honestly, I wouldn’t be comfortable risking it either way.
Elsewhere clung to a cliff in the real world, is the Xuan Kong Si Hanging Temple. Which, as the name says, is quite literally a temple that hangs from a cliff near Mount Heng in the Shanxi Province of China.
Built during the 8th century, the temple is actually dedicated to 3 religions: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. But considering its time of construction and the fact it’s held up all this time, you might consider it an architectural wonder.
At 246 feet above ground level, the temple is accessed only by a series of precarious walkways. The main supportive structure of oak crossbeams is fitted into holes chiseled into the cliffs. While you’d think hundreds of years of erosion would’ve done a number on it, thanks to the temple being located beneath a prominent summit, it’s very well shielded from the elements.
Not forgetting that being elevated over 200 feet means it’s protected from floods. However, in 2015, a spell of constant rainfall caused rockfall from the cliff, which resulted in the site being closed due to safety concerns. So, all in all, despite its longevity, it seems cliff-side life is probably still a risky place to be.
Bivacco Luca Pasqualetti Cabin
With the hustle and bustle of modern-day living, going Elsa mode and escaping to a castle in the mountains might sound appealing. But it might also be kind of possible, albeit, with a little less ice palace and talking snowmen. Though be warned: it can be pretty risky!
One such mountainous abode, designed back in 2014, the Bivacco Luca Pasqualetti is a cabin that sits at an altitude of 10,790 ft in the Italian Alps. It’s the brainchild of Italian architects, Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo, and was created to encourage exploration of the remote location. But due to the dangers at these lofty heights, the building had to be prefabricated and lifted to the peaks via helicopter.
And indeed, the weather conditions up in the Alps can be rather beastly. Temperatures tumbling below minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speeds gusting up to 124 miles per hour are to be expected.
With the structure being seated on what its creators describe as temporary foundations, the sounds of these strong winds pelting against the little cabin don’t exactly fill you with confidence, and the Alps’ history of landslides doesn’t help much either.
According to the architects, this tin can house is equipped to hold up in all throughout all of that weather chaos. But would you trust that with your life in a gale-force blizzard? Not to mention the possibility of being faced with your own mortal departure after tripping over the rough ground of that jagged mountain peak it’s built upon.
The Frying Pan Tower
From the Four Seasons to the Savoy, the point of a hotel is to provide comfort and relaxation. However, when a hotel holds the reputation of ‘world’s most dangerous’, you can forget all about comfort and relaxation.
During the 1960s, a coastguard station, known as ‘The Frying Pan Tower’, was built just 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina. While it was used to help ships navigate the Atlantic, the advent of GPS eventually made it redundant. By 2004 it was abandoned.
Being positioned in a protected reef area meant tearing it down wasn’t an option, so it was put up for auction; the lucky bidder being Mr. Richard Neal. And he had big ideas. Richard’s ambition was to restore the dilapidated structure, but he needed funds to do this. So, he repurposed the structure as a thrill-seeker’s hotel experience.
With mean coastal winds and bitter temperatures, the Atlantic home of The Frying Pan Tower is in and of itself, dangerous. What’s more, the waters immediately surrounding the Frying Pan Tower are a popular hangout spot for sharks, meaning you’re only one unfortunate slip away from a Jaws-type situation.
And while sharks aren’t all bad, the sand tiger sharks that call this area home are commonly ranked among the world’s top 10 most aggressive shark species, with 35 unprovoked attacks on humans on record. So probably not the type you want to be panic-splashing around with.
Climate and creatures aside though, the structure itself is also a hazard. The incessant battering from storms and ocean spray has reportedly left the tower severely rusted and weak. As a result, this not-so-romantic getaway is under constant renovation.
Of course, Richard and the team try to make the hotel as safe as possible, but considering you have to sign a waiver to visit, you’d have to be a braver individual than me to test your chances of survival at the world’s most dangerous hotel.
With an annual average temperature of 71.5 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s no wonder that Florida is known as the Sunshine State. And while it’s usually sunny in Florida, there’s a prowling darkness beneath this state: sinkholes that are capable of swallowing entire homes.
It was February 28th, 2013, and 37-year-old Jeffrey Bush was in bed in his home in Seffner. That was, until around 11 pm when, without warning, a ginormous sinkhole ruptured the Earth beneath his house, swallowing him and his entire room in one gulp. He was never seen again.
Similarly, in 2015, 5 homes in a residential area north of Tampa were at the mercy of a 225 feet wide, 50 feet deep, water-filled sinkhole. Thankfully, no one was injured in that latter incident, but the reality is, sinkholes are so prevalent in Florida that home insurance companies are even required to offer ‘catastrophic ground cover collapse’, in other words, sinkhole coverage.
But what exactly causes sinkholes in the first place? Florida is primarily built on limestone, which dissolves relatively easily in rainwater, especially rainwater that becomes acidic after seeping through topsoil. When the limestone dissolves, it can gradually create an enormous network of underground cavities, known as ‘karst’.
Over time, these caves will collapse, often triggered by the lowering of groundwater levels, resulting in tragic sinkholes, such as the one that claimed Jeffery Bush’s life. The scariest part, however, is that they aren’t exactly forecastable, meaning any innocent Floridian could be sitting at home right now totally oblivious to the sinkhole that’s about to have them for supper!
So, it looks like Florida might indeed be an unreasonably dangerous place to live, and not just because of the crazy Florida Man stories!
Located in the village of Katskhi in western Georgia, Katskhi Pillar is perhaps one of the riskiest churches in the world and is reportedly home to Maxime Qavtaradze, a monk of the Orthodox Church. The mammoth pillar is formed of natural limestone and peaks at 130 feet.
But why is there a church at the top? Between the 6th and 8th centuries, the church was built as a place for undisturbed Christian worship and spiritual reflection. You can definitely understand how some peaceful solitude could be found up there, if you could calm your nerves, that is.
Maxime, the elderly monk residing in the pillar-top Church has lived there for more than 20 years and only comes down twice a week to pray at ground-level with his followers. Reportedly, he’s not bothered by the dizzying heights at which he lives, as he worked as a crane operator before joining the church.
Plus, he says he feels closer to God this way. Even so, accessed only by an iron ladder, the 130-foot climb is not exactly senior-citizen friendly, and there’s also the risk of erosion to the pillar.
As we’ve already discussed, limestone, which Katskhi Pillar is made from, can erode relatively easily in rainwater, meaning it’s possible one day the pillar will reach breaking point, bringing its solitary resident back to Earth the hard and fast way. Let’s hope he’s got a parachute close by.
Pixar movies always have such a way of making the impossible seem completely possible. From a universe of monsters and toys that can talk, to an entire house that can travel by balloon. But what if it were actually possible to set sail on a balloon house? Weirdly enough, it actually is. Though it wouldn’t be quite as easy as Up’s Carl Frederickson makes it seem; you’d need a lot of balloons.
First things first, the reason helium balloons float is that they weigh less and are less dense than the air they displace, which, thanks to the physics of buoyancy, causes them to be subjected to an upward force. This force is sufficient to overcome the downward force of gravity, so they float.
To generate enough force to counteract the force of gravity on a house, however, isn’t easy. In this hypothetical scenario, let’s assume this house is a little one, at around 100,000 pounds. A helium balloon experiences an upward buoyant force that can lift roughly 0.067 pounds.
To figure out the number of balloons needed, we’d just have to divide the weight of the house by the upward buoyant force acting on a single balloon. To begin lifting the house, you’d need almost 1.5 million balloons! That’s one big party.
But here’s the crazy part. In 2011, National Geographic actually carried out the experiment, and lo and behold, got a house to fly. They built a small-scale, lightweight house, more akin to the gondola of a hot-air balloon.
They also used much larger balloons called ‘weather balloons’, each eight feet tall, specifically designed to deal with high-altitude weather. With 300 of these, each filled with a whole tank of helium, the house set off on a 1-hour cruise across California’s High Desert with 2 people inside!
Before you raid Wal-Mart’s party aisle for a million balloons, while National Geographic’s experiment took place in a very controlled and simplified circumstance, the reality of a fully-fledged balloon house would likely be a lot more deadly.
Between airplanes, buildings, bodies of water, a risk of balloons bursting, and a lack of any means of proper steering, it’s pretty clear to see why this fun-seeming house situation wouldn’t work out very well for we mortals outside the Pixar universe. So, is the balloon house from Up possible? Theoretically, kind of. Should anyone risk trying it? Absolutely not.
Takasugi-an Treetop Teahouse
In Chino, Nagano in Japan sits a tiny 29-square-foot treehouse, built for the purpose of sipping tea with a view, while perched between two chestnut trees. Bequeathed with a name that literally translates to mean ‘a teahouse too high’, Takasugi-an is a teahouse designed by Japanese architect, Terunobu Fujimori.
Known for his eccentric designs that often use natural materials and subvert traditional techniques, Takasugi-an treehouse is no exception. However, this teetering teahouse could potentially be dangerous.
In fact, in 2010, Time Magazine actually named it as being one of the most precarious buildings in the whole world. Considering that it’s supported by only two twiggy trees, comes as no surprise. Just consider how easily trees topple in stormy weather.
And with Takasugi being located in Japan, this only makes things more risky, with Japan being ranked as the 4th country in the world most affected by extreme weather events. Those weather events, of course, include earthquakes that could shake the teahouse loose like a bucking bronco. So, it could only be a matter of time before Takasugi ‘spills the tea’, so to speak.
Similarly sketchy, are the treehouses of the Korowai Tribe in New Guinea. With these homes being made mostly from branches and towering up to 114ft in the air, it seems even a hint of a storm could destroy these homes.
Though, considering the Korowai people were almost entirely isolated from the outside world until the 1970s, and still haven’t made a huge amount of contact since then, the potential lethality of their treehouses isn’t exactly well-documented.
But even with their reportedly excellent climbing skills, it’s not hard to imagine that climb becoming very treacherous for elderly Korowai tribe members.