Dezeen Magazine

Al Musallah prayer hall, Abu Dhabi, by CEBRA

Eight buildings disguised as rocks

Following the creation of a cabin in France that was disguised as a large boulder, we round up eight buildings with rock-like forms including prayer halls, museums, theatres and houses.

Rock-like Al Musallah prayer hall by CEBRA
Photo is by Mikkel Frost

Al Musallah prayer hall, UAE, by CEBRA

Danish architecture studio CEBRA created a cave-like prayer centre within a landscape of jagged, rock-like forms in Abu Dhabi. The building rises out of a small pool of water next to the Qasr Al Hosn Fort – Abu Dhabi's oldest stone structure.

"The geometries intentionally land somewhere between building and landscape," said CEBRA.

Read more about Al Musallah prayer hall ›

Pebble-like 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London, by Smiljan Radić
Photo is by Iwan Baan

2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, UK, by Smiljan Radić

Chilean architect Smiljan Radić created a pebble-like form for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2014 from a paper-thin layer of white fibreglass. He raised the bulbous pavilion off the ground on a series of rough quarry stones.

"I feel like a giant made this model as a gift for London," Radić said at the time.

Read more about 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion ›

Rock-like Chapel of Sound in China
Photo is courtesy of Jonathan Leijonhufvud

The Chapel of Sound, China, by Open Architecture

Chinese studio Open Architecture designed this open-air concert hall for a site in a valley near the ruins of the Great Wall of China. The rock-like structure is formed from a series of concrete layers designed to mimic surrounding cliff faces.

"We were very aware of the responsibility we had to contribute a thoughtful structure that fits naturally into such a unique landscape," said Open Architecture.

"The symphony of nature is what we really wanted people to experience here."

Read more about The Chapel of Sound ›

Centro Eventi Multifunzionale disguised as rocks by Bargone Associati

Centro Eventi Multifunzionale, Italy, by Bargone Associati

This theatre and cultural centre on Lake Maggiore, Italy, was designed by Bargone Architetti Associati to reassemble the pebbles on the stony shoreline nearby.

Its four rock-shaped volumes, which are clad in pale grey zinc, contain two auditoriums as well as rehearsal spaces, a restaurant and a cafe.

Read more about Centro Eventi Multifunzionale ›

Exterior of Thérèse cabin in France by Bureau
Photo is by Dylan Perrenoud

Thérèse, France, by Bureau

Architecture studio Bureau covered this small wooden cabin in France in concrete so that it resembles a boulder – broken only by a porthole window.

The project is named after Thérèse, a character in the novel Derborence who was married to a shepherd who was trapped under rocks following a landslide.

Read more about Thérèse ›

Antoine cabin disguised as a rock by Bureau
Photo is by Dylan Perrenoud

Antoine, Switzerland, by Bureau

The partner to Bureau's Thérèse cabin, this rock-like shelter in Switzerland is named after the shepherd in the Derborence novel.

Swiss studio Bureau encased the entire wooden cabin in a concrete shell so that it is disguised as a large boulder.

Read more about Antoine ›

National Museum of Qatar, Qatar, Atelier Jean Nouvel
Photo is by Iwan Baan

National Museum of Qatar, Qatar, Atelier Jean Nouvel

While not immediately taking the typical rounded form of many of the rock-like buildings on this list, the National Museum of Qatar in Doha is informed by the shape of the desert rose – a mineral formation created when minerals crystallise.

"The desert rose is a symbol of the desert because it's an architecture created by time and the desert itself," said its architect Jean Nouvel.

"Nobody knows what the inside of a desert rose looks like, and we created a typology of intersections that makes you question what is inside it."

Read more about National Museum of Qatar ›

Rock House, Kuwait, by AGi Architects
Photo is by Nelson Garrido

Rock House, Kuwait, by AGi Architects

Appropriately named Rock House, this home in Kuwait is designed by local studio AGi Architects with a predominantly-solid outer wall to protect the resident's privacy.

The facades of the house, described by the studio as "origami-like", are entirely clad in stone.

Read more about Rock House ›