8 amazing buildings that look like cameras

Two citizens watch a camera-shaped public toilet in Shiqiaopu Street on February 7, 2014 in Chonqging, China
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Did you know that there are lots of buildings around the world that are designed to look like cameras? We have been looking out for pictures of the best, and are now ready to show you eight of our favorites.

Making buildings look like other objects has been popular for over a hundred years. Known by programmatic or novelty architecture, people have designed buildings to look like a fish, a bottle, a piano, a donut, or even a pipe-smoking bulldog!

Often these kitsch designs are there to promote the business of the buildings' owners - such as a cafe that's shaped like a teapot. And this can be the case too some of our camera-shaped structures - although 

1: Camera Obscura, California, USA

(Image credit: Robert Clay / Alamy Stock Photo)

Situated at Lands End in San Franciso, this camera-shaped building has great views of the the beach and the Pacific Ocean. The wooden structure houses a walk-in camera obscura - which projects images from the scenery outside onto a viewing table inside. The lens in the lens-shaped tower rotates slowly to give you a 360° view over a period of six minutes. The visitor attraction first opened in 1946, but was remodelled in 1957 to make it look like a giant camera.

2: Public toilets, Chonqging, China

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is the most unusual camera-shaped building on our list. It might look like a camera, but these are actually public restrooms! If you want to use the facilities, yu will have to travel to Chonqging, which with a population of 30 million is the fourth largest city in China. The local council apparently had 22 public conveniences remodeled in this way, to help promote the city's importance in the manufacture of digital electronics.

4: Vintage Camera Museum, Singapore

(Image credit: Architecture and Interior / Alamy Stock Photo)

To enter this museum of photography you walk up into the lens of the structure. There are over 1000 exhibits on display from, we are told, replicas of the world's biggest camera to cameras designed to be worn by pigeons (that were used for military surveillance long before drones were invented)! 

5: Camera House, Borobudur, Indonesia

(Image credit: Manfred Gottschalk / Alamy Stock Photo)

Borubodor is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Java, and a major tourist destination due to its spectacular 9th century temple complex. But this Camera House definitely sounds like it is also a visitor attraction. It is shaped like a Canon SLR resting on its back with a white-bodied L-series zoom lens sticking up towards the sky. Inside it offers a range of optical illusions, mirrors and dramatic backdrops for you to take photographs of you and your companions - making it ideal for the Instagrammer in the family.

6: Private house, Belagavi, India

This is the only private house on this list - and was built by camera nut Ravi Hongal. The exterior façade consists of a Nikon camera body with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G, although purists will no doubt be apoplectic that it features a Canon flashgun mounted on the hotshoe and a 64GB Sony SD memory card). Apparently it's a hybrid film and digital body, as there is also a roll of 35mm film extending to the top of the building – where the house's name, "Click", is also proudly emblazoned.The house reportedly cost him US$95,000 to build. And if you think that this shows too much obsession with photography, he has gone further still - naming his three children Canon, Nikon and Epson!

6: Dreamy Camera Cafe, Yangpyeong, South Korea

This is one of the most spectacular looking structures on the list. Looking like a twin-lens reflex medium-format film camera nestles in the mountainside around 40 miles outside the Korean capital Seoul. The two-storey building is a cafe that opens Tuesdays to Saturdays. One visitor reports that "You will then get a piece of paper to write your own dreams (five of them) as well as a place to write something encouraging. Someone will then take a Polaroid for you to keep while you leave your paper behind for others to read".

7: The Big Camera museum, Meckering, Australia

The Big Camera museum of photography, Meckering, Western Australia

(Image credit: James Talalay / Alamy Stock Photo)

The Big Camera is situated about 80 miles to the east of Perth in Western Australia. Claiming to be the only museum dedicated to photography in the whole of Australia, the outside of the building is shaped like a giant SLR camera. It has a collection of over 3000 exhibits from Box Brownies to Zoetropes.

8: Federico Fellini Park, Rimini, Italy

(Image credit: Roman Sigaev / Alamy Stock Photo)

This building can be found in a public park dedicated to celebrated Italian film director Federico Fellini, in the coastal resort of Rimini. It was originally built in the 1950s to promote the business of local photographer and artist Elio Guerra. The structure was modeled on the Ferrania Condor II rangefinder camera, which was made in Italy by Officine Galileo.

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.