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.
The CN Tower
It is impossible to miss the CN Tower if you ever find yourself in Toronto. This structure, a revolving restaurant and entertainment complex, was at one time the world’s tallest freestanding structure. It remains a symbol of Canadian ingenuity, though it has since been eclipsed in height by other buildings. Its view from the top is still said to be remarkable, however—the perfect reward for those who brave its elevators.
The Louvre Pyramid
Another impressive example of modern architectural style is the Louvre Pyramid built on the grounds of the world-renowned Louvre Museum in Paris. Constructed of glass, it stands just over 20 metres tall and is surrounded by three smaller pyramids. The most remarkable feature of this structure, however, is its interior—a series of ramps that spiral around a central well, allowing visitors to climb to the top in a dizzying ascent. This amazing feat of engineering has become one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.
The Lotterywest Federation Walkway
This incredible skywalk is located in Perth, Australia and was designed by members from different Indigenous tribes from across the country. It spans 330m along the Swan River foreshore with views to Kings Park and beyond. Not only does this stunning walkway provide a unique cultural experience for visitors, but it also serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our Indigenous heritage. The Lotterywest Federation Walkway is an incredible example of modern architecture and design, seamlessly blending together traditional and contemporary elements.
The Dancing House
Rounding out this list is the iconic Dancing House in Prague. Designed by renowned architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry, it features two curved towers that appear to be swaying with music. Constructed from vibrant glass panels, steel beams, and reinforced concrete, this building has become a symbol of the city’s vibrant culture. Its structure mirrors the city’s unique mix of old and new, showing how different eras can still work together harmoniously today.
These incredible examples of modern architecture are just a few of the amazing feats that can be seen around the world. From soaring skyscrapers to innovative designs, these structures provide us with an inspiring reminder of what is possible when creativity and engineering come together. Now more than ever, these incredible works serve as symbols of hope for the future—and a testament to our collective potential.