Thousand Islands – St. Lawrence River
Back in the boom of 1800s America, many rich types from New York and Chicago began snapping up land at will, building grand hotels and luxury houses for their summer jaunts away from the congested city. Thousands Islands was one such place. This 120 room five building compound commissioned by millionaire and Waldorf Astoria proprietor George Bolt, has a private bowling alley and can be rented out for weddings and private events. The only problem is it’s near enough impossible to get to and is prone to power outages and food shortages. Too much of that is not a good thing.
Sutyagin House – Russia
This 13-storey structure was built by a mobster over the course of 12 years, believe it or not. Said to be around half the size of Big Ben, construction began in 1992, although it was never truly finished, likely down to the fact it was a complete fire hazard and at risk of collapsing any moment. An inferno burnt this one to the ground in 2012. What a loss to architecture.
Hanging Temple – China
These suspended monasteries can give you sweaty palms just by looking at them. First built in 491 AD, these Hanging Temples consist of 40 rooms linked by a maze of passageways. Why build something so dangerous? Well, building a monastery on the cliff lessens its chances of being flooded, for one. On top of that, the mountain peak protects it from rain and snow. Just don’t dangle over the rail and you’d be fine.
Cliff House – San Francisco
Cliff House doesn’t exactly scream “safe venue” does it? Nevertheless, people flock to Cliff House for fine dining and jaw-dropping coastal views and have done since 1860. Though the image of the place has obviously changed since the 19th century, the experience remains the same, for those brave enough. This location requires constant maintenance thanks to the level of damage it accrues. Some even believe the property is cursed.
Castellfollit De La Roca – Spain
Castellfollit De La Roca is a sight to behold – and somewhere you’d probably not want to ever live. While these houses do boast good views, they come at a cost: a 160 foot cliff-edge drop. Wild winds only worsen the situation in Castillo. Combine the geological craziness with the old age of the place and you’re looking at major trouble. They should pay you to live there.
Shadowcliff – Lake Michigan
This controversial building was built as a businessman’s holiday office. Entering through the front, this house doesn’t look too out of the ordinary. Dangerous? Not a chance! And then guests see that they are suspended thousands of feet off the ground and this house isn’t really a house but a glass box. For a bit over $2 million, this Shadowcliff residence can be yours… if you’ve got the gonads.
Takasugi-An – Japan
We all love a tree house don’t we? The Japanese love them! This teahouse was designed by Eero Nobu Fujimori is precariously placed on two tree trunks in the Chino Nagano Prefecture. Guests must climb a free-standing ladder which leans against one of the trees. This may look pretty but living here for any period of time would be a nightmare. Imagine coming home drunk!
Just Room Enough Island – New York
This minuscule island is found on the river separating New York and Ontario. For whatever reason, someone saw this small patch of land and thought, “That’s the place for me.” This is back in the 1950s, to be fair, when you couldn’t Google, “Is it safe to live on a tiny island where if you step outside of the front door, you drown?”
Villa de Vecchi – Italy
Unlike the others on this list, Villa de Vecchi isn’t teetering on some cliff edge. It’s not at risk of being flooded. At face value, it looks pretty fine. What makes it dangerous is the lore attached to it. The building’s architect died out of nowhere, for starters. Then the count who lived there returned home one day to find his wife murdered and daughter missing. Grief-stricken, he took his own life. It has remained abandoned ever since, save for the few cases of witches and occultists squatting on the grounds.
Dina River House – Serbia
In deepest, darkest Serbia is a small wooden house atop a not-as-big rock, slap bang in the middle of a river. The house was originally built by a group of local swimmers who needed a safe house for when the waters were choppy. We say “originally built” because the Dina River House has been destroyed by flooding seven times, making it one of the most dangerous houses in the world.