by Susmita Das
History by itself has been rather traditional in the bringing of people together to build a society. Most ambitious projects around the world have been the outcome of collaboration. Civilization’s designs of grandeur have been built through architectural collaboration. Think of the Egyptian Pyramids, Indian Temples and Roman Coliseums that have brought communities together.
Over time architectural marvels have continued to amaze the world. The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), The Taj Mahal and the modern Skyscraper Burj Khalifa – from time to time visionaries have been building the future. Let us look at some of the most incredible architectural wonders that have been fascinating the world:
The most iconic structure in the UAE has impressed the world with its great engineering achievement, making it at least once in a lifetime must-visit destination. This architectural grandeur is the tallest building in the world with a beautiful full-height video fountain light show.
There are two observatory decks with the new deck At the Top SKY is the highest in the world, standing at 555 meters. The Burj Khalifa is so tall that visitors can watch two sunsets in a day – one at
level 125 for the first sunset and the
shimmering shades of the setting sun can be seen from the “At the Top Sky” deck.
New York’s 60-year old Guggenheim Museum is one of the city’s most interesting landmarks and a great place to discover the culture and work of early modernists. The museum still exhibits the art of Jackson Pollock and Wassily Kandinsky. More recently, the museum has showcased the art of Iraqi-born artist Zaha Hadid, and the likes of Robert Mapplethorpe and sculptor David Smith’s exhibition of photos have been displaying the post-modern art.
The Guggenheim Museum is not only popular for its notable art collections, but also the extraordinary architectural beauty. Designed by one of the most influential early twentieth-century architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which resembles “a Protestant barn” looking like a coiled-up white ribbon. The museum’s design was widely reviled earlier, but now it is recognized as one of the most defining architectures in New York’s history.
The Petronas Towers
The world’s tallest twin building, The Petronas Towers distinctive in architecture with its Islamic art. It is situated in the Kuala Lumpur City and symbolizes Malaysia’s great transformation. Based on a blend of science, art and nature, there is a Science Discovery Center, concert hall and a shopping mall with six levels of retail outlets comprising of 270 specialty stores, restaurants and cinemas.
The skybridge constructed to connect the twin tower is between the 41st and 42nd floor. This connecting bridge is one of the world’s highest two-story bridge.
The Space Needle in Washington is one of the most famous American landmarks in the State of Washington. It is not as tall as the likes of Willis Tower in Chicago of the Empire State Building in New York, but the architecture of The Space Needle has been inspiring generations since it first came into existence in 1962 for Seattle World’s Fair to symbolize the technology of the future. Today, people visualize the skyline of Seattle with The Space Needle in the center of it.
The Space Needle in Seattle is truly a modern-day engineering wonder. It features an observation deck at a height of 520 feet and offers visitors a 360-degree view of Seattle’s skyline. Every year on New Year’s Eve, The Space Needle celebrates with a fireworks show synchronized with music at midnight.
Unveiled on the eve of New Year in 2004, Taipei 101 was one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world until Burj Khalifa took over in 2010. The main tower is shaped like an Asian pagodawith ancient symbols related to heavenly clouds all over the architecture.
There are 101 stories with an observation deck on the 91st floor. This iconic structure is visible for miles across the city and attracts many visitors to witness the spectacular fireworks display. This grandiose architecture is a true testament of how Taipei has moved on from the times when the Nationalist government took control of the city in 1949.
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel
The trendiest place in downtown Singapore is undoubtedly the Marina Bay, which attracts a lot of people interested in shopping, sports, gambling, business and more. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, owned by Las Vegas Sands, is one of the world’s most luxurious and standalone resort and casino properties since it was opened in 2010.
There are 2,561 hotel rooms, shops, theatres, “celebrity chef” restaurants, art and science exhibits, atrium casino, and floating Crystal Pavilions. The Sands Sky Park terrace provides mesmerizing views of the famous Marina Bay.
Currently, the tallest structure in Japan at 634 meters is Kanto region’s primary television and radio broadcast tower – Tokyo Skytree. The tall tower resembles a five-story pagoda that is so reminiscent of Japan’s historic origins. This state-of-the-art design is earthquake resistant and disaster preventative. The country has a popular color of its own, the shade named after the tower known as “Skytree White” for its beautiful exterior color. At a height of 540 meters, there is an observatory deck that provides an amazing view of the city’s horizon.
In Brussels Belgium, one of the popular landmark structure is The Atomium. The exclusive architecture was designed for the 1958 World’s Fair and is made of nine 18-meter stainless steel covered spheres and iron crystal ball, each cell of which is magnified 165 billion times!
The five spheres, that are open, houses a restaurant in the top sphere which offers panoramic views of the city of Brussels. Although its architectural idea was conceived in the middle of the last century, The Atomium is still considered as one of the most futuristic designs that mankind has ever created.
China Central Television Headquarters
One of the most astonishing architectural wonders in the world is the CCTV headquarters or the China Central Television Headquarters. Built in conjunction with six vertical and 51-stories of horizontal façade, its irregular design is able to withstand heavy seismic activity. The popular architectural wonder was opened and became operational in 2008 and is also famously known as “big boxer shots” after the structure’s iconic design.
Beijing National Stadium
“The Birds Nest” or the National Stadium built in 2008 for hosting the Beijing Summer Olympics is made of steel and is known worldwide for its iconic nest-like design. The 2022 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics will be hosted in this stadium.
Sydney Opera House
Nothing symbolizes Australia better than the beautiful architectural design of the Sydney Opera House. The performing arts center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is easily recognized by everyone all over the world. What gives this recognizable structure its glory is the popular drama theatre, proscenium theatre, concert hall, playhouse and studio that showcase 1600 performances in a year along with food from the delectable Opera Kitchen and restaurant. Tours are conducted for the Opera House and the backstage every day to the delight of millions of visitors each year.
In Washington, one of the most architecturally attractive places to visit is the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, located near the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Chinatown. The 28,000 square foot courtyard has been designed by world-class architects. There is an elegant and wavy glass canopy on to that covers the structure, making it a nicely enclosed architecture.
The museums in the Patent Office Building is one of the finest examples of 19th century Greek architecture. It has been renovated quite recently with the glass and steel roof inserted into the structure’s top with great finesse and striking delicateness. The upgraded structure depicts the fact that modern architecture can thrive in the past’s classic creativity in a more refined and protective way.
Constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression, this concrete arch-gravity dam is situated in Colorado River’s Black Canyon on the border between Arizona and Nevada. It is amazingly huge and magnificent and is still an engineering marvel!
Often called the modern world’s wonder, Hoover Dam stands tall at more than 700 feet and is built using 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete to form the 247 square mile reservoir on Lake Mead.
Part of UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia or the Sagrada Familia as it is popularly known is a large, unfinished basilica in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi and combines the Gothic and Art Nouveau forms.
Sagrada Familia has been touched by architects of both the last century and today as Antoni Gaudi had died when not even a quarter of the structure was complete. Since then, the architecture has been developed by many hands and has seen several important events in history by the Spanish Civil War, which interrupted its construction. Even Gaudi’s original plans, plaster and drawings were partially destroyed, which led to re-working on the fragments for 16 years.
The architecture is stated to become complete by 2026, the centenary year of Gaudi’s death.
Conceptualized and designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, Turning Torso is one of the tallest and most remarkable buildings in the Nordics. The structure is designed to emulate the human spine with a stack of cubes twisting around a fixed point in the center.The building’s curvature is at a full 90-degrees and houses a spa, gym and a huge wine cellar.
Architecturally mankind has created marvelous wonders, the idea of most of which have been conceived as an effort to emerge out of the past or exhibit culture’s grandeur at its best. The bottom line nevertheless, has been about bringing people together and bind communities to symbolize creativity and beauty in the times of disruption or victory.
There are many more such architecturally exquisite creations that we may not have listed here. Share with us your experience of visiting these buildings or your list of fascinating architectures in the world.
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