The 22 Most Beautiful Buildings in the World, According to Architects
Like paintings and sculptures, buildings can be beautiful works of art.
Related:15 Things Every Guy Needs for Winter
We asked architects to tell us the one building that's a game-changer for building design, inspired them to become architects, or that they simply find stunning.
Related:A Former Ad Exec Who Sold His Firm to Microsoft Spent the Last 20 Years Restoring a Mansion in Los Angeles — and Now He's Selling It for $10 Million
Here are 22 of the most breathtaking buildings in the world, according to people who build them for a living.
Related:21 Amazing Photos That Show What Life Is Like in the Coldest Inhabited Town on Earth
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece.
"It's the quintessential beautiful architectural form," Tara Imani says. "The Corinthian columns, the use of entasis [a slight curve in columns] to make sure the columns didn't look spindly from a distance...the siting on a hilltop — it gave us our initial ABCs of architecture that we keep trying to use and improve upon today."
Imani is the founding architect of Tara Imani Designs.
The National Congress of Brazil in Brasília.
"In 1974, my father, a scientist took our family to see the new city of Brasília. It captured the imagination of the world," Julia Donoho says. "Planned in the shape of an airplane, Corbusian [the modern architectural style of Le Corbusier] housing blocks lined the wings like feathers, the body was filled with embassies, government buildings, cultural institutions, and a house of God."
Donoho is the principal and project lead at Equinox Design and Development.
The São Paulo Museum of Art in São Paulo, Brazil.
"It is daring," Damaris Hollingsworth says. "Designed in 1968, it is made of concrete and glass. The main body is hung from the two beams and it barely touches the columns on the side. I also love the fact that it was designed by a woman."
Hollingsworth is the project manager for DLR Group.
The Forbidden City temple in Beijing, China.
"It has amazing scale and longevity of the design, complex structure, yet simple forms," Rosa Sheng says. "My grandfather...explained that architecture is meant to last beyond one's lifetime. It is a living time capsule of the culture for an entire civilization."
Sheng is a senior architect at the firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
The Innovation, Science, and Technology building at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.
"When I worked for Santiago Calatrava, I was part of the team that procured the Florida Polytechnic University campus project," says Marica McKeel. " Not only to do I love the design of the Innovation, Science and Technology building, but I feel a real connection to this project and to the Lakeland community as my father grew up in Lakeland and I still frequently visit family there."
McKeel is the principal at Studio MM.
The Empire State Building in New York, New York.
"I wanted to become an architect since I was six years old in part because of this building," says William J. Martin. "My parents would put us in the car and drive down River Road and Boulevard East [New Jersey] with expansive views of Manhattan from the back seat of our car. The antenna enhanced the value of the building ... by allowing for better reception for millions of people."
Martin is the founder of WJM Architect.
The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The MAC hangs over the water, a simple collection of lines and curves inspired by flowers growing in the landscape of Rio de Janeiro," Peter Exley says. "A beautiful, sweeping pink line marks the pathway to the entrance of the building. It’s the most charming arrival to any building; Unpretentious, gentle, poetic, and steeped in anticipation."
Casa Mila in Barcelona, Spain.
Casa Mila is "exuberant, context-rich, sensual, and imbued with a rich urban residential character," Clark Manus says.
Manus is the CEO of Heller Manus Architects and a former president of the American Institute of Architects.
The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
"Completed in 1974, it redefined how museums and art galleries used natural daylighting and is truly a modernist masterpiece," Bob Borson says.
Borson is the principal at Malone Maxwell Borson Architects.
Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.
"The rigid planes of the cantilevered balconies are pure modernist forms inserted into the heart of the forest," says Bruce Turner. "Most importantly however, the thing that solidified this building as my favorite of all time doesn't show up in any photos: the arrival sequence to the house. You arrive on a small country road, turn into the property, wind you way through the woods, and the house finally appears in the distance."
Turner is a freelance architect based in New Jersey.
The Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"It is highly publicized and perhaps getting too much play like a song on the radio, but when seen in person, I was truly inspired," Lee Calisti says.
Calisti is the founder of Calisti Architecture and Design.