Humans have built some pretty amazing things throughout history. From the monumental Pyramids of ancient Egypt, to the Hagia Sophia, to the Great Wall of China, antiquity is filled with incredible feats of architectural and cultural work. However, we shouldn’t forget that there have been some equally impressive structures designed and built in more recent times. Here are a few of them:
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has widely been hailed as one of the most important architectural works of the 20th century, and for good reason. The building’s graceful curves were on the cutting edge of design technology when the building opened in 1997. The museum’s galleries can be differentiated from the exterior. Ten, with a classic rectangular layout, have matching stone finishes. The other nine galleries—laid out in a breathtaking series of geometric shapes—and heir exteriors give the building its famous, swirling shape.
This building, nestled in the heart of London’s financial district, looks more like something from a science fiction film than the home of an investment or banking firm. Designed by Richard Rogers, the building has a curious, almost inside-out look to it. The fascinating thing about this building is that its design has more than an aesthetic purpose: Lloyd’s building is designed to be taken apart and put back together differently if need be. This remarkable feature, almost as though the building were made of Legos rather than steel and concrete, earns it a place among humanity’s most impressive architectural feats.
Winchester Mystery House
Mrs. Winchester, herself, designed this building. Not a famous architect. Riddled with secret tunnels, stairs to nowhere, and doors that no one could possibly open, the house seems like the setting for a spooky teen adventure. Mrs. Winchester’s efforts were not without purpose however. She claimed the house was haunted by “bad spirits”, and the building’s wildly impractical and impossible to navigate design served as means to confuse them.
Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval
Another building of less auspicious origins is the Palais Ideal (Ideal Palace): The life-long work of French postman Ferdinand Cheval. The structure is fanciful and imaginative in its design, and it’s hard to believe it was the work of one man. Cheval doesn’t seem to have had any particular purpose in mind for his building though. The story goes that he started out just collecting the fascinating limestone rocks that were so common near his town.
Located in Abu Dhabi, this elegant building puts the Leaning Tower of Pisa to shame. Unlike its Italian cousin however, this one was no accident: The Capital Gate was deliberately constructed at a slant. This required special feats of engineering on the inside, including a central core that leans in the opposite direction. Each of the rooms in this building is a slightly different size and shape, because the building, in addition to its tilt, has a graceful, funnel-shape.
Officially the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is the gorgeous pinnacle of the Dubai skyline. Not only the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa is also the tallest freestanding structure, and the tallest structure of any kind, anywhere. Housing over one thousand private residences, 37 floors of business suites, and a hotel, this building is a veritable vertical city. It is more than just a great feat of engineering however; it has been called a beautiful symbol of the amazing works that the UAE is capable of.