As most of us can’t go and physically see the world’s most famous buildings right now, instead we thought we’d bring them to you. These famous buildings can be a great source of inspiration for designers and artists. Whether it’s the structural shapes, unique design concept or decorative details, buildings can provide ample inspiration for design projects of all kinds.
A country’s most famous buildings can tell us a lot about its way of life and the culture during the period when it was built; a bit like looking at a historical photograph. But unlike a photo, buildings continue to change after construction is finished. The usual wear and tear demands renovation and the changing tastes of society have their own impact on the design and functionality of a building.
1. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Work started on Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia in 1882, but Barcelona’s most famous basilica is probably best known for not being finished – over 130 years later, the temple is still just 70 per cent complete. It has also only recently been issued a proper permit for construction, and is expected to be finished in 2026.
2. Notre Dame, Paris
The Notre Dame de Paris has long been one of the world’s most celebrated cathedrals, and the spotlight has been firmly on this famous building since April 209. We’ve included it on our list to remember it in its full glory. Construction began on this cathedral in 1160, Hopefully this next reconstruction will transform it to its past majesty, or perhaps take it in an exciting new direction.
3. Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
The Heydar Aliyev Center is one of the most famous buildings . It’s located in Baku, Azerbaijan, and is one of the newer designs on this list, having been completed in 2012. The design is noted for its distinctive, flowing lines and lack of sharp angles.
4. Cathedral of Brasilia, Brasilia
This curved beauty in Brazil’s Brasilia is just as striking inside as outside with its beautiful stained glass and crown-like structure. It was created between 1958-1970.
5. Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik
Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik . The kaleidoscope effect of the crystaline shell deploys light and colour that plays with your senses when you enter the building. It’s a shimmering sculpture, sitting on the shoreline linking sky and sea.
6. Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin
Nicknamed The Dancing House, Prague’s Nationale-Nederlanden building.
The deconstructivist – or new-baroque – architecture forms an unusual dancing shape thanks to 99 concrete panels, each a different shape and dimension.
7. La Pedrera, Barcelona
Nested among the urban streets of Barcelona are some unusual and beautiful buildings by infamous architect Antoni Gaudí. His unique approach to the Art Nouveau movement generated some of the most creative buildings the world have ever seen. And La Pedrera is no exception.
One of the most imaginative houses in the history of architecture, this is more sculpture than building. The façade is a varied and harmonious mass of undulating stone that, along with its forged iron balconies, explores the irregularities of the natural world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognised this building as World Heritage in 1984.