Dedicated to hunting down Dragons in all their forms, here are 10 Amazing examples of Dragon Architecture. Dragon House, Dragon Tower, Dragon Bridge, Dragon Buildings, here they are! Naturally, I can’t pick a favourite so it’s just a list, not a ‘top ten’. But please do tell me what your favourite is!
1) Wat Samphran’s Dragon Tower
Wat Samphran Temple in Tailand actually consists of several stuctures but its most impressive is the 17 storey high red tower wrapped in a green dragon! The temple itself is a bit out of the way and not tourist spot, as it is primarily used for temple business. Indeed the Dragon Tower is usually closed to visitor except on special occasions. The dragon is reported to be hollow and it is possible to walk some sections of it. Details of when the temple was built, and by whom, are unknown.
2) The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang
Da Nang’s Dragon Bridge is 666 meters in length and 37.5 meters wide. The bridges steel arches act as the body of the Dragon with the head at one end and the tail at the other. The head releases jets of water or plumes of fire (usually on special occasions). At night its body is lit with 2500 LEDs.
3) Wurmeck aka ‘Dragon Corner’
The City Hall in Munchen, Germany, has a large dragon on its south-western corner. Called Wurmeck aka ‘Dragon Corner’ it is based on a local legend from the Middle Ages about a dragon that landed there bringing the plague. It was killed by a cannon blast to the chest. The decorations on the building behind it actually tell the whole story including people dying of the plague, the cannon being loaded and the celebrations following the dragons death.
4) Bishop Castle
Bishop Castle is the largest self-built Castle in the United States. It was built by one man, Jim Bishop, who began construction in 1969. He initially intended to build a stone cottage but somehow it transformed into a medieval-style castle with a fire-breathing dragon on the roof!
The dragons scales are made from salvaged stainless steel hospital trays that have been riveted together. Jim Bishop was donated a burner from a hot air balloon that he put in the dragons throat to make it breath fire. It also acts as the chimney for the ballroom fireplace below it so can often be seen breathing smoke.
The structure as a whole is very impressive with the tallest tower standing at 160 feet and beautiful ironwork staircases spiralling up it. It’s freely open to the public and Jim Bishop is constantly working on it. Apparently he would like to add a moat and drawbridge.
5) Diagon Alley Gringotts Dragon
The Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon that Harry, Hermione and Ron ride to freedom in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is probably the most impressive thing in Universal Studio’s Diagon Alley. It is on top of the roof of Gringots Bank, the highest structure, and very detailed. It has broken chains around its neck from where it ‘escaped’.
Some say the dragon breathes randomly (and a random amount of fire), others say ask a Wizard and they will be able to tell you the time it will breathe. The Dragon breathes real fire and always growls beforehand.
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6) Gaudi’s Casa Batllo
Famous architect Antoni Gaudi designed Casa Batllo as an architectural retelling of the Legend of Saint George. It’s a little abstract, but the Dragon is not too hard to find. The ceramic tiles in the roof look like dragon scales and it even sort-of has an eye. (If you ask me it’s kinda a cute Dragon!) Inside, on the top floor, is a room that is designed with white catenary arches so it feels like you are walking inside the dragons ribcage!
The cross is the Cross of Saint George. You can see this goes through the Dragons body to represent Saint George slaying the Dragon. Just below the roof is a balcony known as ‘The Princess Balcony’ to represent the princess the dragon was guarding. All the other balcony below that look like skulls because they are meant to be the dragons victims!
7) Casa de los Dragones
Designed by the Valencian archetect Jose Perez and supposed to be named after the Cerni Gonzalez Brothers this three storey building became known as the ‘House of Dragons’ because of its four bronze dragons on the roof. Commissioned in 1900 and completed in 1905 the original dragons were lost during the 2nd republic. Four new Dragons, made largely of resin and fibreglass, were designed by Remero Vallejo and painted to appear bronze to replace to old ones. These were installed in 2006.
8) Lotus Pond Dragon and Tiger Pagodas
Lotus Pond is a man-made lake in Kaohsiung City in Southern Taiwan. A popular tourist attraction, it’s famous for its 13 temples and giant lotus plants. The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are the most breathtaking temples. You are instructed to walk inside the dragons mouth and exit via the Tigers mouth to symbolise turning your bad luck into good. Inside is frightening imagery to encourage good deeds. Not far to the north from these are the Are the Spring and Autumn Pavilions that similarly have a Dragons mouth you walk through.
9) Westhall Dragon House
The house was inspired by a sketch by a russian architect but the owners, Nick Fisher and Jo Jordan, built the house themselves in 2011. The interior of the house is as unique and fantastical as its exterior. It is brightly coloured and whimsical with most of the materials locally sourced or re-purposed.
When they first had the idea of having a creature on the roof the creature itself was undetermined, but when they saw a metal Dragon at the Hampton Court Flower Show they realised that was what they wanted. It won the Homebuilding and Renovating Award in 2012 and is currently a Bed and Breakfast.
10) Dragon Descendants Museum
Founded in 1996 The Dragon Descendants Museum in Suphan Buri contains 21 display rooms and 5000 years of Chinese history and its relationship with Thailand. The building itself is a 35 metre high 135 metre long golden dragon. It is part of the Heavenly Dragon Park which is open to the public and has other buildings decorated with dragons (but none quite so impressive as this one).