The World’s Most Extraordinary Chimneys
Rarely do architects set out to make a chimney an outstanding focal point. After all, the significant purpose of a chimney is to accommodate safe use of a fireplace or wood stove. Like any other structure, however, chimneys can potentially be unforgettable sights to behold. The following chimneys are among the most famous chimneys across the globe:
Thornbury castle is not quite as fortified as a true castle, but the structure is memorable largely due to the chimneys which uniquely impact the skyline with their intricate design. Thornbury was built in 1511, and the impressive chimneys which set it apart were added in 1514.
The bricks used on the chimneys were molded and carved to achieve the admired symmetrical style. Part of the rich history of the castle is that in 1535 King Henry VIII confiscated it and lived there for a while with Anne Boleyn. The English Civil War left Thornbury in poor condition, but it was renovated by the Howard family in 1824. Currently, Thornbury castle provides luxurious hotel accommodations for guests and serves as a wedding venue largely admired for its chimneys.
World’s Oldest Standing Chimneys
Richard the Lion Heart and the wife of England’s Henry II are buried at the site of some of the oldest standing chimneys, at an abbey of Fontevrault that was built in the 12th century. The chimneys are located in the massive kitchen, which has five enormous wood-burning fireplaces that are connected in an ingenious way to 20 stone chimneys.
The stone chimneys are pencil shaped and achieve a harmonious blend with the Romanesque architecture of the structure. The fireplaces themselves were used to cook and smoke fish and meat to feed several hundred people in the monastic community.
World’s Tallest Chimney
Located in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan, the tallest chimney in the world is at the GRES-2 Power Station, which generates coal-fueled power. Nicknamed by locals as “the Cigarette Lighter,” the 1,377-foot-high chimney is not rivaled for height by any chimney on the planet.
The famous structure caught fire in May of 2006; smoke and flames were seen pouring out of the chimney. Fortunately, no one was injured in the massive chimney fire; the cause of the fire was never publically revealed.
The Das Heizhaus Chimney
An Austrian philosopher, artist, educator, social thinker, and literary scholar with many other credits for lifetime achievement, Rudolf Steiner achieved expression of his revolutionary ideas on nonconformity with some of the most unique architectural structures in the world.
Among his notable achievements is the artistic chimney on a structure he built called “Das Heizhaus,” which has served as an inspiration to architects ever since its construction in 1914.
Chimneys by Antoni Gaudi
- Casa Milà, a.k.a. La Pedrera Chimneys — Antoni Gaudi is a famed architect who is widely known for the amazing chimneys on the structure called the Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera; building of the structure was completed in 1912. The rooftop of the structure is stunning, with unique and beautiful chimneys which were designed for prominence and shape. There are 28 chimneys in several groupings. The draft in the twisted chimneys was improved, partly because of two partially concealed vents designed to renew the building’s airflow. The rooftop features, including the colorful chimneys, are truly remarkable, such as the snail-shaped water tanks. Here’s an interesting piece of history about La Pedrera: After the inauguration of the building, Gaudi famously used fragments of glass from the empty champagne bottles at the event to decorate one of the chimneys.
- Palau Güell — One of earliest works of Antonio Gaudi is magnificent Palau Güell, located in Barcelona. This breathtaking structure is art nouveau at its best. Construction began in 1886, and the outstanding chimneys were installed in 1895. There are 20 chimneys total on the roof, and they look like candy land fantasies. One chimney looks like a bright, swirly lollipop, for example.
- Casa Batlló — Another of Gaudi’s unforgettable works of art is Casa Batlló, a renowned structure in the heart of Barcelona; and the chimneys are a main component of the awe invoked at the sight of the building. The colorfully tiled rooftop is punctuated with bright, curvy chimneys.
Winner for Most Chimneys
The Chateau of Chamboard, Loir-et-Cher, France, is an amazing structure started in 1519 and intended as a hunting Lodge for François I. Though the building was never fully completed, the enormous 440-room château has 365 ornate chimneys and is visited annually by close to a million tourists. The various designs on the chimneys include nymphs, animals, wreaths, columns, and sculpted shields.