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.
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.
St Paul’s Cathedral, London
London’s most iconic building, St Paul’s Cathedral, was designed by English architect Sir Christopher Wren. Sitting at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, its famous dome is one of the world’s largest, measuring nearly 112 metres high.
The original church on the site was founded in the year 604AD. Work on the present English Baroque church began in the 17th Century by Christopher Wren as part of a major rebuilding program after the Great Fire of London.
Wren started working on St Paul’s in 1666, his designs for the cathedral taking nine years to complete and the actual construction taking a further 35 years. St Paul’s has played an integral part of London life ever since – as a domineering element in the city’s skyline, as a centre for tourism and religious worship, and most recently as a focal point for anticapitalist protests.
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
Standing at 451.9 metres-tall, the Petronas Towers are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The buildings, which held the title of tallest in the world between 1998-2004, are an iconic landmark of the capital city.
The distinctive postmodern style was created by architects Cesar Pelli and Achmad Murdijat, engineer Deejay Cerico and designer Dominic Saibo under the consultancy of JC Guinto.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most remarkable architectural structures in Europe. Most famous for its tilt, the tower began to lean during construction after soft ground on one side was unable to properly support the structure’s weight.
Building work on the tower began in 1173 and went on for over a whopping 199 years. There has been much controversy surrounding the true identity of the architect behind the tower – the design was originally attributed to artist Bonnano Pisano but studies have also implicated architect Diotisalvi.