It’s been two decades since we stepped into the 21st century and till now, architecture took it’s twisted turns too. Architecture has changed a lot, in its own definition too. Be it Colosseum, an ancient Roman amphitheater constructed in 70-80 AD or Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, contemporary art museum covered in shiny sheets of metal inaugurated in 1997. Both are of the totally different era, construction materials, techniques and are also one the unique buildings in the world. While discussing the great architecture of the world, we will also keep in mind the constant change that is happening in this field and most famous buildings in the world.
Our list of famous buildings of the world is assembled in the attempt to bring you a bit closer to the historical and the modern traits of what makes the famous architecture.
1. Angkor Wat – Cambodia
It is one of the largest religious and mysterious monuments in the world. It was transformed to Buddhist temple from Hindu temple at end of 12th century. It is as impressive as it is vast, making it a brilliant example of Khmer architecture. It is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture although it just combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple.
2. Hagia Sophia – Istanbul
The present standing building was constructed originally as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor; therefore, it is also a singular testimony to the grandeur and the genius of Byzantine architecture. It is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
3. Forbidden City – Beijing, China
The Forbidden City is the world’s largest collection of well-preserved medieval wooden structures; every detail reflects features of traditional Chinese architecture and rich Chinese culture. It was constructed from 1406 and opened for public in 1420. The complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares. Such structures give us an idea about the great architecture of the world.
4. Château de Chenonceau – Chenonceaux, France
It is a French château (a large French country house or castle, often giving its name to wine made in its neighbourhood) spanning the River Cher. The current château was built in 1514–1522 on the foundations of an old mill and was later extended to span the river. The bridge over the river was built in 1556-1559, on the basic designs of French Renaissance architecture.
5. Flatiron Building – New York City, New York
It is originally known as the Fuller Building. It is a triangular 22-story, 285-foot (87 m) tall steel-framed landmark building. It was completed in 1902 and has been called one of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers of that time, being the tallest. As with numerous other wedge-shaped buildings in the neighbourhood, the name “Flatiron” derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron. The Flatiron Building was designated a New York City landmark in 1966
6. The Gateway Arch – St. Louis, Missouri, USA
The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument and it is the world’s tallest arch. It is Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch. There was a design competition for this piece of work for 3 years 1945-48, though it was complete in 1965 and officially dedicated to “the American people.
7. Kauffman Residence or Falling water – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
It is a masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1935. It is a famous modern architecture example, a house which is a fusion of the artificial and the natural in perfect harmony. This house is set above a natural waterfall and water is actually flowing through it. It was declared “best all-time work of American architecture” by the American Institute of Architects in the year 1991.
8. Burj al Arab – Dubai
Burj al Arab is 321 meters high and it represents one of the wonders of contemporary engineering in today’s world, completed in 1999. It is built on an artificial island 280 meters away from the coast. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210 m (689 ft) above ground making it is one of the most luxurious and the fourth tallest hotel in the world.
9. Metropol Parasol – Spain
Metropol Parasol is a wooden structure, some 90 feet high and nearly 500 feet long. The structure consists of six parasols (A parasol is an object like an umbrella that provides shade from the sun) in the form of giant mushrooms constructed in four levels. The wood used in the structure is birch, imported from Finland, because of its straight qualities and it was completed in 2011.
10. Gardens by the Bay – Singapore
It is a nature park, created in 2012. Gardens by the Bay is Singapore’s plans to transform its “Garden City” to a “City in a Garden”, with the main aim of raising the quality of life by enhancing greenery all around and flora in the city. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. Its flower Dome is the largest glass greenhouse in the world. It can be considered as one of top 10 coolest buildings in the world
Ironically there is a book “great architecture of the world” by John Julius Norwich published in 1975. It covered all the famous architectural buildings created by mankind by then, from the point of view of fourteen of the most distinguished architectural historians. It has more than 800 original diagrams, annotated drawings, and photographs. This book can actually help you for a better understanding of the different design processes of architects of that period.
All the buildings/structures listed above are totally different from each other in every aspect. As every architect has a different thinking process as well as every architect is trying to achieve something different in each building. No two buildings are ever the same, even if they are adjacent to each other. In the present time, where every architect is trying to be Best architect in the world 2018, we first need to connect and learn from the “great architecture of the world”; and carry out our design process accordingly.
Also check out our post on Architectural design magazine