From the breathtaking design of the Sydney Opera House to the deep orange glow of the Golden Gate Bridge, Earth has become home to thousands of historic landmarks from continent to continent.
To celebrate National Earth Day, we’ve made a list of our favorite architectural wonders that have put both architects and engineers on the map, such as Jørn Utzon and Irving Morrow. Don’t be surprised if inspiration strikes and you save these destinations as must-see spots on your next trip!
Towering at over 2,716 feet and more than 160 stories, the Burj Khalifa holds a variety of astonishing world records such as being the tallest building in the world, the tallest free-standing structure in the world, the highest occupied floor in the world, and the tallest service elevator in the world.
Designed by Adrian Smith, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whose firm designed the Willis Tower and One Trade Center, the structure has become iconic for Dubai. The design stems from notable Islamic architecture of the region while melding in modern tones with steel and glass. Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004 and the building opened to the public in 2010.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain may be a museum, but the building is art itself! The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation selected Frank Gehry to design something modern and innovative.
The intelligent design includes curves on the exterior of the building that catch light and a large and a bright atrium that shows views of Bilbao’s estuary and the surrounding Basque country in the center of the museum. Architect Philip Johnson hailed it as “the greatest building of our time”.
The magnificent stone, glass and titanium structure sits on a 350,000 square foot site along the beautiful Nervion River, with a total of 120,000 square feet dedicated to exhibition space.
Sydney Opera House
When one thinks of Sydney, Australia, the distinct white “shells” of the Sydney Opera House are bound to come to mind. With a modern expressionist design, Danish architect Jørn Utzon built on the 20th century’s most famous buildings.
Located in the heart of the beautiful Sydney Harbor, the structure covers 4.4 acres and includes a number of performance venues. As one of the most popular destinations in Australian, more than eight million people visit the site each year!
In Hindi, the Taj Mahal translates to “Crown of the Palaces” and that’s exactly what it’s been recognized as for hundreds of years (388 to be exact) by the entire planet.
The famous ivory-white mausoleum was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his beloved late wife Mumtaz. Construction employed over 20,000 artisans led by court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.
The Taj Mahal was completed 21 years later in 1653 and at the time was estimated to be around 32 million rupees. Influenced by traditional Persian and early Mughal designs, Lahauri created a spectacular structure of white marble and semi-precious stones. The most well-known feature of the structure, the marble dome, is nearly 115 feet high.
Golden Gate Bridge
Who knew that when Joseph Strauss, Charles Alton Ellis and Irving Morrow designed the Golden Gate Bridge they would also be giving the state of California a mascot?
The historic orange-red suspension bridge connecting San Francisco with the North Bay is one of the most internationally recognized symbols and has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Before the bridge was built, San Franciscans had to take a ferry to get to Marin County. Many said a bridge could not be built across the 6,700 foot strait because of ferocious winds, heavy fog and strong tides but Strauss and his team set course to defy the odds by starting construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933. Of eleven men killed from falling on the construction site, ten were killed on February 17, 1937 when the protective net failed under the stress of a fallen scaffold. Despite the chaos and setbacks, the bridge was completed and opened May 27, 1937.
Why was the bridge painted orange and not gold? Architect Irving Morrow specifically selected the vermilion orange called “international orange” because it compliments the natural surroundings and enhances the bridge’s visibility in the unforgiving San Francisco fog.
All images found on Pexels Free Stock Photo.