The world is full of great minds and their extraordinary creations and if there’s one thing that we enjoy being amazed by when visiting places that would be architecture. It’s usually the size that we’re most impressed by but that’s not the only thing that makes a building stand out. This is our top 10 list of the most beautiful and imposing institutional buildings judged by their architecture.
The Port House in Antwerp
In 2016 Zaha Hadid Architects completed the new Port House in Antwerp, Belgium. It’s a structure that covers an area of 12,800 square meters and it was conceived as an extension of an old fire station which with this occasion was also repurposed into a headquarters for the port. The building brings in one place the 500 staff members that were initially scattered in buildings around the city. After a thorough analysis of the site and the existing building, the architects came up with a design that mixes old and new and stands out as a new landmark for the port.
The Elbphilharmonic concert hall
Although not yet entirely completed, the Elbphilharmonic concert hall in Hamburg, Germany is already a landmark in the city. The building is designed by Herzog & de Meuron and it will open to the public in January 2017. The structure has a glass facade and stands on top of a historic warehouse along the Elbe River. The project started in 2003 but was delayed by financial and legal issues. The building will include three concert halls, a large education area, a hotel and an observation platform with panoramic views of the city.
The Tbilisi music theater
The unusual design of the music theater and exhibition hall buildings in Tbilisi, Georgia is definitely not something we can ignore. The complex was designed by Fuksas and features two huge tubular structures with entrances towards the street and gardens. The two structures are connected by a shared wall and they house a music theater and an exhibition hall with 566 seats and a cafeteria. The idea behind this unusual design was to create a periscope to the city and to frame the views to the river and town in a unique way.
The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture
In 2008 the construction of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture began and it’s nearing completion. The center is located in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and will include an auditorium, a cinema, a library, an exhibition hall, a museum and an archive. The 100,000 square meter structure is designed by Snøhetta and the inspiration for the project was found in the local geology and the rock formations that define the area. The complex has a tall monolithic tower which flanks a series of small volumes designed to look like pebbles.
The K29 business center
Located in Vilnius, Lithuania, the K29 business center is the most eco-friendly building in the country, being built from all natural and local materials. But eco-friendliness is not its only great attribute as the building also has a really interesting design. Its oval shape is iconic and the sloping roof lets natural light enter the space during the day while the windows offer panoramic views of the city. There are no dark areas in the building and this ensures a very pleasant ambiance throughout. In addition, the facade has a double skin with an automated solar control system. This was a project by PLH Arkitekter.
The Dinosaur Egg Museum
This museum was designed by architects Li Baofeng, Jianmin Ding and Changshun Xu from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. It sits on a site that contains fossils of dinosaur eggs first discovered in1995. The museum is 70 meters long and is made up of several small sections that follow the slopes. The unique texture was created by moulding the structure over bamboo canes. The project focused on disrupting the site as little as possible while at the same time giving the museum a contemporary look.
The Nanjing International Youth Culture Centre
Featuring two skyscrapers and a sculptural platform, the Nanjing International Youth Culture Centre is located in China and was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. It contains a hotel, a conference center, an office area, an administrative zone and basement parking. The unusual architecture of the center is meant to create a transition from the city’s central business district with its tall towers to the topography of the adjacent river with is defined by flat and horizontal lines.
The U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development
The CCLC building is located in Colorado Springs, United States and was designed by SOM. It serves as an education and research center, being a symbolic addition to the academy campus. Upon its completion in 2016 it became an architectural landmark and focal point for the campus and the surrounding area. It contains a forum, a gathering space for events, conference and seminar rooms, a library and the Honor Board Room. One of its most impressive features is a large skylight that brings light in and adds a dramatic twist to the design.
The MAAT Museum
This oddly-shaped museum sits on the banks of the Tagus river in Belem, Portugal. It was a project by AL_A completed in 2016. The design is a combination of influences from the spheres of contemporary art, architecture and technology and one of the goals of the architects was to make it blend into the landscape. Visitors can walk under, through and even over the building, being able to admire the cityscape and the river. The facade is defined by 3D glazed tiles that reflect the sunlight and shadows creating beautiful patterns.
The MOCAPE museum
MOCAPE is a museum located in Shenzhen, China and is composed of two institutions. One is the museum of contemporary art or MOCA and the other is the planning exhibition (PE), hence the name. The construction process started in 2013 and the museum was designed by coop himmelb(l)au. Inside there’s a shared lobby, a multifunctional exhibition space, an auditorium, a series of conference rooms and service areas and these spaces are used by both institutions. They form a monolithic whole but the architects tried to also emphasize each institution’s unique particularities and artistic and functional requirements.