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18 Dramatic Buildings that will Pop Your Eyes and Drop Your Jaws!

One look and you can tell ─ these buildings were made to be stunners. Designed to stop you in your tracks and stare in stupefied wonder, they sure demand their 15 minutes of fame. Call them what you like: Radical, experimental or simply voluptuous in form and formula, it is obvious 21st century architecture has pushed engineering and artistry beyond the realms of the archetype.

“I call architecture frozen music,” said poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once. But these days in art and design, not every note needs to harmonise to make beautiful sound. There is exquisiteness in dissonance too, if you stop to appreciate it well, which is what we shall see in the following 18 buildings.  And we’ll dispense with too much text this time. Just enjoy the pictures.

 

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland – Cleveland, Ohio by by architect Farshid Moussavi. Clad in mirrored black stainless steel and glass, this gem-like building is The Moca Cleveland, six-sided hexagonal architecture with a square top clad with mirrored black stainless steel and glass, is the London-based architect’s first piece in the United States.
Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland – Cleveland, Ohio by by architect Farshid Moussavi. Clad in mirrored black stainless steel and glass, this gem-like building is The Moca Cleveland, a six-sided hexagonal architecture with a square top.  The Moca is the London-based architect’s first piece in the United States.

 

A design isn’t finished until someone is using it. – Brenda Laurel

 

The Wave in Vejle, Denmark designed by Henning Larsen Architects is a “new wave” (pardon the pun) housing project that has become the landmark of the city. The design reflects the motifs of the fjord and the rolling hills while it takes advantage of the scenic views.
The Wave in Vejle, Denmark designed by Henning Larsen Architects is a “new wave” (pardon the pun) housing project that has become the landmark of the city. The design reflects the motifs of the fjord and the rolling hills while it takes advantage of the scenic views for residents.

 

The Wave is actually an innovative five “block” apartment or housing complex. (Pic: Henning Larson Architects via the archdaily).
The Wave is actually an innovative five “block” apartment or housing complex. (Pic: Henning Larson Architects via the archdaily).

 

People ignore design that ignores people – Frank Chimero

 

The Agora Tower in Taipei, Taiwan is an energy-saving, carbon-absorbing, vertically planted green architecture by Vincent Callebaut Architecture. "The tower presents a pioneer concept of sustainable residential eco-construction that aims at limiting the ecological footprint of its inhabitants," Callebaut explains. The Agora Tower is a 21-story apartment complex.
The Agora Tower in Taipei, Taiwan is an energy-saving, carbon-absorbing, vertically planted green architecture by Vincent Callebaut Architecture. “The tower presents a pioneer concept of sustainable residential eco-construction that aims at limiting the ecological footprint of its inhabitants,” Callebaut explains. The Agora Tower is a 21-story apartment complex.

 

In my experience, if you have to keep the lavatory door shut by extending your left leg, it’s modern architecture. –  Nancy Banks-Smith

 

The Kinémax is a theater in an amusement park in France that revolves around the future. The park is called Futurescope, opened nearly 25 years ago, in France. The architect is Denis Laming. He wanted to build a crystal.
The Kinémax is a theater in an amusement park in France that revolves around the future. The park is called Futurescope, opened nearly 25 years ago, in France. The architect is Denis Laming. He wanted to build a crystal and he did.

 

It’s as close to a crystal as any. Denis Laming was only 34 years old when he submitted his design proposals for Futuroscope in early 1984. (Pic via thefoxisblack via The Sweet Kitten).
It’s as close to a crystal as any. Denis Laming was only 34 years old when he submitted his design proposals for Futuroscope in early 1984. (Pic via thefoxisblack via The Sweet Kitten).

 

Practice safe design: Use a concept. Petrula Vrontikis

 

Emporia Shopping Center by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor is a shopping mall and one of the biggest ones in Scandinavia. It is situated in the city of Malmö in Sweden, near Malmö Arena and Hyllie railway station.
Emporia Shopping Center by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor is a shopping mall and one of the biggest ones in Scandinavia. It is situated in the city of Malmö in Sweden, near Malmö Arena and Hyllie railway station.

 

Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart. – Arthur Erickson

 

The Starhill Gallery by Spark Architects is right here in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. It is designed by Stephen Pimbley, founding director of Spark and the architect behind Singapore’s Clarke Quay. It’s a crystalline structure redefining shoppingscape in Malaysia.
The Starhill Gallery by Spark Architects is right here in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. It is designed by Stephen Pimbley, founding director of Spark and the architect behind Singapore’s Clarke Quay. It’s a crystalline structure redefining shoppingscape in Malaysia.

 

I understand that, today, some developers are asking architects to design eye-catching, iconic buildings. Fortunately, I’ve not had that kind of client so far. – Fumihiko Maki

 

The Bund Finance Centre is a prominent new mixed-use development close to the Shanghai waterfront and has been designed jointly by Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio. This 420,000-square-metre development of eight buildings sits on the Bund, Shanghai, China's most famous street.
The Bund Finance Centre is a prominent new mixed-use development close to the Shanghai waterfront and has been designed jointly by Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio. This 420,000-sqm development of eight buildings sits on the Bund, Shanghai, China’s most famous street.

 

The Sun does not realise how wonderful it is until after a room is made. –  Louis Kahn

 

The Bosjes Chapel, set within a vineyard in South Africa, in the charming Witzenberg district is by Steyn Studio, UK architects. The rooflines follow the silhouette of surrounding mountain ranges and pays serene homage to the majestic landscape of the Western Cape.
The Bosjes Chapel, set within a vineyard in South Africa, in the charming Witzenberg district is by Steyn Studio, UK architects. The rooflines follow the silhouette of surrounding mountain ranges and pays serene homage to the majestic landscape of the Western Cape.

 

Architecture is the plant fertilizer of our lives; it is the way to be a big, great-tasting tomato. – Robert Sullivan

 

The Basque Health Department Headquarters in Bilbao, in Basque Country, Spain is by Coll-Barreu Arquitectos. The building groups together vertical communications and general services within a bone, a prism next to the dividing wall that serves to seven open-plan floors for offices.
The Basque Health Department Headquarters in Bilbao, in Basque Country, Spain is by Coll-Barreu Arquitectos. The building groups together vertical communications and general services within a bone, a prism next to the dividing wall that serves to seven open-plan floors for offices.

 

Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because the idea wasn’t theirs. –  Frank Chimero

 

This is China’s Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Art Centre by renowned international architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects. Known for her signature curvy architectural lines, the eye-catching landscape consists of a Grand Theatre, a Contemporary Art Museum, and a Multipurpose Hall (sometimes referred to as the Small Theatre). Each structural space offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to partake in culturally creative activities.
This is China’s Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Art Centre by renowned international architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects. Known for her signature curvy architectural lines, the eye-catching landscape consists of a Grand Theatre, a Contemporary Art Museum, and a Multipurpose Hall (sometimes referred to as the Small Theatre). Each structural space offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to partake in culturally creative activities.

 

The Grand Theatre, the focal point of the Arts Centre, has a total capacity of 1800 seats. (Pic via the arch daily from Zaha Hadid Architects).
The Grand Theatre, the focal point of the Arts Centre, has a total capacity of 1800 seats. (Pic via the arch daily from Zaha Hadid Architects).

 

Design should never say, “Look at me!” It should always say, “Look at this!” –  David Craib

 

Chalmers University of Technology by Wingårdh Arkitektontor is a Swedish university located in Gothenburg that focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime and other management areas. A cylindrical, distinctive building in the middle of the town square is an urban planning motif, rooted in the Renaissance,’ says Gert Wingårdh of Wingårdh Arkitektontor about the structure, a central building of Chalmers Campus Lindholmen.
Chalmers University of Technology by Wingårdh Arkitektontor is a Swedish university located in Gothenburg that focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime and other management areas. “A cylindrical, distinctive building in the middle of the town square is an urban planning motif, rooted in the Renaissance,” says Gert Wingårdh of Wingårdh Arkitektontor about the structure.

 

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you anywhere. –  Albert Einstein

 

Regatta Arch Hotel by Jakarta WKK Architects is a landmark centrepiece of the 10 hectare Regatta development on the Pantai Mutiara Canal Estate. The Regatta Arch Hotel is a unique curvaceous 320 room, five star hotel towering 160m above the shores of the Java Sea.
Regatta Arch Hotel by Jakarta WKK Architects is a landmark centrepiece of the 10 hectare Regatta development on the Pantai Mutiara Canal Estate. The Regatta Arch Hotel is a unique curvaceous 320 room, five star hotel towering 160m above the shores of the Java Sea.

 

The building which is intended to become a landmark destination for Jakarta features a ballroom for a thousand guests, a state of the art health and fitness spa, numerous restaurants and a 2000sqm sky club housed in the apex of the Arch. (Pic from wkkarchitects)
The building which is intended to become a landmark destination for Jakarta features a ballroom for a thousand guests, a state of the art health and fitness spa, numerous restaurants and a 2000sqm sky club housed in the apex of the Arch. (Pic from wkkarchitects)

 

Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space. –  Mies van de Rohe

 

The Museum of Performance and Design, San Francisco, by Mark Dziewulski was created in collaboration with ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov. The sweeping lines were inspired by the movement and rhythm expressed in many of the performing arts.
The Museum of Performance and Design, San Francisco, by Mark Dziewulski was created in collaboration with ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov. The sweeping lines were inspired by the movement and rhythm expressed in many of the performing arts.

 

The most innovative designers consciously reject the standard option box and cultivate an appetite for thinking wrong. –  Marty Neumeier

 

VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron is a series of stacked pitched-roof boxed, designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The five-storey building is situated on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany.
VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron is a series of stacked pitched-roof boxes designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The five-storey building is situated on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany.

 

A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines. –  Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Here is a modern tree house designed by Malan Vorster, Cape Town-based architects. It is a residential house for a client who wanted their hideaway in the Constantia suburb of the South African capital.
Here is a modern tree house designed by Malan Vorster, Cape Town-based architects. It is a residential house for a client who wanted their hideaway in the Constantia suburb of the South African capital.

 

Design is where science and art break even. –  Mieke Gerritzen

 

Mode-Gakuen Spiral Towers in Nagoya, Japan by Nikken Sekkei is a 170-metre, 36-story educational facility located in Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The building is home to three vocational schools: Nagoya Mode Gakuen, HAL Nagoya and Nagoya Isen.
Mode-Gakuen Spiral Towers in Nagoya, Japan by Nikken Sekkei is a 170-metre, 36-story educational facility located in Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The building is home to three vocational schools: Nagoya Mode Gakuen, HAL Nagoya and Nagoya Isen.

 

Hell, there are no rules here; We’re trying to accomplish something.  –  Thomas Edison

 

The Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank by Morphosis Architects in Udine, Italy resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Morphosis designed the building with a dramatic 14⁰ tilt to provide shade for the lower levels during the heat of the summer.
The Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank by Morphosis Architects in Udine, Italy resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but that’s where the resemblance ends. Morphosis designed the building with a dramatic 14⁰ tilt to provide shade for the lower levels during the heat of the summer.

 

Though the tower is tilted, the columns inside are straight, continuous and vertical with the interior allowing for natural sunlight and ventilation. (Pic by Inhabitat)
Though the tower is tilted, the columns inside are straight, continuous and vertical with the interior allowing for natural sunlight and ventilation. (Pic by Inhabitat)

 

Designers are meant to be loved, not to be understood. –  Fabien Barral

 

Inspired by the rubber seed, a symbol of Malaysia's historical trade, MITEC is Malaysia’s largest exhibition halls and one of the most iconic buildings in the region. The architect is RSP Architects one of the largest architectural practices in the world with more than 1,300 professionals. (Pic via Sika)
Inspired by the rubber seed, a symbol of Malaysia’s historical trade, MITEC is Malaysia’s largest exhibition halls and one of the most iconic buildings in the region. The architect is RSP Architects one of the largest architectural practices in the world with more than 1,300 professionals. (Pic via Sika.com)

 

Located in Segambut, KL, next to Menara MATRADE, MITEC, built at a cost of RM628mil, was launched in 2017 to host nine indoor events for the just concluded on 30th August 2017 SEA Games 2017. (Pic via Sika)
Located in Segambut, KL, next to Menara MATRADE, MITEC, built at a cost of RM628mil, was launched in 2017 to host nine indoor events for the just concluded on 30th August 2017 SEA Games 2017. (Pic via Sika)

 

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. – Margaret Mead

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