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World's Most Beautiful Buildings

Hearst Tower, New York City

Chuck Choi/Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Hearst Tower, New York City

Most contemporary skyscrapers—Burj Khalifa or the Petronas Towers—work best from a distance, but the amazing thing about the Hearst Tower on West 57th Street is that it’s most beautiful up close. The distinctive triangular panels from which architect Norman Foster formed the façade are highly efficient, using 20 percent less steel than more conventional buildings, but that’s almost irrelevant. The important thing is that the triangular motif makes the modest 42-story tower more spectacular than skyscrapers two or three times its height.

Magic Revealed: In the lobby, you can see how the steel structure supports the tower that appears to float above its six-story Art Deco base.

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