One man builds: Amazing buildings built solo

Some of the most amazing sights around the world have taken hundreds of years to complete, with hundreds of people's help. But how far can you take an idea on your own?

And as the Beatles would suggest, it's best to get by with a little help from your friends. However, that's not to say some budding architects and buildings haven't tried doing it alone - with mighty results. Here are the stories of some amazing ideas that were bought to life across the globe by just one person.

Although we're not suggesting you dump all your friends, it is staggering what human belief can achieve when it goes solo. Michelangelo painted the entire length of the Sistine Chapel, Wiley Post was the first man to fly around the world alone, and we, at some point, have certainly finished a tub of ice cream all by ourselves too.

In terms of building some of the most amazing feats, things are a little more complicated. But these incredible stories can hopefully show you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. (Even if it is just ice cream.) 

Man builds Spanish Cathedral out of recycled waste 

A man building a cathedral all by himself? Sounds like a load of old rubbish - and in fact, that's not actually that far off the truth.

This is the work of Don Justo, a farmer-turned-Monk who was forced out of his monastery due to a bout of turbeculosis. 

Undeterred, he set about on a grandiose project that you see to your left: this stunning 8,000 metre cathedral.

Justo began building his religious structure back in 1961, on a plot of land that he had inherited from his parents. The building came out of a promise: if Justo was cured of his turberculosis, he would build a magnificent cathedral for 'Our Lady of the Pillar', the Spanish name for The Virgin Mary. 

When Justo did recover, he was certainly a man of his word - using any available materials he could to begin creating his masterpiece, typically working from 6am, ten hours a day.

As such, the building is mostly, entirely recycled, with old bricks given to him by nearby workers, with the columns moulded with old petrol drums. Although Justo's family, and many locals support the cathedral, apparently the Catholic church have condemned it as an 'eyesore'. There's just no pleasing some people.

Colarado teen builds dream castle

Of course, given the option, we would probably all live in castles; but for one teenager growing up in 60s Colarado, he went one better, and decided to simply just build one.

Bishop Castle, named after its creator Jim Bishop, began life in 1969, and was supposed to turn into a traditional family house. As Bishop continued building it, neighbours remarked how uncanny his new house looked to a castle.

For $450, the then 15 year old decided to take them up on their suggestion, and developed the cottage into a fully fledged stronghold. Funny where a casual comment from a neighbour can take you.

French postman builds his 'ideal Palace' (Literally)

Ever mused that your current dwellings are perhaps not a spacious as you would like? Clearly this was the mindset of French postman Ferdinand Cheval, who built the 'Palais Ideal', (translating to: 'Ideal Palace') over the course of 33 years, way back in 1879. Cheval's inspiration? Erm, a rock that he tripped up on one day. 

Speaking of the rock, Cheval said: "It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature. I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture." 

As such, Cheval based his masterpiece on the rock he accidentally stubbed on; which resulted in this fairytale-esque palace. 

Made with similar styles of stones, Cheval used buckets and wheelbarrows to transport the rocks to his location in Hauterives, France, and was inspired by different religious images - from Hinduism to Christianity. When he died, he was buried in a musoleum that he built himself too.

So next time you stub your toe on something, maybe be inspired by it. Unless your in too much agony.

Gangster builds 144ft scrapheap cabin (and dubs it the eighth wonder of the world)

Russian gangster Nikolai Sutyagin was so embroiled in his building project, that it took a spell in prison to make him eventually stop. Before then, he had created one of the tallest scrapheap cabins existing. (Well, we can't imagine there are many.) 

Standing at 144ft, the eccentric project has been a work of Sutyagin's since 1992, with the initial intention of building himself a two-storey house; a "Happy accident" as he described it The Telegraph.

Made mostly entirely of scrap-wood, the gangster-turned-architect built the wooden skyscraper after saying he 'grew up lonely', and wanted to build a complex for his gangster business associates to dwell alongside him. Sadly, a spell in prison left the huge wooden house neglected, leaving a mess of planks and dangerous ladders in his wake. Undeterred, Sutyagin continued to live in the wreckage once he got out. It's certainly dedication.

Our Companies

Quick Links