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Modern and bizarre: Architectural marvels to see in your lifetime

Architecture is a major field of design that is also a massive and constantly evolving industry. A crucial aspect of real estate and urban planning, it is a major factor to determining a properties’ value and investment potential. Hence, many cities around the world are investing heavily in good design to attract not only property buyers but also tourists.

Man-made architectures have long reigned the list of wonders both in the ancient and modern world. To think that humanity can create something majestic by combining skills and imagination is a source of pride, a brilliant gift that can have the ability to nearly rival the beauty of nature.

If you’ve travelled enough places, you’d observe how modern architectural wonders have impressively attracted millions of people to countries and how these seemingly passive structures have actively interacted and conversed with their perceiving audience. If you are still yet to check them off your bucket list, here’s a glimpse of some of the modern world’s greatest architectural achievements that you should see in your lifetime.

 

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The Shard in London, England

As one of the marvels of modern engineering and architectural design, ‘The Shard’ (also referred to as ‘the Shard of Glass’) stands 310 m to tip tall, with 95 stories that allow anyone to see the finest 360-degree city views of for up to 40 miles. What’s impressive is its exterior, which is covered by 11,000 glass panels.

 

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The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

Branded as the ‘greatest building of our time’ by the iconic architect Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry’s the Guggenheim Museum was inspired by different architectural styles: deconstructivism, expressionist, and contemporary architecture.

 

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CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, China

This building is known for its bizarre and seemingly physically impossible form, but thanks to modern engineering and the brilliance of its creators, Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, it has become one of the greatest architectural marvels that the world has ever seen.

The engineers described it as a ‘three dimensional cranked loop’ because of its unusual shape. What’s amazing is that, the building is also designed to withstand earthquakes and stand strong in frequent seismic activities.

 


Neo-futurism: A response to modern architecture’s skeptical designs

Since the Industrial Revolution and the boom of 20th century technology, mankind has witnessed changes that our ancestors would and could have never imagined to ever exist neither in their lifetime nor in the millennia to come. What was once impossible has now become a reality, thanks to the continued quest to simply see beyond and outside the box.

 

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Truly, many sectors and industries have benefited from the modern world’s innovative ideas as well as the ever developing technology, and the same story is true in the field of architecture—probably the single most important reason for the success (or failure) of many real estate and property development projects. Therefore, it plays a critical role in shaping up the business and the economy as a whole.

 

As a form of art that highlights a respect for structural and geometrical balance, it has expressed its own appreciation and genuine acceptance of what the modern world has to offer in the form of a “new” architectural style, neo-futurism.  Essentially, it is a late 20th century architectural style derived from high-tech architecture.  It combines concepts of urban design that utilize new materials and technologies. However, unlike its other modern counterparts, the style is more in touch with human emotions, promoting ethical values, and eco-sustainability.

 

Image source: londontopia.net

 

This is why neo-futurism is described as an idealistic and more optimistic take on the future. As a form of an avant-garde movement, it is as a departure from post-modernist’s skeptical and referential style in design. One of its goals is to rethink functionality and aesthetic in response to the rapidly developing urban areas.

 

Buckminster Fuller and other designers introduced this concept in the late 1960s and early 70s but rise of this art movement in modern architecture can be credited to prominent figures such as Zaha Hadid, Iraqi-British Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect, and the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.

 

Other famous neo-futurist figures are French architects Denis Laming, British artist Olivia Peake, urban-noise artist Joseph Young, and many more.


Super-cities: Skyscrapers of the future

The last two decades were perhaps history’s most ambitious period for architecture. Multi-billion development projects across the globe fuel massive construction booms, pushing design boundaries as well as boosting local or national economies. While the financial crisis of 2008 seemed to have discouraged many developers, building mega-projects—such as skyscrapers—did not stop companies from making history. In Dubai alone, dozens of innovative and groundbreaking structures rose above empty deserts like mushrooms and forever changed the emirate’s cityscape. In the next couple of years, several more revolutionary skyscrapers will hit news headlines. Some of them are as follows:

 

Jeddah Tower

When completed by the end of the decade, this Saudi super-structure will be the tallest skyscraper in the world. It will be more one kilometer tall and will be the centerpiece of a US$20 billion proposed development known as Jeddah Economic City. The project was designed by multi-awarded American architect Adrian Smith, who is also the genius behind the world’s current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Aesthetically, the structure will resemble desert plant shooting upwards, symbolizing Saudi Arabia’s growth and future.

 

Image source: stuff.co.nz

 

KL118

Consisting of 400,000 square meters (4,300,000 square feet) of residential and commercial space, KL118 will overtake the iconic Petronas Towers as Malaysia’s tallest structure when it opens in 2019. It is currently being constructed within the vicinity of a number of historic landmarks with little modern development.

 

Image source: skyrisecities.com

 

Hydropolis

An aquatic city found right next to a cosmopolitan desert boomtown, this mega-project will be a magnificent underwater hotel that will once again put Dubai on the map. When completed, the hotel will cover an area of 260 hectares, which is roughly the size of Hyde Park in London. The central structure of the Hydropolis is the Lemniscate, a symbol of wisdom. A unique aspect of the underwater building is that it will comprise of different structures that represent various parts of the human body.

 

Image source: charismaticplanet.com

 

Baoneng Shenyang Global Financial Center

Currently under construction in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, this supertall skyscraper is notable for its design emphasis on both simplicity and iconicity. It has conical extrusions at its base, resembling canopies or nomadic tent entrances common during the Qing Dynasty. At the top is a “pearl” that would symbolize the Chinese wisdom, luxury, and purity. Located on a high seismic zone, the tower was designed to withstand strong ground shaking.

 

Image source: allday.com

 

These structures are highly impressive in their own right and will go down in historic as architectural marvels. However, regardless of how ambitious a building plan looks, its economic, cultural, and environmental value must be of the greatest importance.  Man’s ingenuity must always be used for the greater good.