Modern Architectural Wonders
Collected by Kristin Zibell , AFAR Local Expert
Buildings and structures around the world that embrace the industrial and the natural.
La Défense, France
On the western edge of Paris, at the end of the grand 'axe historique' that runs from the Louvre down the Champs Élysées and on past the Arc de Triomphe, rises the futuristic skyscraper business district known as "La Défense." Its centerpiece is...
I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset,...
Zeil 106, 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
This futuristic shopping center twists and turns you on metal paths, guiding you fluidly through the best shopping in Frankfurt. With eight floors of beautifully light-flooded architecture and one of the longest escalators in Europe, this massive...
Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA
The city’s most famous snowbird, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, spent winters at his home and architecture school in the Sonoran Desert. Taliesin West brings the horizontal lines and organic materials of Prairie School design to the desert...
R. Clélia, 93 - Barra Funda, São Paulo - SP, 05042-000, Brazil
Architects should be cultural agents who are concerned with both good and functional design. For me, Lina Bo Bardi and her raw, modernist architecture exemplified this. She really thought about the people who would use her spaces. My favorite...
95700 Roissy-en-France, France
CDG can be cramped, hot, crowded and unpleasant. Yet if you have the time to really explore before takeoff, or during a layover, the airport can be a treasure trove of beautiful angles and a feast for the eyes of any fan of modern architecture.
513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
During my last stay in Seoul, I spent most of my time in the historic heart of the city north of the Han river. I did take a Sunday afternoon, though, to walk around the Gangnam district—the chic high rise–dominated neighborhood south of the...
종로51 종로타워 17층, 종로126.96.36.199가동 Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
One of the most distinctive buildings in central Seoul is the 33-story Jongno Tower, a triangular glass and steel tower topped with an oval floating above seven stories of emptiness. Across the street is the traditionally reconstructed...
Via Guido Reni, 4a, 00196 Roma RM, Italy
Maxxi, Rome’s first major contemporary art museum, cost 150 million and took renowned architect Zaha Hadid 10 years to complete. The result—a vast, bold space with exhibits on architecture and art—proves that modern Rome can produce masterpieces,...
111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
This bowed silver building stands out among the skyscrapers of Downtown L.A. (though it now has an equally interesting-looking neighbor in the Broad). Those stainless-steel curves have a purpose, though. Architect Frank Gehry designed the...
Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
The mysterious rooftop of Casa Mila both charms and haunts visitors. The glorious October sky above frames the organic forms, each sculpted face watching as I creep up and down the rolling ramps. Children can't resist playing here, and fortunately...
333 Haeun-daero, U-dong, Haeundae, Busan, South Korea
Busan is an extremely dynamic city full of wonderful architecture, a dramatic cityscape surrounded by mountains, a beautiful coast, and tons of public art. One of the coolest areas to see a plethora of public art is Centum City. This area is...
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204, USA
With over 70,000 works of art, the Denver Art Museum can't be fully taken in during just one visit. Its permanent collection has a number of focuses, including art of the region, but it also contains works from farther afield. The museum...
550 N Harbor Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202, USA
The Harbor House is the best place to eat if you want a good view of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Rely on the valet parking as public parking is quite limited. Try eating in the bar area as the tables are more available than the dining room.
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