Some say the best architectural design is so seamless we don’t notice it at first. But in the case of these incredible sites, it’s hard not to! Here are some of the most unique infrastructures found around the world.
In Northern Europe, cycling isn’t just a pastime - it’s one of the most popular forms of transport. Here we have the Cykelslangen, a bridge in Copenhagen, Denmark, that allows cyclists to travel over the city harbor.
Just looking at it makes us want to get on our bikes and go! Also known as The Bicycle Snake by tourists, Cykelslangen was designed by Dissing+Weitling and was completed in June 2014. The bridge traverses the city from the East to the West and is used by thousands of cyclists every day.
Longkamp's Highway Ecoduct
We’re used to seeing underpasses that people can walk across, but Germany has taken this infrastructure to the next level. This highway ecoduct, found in Longkamp, was designed with the sole purpose of allowing animals to move across highways without risk of being hit by passing traffic.
It’s a wonderfully humane form of industrial architecture, and with verdant greenery taking over the concrete structure, it’s easy on the eyes too! But this ecoduct isn’t a one-off solution to human-animal collisions. It’s just one of 9 similar underpasses and 2 landscape tunnels built to protect local wildlife in this region.
Tokyo's Highway Interchange
Don’t be distracted by the overlapping lanes and stripes - this Y-shaped highway interchange was built to help the citizens of Tokyo navigate their metropolis more easily. This highway was designed to reroute drivers and send them all in the same direction.
While it must be great to have less congestion in one of the world’s most populous cities, we’re not sure we wouldn’t be a little confused at first! But sometimes, the most intricate-seeming architecture is really the simplest, and the locals seem to have adapted with no problems.
The Veluwemeer Aqueduct
Traveling across rivers and oceans by bridge is no new invention. But what about traveling over roads and highways by water bridge? That’s right: in Harderwijk, Netherlands, local architects and engineers have designed and constructed the Veluwemeer Aqueduct, which allows water vehicles to travel over land.
This brilliant aqueduct is 83 feet long and crosses the N302 freeway that we can see pictured above. Though it may look like a cutting-edge piece of recent architecture, it was completed back in 2002 and has been a well-used route for many water vehicles ever since.
Anyone who has ever had a long layover in Singapore will likely recognize this stunning structure. The incredible indoor forest we see below was built in Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport, where visitors can gaze out over the natural landscape while they transfer terminals on the airport Skytrain.
If that’s not enough, the indoor forest also holds the Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall! We’ve never heard of an airport that is a tourist attraction in its own right, but this airport forest (also known as the Shiseido Forest Valley) takes the cake. If this is what the future of air travel looks like… sign us up!
In 1950s London, the city had to rebuild much of its high-density housing that had been destroyed during World War II. The result? Brutalist architecture, which is perfectly exemplified in the photo below showing a series of flats in Camden town, still standing today.
These were much-needed affordable minimalist structures built out of concrete, steel, glass, and other materials. Though many criticized this construction style calling it “cold,” others, such as architectural critic Reyner Banham have praised the apartments as a striking relic of London’s mid-century architectural history.
The Storseisundet Bridge
We’ve definitely added a new travel destination to our bucket list! Next up, we have the Storsesundet bridge, one of 8 bridges built along Norway’s “Atlantic Road.” This bridge is used to shuttle people between Averoya island and the Romsdal peninsula, in the west of the country, and it took a lot of work to complete.
The construction of this unique-looking bridge took 6 years to finish and withstood a number of water-related issues too. The result was an 850-foot long structure that created a bizarre optical illusion before driving across - it looks as if the bridge is twisting up into the mountains!
The Wuppertal Suspension Railway
This next piece of architecture may not be for the faint of heart… especially those who are scared of heights! The Wuppertal Suspension Railway, previously known as the Eugen Langen Monorail Overhead Conveyor System (a bit of a tongue-twister that one), is an electric railway that uses elevated “floating cars.”
It’s the oldest railway of its kind in the world, but the local council had to apply three times before the build could be officially approved. Though some outside of Germany may be wary of this particular form of transport, 40-feet above ground, over 25 million people take the Suspension Railway every year!
This one is a little more simple, architecturally-speaking, than some of the other entries on this list. These alternating blocks of wood are known as fish ladders or fish steps and are constructed in or around waterways like streams and waterfalls - but can be built to fit almost any kind of flowing waterway.
These “ladders” were originally invented for the Pawtuxet Falls Dam on Rhode Island, for the sake of local salmon in the dam. They allow the fish to jump more easily through narrow waterways, so they can move from one body of water to another. Such a simple solution, but ingenious in its purpose - that’s good architecture!
Saint Petersburg's Metro
While the rest of us are used to grey concrete and metal barriers, the residents of Saint Petersburg enjoy a metro station that looks more like a 19th-century palace. With embossed pillars, gilded chandeliers, and art deco ceilings, it certainly stands out as one of the world’s more sophisticated public transport facilities.
Originally built to be a WWII bomb shelter, the Saint Petersburg Metro Station has come a long way and is scarcely recognizable from its early years. Today it stretches over 77 miles, shuttles 2 million passengers per day, and travels through 72 stations across the city.
The Industrial Ring Road Bridge
Like many important structures and places in Thailand, the Bhumibol Bridge in Bangkok is named after a former leader of the royal family: King Bhumibol Adulyadej. And it certainly cuts a stately figure - the soaring peaks of each bridge, and its symmetrical cable stays, look very impressive above the city skyline.
It was built in 2006 and named three years later. At its highest point, Bhumibol Bridge stands at a whopping 164 feet! Many visitors may be tempted to drive to the center of the bridge to view the city from its heights, but be warned - only 4 wheel vehicles are allowed to cross the bridge, so motorbikes won’t cut it.
Atocha's Botanical Garden
In a similar vein to the Jewel Changi Airport forest, Spain’s Atocha Train Station in Madrid offers its own indoor natural wonder. Here we have the Atocha Train Station Botanical Garden, an expansive garden built in the city's largest railway station and on the back of a tragedy.
Though the station was built in 1851, it had to be revamped and reconstructed in 2004 after a massive train explosion caused the death of 191 visitors to the station. One important feature of the rebuild was this stunning garden, showing that life and beauty can flourish again, even in the face of great loss.
Tasmania's Gordon Dam
Looking at the incredible drop from the top of this dam, it’s hard to believe it’s only the fifth tallest of its kind in Australasia alone! The Gordon Dam was built in 1974 in Tasmania, Australia, and stands at 460-feet tall and 650-feet long. It was built as a barrier for the Gordon River.
Today, the man-made structure is acclaimed as a great feat of Australian engineering - being named a National Engineering Landmark by Engineers Australia and awarded a place in the Engineering Heritage Recognition Program. It’s a beloved Tasmanian icon, and we can see why!
The Beipanjiang Bridge
Our hearts just dropped looking at this next architectural wonder. The equally gut-wrenching and incredible structure pictured below is the Beipanjiang Bridge - built between the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou. At 1,850-feet high, it originally stood as the highest bridge in the world, though it lost the title in 2018.
At 4,400 feet, it's also one of the longest bridges. Though it's a tourist attraction in its own right, this bridge built over the Beipan River was constructed to cut commuting times between the provinces from 5 hours to one. We're just not sure we want to be one of those commuters!
The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project
We’re sure we’re not the only ones who were utterly confused when we first saw this bizarre formation. A bit of background here: this is the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, a 2-mile wide structure made up of more than 10,000 mirrors. It may look like a UFO transmitter, but it’s actually a solar power plant!
In fact, it’s the first solar plant to use energy storage technology and a central receiver tower and has an impressive 110-megawatt capability. Sadly, this fascinating structure located in Tonopah, Nevada, no longer produces any solar power at all - and it will likely stay that way.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge
Built in 1864, this classic suspension bridge can be found in the countryside of Bristol, England. The Clifton Suspension Bridge crosses the River Avon and has been a local landmark for well over a century, due to its gorgeous brick detailing and traditionalist architectural style.
At 331-feet high and 1352-feet long, this expansive structure makes a striking image for postcards, stamps, and tourist memorabilia of the area. Its small idiosyncrasies only add to its local charm, including the two towers that look identical but have an entirely different construction design.
Denmark's Circular Village
Here is another entry from Denmark, a country that has so far impressed us with its efficient and uniquely designed architecture. These rounded, grid-like structures pictured below are one of the most famous architectural features the Danish have created: circular village settlements.
Built around a circular car park, these symmetrical neighborhoods are comprised of 24 land blocks of equal proportions, leaving enough space for a road to reach the center. These spaces may seem strange to non-Danes, but we imagine they help to foster a strong sense of community for people who live within them.
The Houtribdijk Dam
Here’s one thing we don’t expect to see while gazing across the ocean - a long winding road cut straight through the middle. But that’s what visitors get with the Houtribdijk Dam: an incredible piece of Dutch infrastructure that was built in the Netherlands from 1963-1975 to connect the cities of Enkhuizen and Lelystad.
The road is 18.6 miles long, with a stopping-off point halfway between the cities. The stop is an emergency harbor called Trintelhaven, complete with a restaurant for transitory drivers. A reported 8,500 vehicles are said to cross the length of the Houtribdijk every day, so we’re sure the restaurant gets its share of customers!
The Shalu Leisure Trail
Most cities tend to leave their urban underpasses untended, with little maintenance or attempts at beautification. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of Taiwan’s book? Just look at the stunning space beneath this roadway in Taichung city, which has become a popular place for locals and tourists to walk and sightsee.
The underpass has been well-maintained, with picturesque walkways, manicured gardens, and greenery flourishing below the highway. It is now a landscape called Shalu Leisure, proving that even the most neglected and least visited city spaces can be turned into something beautiful and beloved.
The "Sea of Milk"
In Goa, India, visitors will find a unique blend of architecture and natural geography that has become one of the region's most popular tourist sites. It is the Dudhsagar Falls, also known as the "Sea of Milk" by locals. Here a concrete bridge overlooks a stunning set of 4-tier waterfalls.
It’s a lovely site for visitors, and an exclusive one too. Currently, the only way to view the Sea of Milk is to call the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary. There, a taxi can be hired to shuttle visitors to and from the protected site, where they can take in the views for a few peaceful hours.
The Delta Works
Just like the Danes, The Netherlands is proving that they are top of the class when it comes to unique and outstanding architecture. Their next entry is the Delta Works, the most extensive storm surge barrier in the world with 13 separate structures that work in unison to protect from natural disasters.
It took a whopping four decades to complete the storm wall, which was officially opened in 1997, and cost around $13 billion to make (adjusted for inflation). The Delta Works are so impressive that they were even named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Archipelago Lofoten
This idyllic-looking coastal town may seem like an ideal place to live. After all, it’s lush and green, with a homely style of architecture and stunning ocean views. What more could a person want? But there’s more to this archipelago than meet’s the eye: the district of Lofoten is only 1,500 miles from the North Pole!
It is located within the Arctic Circle, and as a result, the people who live here also experience some of the most drastic temperature irregularities on the planet. It may be difficult to live here, but biogeochemists have tracked human settlement as far back as 11,000 years.
France's Millau Viaduct
Similar to the Bhumibol Bridge in Thailand, the Millau Viaduct is an enormous bridge equipped with cable that stays along the length of its structure. The major difference? Well, just look at the picture below. The Millau viaduct soars above the clouds and over the Tarn River Gorge Valley in France.
Its ethereal look is due to its immense height of 1,104 feet - making it the world’s tallest bridge as of 2020! And it has an equally impressive price tag, too, costing $424 million. Back in 2006, the fantastic bridge was given the Outstanding Structure Award from the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.
Taiwan's Tuned Mass Damper
Here’s another unique one, which is sure to have some people scratching their heads. Located in Tapei, Taiwan, this peculiar structure is known as a Tuned Mass Damper or a Harmonic Absorber. Residing in the Taipei 101 Skyscraper, these dampers are built to lessen the effects of mechanical vibrations.
But what does that actually mean? Well, these dampers are incredibly important. By reducing mechanical vibrations, they help to prevent distress and malfunction that can lead to damage and instability in certain buildings. They are often found in skyscrapers, transmission plants, and even some vehicles!
The Normandy Bridge
Pont de Normandie (or Normandy Bridge, as it is known in English) is one of France’s most iconic bridges, spanning the even more iconic Seine River for 7,032 feet. It’s a wonderful drive for those who want to look out over the mouth of the river as it connects to the English Channel.
How convenient then, that tourists and locals can follow a walkway across the entire length of the bridge to enjoy the view - added by the bridge’s architect Michel Virlogeux. But beware: the pedestrian walkway is steep in places, so potential sightseers should remember to pack a water bottle first!
Belgium's Sart Canal Bridge
This serene canal may be a man-made construction built for very practical purposes, but it looks quite natural amongst the scenic Belgian landscape. The Sart Canal Bridge was completed in 2002, after four years of construction, and spans 1,634 feet across.
It can hold up to 80,000 tonnes of water, so it is very much a useful piece of architecture. Perhaps that’s why it cost almost $300 million to complete? Either way, the Sart Canal Bridge, also known as a Side Girder Bridge in architecture circles, is still widely admired by many European architects.
Norway's Tromsøysund Tunnel
Who wants to drive in the ocean? In Norway, it’s possible, though maybe not in the way most people expect. Introducing the Tromsøysund Tunnel: found in the Karmøy and Tysvær municipalities in Rogaland county. The tunnel is made up of two tube tunnels connected by 15 service tunnels.
But the most extraordinary feature of the Tromsøysund has to be its location beneath sea level! That’s right, the tunnel runs as much as 335 feet deep, well below the levels of normal subterranean tunnels. We can’t imagine what it’s like for commuters to drive through these fascinating tunnels just to get to work every day.
Holland's Heated Roads
No, it’s not the Holland located in Europe. In the heart of icy cold Michigan, in the US, is a town called Holland. And Holland has created an ingenious form of architectural infrastructure that helps its residents deal with 20-degree Fahrenheit weather.
Beneath the streets of this busy town is a 120-mile network of plastic pipes that are pumped full of heated wastewater from the town's powerplant. As a result, the heated streets and sidewalks are able to melt an inch of snow per hour. It may be invisible most of the time, but it's an unbeatable piece of architecture in our books!
Turkey's Ecological Highway Bridge
Remember the Longkamp Highway Ecoduct in Germany? Well, it appears that its spiritual sibling has been built in the countryside of Turkey. This ecological highway bridge was constructed across the Izmir-Cesme Highway, which connects the cities of Alacati and Zaytinler.
Similar to Longkamp, it was built to help ferry local wildlife across the highway and lower the potential for collisions on the road. We love eco-friendly transport! And if we look closely, we can even see a walking path along the side of the bridge, for humans who want to avoid traffic too.
Cactus Cell Phone Tower
This next item is both fun, creative, and very useful. This is one of the Cactus Cell Phone Towers of Tucson, Arizona. That’s right, in order to cover up the clunky, somewhat ugly-looking metal towers needed for cell service, companies have opted for a more appropriate look.
Namely, by building 20-foot tall fake cacti to house these desert cell phone towers. And the idea is starting to spread, as the same thing is being done with fake palm trees in Florida! While these cactus cell phone towers may not look 100% natural, they’re still a funky way of mixing technology with the local landscape.
Canada's Confederation Bridge
Back in the 1980s, the government of New Brunswick in Canada realized that they had a wee infrastructure problem. Prince Edward Island, off the coast of the province, was becoming more populous - but the only way people could reach the island was via ferry.
They needed a more convenient means of connecting the island to the province. After years of garnering public support, the Confederation Bridge was finally completed on May 31, 1997. With the help of 5,000 laborers, the immense piece of infrastructure was open to the public, changing the life of Prince Edward islanders forever.
Montréal's Habitat 67
Here we have another iconic piece of Canadian architecture, though this piece is entirely different from Confederation Bridge. In Montréal, aspiring Quebecois architect Mosha Safdie set out to build Habitat 67, which would become one of the most famous pieces of residential architecture of the 20th century!
While working on completing his architectural master’s thesis at Montréal University, Safdie applied to build Habitat 67, an architectural tribute to the 1967 Montréal World’s Fair. After gaining government approval, the building garnered significant acclaim and eventually sold for $7 million, according to The New York Times.
It’s not every day we see a piece of architecture influenced by traditional cultural knot-tying techniques. But that’s exactly what the international architecture firm NEXT had in mind when they built the Lucky Knot Bridge, or Knot Footbridge, in the Meiki Lake District of Changsha, China.
This unique bridge gave people a scenic view across the Dragon King Harbor River and was officially opened to the public in 2016. It was pedestrian-only, and though it was built for the growing tourist industry in the area, it also made a very convenient thoroughfare for locals commuting by foot.
The Laguna Garzón Bridge
This coastal lagoon situated in the southern village of Garzón, Uruguay, had long been an issue for citizens who needed to travel back and forth across the water. The ferry service that took people to and fro was weather-dependent, and when it couldn’t operate, local life was disrupted.
That’s where Rafael Viñoly came in. The famous Uruguayan architect pledged to build a bridge that would circumvent the ferry by allowing vehicle and pedestrian crossing. And so the gorgeous Laguna Garzón Bridge was opened to the public in 2015, both a major practical and aesthetic achievement for the area.
The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
Looking like a home straight out of The Jetsons, the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum was an intensive labor of love. It required 1,000,000 tons of concrete, 300 laborers, and five years of construction before it could be opened to the public, according to Architect Magazine.
Built in the capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, in 1996, this outstanding piece of architecture is a cultural landmark for Brazilians. It has attracted thousands of tourists who wanted to get a taste of Brazilian arts and culture. We just hope it doesn’t fly away in the middle of the night!
Georgia's Inguri Dam
Dams are one of the greatest achievements of human engineering, and some of them can be downright beautiful too. Take the Inguri Dam, which was built in the 1980s. It was originally constructed for the noble purpose of diverting water flow from the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea.
As if being a stunning and inherently useful piece of architecture wasn’t enough, at 900 feet tall, it’s also reported to be “the tallest arched dam in the world,” according to Britannica. The Inguri Dam can reportedly generate 1,300 megawatts of power and is responsible for a whopping 40% of national energy in Georgia.
The Lego Bridge
Lego lovers, look no further - here we have one of the most playful pieces of architecture on this list, and it’s sending us right back to our childhoods. What we’re looking at is the Lego-Brücke, or Lego Bridge, built in the German city of Wuppertal. But believe it or not, it isn’t actually built out of Lego bricks.
That’s right, the Lego-Brücke is actually a completely normal bridge, with an added optical illusion just for fun. Those 2-dimensional bricks were painted on by street artist Martin Heuwold in 2011, and he even went on to win the 2012 Deutscher Fassadenpreis Advancement Prize for his efforts.
The Twin Sails Bridge
We’ve seen some impressive bridges so far, but this next structure is absolutely jaw-dropping. In the south of England, between the cities of Poole and Hamworthy, is the Twin Sails Bridge, which was designed so that both sides of the bridge could be lifted to allow ships and boats to pass through.
As we can see in the photo above, the bridge gets its name from the shape of the bridge halves when they stand upright. Since its opening in 2012, the bridge has been given much attention due to its unique design, and its hefty price tag. It cost approximately $25.5 million to construct.
The Guggenheim Museum
In Bilbao, Spain, we'll find one of the most iconic museums in the world, notable for its ground-breaking design and otherworldly appearance. Of course, we're talking about the Guggenheim Museum! Created by Frank Gehry, it's hailed him as one of the most important architects of the 20th century.
This strange twisting and curving structure comes in at 250,000 square feet of space, with much of that apportioned to the building's unusually high ceilings - the other 97,000 to the institution's exquisite art collection. With a rumored budget of $89 million, we have to wonder how much those ceilings cost!
New Delhi's Lotus Temple
Few designs seem quite as spiritually appropriate as the Lotus Temple, built in New Delhi in 1986 and designed by Iranian-American architect Fariborz Sahba. While considering the design restrictions of the Bahá’í House of Worship, Sahba realized he could design a lotus-flower-inspired temple without breaking any rules of the faith.
So he mapped out the plan for this exquisite building - made up of nine sides with 27 Grecian white marble petals and a circular form to imitate the shape of the sacred flower. It only seemed right to construct nine ponds on the temple grounds, closely emulating the lotus theme.
Beijing's “Bird’s Nest" Stadium
Incoming is the first sports stadium on our list, the famous “Bird’s Nest.” The Beijing National Stadium was designed and constructed in 2008, especially for the Olympics that were being held that year in the city’s capital. This delicate and mesmerizing design was brought to life by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.
When the plans were first written, they included a retractable roof, with stands that needed to be hidden from public view. The seeming random steel-crossed pattern was built for this reason, even though the roof didn’t make it to the final blueprint. All in all, the Olympic stadium was bankrolled at a whopping $425 million.
The Museum of Pop Culture
Seattle has long been known for its impressive arts and cultural scene, so it’s fitting that the Museum of Pop Culture should be built there. And if we pay attention, we’ll notice some similarities between this museum and the Guggenheim museum. That’s because they were both designed by the same man!
When this project was first suggested, Frank Gehry came on board and designed an appropriately odd and dynamic cultural center that drew attention around the world. It was his first commercial design in the Pacific Northwest, and the 140,000 square foot building definitely made an impact on the area.
The U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
When we ask ourselves what a military chapel looks like, we’re not sure if this is what we expected. Located in Colorado, the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is so unique in its design that it has officially been named as the state’s most popular man-made attraction.
It's surreal yet industrial design distracts from the main purpose of the building: to unite the faiths of all cadets at the Air Force Academy. Whether they are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or more, they’re welcome to pray and observe their faith inside this building. Unfortunately for tourists, the chapel is closed until 2023.
Tourists flock to Berlin for many reasons, and the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus is likely one of them. Part of the national government district, this immense modernist structure built out of concrete and glass was completed in 2003 and has been an architectural staple of the city ever since!
Some of the building's best-known features include the vast circular openings to the Great Hall (pictured on the left) and its enormous size, which dwarfs the crowds of people who come to visit it. Designed by Stephan Braunfels, the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus was dedicated to the woman’s rights activist Marie Elisabeth Luders.
Magdeburg's Water Bridge
As the longest navigable aqueduct in the world, the Magdeburg Water Bridge is truly a testament to mankind’s engineering capabilities and sheer determination. Located in Magdeburg city, Germany, the bridge is 3,000 miles long and connects two different canals.
It also intersects the Elbe River, which makes for a long but scenic passage for boats that must travel to the Elbe. Prior to its construction in 2003, water vehicles that wanted to reach the river had to travel an extra 7.4 miles to do so, making the water bridge a beautiful and extremely convenient piece of architecture.
The Philharmonie of Paris
While it’s hard to know what this uniquely eye-catching silver structure was built for without prior knowledge, it’ll be easier to figure it out once we get close enough to hear what’s inside. This building is the Philharmonie of Paris, where many of Europe’s best classical musicians meet to exhibit their skill and talent.
The building was commissioned in 2006 and spearheaded by architect Jean Nouvel, but it was not completed until 2015. Nouvel came up with several unique features to make the building stand out, most notably the countless songbirds that decorate its exterior.
London's Queen Elizabeth II Great Court
London is so old and full of so many heritage sites, that even the museums have special buildings inside of them! Just look at the British Museum, which holds Europe’s largest covered public square, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court at its center (below).
Though not as old as the rest of the museum, the Great Court is still a sight to behold. Designed by Foster and Partners, the Reading Room (previously the British Library) sits in the middle of the space beneath a stunning glass ceiling. In the 20 years since its opening, more than 113 million visitors have walked its floors!
Walt Disney's Concert Hall
Here’s another oddly mesmerizing building. And if we look closely, we might even be able to identify the architect behind it! That’s right, we have another ground-breaking design from Frank Gehry, who was commissioned to bring the Walt Disney Concert Hall to life.
And that he did - just looking at the undulating shape of the steel structure, it’s easy to imagine it being lifted up by the wind at any moment. And a light and airy feeling to the building was ideal, as it was also going to be home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Gehry’s magic touch helped him hit another home run here.
California's Chemosphere Home
For those who have spent time in California, they’ll probably recognize this next building. Known as the Chemosphere, it is located in Los Angeles and has received a great deal of attention in its time - being named as one of the top 10 houses in LA by the Los Angeles Times and earning the title of a Historic-Cultural Monument.
It may not come as a surprise to learn that the Chemosphere was intended as more of an architectural experiment than a home. It ended up in the hands of German publisher Benedikt Taschen, who bought the UFO-like structure decades after its architect, John Lautner, chose to sell it.
The Soumaya Museum
Here we move on to Mexico, where the Soumaya Museum of Mexico City can be found. This shimmering silver structure is made up of 16,000 tiles! It curves inward as it reaches the mid-height of the building before arching out as it reaches the top and bottom floors. And the abstract exterior reflects the artworks displayed inside.
With 60,000 stunning pieces of art, the Soumaya attracts more than one million visitors per year! And with building costs upward of $70 million, we hope those entrance fees are paying off. But we’re sure the city isn’t too worried about that, seeing as it is the most popular museum in the country.
Russia's Lakhta Tower
Like a spear that might pierce the heavens, the incredible Lakhta Tower soars above the city skyline as the tallest building in Russia. It's a particularly ostentatious piece of architecture, considering that St. Petersburg has been described as "a city of horizontals" by the official Lakhta website.
When it was completed in 2018, it broke more than just the record for the country’s tallest building - it was also reported as having a concrete base that had “the longest pouring of a slab,” a fact which earned it a place in the Guinness World Records.
The Bahá'í Temple
For those who couldn't get enough of the Lotus Temple, here is another striking structure built for worshippers of the Bahá'í faith. This one, however, was built on the outskirts of Santiago, the Chilean capital. It was built in 2016, and is known as the Templo Bahá'í de Sudamérica.
Like the architect of the Lotus Temple, the architect of the Templo Bahá'í de Sudamérica had to consider the building restrictions of the Bahá'í House of Worship. Siamak Hariri also built a temple comprised of nine sides, mimicking both flower petals and the sails of a ship, resulting in a very unique design.
Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt
We’ve seen several items from Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands - but Germany takes the cake with five of our favorite pieces of modern architecture. Their last entry is the Congress Hall in Berlin, also known as the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and built during the Cold War.
It was meant to exhibit the superior design skills of West Berlin and opened to the public during the 1957 INTERBAU building exhibition. Architect Hugh Stubbins based its famous roof on the motion of a bird's opened wings, a clear symbol of freedom. Today, the Congress Hall still holds great cultural significance for Berliners.
The Bosjes Chapel
Out in the mountainous countryside in Wellington, South Africa, curious travelers may come across the Bosjes Wine Farm. Set against a gorgeous scenic backdrop, this wine farm is also home to one of South Africa’s most eye-catching pieces of modern architecture: the Bosjes Chapel.
This serene structure was brought to life by Steyn Studio, who wanted to capture the natural form of the nearby mountains in its roof design. They did such a fantastic job that the chapel found international acclaim, winning the prize for Archilovers Best Project and the Architecture Award from the Cape Institute.
Spain's Alamillo Bridge
When traveling into Seville, Spain, visitors will be mistaken for thinking they’ve just seen an enormous harp-like instrument on the skyline. It’s just the Alamillo Bridge, built across the Canal de Alfonso XIII! It is one of the most noteworthy pieces of modern architecture in Spain, and it’s easy to see why.
The Alamillo build was started in 1989 when architect Santiago Calatrava was commissioned to design a new bridge based on a sculpture of his, the Running Torso. The result was the strikingly asymmetrical Alamillo, which was 650 feet long and connected Seville to La Cartuja and the Guadalquivir river.