Architecture has fascinated man since time immemorial. Manifesting a creative vision onto a three-dimensional building goes on to show the power of an architect’s mind. Such creative minds have been in our midst since the times of the pyramids that stand steadfast in Giza. Architecture has evolved in leaps and bounds since, and has culminated in the modern world that has produced some captivating examples materialized by some of the most ingenious personalities in the world of architecture. Let’s now take a look at the top 15 modern wonders of architecture that have made a lasting impression on us.
15. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore
The Singapore skyline is practically defined by the the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino. It is made up of three towers which are connected by a massive boat-like structure on the 57th floor. The hotel flaunts an infinity pool that overlooks the whole of the Central District, a restaurant, a chocolate bar, and of course the Ku De Ta Club which has gained much popularity. The Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie to whom this wonder is attributed said that his design of the hotel was inspired by a deck of cards. When in Singapore, don’t forget to pose for a selfie with the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in the background.
14. Akshardham Temple, New Delhi
This temple adorns the bank of the Yamuna river, covering a total area of 8,000 square meters. Surprisingly, the entire temple hasn’t used any steel at all, and showcases detailed use of sandstone-marble. Beautiful and well-maintained gardens inspired by geometric shapes and intricate designs spruce up the temple’s ambience. Akshardham is hence the perfect blend of technicality and modernism along with traditional styles of architecture. Since its opening in 2005, it has attracted many a tourist in the Indian capital.
13. Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, Japan
Imagine driving over sea for close to 4 kilometers – that would be one drive to remember. In Japan however, this imagination is a reality since 1998 in the form of the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge that connects the city of Kobe to Iwaya. To have the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world speaks volumes of its architectural power, thought and execution. Moreover, the bridge is designed to withstand winds of 286 kilometers per hour, earthquakes than can go up to magnitude 8.5 and the harsh sea currents that are a common factor on the Akashi Strait. Designer of this hanging wonder Satoshi Kashima has received tremendous appreciation from the people of Japan and architects from the world alike.
12. Barajas Airport, Madrid
If you ever get a chance to fly to the Spanish capital, you’ll find yourself lucky to have landed at the Barajas Airport. This beautiful piece of architecture removes the otherwise ‘strict’ and official nature of airports. Passengers can hence experience a stress free journey. Tricks such as the extensive use of glass panes instead of walls, and domes in the roof allow natural light to illuminate the airport. Designed by Richard Rogers, the airport won the 2006 RIBA Stirling prize for architecture.
11. Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona
The Barcelona Pavilion represents the stepping stone towards modern and simplistic architecture. Also known as the German Pavilion, this building was designed by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, on the occasion of the 1929 International Exposition hosted by Barcelona. The building also boasts of furniture following the simplistic theme, manufactured exclusively to go in accordance with the interior of the building.
10. National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing
The National Center for the Performing Arts, or ‘The Giant Egg’ as they call it, is a perfect example of impeccable execution. Surrounded by a man-made lake, the building looks like a gleaming squashed globe past sundown. This seemingly floating wonder contains an opera house, a concert hall and a theater. What’s even better is visitors must access these using a hallway that is situated underneath the water.
9. National Stadium, Beijing
We’ll be in Beijing for a little longer because of this amazing stadium. China announced to the world that it was well prepared to host a special edition of the Olympics when it showcased a spectacular opening ceremony at the National Stadium. Nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, this unique work of architecture was constructed using 36 kilometers of unwrapped steel, weighing close to 42,000 tonnes, making it the largest steel structure in the world. This stadium witnessed a number of world records being shattered, including Usain Bolt’s lightning quick 9.69 seconds 100m dash, which made him the fastest man on the planet.
8. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
Based on an architectural style called ‘Deconstructivism’, Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry constructed the awe-inspiring Guggenheim Museum. The building is defined by its series of interconnected titanium-coated buildings. Ever since its opening in 1997, the museum has not only received tremendous appreciation, but has also revitalized Bilbao’s economy with tourists and visitors flocking to this Spanish city in millions to behold this ground-breaking piece of architecture, and also to see the modern art exhibitions it houses.
7. Burj Al Arab, Dubai
The sparkling city of Dubai sparkles even more with the presence of this massive sail adoring the coast. Yes, it’s none other than the Burj Al Arab, one of the world’s iconic hotels in modern times. The Burj Al Arab sits on a made-made island, and is connected to the mainland with a private bridge. Probably the only hotel which can be called a 7 star hotel, the Burj boasts of a helipad-turned-tennis court high above the ground, and lot more. You’d better not forget to take a quick peek of this spectacular hotel if you’re swinging by Dubai.
6. Sydney Opera House, Sydney
The Australian city of Sydney is quite synonymous with the Sydney Opera House. Since it opened in 1973, the building has gained the status of Sydney’s most recognizable landmark. The construction of this building set the country back by a whopping AUS$102 million – the sails alone were constructed using custom made cranes in France, which cost AUS$100,000 each. Adorning the banks of the Parramatta River, the Sydney Opera House has become a highly distinctive building of the twentieth century.
5. Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles
The Guggenheim Museum’s brother stands in the American city of Los Angeles. Also designed by Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall follows the footsteps of ‘Deconstructivism’ and brings
out the same effect of wavy, warped steel as seen in the Guggenheim. This spectacular concert hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, one of the world’s most renowned orchestras. You’d recognize the Walt Disney Concert Hall as it makes an appearance in the Steve Carell starrer comedy Get Smart.
4. Sagrada Familia, Barecelona
One wouldn’t really call this building ‘modern’ because construction for the Sagrada Familia began way back in 1882. What was once started by the famous Antoni Gaudi is still to await completion, with a scheduled date set for 2026. Out of the 18 spires that are planned to be built, only 8 stand tall as of date. The Sagrada Familia is a privately funded project which will go on to become one of the world’s most extraordinary Roman Catholic churches ever to have been constructed.
3. Habitat 67, Montreal
Designed for the Montreal Expo in 1967, Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67 has gained a remarkable status in the world of architecture. This unique building consists of 354 identical box-like concrete units stacked on top of each other. The revolutionary Habitat 67 has touches of single family inner city dwelling, but also possesses elements of suburban living, such as outdoor space, lawns and fresh air.
2. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur
Welcome to the tallest twin towers in the world – the Petronas Twin Towers – which have indeed defined the city of Kuala Lumpur in recent times. Standing at a staggering 452 meters, these towers also held the title of ‘tallest tower in the world’ at one point. If you’re interested in dizzying views, you can take a walk on the Skybridge that joins both towers. However, that feature’s actual job is to add stability to the construction. Kuala Lumpur’s essence lives in these towers, and you’d surely not miss a chance to visit this architectural wonder.
1. Fallingwater, United States of America
When nature and architecture synthesize to create something aesthetically pleasing, Fallingwater is the result you get. Also known as Kaufmann Residence, this elegant work by Frank Lloyd Wright is situated in rural Pennsylvania, about 70 kilometers southwest of the city of Pittsburgh. The building is perched over a waterfall and its gracious structure creates a seeming symbiosis with the surrounding scenery. Wright’s work features in ’28 places to visit before you die’, a list made by the Smithsonian. The American Institute of Architects has bestowed upon Fallingwater the title of ‘best all-time work of American architecture.’
These are some of the modern architectural wonders that could feature in your list of places you want to visit to breathe in the creativity that went behind each one of these grand structures. Don’t forget to analyze the complications that had to be tackled by architects and engineers, and you’d automatically give them their due credit, moreover for having given the world such magnificent works of architecture.