Top 16 Most Iconic Buildings in the World
For thousands and thousands of years, humankind has been obsessed with creating large, imposing and beautiful structures, and even though we’re still breaking our own records year after year, we still don’t know exactly what drives our fascination for architecture. In any case, the construction of iconic buildings is one thing we have in common with our early ancestors, so we decided to create a top 16 regarding some of the world’s most iconic buildings, whether we’re talking about majestic pyramids or staggeringly high skyscrapers.
1. Taipei 101
We start off our top 16 with a modern construction, namely the Taipei 101 – a glorious skyscraper that stands 1,669 feet tall in the Xinyi District of Taipei, Taiwan. The building was finished in 2004 and held the title of the tallest in the world until 2010, when it was surpassed by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Apart from its imposing height and stunning architecture, the Taipei 101 includes a series of environmentally friendly technologies, which is why it was awarded the LEED Platinum certification in 2011. As the largest and tallest green building on the planet, this skyscraper was named as such because it comprises 101 floors. The construction process for this staggering landmark started in 1999 and ended up costing $1.8 billion.
2. Buckingham Palace
The Buckingham Palace is definitely one of the most impressive and important buildings in the United Kingdom, serving as the official London residence and main workplace of the British monarch. The palace can be found in the City of Westminster, and it was originally known as the Buckingham House. The main center of the building was initially a townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705, which received a number of additions over time, the last of them being implemented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Each year, between August and September, the palace opens its doors to tourists and locals as part of the Summer Opening.
3. Space Needle
As one of the most valuable landmarks of the city of Seattle, the Space Needle is a fantastic observation tower built in the city center for the 1962 World’s Fair. This grand event was also known as the Century 21 Exposition, and it attracted 6.6 million people. The Space Needle boasts a height of 605 feet as well as a width of 138 feet, and it once represented the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River.
Its observation deck is placed at an altitude of 520 feet, ensuring extraordinary views of the city and of the he Olympic and Cascade Mountains, Elliott Bay, Mount Rainer and Mount Baker. The Space Needle was officially declared a historic landmark on April 19, 1999 by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board.
4. St Basil’s Cathedral
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful Orthodox churches in existence, and it can be found in the Red Square in Moscow. The building itself has a maximum height of 156 feet and was built from 1555 to 1561 by Ivan the Terrible, who wanted to celebrate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan.
What gives this landmark its indisputable significance is not only its incredible religious importance but also its unique exterior design. Sketched out to look like the flames of a bonfire rising up towards the sky, Saint Basil’s Cathedral is part of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.
5. The White House
The White House can be found at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C, and it has been the official residence of the President of the United States since 1800. The residence was designed by James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800 using Aquia Creek sandstone that was painted crisp white.
The White House was designed and constructed following the principles of Neoclassical architecture, and it now represents a vast complex that includes the East Wing, West Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the Executive Residence. The property on which the house rests on is a National Heritage Site and a part of the President’s Park.
6. The Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers are two identical skyscrapers that are located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The construction process of these exquisite landmarks lasted 7 years from 1992 to 1999, when the towers were officially inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Soaring up to an altitude of 1,483 feet, the Petronas Towers were officially the tallest in the world until 2004, when they were surpassed by the Taipei 101.
The architect behind the designing of these exceptional buildings was César Pelli, who chose a sublime postmodern style that oozes grace and modernism. The constriction costs for the Petronas Towers were approximately $1.6 billion.
7. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia boasts a rich historical heritage, and it can be found in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, the building but was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral and to an Imperial Mosque. Since 1935, Hagia Sophia operates as a museum, and it is visited by a wide array of tourists each year.
The construction of this incredible landmark started in the year 532 and ended 537, which is 1476 years ago. The church was extremely famous for its beautiful dome, which is still considered one of the most groundbreaking examples of Byzantine architecture. Hagia Sophia was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a millennium, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1520.
8. The Louvre
The Louvre is one of the most significant tourist attractions in Paris, France, since it is visited by millions of art lovers and history enthusiasts each year. The museum flaunts 652,300 square feet of space that are dedicated entirely for art exhibits. Almost 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are found within its walls, including art pieces signed by Leonardo da Vinci and Eugène Delacroix.
9. The Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab, also known as the Tower of the Arabs, is a magnificent luxury hotel that can be found in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Boasting a splendid, unique design, the hotel was sketched out by a skilled architect named Tom Wright, who decided to create an exquisite layout resembling the sail of a ship.
The Burj Al Arab took 5 years to complete, from 1994 to 1999, and it cost $690 million. With a height of 1,056 feet, it currently represents the fourth tallest hotel in the world.
10. Sydney Opera House
The exquisite Opera House of Sydney sits proudly on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, and it represents a symbol of the city of Sydney as well as of the entire continent of Australia. The Opera House is visited by thousands of tourists each year, most of them being enthralled by its unique and stunning exterior design, which was sketched out by a Danish architect named Jørn Utzon.
As one of the most important buildings of the 20th century, this incredible landmark houses over 1,500 performances each year, which are attended by as much as 1,2 million visitors. The construction of the Sydney Opera House started on March 2, 1959 and ended in 1973. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
11. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the most famous and iconic buildings in New York and in the United States of America. This monolithic structure can be found in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, and it boasts a total height of 1,454 feet (antenna included).
The building was constructed in the Art Deco style and was the tallest in the world from 1931 to 1972, when it was outmatched by the World Trade Center’s North Tower. Due to its extraordinary design and immeasurable significance for the citizens of New York, the building has been designated as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
12. Taj Mahal
Everyone has heard of the Taj Mahal! This breathtakingly beautiful Indian icon can be found in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, and it was built by a by Mughal emperor named Shah Jahan honoring the memory of his third and most beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The Taj Mahal was built following the principles of Mughal architecture, a style that involves design elements from both Indian and Persian styles. The construction of this highly important landmark required 21 years of hard work and planning, from 1632 to 1653. The mausoleum was constructed using white marble, and it boasts a total height of 561 feet. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
13. The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower was initially built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, but over the years it has become one of the most recognized symbols of France and of its capital city, Paris. The tower flaunts a height of 1,063 feet, representing the tallest structure in Paris. Moreover, due to its widespread popularity, the landmark is also the most most-visited paid monument in the world. When it was complete, the Eiffel tower was the tallest building in the world, a title held for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City.
14. Big Ben
The Big Ben is actually known officially as the Elizabeth Tower, a name it received in 2012 in order to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. As the third-tallest freestanding clock tower in the world, the Big Ben was built in 1858, which means it is over 150 years old.
This incredible masterpiece of architecture and design houses the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world, showcasing the famous inscription ” DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM”, which translates to “O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First”.
15. The Colosseum
Widely considered as the finest example of Roman architecture and engineering, the Colosseum is a superb amphitheatre that can be found in the center of Rome in Italy. This massive structure boasts an elliptical shape and was built using stone and concrete. The Colosseum is indisputably the largest amphitheatre in the world, and its construction was commissioned by the emperor Vespasian in 70 AD.
In 80 AD, the giant Colloseum was finally complete, and it was used to showcase gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. People flocked to these events in the thousands, since this magnificent structure could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators in its prime. In 1980, the Colosseum became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in 2007 it was declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
16. The Great Pyramid of Giza
Also known as the Pyramid of Cheops or the Pyramid of Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest pyramid of the Giza Necropolis, which can be found in Egypt, of course. This imposing masterpiece of ancient engineering is the largest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, boasting a height of 455 feet.
Experts believe that this outstanding landmark was built to serve as a tomb for an Egyptian Pharaoh named Khufu. Even though nobody knows exactly how the pyramid was built in the first place, many Egyptologists concur that it was constructed using massive blocks of stone that were carried from a nearby quarry and lifted into place. Once complete, the staggering Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.