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10 Amazing Architectural Designs Around the World

You know that sense of magic when you’re walking up the stairs of Penn Station in New York City? You can smell the scent of wet concrete mixed with the sweetness of fresh roasted peanuts coming from a nearby street stand. The energy is electric, and the sounds of horns, sirens, and people rushing by on the go surround you. Once you reach the top of the stairs, you are stunned by the overwhelming sense of awe and amazement that consumes you. In order to see the top of the incredible skyscrapers emerging into the sky, you have to arch your neck all the way back, as far as it can possibly go.

New York City alone is home to some of the most well-known, outstanding architectural designs in the entire world. The Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty, Yankee Stadium 😉 – just to name a few personal top favorites. But have you ever considered the amount of time, energy, perfect precision, incredible math skills, money, and materials it takes to design and construct such epic structures? The presence of these iconic buildings exists all thanks to the planning and work of brilliant architects and beyond-talented structural engineers. 

Now you may be familiar with the impressive landmarks in New York, as well the pure bliss and enchanting essence that is the unforgettable Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. However, have you heard of places like the Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland that was inspired by the Northern Lights?! Join us as we count down 10 of the most amazing architectural designs around the world, and expand your perception of how incredibly impressive structural engineering can be on a whole!

 

10. Marina Bay Sands

Built in 2010 and designed by Moshe Safdie, the Marina Bay Sands stands tall within the Singaporean skyline. This architectural design is the home of the largest swimming pool in the world. This stand-out structure consists of 3 towers, each standing 55 floors high in the sky. The pool is actually located at the top of the structure, suitably aligning the building with an experience known as “swimming on top of the world”. The building is pure luxury inside and out. At the top of each of the 3 structures, is a griddle that communicates amongst the towers. 

Also located at the top of this already noteworthy design work, is Sands SkyPark outdoor park. On the inside, you can find a hotel with approximately 2,560 rooms, a convention center, as well as a shopping center. Not impressed enough yet? How about adding in a museum, multiple theatres, a casino, and very necessary restaurants for the obvious hunger all of that excitement would stir up!? I can’t help to wonder how architects manage to transform their incredible ideas into these architectural designs.

 

 

9. Absolute World

The Absolute World, built in 2012, is located in Mississauga, Ontario. 5 towers make up the striking buildings that encompass the surrounding skyscrapers, accredit to the ingenuity of MAD Architects, Fernbrook Homes, and Cityzen Development Group. Buildings 4 and 5 are residential towers, known to their residents as “Marilyn Monroe towers”. The building earned this name due to the curved designs of the structure, and the fact that they follow the twist and lines of nature.

The prowess of modern engineering brought to life the intricate vision of their architectural design. These structures resemble an hourglass. This is unlike the straight-lined skyscrapers we are used to seeing. They definetly offer their own sense of style and delight.

 

 

8. Metropol Parasol

J. Mayer H. Architects created the Metropol Parasol, located in Seville, Spain. Built in 2011, its structure plays with curves and lines, throughout a larger wooden structure and two concrete columns. Located above and below the mass piece are bars, restaurants, a museum, a market, an elevated plaza, as well as a panoramic terrace. 

 Due to its extensive design, and abstract resemblance, the Metropol Parasol has been known as “The Mushrooms of the Incarnation”, and is approximately 26 meters high.

 

 

7. Guangzhou Opera House

Zaha Hadid Architects in Guangzhou, China designed the Guangzhou Opera House in 2010. Their initial design concept was based on landscapes and nature. The idea evolved to focus more on geology and topography. Additionally, the eroded stone design pays tribute to the surrounding environment and its proximity to the river. Also incorporated into the design is a somewhat futuristic essence, playing with geometric figures on its exterior.  

The building’s location contributes to the cultural development of the city, unifying the cultural buildings of the sector with the nearby financial towers. Inside, the auditorium has acoustic technology, ideal for opera and concerts. Additionally, some lines define the different areas within the building, allowing natural light to enter the building.

The Guangzhou Opera House has a unique design; thus, inspiring different and new architectural designs within the city.

 

 

6. Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Morphosis Architects designed The Perot Museum of Nature and Science built in 2012. Located in Dallas, Texas, here in the United States, this stunning 4.7-acre building stands 170 feet tall. It strives to achieve high sustainability standards in order to lower environmental impact. Here they have coordinated programs that incorporate systems to increase sustainability. The building alone is a tool for teaching science while integrating architecture, nature, as well as technology. Catching the attention of audiences young and old, the building stimulates the mind while encouraging curiosity and the inspiration to explore. 

The entrance hall roof has a distinct wavy shape. The unique detail adds to the building’s design. This allows for the reflection of the surface of the exterior landscape. An additional fun twist is a spiral staircase, where you can find various galleries and exhibitions that guide you between natural and artificial environments.

 

 

5. The Shard

In 2012, Renzo Piano Building Workshop created The Shard, located in London, England. This immediate eye-grabber of a building is 26 stories high! It is the home to the highest gallery in London, as well as the Shangri-La Hotel, multiple office spaces, restaurants, and between floors 53 to 65- residential apartments. Each floor houses one apartment in the residential portion of the building. 

The Shard is the tallest skyscraper in the European Union. One of the best places to observe all of London is The Shard. This is due to its impressive height and prime location. The creation of the project promoted the development of high-density transportation in the city, in order to help reduce traffic congestion. 

Another remarkable feature of The Shard worth looking out for, is its 8 inclined, glass facades that light reflects off of, and changes with the surrounding sky.

 

 

4. Linked Hybrid

The Linked Hybrid was designed in 2009 by Steven Holl Architects. Located in Beijing, this project seeks sustainability to reduce environmental impact within the heavily populated city. This 220 m2 complex within its structural design manages to be welcoming and open to the public, offering it the name “Open City within a City”.

The project manages to merge the buildings at ground level, those that are underground and above the ground, into one. Further, The building is used for commercial, private, educational, and recreational purposes. In hopes of reducing the need for transportation and travel, they designed this structure to supply it all.

In order to generate sustainability, they created a system to manage wastewater.

They have also come up with a system to treat the gray water, by recycling it in the gardens. In addition, they have included the largest geothermal system in the world in order to help cool and heat the entire building. This incredible cutting-edge design generates energy efficiency within urban developments and should inspire us all to learn ways we can help with environmental impacts. 

 

 

3. Gardens by the Bay

Gardens by the Bay, is a mind blowing tourist site, located in Singapore. Built in 2012 and designed by Wilkinson Evyre Architects, Grant Associates, Gardens by the Bay is a park that occupies more than 100 hectares and is based on bio-construction. Within this spectacular garden, are standout supertrees, in which from the top you can see incredible views of the city! Their heights vary between 25 and 50 meters. These incredible trees provide shade, freshness, and water irrigation that feeds the gardens of the Bay. They also collect solar energy to illuminate the night sky! As you can imagine, these architectural designs make for a great tourist attraction that both entertain as well as educate all of the visitors lucky enough to witness them.

 

 

2. Burj Khalifa 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, designed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in 2010. This jaw-dropper stands to be the tallest building in the world measuring in at a stunning 2,717 feet, which is one way to represent the marvels of structural engineering and all its splendor! Surprisingly enough, being the tallest building in the world isn’t the ONLY world record Burj Khalifa holds! They are also known for having the longest elevator travel distance, as well as the highest restaurant in the world!! Talk about a meal to remember! 

Additionally, the building offers different uses. Inside it houses the Armani hotel, offices, apartments, and restaurants. Above all this lies a tourist attraction with the highest observation decks in the world, located between floors 124 and125!

The beautiful design of the building was inspired by the Spider Lily Flower; which has 3 sections around a central nucleus.

 

 

1. Harpa Concert Hall

Are you ready for #1?! The Harpa Concert Hall, located in ReykjavÍk, Iceland, was built in 2011 and designed by Henning Larsern Architects and Batteríið Architects. Also attributing to the project was the help of Danish-Icelandic artist, Eliasson Olafur, as well as structural engineering companies such as Rambøll and ArtEngineeringGmbH from Germany. Within this astonishing building events of all kinds are held, such as conferences, exhibitions, meetings, and even art events. 

This amazing building is located on the border between the land and sea. Additionally, the building reflects the ever-changing sky and the space of the port. Furthermore, it was inspired by the Northern Lights, as well as the landscapes of Iceland. The exterior is made of glass and steel. Inspired by nature, the building uses geometric systems of 1,000 modules of colors. This creates a giant kaleidoscope effect that plays with light. This enables the building to look like it has an ever-changing outer design, thanks to the reflections of its surroundings. 

Moreover, one of the most spectacular spaces in this building is the 28,000 m2 concert hall, along with a conference center which offers a clear view of the majestic mountains in the surrounding area. This gives visitors an opportunity to get an incredible view and enjoy the natural beauty of the land from the comfort of the inside.

 

 

The Beauty of Architectural Designs

All of these architectural designs and works of art are the result of innovative architectural ideas and structural engineering put into action. As a matter of fact, we often enjoy the benefits of these buildings without putting much thought into the work and effort that goes into the production of a project. However, the outcome of all that ingenious planning and physical efforts mixed together results in some of the most mind-boggling, eye-capturing, and innovative developments the world has ever seen!

Next time you find yourself arching your neck to look at the top of a building stretching its way into the clouds; or wonder why a building seems to reflect a different color of light depending on the time of day, give the gift of gratitude towards those who came up with such creative ideas of architectural designs. These great professionals found ways to execute them not only safely, but beautifully.

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