Top destinations for modern architecture aficionados

By Sergio González | 11:32

West Central Park in New York, a must for every architecture lover

Some will travel the world to see their favorite music star playing live or to get a tasteful hint of a famous Michelin starred chef, but monuments and cool buildings are as legit as those, so get ready to learn about the top destinations for architecture and design aficionados. 

New York. While the World Center Complex construction keeps on moving forward, the tower number one, aka Freedom Tower, is almost finished. The grand opening is projected to happen at the end of 2013 or early 2014, and the celebrations are expected to be huge; an event that will unleash the 4th tallest building in the world (541, 3 m or 1776 ft). 

Lower Manhattan is full of glass and steel skyscrapers but today we are focusing on the beautiful art deco buildings next to Central Park. 

The 55 Central Park West (or the Ghostbusters building as it’s familiarly known) is a lovely art deco piece built in 1929. Loved by NYC socialites, Calvin Klein or Donna Karan live here, its neighboring building is the iconic Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Don’t hesitate about touring this historic area of NY.

Empire State Building, Rockefeller Tower and Chrysler Building, once among the top 10 tallest building in the world, are still the icons of NY’s early 20th century architecture but General Electric Building, in Lexington Avenue, is an outstanding job of masonry and architectural sculpture with a Gothic top tower that will trick your eyes into thinking you are no longer in NY.

However, one of the less known buildings in NY and that you absolutely can’t miss is the American Standard Building, with a black facade covered with golden bricks that give it a look like few others. If you fancy historical buildings, remember you can book your holidays at the charming, luxurious Jolly Madison Towers.

Dubai. Perhaps no other city in the world is symbolizing modernity like the most populated city in the UAE, home for the tallest building ever, the Burj Khalifa; at least as long as Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom Tower (1000 m, projected for 2019) allows.

Although AC can be found in every single Dubai building, visiting must be done during so called winter, December and January; and even then average temperature is 35ºC ( 95ºF).

Please, get informed about local laws before travelling to Dubai because they have strong policies against many thing that are legal in the rest of the world, like codeine, an element common in many syrups. Airport security can trace this and other medicines in bloodstream; it means up to four years in jail.

Dubai boasts some of the tallest building in the world

Shanghai. Pretty often the Lujiazui skyline of Shanghai is portrayed as the new China (photographed from The Bund historical sea promenade). Shanghai holds many world records, such as the most populated city in the world (by city proper) or the busiest port ever.

Lujiazui is the financial district of the city, but you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Shanghai WTC, commonly known as the Bottle Opener due to the big trapezoidal hole on its top (actual ones depicting the building can be bought as souvenirs). It was intended to be a circle, honoring traditional Chinese architecture, but city’s mayor thought it looked too much like the Japanese flag.

Once completed in 2014, the Shanghai Tower will be the second tallest building in the world and a best example of sustainable building design. Even the power fueling the building is totally green: wind turbines and geothermal energy will be the only means.

Photo credit: Andrew Mace

Photo credit: Jeff Attaway

  • posted by julia | 24 October 2013, 7:56,

    Styles usually spread to other places and develop in new ways as other regions invent new versions. I’ve written an essay Expressionism: Modern Architecture of 20th Century hopefully you will like it

  • posted by Courtney Imel | 25 October 2013, 9:07,

    Hi Julia! Thanks a lot for sharing your essay! We’re glad you found the post useful. 🙂


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