The following buildings aren’t the biggest, the most expensive, or the most famous in terms of tradition. What they have is some of the most interesting modern architecture in the world, inspiring new ways of not only looking at buildings but also how they function as usable pieces of art. These are the top five most interesting buildings in the world.
1. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Often referenced as one of the most important works on Earth by the World Architecture Survey, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a curved structure resembling a ship that houses seasonally rotating art exhibits.
Architect Frank Gehry designed the building with the intention that its numerous curves appear randomly placed, but they were designed to most effectively catch and reflect light.
Architect Philip Johnson called it “the greatest building of our time.”
Photo Credit: David M. Heald
2. The Dancing Building, Prague, Czech Republic
A fitting name for this architectural beauty, the “dancing building,” or Nationale-Nederlander, appears like several appendages shifting up and down and left to right in fluid movements. Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunic and Canadian Frank Gehry built the structure in 1996 to replace a building that was destroyed during a devastating bombing attack on Prague in 1945.
The building’s most interesting architectural draw lies perhaps in its varying facades and a rounded structure topping the building that resembles a bomb ready to explode.
Photo Credit: Dino Quinzani
3. Kansas City Public Library Parking Garage, Kansas City, Missouri
Lined with massive reproductions of the spines of famous books, the Kansas City Public Library’s parking garage is a showcase of 22 famous books chosen by The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees. Books include a wide range of classic including titles such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Shakepeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Each “book” is 25 feet tall and 9 feet wide, constructed from signboard mylar.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Moreau
4. Waldspirale, Darmstadt, Germany
This residential apartment complex lacks a traditional grid floor plan and appears to be spiraling upward to its green roof, which contains numerous bushes, flowers, and trees.
Designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and planned by architect Heinz M. Springmann, the building was erected in 2000 with 105 apartments, a parking garage, a cafe, a bar, a playground, and a lake.
This aptly named building (Waldspirale translates to forest spiral) is painted a mix of earth tones and has almost no hard corners—nearly all are rounded to lend to its spiral appearance. The building also includes 1000 windows and none are equal in style or size.
Photo Credit: whitecoquelicot (Flickr)
5. The Gherkin, London, England
Technically, this building is known as 30 St. Mary Axe, but is referred to by most locals as the Gherkin, a tribute to its aesthetic similarity to a gherkin, a fruit that somewhat resembles a cucumber.
The Gherkin appears to contain numerous curved glass panels, working together to create its curved shape, but it actually contains only one piece of curved glass that caps off the top of the building.
It stands 600 feet high, overlooking London’s financial district, and includes 40 stories in which numerous insurance and financial companies operate.
Photo Credit: Aurelien Guichard
Jim Davenport is an HVAC professional who hopes to one day tour the world and see the greatest architectural marvels on Earth. He specializes in furnaces and suggests that anyone in need of heating check out these guides to Carrier furnace prices and Bryant furnace prices.