Architecture is an amazing thing. The sheer ability to make a building stand out and become a landmark that’s instantly recognized is a much underrated skill to have. And especially in our modern times, architecture has moved forward in huge leaps, pushing the limits of design in every possible way. We build ‘em bigger, taller and more expensive. It’s essentially how cities brag to each other.
The buildings that are most thankful to design would be skyscrapers. They single-handedly determine the entire skyline of a city and they’re the most visible building in any area. They also give an added architectural challenge because higher buildings need to be built more aerodynamically et cetera. Also it’s cooler to build a 100 story building than a random “square with triangle on top” house. Let’s face it – we were all designing houses when we were in kindergarten. Nobody’s impressed unless you do something unique with them.
While there’s a lot of amazing non-tall buildings out there, we’re taking the phallic route. Since bigger is always better, even in architecture, let’s take a look at 9 of the most brilliantly designed skyscrapers – either existing or planned.
9. Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower (Tokyo, Japan)
At a whopping 204 meters tall (that’s over 650 feet for you Americans), this 50-story building was finished in October 2008. It was designed by the good sir Paul Noritaka Tange, who is now probably a rich man walking around Tokyo, pointing at the tower and going all “I designed that”. The building currently houses three separate educational institutes.
8. Al Hamra Tower (Kuwait, Kuwait)
This 80-story building has a total length of 414 metres (1300-something feet). It was built in a timespan of six years, with construction finishing in 2011, and it holds offices and a shopping mall. Here’s hoping the shopping mall isn’t on the 80th floor!
7. Aqua Tower (Chicago, USA)
The Aqua tower looks like, well, water flowing down. The reason for this is pretty practical: by stretching the balconies outward, it allows the residents a better view of the city. The design also maximizes solar shading. Thanks, science! This tower is an 87-story, 261 meter building with room for apartments, hotel rooms, shops and offices. Construction started in 2007 and was finished in 2009.
6. Asian Cobra Tower
The Asian Cobra Tower is a concept designed by Russian architect Vasily Klyukin. He wants to build the tower somewhere in Asia or the Middle East, and it’s essentially a huge, gold-plated tower that’s shaped like a cobra. I bet the eyeball rooms give an amazing view over whatever city this tower gets planted in.
5. The Shard (London, UK)
Completed in 2012, this one wasn’t liked by the Londoners at first. The 310 meter building has 95 floors, of which 72 are habitable. Fun fact: the state of Qatar owns 95% of the tower. The neo-futurist building has the best skyline of London with an observation deck on the 72th floor, so check that out!
4. Lakhta Center (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Lakhta Center is a currently under construction tower in Saint Petersburg. Construction started in 2012, and the tower should be 462 meters tall upon its completion, making it the tallest building in Europe and a b*tch for people suffering from vertigo.
3. Dancing Dragons (Seoul, South Korea)
These bad boys are 450 meters and 390 meters tall by design. They haven’t been built yet, but it looks like they’ll have a noticeable impact on the Seoul skyline. Construction started in 2013 and was estimated to be finished in 2016 – it’s safe to say they probably won’t hit that mark unless something amazing happens in the next month.
2. The Endless City (London, UK)
This one is pretty weird. London is planning to create a skyscraper with essentially ramps around a hollow atrium. The 300 meter skyscraper is planned to have a lot of green areas and parks, in a sort of hanging gardens thing. It’s supposed to house thousands of people and include schools, offices, shops as well as the previously mentioned parks. So a city within a city. Cityception!
1. The Lagoons (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Leave it to Dubai to turn it up a notch. An entire 5 square kilometer area is being rebuilt to a giant complex, including the skyscrapers you’d expect from Dubai. Seven artificial islands will be created and the entire project will cost 25 billion dollars. The construction of the complex has currently been suspended, but let’s hope the people from Dubai finish it anyway.