Have you ever noticed that five of the seven wonders of the ancient world are buildings? Why is that? Well, if I had to guess I’d say it’s because people have been fascinated with architecture since the beginning of time. We always try to experiment and to build amazing things, to push the boundaries and to impress the world. Architecture is always progressing. So which are the structures that impress us today? It’s hard to pick but we managed to come up with a top.
1. The Sydney Opera House.
Situated in Sydney Harbour, this marvelous structure was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon. It’s one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centers in the world and it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. The construction began in 1958 and the facility formally opened on the 20th of October 1973.
2. Burj Al Arab.
This luxury hotel is located in Dubai and it’s the fourth tallest hotel in the world, measuring 321 meters. It’s known as the world’s only 7-star hotel and it was designed by architect Tom Wright of Atkins. The construction began in 1994 and the building was meant to resemble the sail of a dhow which is a type of Arabian vessel. The iconic building opened in December 1999.
3. Burj Khalifa.
At 829.8 meters, this skyscraper is the tallest man-made structure in the world at the moment. Its construction began in 2004 and the exterior was completed in 2009. The official opening was in 2010. The tower was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. The design was inspired by the patterning system embodied in Islamic architecture and a new structural system had to be developed in order to support the height.
4. The Sagrada Familia.
Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família also known as simply Sagrada Familia is located in Barcelona, Spain and it’s a large Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. It’s an incomplete work but, even so, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. The constructed started in 1882 and Gaudi took over the project in 1883. The anticipated completion date is 2026.
5. The Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Located in Los Angeles, California, this amazing structure is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center. It was designed by Frank Gehry and it opened in 2003. The project was actually launched in 1987 when the widow of Walt Disney donated $50 million, a gift meant to help build a performance venue. The final cost of the entire project is estimated at $274 million.
6. The Shard.
The Shard, also known as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge or the London Bridge Tower can be seen in London and it’s an 87-storey skyscraper, part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The construction of the Shard began in 2009 and was completed in 2012. It’s the tallest building in the European Union at the moment, at 306 meters. The structure was designed by architect Renzo Piano.
7. The Big Ben.
Popularly known as Big Ben, this famous tower is actually called the Elizabeth Tower as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Big Ben is a nickname given to the great bell of the clock and it’s also often used as a reference to the clock tower. It was built as a part of Charles Barry’s design for a new palace to replace the old Palace of Westminster which had been destroyed by fire in 1834.
8. The Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal is a masterpiece which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It combines elements from Persian and Indian architecture and its most famous part is a white domed marble mausoleum. The construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632 and was completed in 1653. In 1983 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. The Colosseum.
The Colosseum or Coliseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and it’s located in Rome, Italy. It represents a large, elliptical amphitheatre, the largest one in the world. The construction began in 70 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus. It was used for gladiatorial contests, battles, hunts and executions and it can hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators.
10. The Chrysler Building.
The Chrysler Building is a skyscraper in New York City and it was the world’s tallest building until 1931. It was built in an art deco style and it served as the headquarters of the Chrysler Corporation from 1930 until the mid-1950s. The construction started in 1928 and was completed in 1930 and, at that time, the building was the first man-made structure to stand taller than 1,000 feet.
11. Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
Known by its official name as the Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral, this famous Russian Orthodox church is located in the geometric center of Moscow. The original building (the “Trinity Cathedral”), consisted of 8 churches arranged around the 9th and the 10th church was built in 1588. It’s shaped like a bonfire flame rising into the sky, the only one with this type of design in Russian architecture.
12. The Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous buildings in the world. Named after engineer Gustav Eiffel, the tower was built in 1889 and it’s the tallest building in Paris. The tower is 324 meters tall and it has three levels for visitors. The wrought iron structure weighs 7,300 tons and the entire structure reaches a weight of 10,000 tons. Originally, the first level contained two restaurants and a theatre.
13. The Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The tower is famous for its unintended tilt to one side. It all began during construction and the tilt is caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to support the weight of the structure. The tilt increased with time until the structure was stabilized in the late 20th century and early 21st century.
14. Casa Milà.
Also known as La Pedrera, the building was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and it’s located in Barcelona, Spain. It was built during 1906 and 1912 and, at the time, its design was considered to be bold because of the undulating stone façade and the wrought iron decorations. The structure is composed of two buildings organized around two courtyards and it has a roof crowned with skylights, fans and chimneys.
15. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Popularly known as the Blue Mosque, this iconic structure is a historic mosque in Istanbul. It was built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I and it contains a tomb of the founder. It has one main dome, 6 minarets and 8 secondary domes. The name of Blue Mosque comes from the blue tiles found on the walls of the interior.
16. The White House.
The White House or the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States is located in Washington and it’s been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams (1800). It was designed by Irish architect James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800 in the Neoclassical style. Today the complex includes the Executive Residence, the West Wing, the East Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the Blair House.
17. The Jin Mao Tower.
The Jin Mao Tower is a skyscraper located in Shanghai and it was the tallest building in the PRC until 2007. It was designed by the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in a postmodern style with traditional Chinese architecture details. It has an exterior curtain wall made of glass, steel and granite and it became fully operational in 1999.
18. The Louvre Pyramid.
The pyramid can be seen in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace in Paris. It’s a large glass and metal pyramid surrounded by three smaller pyramids and it serves as the main entrance to the Louvre museum. It was completed in 1989 and it was designed by architect I. M. Pei. It reaches a height of 20.6 meters and it was constructed entirely with glass segments.
19. The Palace of the Parliament.
The Palace of the Parliament is located in Bucharest, Romania and it’s the world’s largest civilian building as well as the heaviest building. Its construction started during the Ceaucescu regime and it’s a multipurpose building that contains both chambers of the Romanian Parliament. It has 1,100 rooms and it has a total floor space of 340,000 square meters.
20. The CN Tower.
The communication and observation tower known as CN Tower is located in Toronto, Canada and it was completed in 1976. At that time, it was the world’s tallest tower and it held that record until the completion of Burj Khalifa in 2010. CN originally referred to Canadian National (the railway company that built the tower). In 1995 it was declared one of the seven modern Wonders of the World.