Good building design is more crucial than ever before. In years gone by, an architect’s prime concern was making sure a building could function properly before thinking about how it would actually look.
But today, things like climate change, energy efficiency and sustainability are of greater consequence, all of which require innovative solutions integrated into a building’s design.
Thankfully, advanced architectural and construction-based technologies mean that buildings can meet the needs of occupants and adhere to environmental factors. Even some garden sheds and prefabricated garages feature eco-friendly properties. But that doesn’t mean to say aesthetic appeal is no longer important…
The following 4 buildings not only look incredible, they also seamlessly blend in with their surroundings and bring people together.
Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre
Designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, Harpa comprises a crystalline shell clad with geometric shaped glass in different colours. The result is a truly mesmerising sight, which has breathed new life into Reykjavík’s once-sleepy harbour.
Harpa is just as captivating at night, when exterior LED strips activate to shimmer against the Icelandic capital’s seemingly endless sky. In 2013, the building won the European Union’s Mies van der Rohe award for contemporary architecture.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The tallest building in the world is also one of the most breathtaking. The Burj Khalifa was built as the centrepiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development to help the UAE diversify from its oil-based economy.
However, it still manages to play homage to the country’s history, as the design is derived from Islamic architecture. It’s Y-shaped tripartite floor geometry also optimises residential and hotel space on the inside. Commenting on Burj Khalifa, Gordon Gill of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture once said: “We are talking about a building here that has changed the landscape of what is possible in architecture.”
Gardens by the Bay
Since opening in 2018, Gardens by the Bay has attracted over 50 million visitors, and it’s easy to see why. These stunning parabolic conservatories play host to beautiful botanical gardens in an attempt by Singapore to enhance greenery and flora in the city.
Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the structures replicate diverse climates to allow for flower meadows and misty mountain forests. Gardens by the Bay was named the 2012 building of the year by the World Architecture Festival.
In addition to hosting the Olympic Games, London grabbed the world’s attention in 2012 with the inauguration of the Shard – the tallest building in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, inspiration came from traditional church steeples and the modern railway lines nearby. The Shard consists of eight angled glass façades that not only reflect images of the surrounding city but also provide crystal-clear glimpses inside. Its home to offices, apartments, restaurants, a hotel and an observation platform.