As anyone who has stood on a glass-floored viewing deck knows, a building can be perfectly safe and still scare the hell out of us.
As the range of building materials and the methods available to engineers has grown, so have the number of structures that are frankly terrifying to behold.
Below, we have selected five of the scariest to make you glad that your building is sitting on solid foundations.
Glacier Skywalk (Canada)
This project is perfect for nature lovers with no fear of heights but not for the rest of us. The Glacier Skywalk allows visitors to experience Canada’s Jasper National Park from a bird’s eye view. The structure is built into native bedrock, with weathering steel, glass and wood. This walkway and glass platform observation deck hangs 35 metres out from the cliff-edge and 280 metres over the Sunwapta Valley. The project was designed to be respectful of the environment.
Holiday Inn Shanghai Pool (China)
The glass-bottomed pool at the 24 storey Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong Kangqiao juts out over the city. Better hope it doesn't spring a leak.
Unnamed Surfers Paradise Mega Tower (Australia)
This tower is really cool but frankly it scares us a little bit. It looks like a pile of plates loosely stacked on top of each other, which could fall down. We know it isn't true because skycrapers are held up by their core not their walls, but looking at it causes a bit of vertigo. The $1 billion tower is the brainchild of Hong Kong developer Forise Investments which has lodged a Development Application with the Gold Coast City Council. The 88-storey mixed use tower is to be built on a 3494 sqm site it has acquired at 3 Trickett Street, Surfers Paradise.
If you are terrified of heights you would be advised to stay well away from China's latest attraction. The 430 metre long Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon skywalk hovers over a nail-biting 300 metre drop and is set to smash records to be the world's longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge. The dizzying footbridge, which spans between two cliffs in the national park of Zhangjiajie, will be open to brave tourists soon. Israeli architect Haim Dotan was behind the ambitious venture.
Cliff Top Home (Australia)
This cantilevered home is designed to hang off the side of a cliff, above crashing ocean waves. Designed by Australian architecture firm Modscape, the home is "visualized as a natural extension of the cliff face rather than an addition to the landscape, creating an absolute connection with the ocean." We think occupants may spend their time praying their connection to the ocean remains abstract and not real. Modscape developed the Cliff House in response to a number of client requests for homes in extreme coastal locations. Modscape says that: "Inspired by the way barnacles cling to the hull of a ship, a concept was developed for a modular home to hang off the side of a cliff as opposed to sitting on top of it." The home is made of five modules that are anchored to the cliff using engineered steel pins. Residents enter the home through the rooftop car port at the top and use a staircase or elevator to enter the living space. Although it has not been built the firm is adamant it could be.