Built in 2008 in the seaside resort of Trassenheide on the Pomeranian island of Usedom, the Upside-Down House of Trassenheide was the first bottom-up dwelling to be built in Germany—but it wasn’t the last.
The topsy-turvy designers behind the odd abode were the Polish architects Klaudiusz Golos and Sebastian Mikiciuk, who built it as part of a project called Die Welt Steht Kopf (“The World Upside Down”), the aim of which was to give visitors a different view of everyday things.
At the Trassenheide house, the only thing that isn’t flipped on its head are the exterior stairs that lead to the attic (which serves as the ground-floor entrance, realistically speaking). Along the outside walls of the inverted “ground floor” are an upside-down bench, wheelbarrow, and a bicycle.
Once inside, things get really trippy. Sofas, kitchen furniture, potted plants, and paintings are all inverted in this upside-down world, hanging above you as you stand on the ceiling. Inside the bathroom, you almost expect water to come tumbling down from the upturned toilet. Even the curtains are pinned in such a way as to make you think that gravity has gone and flipped you.
As if that wasn’t all sufficiently disorienting, the entire building is built on a 6 percent incline. From the outside, this gives the impression that the house somehow fell to earth and came to rest precariously on its roof. And inside, the extra slant just emphasizes the already befuddling nature of the Upside-Down House in Trassenheide.
Upon its completion, the dwelling gained the great honor of becoming the first upside-down house built in Germany. It has since been joined by the Haus-Kopf-über (“Upside-Down House” in English) on the nearby island of Rügen, built in 2010. The Trassenheide residence wasn’t, however, the first upside-down house to be built in Europe. The owner if that title is open to debate, but the Upside-Down House in Szymbark, Poland, was built one year before its German namesake.
Unlike the Upside-Down House in Szymbark, which was built partly as a statement about the uncertainty of life in post-Communist Poland, the Upside-Down House in Trassenheide was designed primarily with tourism in mind. But both possess the undeniable ability to absolutely delight Instagram-obsessed tourists. After just a few minutes inside the inverted interiors of these upside-down houses, it’s not uncommon for visitors to experience an upwelling of giddiness that sends them stumbling to the nearest upturned exit.