The Pyramids, the Coliseum, the Parthenon, the Great Wall—all these are ancient architectural marvels that showcased the creativity and technical know-how of ancient civilizations. Of course, with the more sophisticated technology and techniques of modern times, humanity has not failed to live up to the architectural legacy of our ancestors. From residential homes to huge public facilities, our architects have proven their worth many times over.
Here you’ll find five of the best pieces of architecture in modern times. These are not the best among all, but these structures are certainly marvelous and emblematic of their architect’s skill and resourcefulness.
Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater showcases the architect’s ability to design structures that complement the natural surroundings well. Fallingwater was designed for the family of Edgar Kaufmann, owner of Kaufmann’s department store.
The house was designed in 1935 and was situated over the waterfalls in the site to give the residents a view of the water cascading over the cliff. It has a dynamic design, though it was still able to integrate into the surroundings well. It was hailed by Time magazine as Wright’s best work, and it was listed among Smithsonian‘s list of 28 places to visit before you die.
Beijing National Stadium
You may remember this gargantuan piece of great modern architecture as one of the main venues of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, with contributions from ArupSport and China Architecture Design and Research Group. The stadium was designed to resemble a bird’s nest, an idea partially inspired by the artist Ai Weiwei.
The stadium can hold over 90,000 spectators. Like other modern stadia, the National Stadium was designed with the competition area situated in the center, and the stands sweeping up and away.
La Sagrada Familia
Christian belief, symbolism, and iconography are deeply steeped in the design of the basilica of La Sagrada Familia. The basilica has eighteen towers, each one signifying an aspect of Christian spirituality. The overall design is also based on the traditional designs of Gothic and Byzantine Cathedrals.
Antoni Gaudi, the famed Catalan architect, conceptualized the design of the basilica. Unfortunately, due to the sheer magnitude of the work he planned, he died before the basilica was finished. In fact, the basilica is still under construction until today. Once finished, though, we can all marvel over the genius of Gaudi.
Sydney Opera House
As one of the most iconic and recognizable structures in the world, to say that the Sydney Opera House was well-designed is kind of an understatement. The original design was created by JørnUtzon, who was later dropped from and then reinstated into the project.
The inspiration for the design of the opera house was taken from the sails of the boats in the Sydney Harbor. The soaring white triangular shapes of the structure are reminiscent of sails billowing in the wind. It is this creativity of the design and its simple ingenuity that makes the opera house an icon in international architecture.
Marvelous modern architecture does not always have to be record-breaking, but it sure is a plus. The Millau Viaduct in France, for example, has garnered widespread attention for being the tallest bridge in the world. Its designers, Lord Norman Foster and Michel Virlogeux, made the viaduct 343 meters tall, which makes it taller than the Eiffel Tower. It was meant to resolve the heavy traffic experienced in the town of Millau, especially in the summer months. Of course, it’s always great when an amazing piece of architecture is extremely functional and beneficial to the populace.