Designs for Living: Architects and their Best Work

The purpose of this post is to introduce my newest list – Best Architects of All Time – The Critics’ Picks – but instead of writing a thought-provoking essay, I thought I would provide a sample of some of the most interesting, beautiful, outrageous and, yes, thought-provoking architectural designs ever built.  To provide a variety of architectural styles and periods, I created a few fairly obvious categories (churches, museums, bridges, airports, etc.) and posted photos of five different examples of each category.  Why five?  Not sure, but two wasn’t enough and ten was too many.

Five Castles

Crusading knights renovated a Kurdish fort into Krak des Chevaliers.

Krak des Chevaliers (1170). Architect: Unknown. Location: Near Homs, Syria.

Château de Chambord, in Chambord, France.

Château de Chambord (1547). Architect: Unknown. Location: Chambord, France.

Himeji Castle is a famous Japanese landmark.

Himeji Castle (1581; 1609; 1618). Architect: Unknown. Location: Himeji, Japan.

Palace of Versailles. Architects: Numerous. Location: Versailles, France.

Palace of Versailles (1678; 1684; 1710). Architects: Numerous. Location: Versailles, France.

Neuschwanstein Castle, designed by Irving Reidl, is located in Opferburg, Germany.

Neuschwanstein Castle (1892). Architect: Eduard Reidl. Location: Hohenschwangau, Germany.

Five Single-Family Residences

Palladio's "La Rotunda" was named after the

Villa Capra “La Rotunda” (1566). Architect: Andrea Palladio. Location: Near Vicenza, Italy.

Poplar Forest (1806-1826). Architect: Thomas Jefferson. Location: Near Lynchburg, Virginia.

Poplar Forest (1826). Architect: Thomas Jefferson. Location: Near Lynchburg, Virginia.

Robie House (1909). Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. Location: Chicago, Illinois.

Robie House (1909). Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. Location: Chicago, Illinois.

Villa Savoye is a dramatic revisioning of residential architecture.

Villa Savoye (1931). Architects: Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret. Location: Poissy, France.

Farnsworth House (1951). Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Location: Plano, Illinois.

Farnsworth House (1951). Architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Location: Plano, Illinois.

Five Bridges

Dozens of workers died while building the Brooklyn Bridge, including the architect, John Roebling.  He was inspecting the works from a pier across the Hudson when a boat crashed into the dock, crushing his foot. Despite the amputation of his toes, he died two weeks later of a tetanus infection.

Brooklyn Bridge (1883). Architect: John Augustus Roebling. Location: New York, New York.

Tower Bridge over the Thames in London.

Tower Bridge (1886-1894). Architect: Sir Horace Jones. Location: London, UK.

The Golden Gate refers to

Golden Gate Bridge (1937). Architects: Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow & Charles Ellis. Location: San Francisco, California.

Millau Viaduct in Millau, France.

Millau Viaduct (2004). Architects: Norman Foster and Michel Virlogeux. Location: Millau, France.

Bridge of Strings (2008). Architect: Santiago Calatrava. Location: Jerusalem, Israel.

Bridge of Strings (2008). Architect: Santiago Calatrava. Location: Jerusalem, Israel.

Five Churches (exterior view)

Basilica of San Vitale. Ravenna, Itay.

Basilica of San Vitale (547 CE). Architect: Unknown. Location: Ravenna, Italy.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris (1345). Architect: Bishop Sully (attrib.). Location: Paris, France.

Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy.

Milan Cathedral (1386-1965). Architects: Numerous. Location: Milan, Italy.

Saint-Pierre, by Le Corbusier and José Oubrerie, in Firminy, France.

Saint-Pierre (2006).  Architects Le Corbusier and José Oubrerie. Location: Firminy, France.

Crystal Cathedral (1981). Architect: Philip Johnson. Location: Garden Grove, California.  Style/Period: Postmodernism.

Crystal Cathedral (1981). Architect: Philip Johnson. Location: Garden Grove, California.

Five Churches (interior view)

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe (549 CE). Architect: Unknown. Location: Near Ravenna.

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe (549 CE). Architect: Unknown. Location: Near Ravenna, Italy.

Sainte-chapelle.

Sainte-Chapelle (1248). Architect: Unknown. Location: Paris, France.

Santa Maria presso

Santa Maria presso San Satiro (1482). Architect: Donato Bramante. Location: Milan, Italy.

Church of Sant'andrea al Quirinale.

Church of Sant’andrea al Quirinale (1670). Architect: Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Location: Rome, Italy.

The interior of St. Paulinus Church in ___, Germany was designed by Balthasar Neumann.

St. Paulinus Church (1753). Architect: Balthasar Neumann. Location: Trier, Germany.

Five Museums

Sir Robert Smirke's original design for the British Museum in London.

British Museum (1847). Architect: Sir Robert Smirke. Location: London, UK.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1959). Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright. Location: New York, New York.

The Menil Collection, in Houston, texas, was designed by Renzo Piano.

The Menil Collection (1987). Architect: Renzo Piano. Location: Houston, Texas.

Quadracci Pavilion, Minneapolis Art Museum (2001). Architect: Santiago Calatrava. Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum (2001). Architect: Santiago Calatrava. Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.

Museum of Islamic Art (2008). Architect: I.M. Pei. Location: Doha, Qatar.

Five Skyscrapers

The Wainwright Building, by Louis Sullivan and Denkmar Adler, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Wainwright Building (1890). Architects: Louis Sullivan & Denkmar Adler. Location: St. Louis, Missouri.

Flatiron Building (1902). Architect: Daniel Burnham. Location: New York City, US.

Flatiron Building (1902). Architect: Daniel Burnham. Location: New York, New York.

A Kong-free view of the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building (1931). Architect: Shreve, Lamb and Harmon. Location: New York, New York.

Seagram Building (1958). Architects: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Philip Johnson. Location: New York City, US.

Seagram Building (1958). Architects: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Philip Johnson. Location: New York, New York.

Burj Khalifa. Architect: X. Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Burj Khalifa (2009). Architect: Adrian Smith/SOM. Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Five Theaters

Sheldonian Hall. Christopher Wren. Oxford, UK.

Sheldonian Theatre (1668). Architect: Sir Christopher Wren. Location: Oxford, UK.

Palais des Beaux-Arts. Victor Horta. Brussels, Belgium.

Palais des Beaux-Arts (1928). Architect: Victor Horta. Location: Brussels, Belgium.

House of Culture. Alvar Aalto. Helsinki, Finland.

House of Culture (1958). Architect: Alvar Aalto. Location: Helsinki, Finland.

Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.

Walt Disney Concert Hall (2003). Architect: Frank Gehry. Location: Los Angeles, California.

Casa da Musica. Architect: Rem Koolhaas. Location: Porto, Portugal.

Casa da Musica (2005). Architect: Rem Koolhaas. Location: Porto, Portugal.

Five Government Buildings

United States Capitol. Architects: . Location: Washington, D.C.

United States Capitol (1800). Architects: William Thornton and others. Location: Washington, D.C.

Palace of Westminster. Location: London, UK.

Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) (1870). Architects: Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin. Location: London, UK.

The National Congress of Brazil, in the capital city of Brasilia, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

National Congress of Brazil (1961). Architect: Oscar Niemeyer. Location: Brasilia, Brazil.

The National Assembly building in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

National Assembly Building (1982). Architect: Le Corbusier. Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Kuwait National Assembly Building.  Jørn Utzon

Kuwait National Assembly Building (1982). Architects: Jørn Utzon & Jan Utzon. Location: Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Five Multi-Family Dwellings

Casa Milà (La Pedrera) (1910).  Architect: Antoni Gaudí. Location: Barcelona, Spain.

Casa Milà (La Pedrera) (1910). Architect: Antoni Gaudí. Location: Barcelona, Spain.

Unité d'habitation (1952). Architect: Le Corbusier. Location: Marseilles. France.

Unité d’habitation (1952). Architect: Le Corbusier. Location: Marseilles. France.

Nemausus Housing (1987). Architect: Jean Nouvel. Location: Nimes, France.

Nemausus Housing (1987). Architect: Jean Nouvel. Location: Nimes, France.

Nexus World Housing (1991). Architect: Rem Koolhaas. Location: Fukuoka, Japan.

Nexus World Housing (1991). Architect: Rem Koolhaas. Location: Fukuoka, Japan.

Architect: Santiago Calatrava, Zurich (Switzerland) Project: Turning Torso, office + apartment building, Malmoe (Sweden) Malmö

Turning Torso (2005). Architect: Santiago Calatrava. Location: Malmö, Sweden.

Five Airports

TWA Terminal, John F. Kennedy Airport. Architect: Eero Saarinen. Location: New York City, US.

TWA Terminal,  John F. Kennedy Airport (1962). Architect: Eero Saarinen. Location: New York, New York.

Hajj Terminal.

Hajj Terminal, King Abdulaziz International Airport (1981). Architect: Fazlur Rahman Khan/SOM. Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Terminal 1, Los Angeles International Airport. Architect: Norma Merrick Sklarek. Location: Los Angeles, California.

Terminal 1, Los Angeles International Airport (1982). Architect: Norma Merrick Sklarek. Location: Los Angeles, California.

Kansai International Airport.

Kansai International Airport (1994). Architect: Renzo Piano. Location: Osaka Bay, Japan.

Chek lap kok airport.

Hong Kong International Airport (1998). Architect: Norman Foster. Location: Chek Lap Kok Island, China.

To see my new list of the Best Architects of All Time, click here.

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