10 Most Amazing Balconies

1Swimming Pool Balcony

Architects have made a splash with a bold design for new towers in Mumbai featuring swimming pools enclosed in glass instead of balconies. Known as Aquaria Grande, the 37-story skyscrapers were the result of a collaboration between Hong Kong based architect, James Law, and Indian real estate company, Wadhwa Group. The complex will have 200 apartments, three levels of car parking, a gym and sauna.

2Underground Balcony

The very thought of a balcony makes me think of a place jutting out from a building several floors up. But in Japan, architect Yukiharu Suzuki has designed the Sukiya House, a very modern looking home with a unique underground tunnel that also serves as a balcony.

3Willis Tower Balcony

If you're scared of heights, it may be time to look away now. Not content with having the tallest building in America, the owners of the Sears Tower in Chicago have installed four glass-box viewing balconies which stick out of the building 103 floors up. The balconies are suspended 1,353 feet in the air and jut out four feet from the building's Skydeck. Designers say the platforms – collectively dubbed The Ledge – have been purposely designed to make visitors feel like they are floating above the city. The reward is unobstructed views of Chicago from the building's West side and a heart-stopping vista of the street and Chicago River below – for those brave enough to look straight down.

4VM House's Balconies

VM House is an apartment house that consists of two buildings in the shape of letters ‘V' and ‘M', seeming to embrace one another. They are matched in a new concept based on the rational and functional, rather than aesthetic interests. With bold triangular balconies protruding from the apartment's facade like the spikes of a hedgehog, VM House makes a strong impression. The glass curtain wall covering the entire facade of the apartment, which makes the interior visible from the outside like a doll's house, is also visually striking. However, the pointed triangular balconies and the arrangement of the V-and-M-shaped buildings were not designed simply for visual effects. They were created to let in ample sunlight to each home and to provide space for maximum communication with neighbors in adjacent apartments.

5Block Balconies

While it may look like an optical illusion from the outside, this housing block in Izola on the Slovenian coast offers bona fide affordable options for many young families. The team of Ofis Arhitekti won a national design competition for their design of two apartment buildings, each containing 30 units of varying sizes ranging from studios to three-bedrooms.

Internal spaces may be small, however, the unique trapezoidal-shaped balconies accentuate external perspectives and views directly to the sea. Structural elements are located externally as well, thereby allowing more spacious living areas while taking advantage of the limited area of each unit and helping to keep the square metre cost low.

6Teacup Balcony

These eye-catching balconies were part of a promotional strategy to market the range of teas produced by Niimi.

7Car Balcony

German architects Manfred Dick and Johannes Kauka want to help drivers park their car right on their apartment's balcony. You'd drive the vehicle straight into the car elevator (that promises to be able to fit a Bentley), push the button, go up and park outside your penthouse (on the "carloggia"!) The architects point out that safety and comfort are two of the major advantages that come with this garage concept: it's easier to unload the groceries, your car is always right in front of you, your family is better protected from kidnapping or carjacking attempts, etc.

8Hammock Portable Balcony

G10 Design has come up with the Hammokum, an interesting idea for a type of hammock balcony that clips on to the facade of your apartment. The designers write:

The Hammokum is specially designed for the "Amsterdammers." Most of the houses in the Dutch capital have no balcony and the high urban density makes the availability of an intimate space very scarce. In the hammokum you can sleep, work, read...or just enjoy the sun and the space around you.

The designers do make some sensible safety suggestions that I am certain will be printed all over the thing before it comes to North America. What a clever way of adding a little space to your apartment or giving your child a little fresh air.

9Noida's Residential Project Balcony

Noida is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. A 80 high and mid-rise residential project that surrounds a park and golf course. Some towers will have their own balcony-pool ... pretty amazing.

10Bloomframe Balcony

The Bloomframe balcony designed by Hofman Dujardin Architects and manufactured by Hurks Geveltechniek received the 2008 red dot design award in the product design category. Made from steel, glass and aluminum it is an innovative window frame that can be transformed into a balcony.