7 Wonders of Modern Architecture Design


We have 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and 7 New Wonders of the World, now it’s time for the 7 Wonders of Modern Architecture Design. Comprising of seven remarkable iconic buildings from the modern world, this list is more or less trying to reintroduce exceptional accomplishments in the architecture scene that deserve more recognition. Here is our list of the 7 wonders of modern architecture design.

Empire State Building

Image source: newyorkyimby.com

One might be confused as to why this famed tower is even included in the list of “iconic architecture design”. But the 443,2 metre tall structure totally deserves to be mentioned for the following reasons. Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon firm, the Art Deco-styled skyscraper held the title for the tallest building in the world for nearly half a decade from 1931 until the completion of Minoru Yamasaki’s Twin Towers in 1970. Being one of the few first tall buildings to sport the classic pencil-like form silhouette, it inspired countless architecture designs until the form that was formerly unique became ubiquitous. For this reason, the Empire State remains iconic while also being falsely underappreciated, especially in the 21st century where cubism is no longer mainstream.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Image source: guggenheim.org

One of the leading requisites for an architecture design to be regarded as iconic is pure simplicity. This brainchild of the Pritzker prize-winning architect Frank Gehry is the exact defiance of that. Even so, no one would deem the serpentine Guggenheim Museum anything but iconic. It is a majestic exhibition space constructed of limestone, glass, and titanium that follows the contours of the Nervión river. Inside, the atrium as the organising center distributes 11.000 sqm of exhibition space over 19 galleries. Ten galleries are formed following a classing orthogonal plan with limestone finish on the exterior. Nine other galleries, all clad in titanium, look like a swirling organic form.

Image source: behance.net

As the museum is groundbreaking from the architectural aspect, it has also made a substantial impact economically. About USD 500 million was generated during the first three years of operation solely from tourist visits. A further USD 100 million in tax was collected from the money spent by those almost 4 million people on hotels, shops, restaurants, and transportation, which is way more than it cost to construct the gigantic state-of-the-art museum.

World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Image source: archdaily.com

When people see the densely-populated Manhattan picture, one could find terminal stations in every inch of the map. But this Santiago Calatrava-designed freestanding structure is not your ordinary station. The hub features an arched, elliptical above-ground main station house called the Oculus. An authentic masterpiece of its own, the Oculus lies 106,7 meters long and rises as high as 29,2 meters at its apex with curved supports that extended outwards like a pair of wings, measuring at 35 meters across at its widest point. The canopy formed by the steel-framed extension itself rises to a maximum height of 168 feet above the ground on each side.

Image source: arch2o.com

Looking at the hub, one could directly feel a peaceful and adventurous spirit being evoked. This is the embodiment of freedom. Just as Calatrava has stated, the architecture design is highly inspired by the image of a bird released from a child’s hands.

Baháʼí Lotus Temple

Image source: worldarchitecture.org

There are a lot of upscale places of worship around the world, but few could compare to the iconic Baháʼí Lotus Temple in Delhi. As a representative of Baháʼí houses of worship, this Fariborz Sahba-designed temple features their essential architectural element that is a nine-sided circular shape. This architectural characteristic manifests in the form of 27 marble-clad petals assembled in three clusters. Worshipers and tourists of all religion, sex, and race are all welcome to enter through the nine doors that open onto an over 40-metre-tall central hall that can accommodate a total of 2500 visitors.

<i>Image source: tripoto.com</i>

The entire surface of the concrete-framed Baháʼí House of Worship is covered in Penteli mountain-sourced marble that is also used in various preceding archaic monuments including the great Parthenon. Outside, the perfectly symmetrical temple is surrounded by nine ponds and gardens that contribute to the total property area of 105.000 sqm.

Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban

Image source: wikipedia.org

If there’s one thing similar between Iktinos and Callicrates’ Parthenon, Felix Candela’s concrete shells, Le Corbusier’s Palace of Assembly in Chandigarh, and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, it is that they all emphasize the honest use of materials. This is an idea many architects have frequently advocated before: using materials to their strength and letting them bare naked so as to communicate their nature.

Image source: archdaily.com

Louis Kahn is no different. For his 21 on-and-off year Dhaka project, he successfully used bricks to dramatic effect. The result is Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban or the National Parliament House of Bangladesh, a genuine interpretation of modern architecture design conformed with Bengali vernacular. His design made use of simplistic local materials that were available thereat. Not only did he ensure the structure would survive against the harsh desert, but he also effectively integrated a modern building into an otherwise non-modern context. To this day, this remains not only as one of Kahn’s most notable works but also as a symbolic monument to the Bangladeshi government.

Heydar Aliyev Center

Image source: archdaily.com

Since its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Azerbaijan has invested excessively in modernising and developing the infrastructure and architecture of its urban capital Baku. A great effort has been made to depart from its legacy of normative modernism à la Soviet. Following a competition that took place in 2007, Zaha Hadid Architects was appointed to design Heydar Aliyev Center, the primary building for the nation’s cultural programs.

Image source: architectureideas.com

Every inch of Heydar Aliyev Center radiates outstanding engineering. Meant to achieve a surface so continuous to the point it appears homogenous, the sinuous marvel is composed of two collaborating systems: a concrete structure combined with a space frame system. It fosters unorthodox structural solutions such as the curved ‘boot columns’ and the ‘dovetail’ tapering of the cantilever beams. The substructure within the space frame system incorporates glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) and glass fibre reinforced polyester (GFRP) that allow forceful plasticity while responding to various functional demands.

Berlin Jewish Museum

Image source: arch2o.com

In 1987, Daniel Libeskind’s emotive extension to the Jewish Museum won the anonymous competition orchestrated by the Berlin government that wished to bring back Jewish presence after WWII. Trying to represent the tempestuous and dreadful journey of Jews through recent history, his architecture design became an expressive tool to portray the Jewish lifestyle prior to, during, and following the Holocaust.

Image source: thousandwonders.net

As a way to convey the complicated message, Libeskind insisted that there would be no formal exterior entrance. The only way in for the visitors is from the original Baroque museum in an underground corridor. One must endure the uneasiness of hiding and losing the sense of direction before finally coming to a crossroads of three routes that correspond to the Jewish experience through the sequence with German history, emigration from Germany, and the horrendous Holocaust.

Image source: archdaily.com

The interior is composed of reinforced concrete involving a 20-metre-tall void that adds a cold, overwhelming hopeless atmosphere throughout the entire building. Being less of a museum but experience instead, this is a true embodiment of those lost during one of the darkest phases of humanity.

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