Best Architecture of All Time – The Critics’ Picks

I found approximately 24 lists of “Best Buildings” or “Best Architecture” on the Internet and in books and combined them into one meta-list. The results are below: every building, structure, or combination of buildings that made it onto four or more of those original lists. The numbers in bold represent how many lists the item was on. I have organized the list by rank: the building that was on the most lists is first, and so on. I have included images of all the architecture – in most cases you can click on the image to enlarge it.

For a larger architecture list organized chronologically, go here.

On 20 Best Architecture Lists

Hagia Sophia
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Architect(s): Isidore of Miletus & Anthemius of Tralles; Tirdat
Dates: 532-537, rebuilt by Tirdat 989-994, numerous subsequent restorations
Style(s): Byzantine



Two exterior views and one interior view of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), which began as a Christian church, became a Muslim holy place and is now a Turkish museum. The minarets were added after the Muslims conquered Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1452.

On 19 Lists

Taj Mahal
Location: Agra, India
Architect(s): Ustad Ahmad Lahauri (?)
Dates: 1630-1653
Style(s): Islamic Mughal



Exterior and interior views of the Taj Mahal, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the structure as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

On 16 Lists

Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)
Location: Rome, Italy
Architect(s):  Unknown
Dates: 70-80, numerous restorations 217-508
Style(s): Classical Roman

colosseum
rome colosseum 2
Three views of the Colosseum: (1) aerial view; (2) street-level view showing outer and inner walls; (3) interior showing basement and partial reconstruction of performing surface.

Sydney Opera House
Location: Sydney, Australia
Architect(s): Jørn Utzon
Dates: 1959-1973
Style(s): Late 20th Century Structuralist; Expressionist


Two exterior views and one interior view of the Sydney Opera House which, despite its name, is home to performing arts of all kinds, in multiple performance spaces.

14 Lists

Chrysler Building
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): William Van Alen
Dates: 1928-1930
Style(s): Art Deco
  
Photos of the Art Deco Chrysler Building by David Shankbone (left) and Carol Highsmith (right).

Empire State Building
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): William F. Lamb/Shreve, Lamb & Harmon
Dates: 1930-1931
Style(s): Art Deco
 
The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 until 1970, when it was unseated by the World Trade Center, also on the island of Manhattan. Second photo by Peter Morgan/AP.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Location: Bilbao, Spain
Architect(s): Frank Gehry
Dates: 1993-1997
Style(s): Deconstructivism



Interior and exterior views of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

13 Lists

Sagrada Familia (Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família)
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Architect(s): Antoni Gaudí
Dates: 1882 and continuing
Style(s): Modernism



Exterior and interior views of the unfinished Sagrada Familia church, which is due to be completed in 2026. The cranes were digitally removed from the first photo. Sagrada Familia is one of seven Antoni Gaudí buildings in and around Barcelona designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

12 Lists

Great Pyramids at Giza
Location: Giza, Egypt
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: Khufu: 2650 BCE; Khafre: 2558-2532 BCE; Menkaure: 2450 BCE
Style(s): Ancient Egyptian


Of the Seven Wonder of the World of ancient times, the Great Pyramids at Giza, Egypt are the only wonders remaining. The Great Pyramids are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 1979. First photo: the pyramids of Khafre (Chrephren), Khufu, and Menkaure. Second photo:  The Great Pyramid of Khufu.

Angkor Wat
Location: Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: c. 1113-1150
Style(s): Classical Khmer; Angkor Wat



Angkor Wat was originally built as a temple to the Hindu god Vishnu, but beginning in the late 13th Century, it was used as a Buddhist temple instead. The temple complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

St. Peter’s Basilica
Location: Vatican City, Italy
Architect(s): Donato Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, Gianlorenzo Bernini
Dates: 1506-1626
Style(s): Renaissance; Baroque




St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.  According to Roman Catholic tradition, the church is built on the site of the burial place of St. Peter, one of the Apostles of Jesus and the first Bishop of Rome.  Images: (1) main façade, with Bernini’s Piazza and Colonnade; (2) view of Carlo Maderno’s façade; (3) the nave; (4) the interior of the dome.

Statue of Liberty
Location: Liberty Island, NY, US
Architect(s)/Sculptor: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (statue); Richard Morris Hunt (base); Gustave Eiffel & Maurice Koechlin (interior)
Dates: 1884-1886
Style(s): Neoclassical
 


The Statue of Liberty: sculpture, architecture or both?  Either way, the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Images: (1) Bartholdi’s statue with Hunt’s base; (2) statue; (3) detail of statue; (4) Eiffel’s steel interior structure.

Fallingwater (Kaufmann Residence)
Location: Bear Run, PA, US
Architect(s): Frank Lloyd Wright
Dates: 1936-1939
Style(s): Prairie School; Modernism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence, Fallingwater.

11 Lists

Parthenon
Location: Athens, Greece
Architect(s): Ictinus & Callicrates; Phidias (sculptures)
Dates: 477-432 BCE
Style(s): Classical Greek


The Parthenon sits atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The entire Acropolis was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Images: (1) exterior; (2) interior; (3) full-scale reconstruction of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.

Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster)
Location
: London, England, UK
Architect(s)
: Charles Barry & Augustus Pugin
Dates
: 1836-1870
Style(s)
: Neo-Gothic; Perpendicular Gothic



Two exterior views of the neo-gothic Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) in London, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and an interior view showing the Royal Gallery. 

Eiffel Tower
Location: Paris, France
Architect(s): Gustave Eiffel; Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier; Stephen Sauvestre
Dates: 1887-1889
Style(s): Victorian Structural Expressionism

The Eiffel Tower is a Paris icon.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): Frank Lloyd Wright
Dates: 1956-1959
Style(s): Modernism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In the 1950s, twenty-five artists signed a petition saying the Guggenheim was architecturally inappropriate for showing their artwork.

Petronas Towers
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Architect(s): César Pelli
Dates: 1993-1999
Style(s): Modernism


Two exterior views and one interior view of the PETRONAS Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur, which were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998-2003.

10 Lists

Great Wall of China
Location: northern China
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 7th Century – 3rd Century BCE; 14th Century-15th Century
Style(s): Ming Dynasty (most visible portions)



Three views of the Great Wall, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The earliest versions of the Great Wall are now mostly in ruins; the intact portions are from the Ming Dynasty reconstruction (14th-15th Centuries CE).  

Pantheon
Location: Rome, Italy
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 118-126
Style(s): Classical Roman



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Pantheon in Rome. Originally built as a temple for Roman gods, the Pantheon survived demolition because it was converted to a Christian church.

Leaning Tower of Pisa (Campanile, Pisa Cathedral)
Location: Pisa, Italy
Architect(s): Bonnano Pisano (?); Diotisalvi (?)
Dates: 1173-1372
Style(s): Romanesque



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is the campanile, or bell tower, for the Pisa Cathedral.  The Pisa Cathedral complex, including the campanile, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Location: London, England, UK
Architect(s): Sir Christopher Wren
Dates: 1675-1720
Style(s): English Baroque



Two exterior views and one interior view of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was the target of German bombers during World War II.  The cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of London. 

Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai; Dubai Tower)
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Architect(s): Adrian Smith/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Dates: 2004-2010
Style(s): (Neo-) Islamic


The city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which stands 2,722 ft tall (including antenna) with 163 floors.  The second photo shows the main entrance with Mr. Burj, who greets children visiting the building (and later revisits them in their nightmares).

9 Lists

Florence Cathedral “The Duomo” (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)
Location: Florence, Italy
Architect(s): Arnolfo di Cambio; Giotto (campanile); Andrea Pisano; Filippo Brunelleschi (dome); Emilio de Fabris (neo-gothic façade)
Dates: 1296-1436; 1876-1887 (neo-gothic façade)
Style(s): Gothic; Renaissance; Neo-Gothic



Two exterior and one interior view of the Florence Cathedral, or Duomo. The famous dome by Brunelleschi dominates the city skyline.

The Louvre (Musée de Louvre)
Location: Paris, France
Architect(s): Pierre Lescot & J.A. du Cerceau, Visconti & Jector Lefuel; I.M. Pei (pyramid)
Dates: late 12th Century; 1546; 1876; 1988
Style(s): Frence Renaissance; Second Empire Baroque Revival; Post-Modern Egyptian Revival



First royal palace, then museum, the Louvre holds many masterpieces. First image: the Louvre Palace with I.M. Pei’s 1988 pyramid; (2) Claude Perrault’s façade with colonnade, from 1667; (3) an interior view.

Villa Savoye
Location: Poissy, France
Architect(s): Le Corbusier & Pierre Jeanneret
Dates: 1928-1931
Style(s): Modernism; International



Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye is a dramatic reenvisioning of residential architecture. It is one of 17 Le Corbusier-designed buildings that were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2016. Images: (1) exterior view; (2) the courtyard; (3) interior view.

Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs)
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Architect(s): Tom Wright/Atkins
Dates: 1994-1999
Style(s): Modernism




Burj al-Arab is a hotel shaped like a sail, built on its own man-made island.

8 Lists

Chartres Cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres) 
Location: Chartres, France
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1194-1260, renovations in 15th Century (Vendôme Chapel), 16th Century (north spire; choir screen), 18th Century, and 19th Century (roof)
Style(s): French High Gothic



Two exterior views and one interior view of Chartres Cathedral, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The Forbidden City
Location: Beijing, China
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1406-1420
Style(s): Chinese Palatial; Ming Dynasty

The Forbidden City in Beijing consists of a complex of palaces, temples and other 15th Century buildings. In 1987, UNESCO designated the Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing as a World Heritage Site.  Images: (1) aerial overview; (2) Hall of Supreme Harmony; (3) watch tower. 

Machu Picchu
Location
: Cusco Region, Peru
Architect(s)
: Unknown
Dates
: c. 1450
Style(s)
: Incan


The ruins of Machu Picchu lie nestled in the high Peruvian Andes.  Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Potala Palace
Location: Lhasa, Tibet, China
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1642-1650
Style(s): Tibetan Buddhist



Exterior and interior views Tibet’s 17th Century Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama. The Potala Palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Buckingham Palace
Location: Westminster, London, England, UK
Architect(s): John Nash; Edmund Blore; Sir Aston Webb
Dates: 1705; 1762-1837; 1847-1850; 1913
Style(s): Neoclassical



Two exterior views and one interior view of Buckingham Palace in London. What began as a small house for members of the royal family evolved into a palace with 775 rooms and 828,821 square feet of living space. Interior photo by Derry Moore.

The White House
Location: Washington, D.C., US
Architect(s): James Hoban; Benjamin Latrobe
Dates: 1792-1801; 1814-1817 (reconstruction after burning); 1824-1829 (porticos)
Style(s): Neoclassical; Palladian



Every American president has lived in the White House except the first, George Washington. Images: (1) the northern façade; (2) the southern façade; (3) the oval office.

United States Capitol
Location: Washington, D.C., US
Architect(s): William Thornton; Benjamin Latrobe; Charles Bulfinch; Thomas Walter & August Schoenborn (dome and House and Senate wings)
Dates: 1793-1811; 1814-1826 (restoration after 1814 burning); 1851-1865
Style(s): Neoclassical



The Capitol is the home of the United States Congress. Images show exterior, close-up of the dome and interior of the dome.

7 Lists

Notre Dame Cathedral (Notre Dame de Paris)
Location: Paris, France
Architect(s): Bishop Maurice de Sully (attrib.)
Dates: 1163-1345
Style(s): French Gothic




Three exterior views and one interior view of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  The Gothic cathedral is famous for its flying buttresses, external structures that support the massive weight of the walls (see third image above). The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

St. Basil’s Cathedral (Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat; Pokrovsky Cathedral)
Location
: Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Architect(s)
: Barma & Postnik Yakolev (attrib.)
Dates
: 1554-1561
Style(s)
: Russian; Asian; Byzantine



Exterior and interior views of St. Basil’s Cathedral, in Red Square, Moscow. The onion domes of St. Basil’s appear to have no precedent in architecture (see detail in second image). Red Square and the buildings facing it (including St. Basil’s Cathedral) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles)
Location: Versailles, France
Architect(s): Louis Le Vau; Jules Hardouin-Mansart; Robert de Cotte
Dates: 1664-1668; 1669-1672; 1678-1684; 1699-1710; 1722; 1738-1741
Style(s): French Baroque




The Palace of Versailles was home to French kings and queens for over a century. The palace and grounds were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Images: (1) a view of the exterior and the Parterre d’Eau terrace, with Jean-Baptiste’s 1687 bronze statue of the personified Rhône River; (2) aerial view of the palace; (3) the Hall of Mirrors; (4) the Orangerie (photo by Rachel Kaplan). Versailles was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Monticello
Location: near Charlottesville, VA, US
Architect(s): Thomas Jefferson
Dates: 1768-1782
Style(s): Neoclassical




Polymath and slave owner Thomas Jefferson designed Monticello, his Virginia estate. Monticello was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Images: (1) exterior; (2) aerial view; (3) grand formal staircase.

Seagram Building
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Philip Johnson
Dates: 1954-1958
Style(s): International Style II



Love ’em or hate ’em, skyscrapers of the late 20th Century were much indebted to the Seagrams Building. Images: (1) view looking up from street level; (2) view of the main entrance and fountain; (3) interior view – first floor.

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Architect(s): Bruce Graham/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Dates: 1973-1976
Style(s): International



The Willis Tower in Chicago, formerly the Sears Tower, was for a time the tallest building in the world. Images: (1) the entire structure; (2) the first floor entrance.

CN Tower
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Architect(s): John Andrews/WZMH Architects
Dates: 1973-1976
Style(s): Modernism; Futurism


At 1815.3 feet tall, the CN Tower in Toronto is the tallest building in Canada and was the world’s tallest free-standing structure and tower from 1976 to 2010. The American Society of Civil Engineers named it one of the seven modern Wonders of the World in 1995. Images: (1) the tower; (2) close-up showing the SkyPod (formerly the Space Deck), which contains observation sites, restaurants and communications equipment.

Beijing National Stadium “Bird’s Nest”
Location: Beijing, China
Architect(s): Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron; Stefan Marbach, Ai Weiwei
Dates: 2003-2008
Style(s): Deconstructivism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Bird’s Nest (Beijing National Stadium), which was the home for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

6 Lists

Petra
Location: Ma’an Governorate, Jordan
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 200 BCE – 300 CE
Style(s): Classical Greek/Hellenistic; Classical Roman


The Treasury building (Al Khazneh) (first image) and Monastery building (second image) in Petra, a city that thrived during Greek and Roman times. Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Selimiye Mosque
Location: Edirne, Turkey
Architect(s): Minar Sinan
Dates: 1568-1574
Style(s): Islamic; Ottoman; Turkish




Selimiye Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.  Images: (1) exterior; (2) exterior, close-up; (3) interior; (4) interior of dome.

Himeji Castle
Location: Himeji, Japan
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1333; 1346; 1581; 1601-1609; 1617-1618
Style(s): Japanese Castle Architecture



Two exterior views and one interior view of Himeji Castle, also known as the White Egret or White Heron Castle. Although the first Himeji Castle was built in the 14th Century, most of the visible portions of the castle date to a major rebuilding project in the early 17th Century. The castle complex consists of 83 buildings. Himeji Castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Brooklyn Bridge
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): John Augustus Roebling
Dates: 1869-1883
Style(s): Neo-Gothic


The Brooklyn Bridge was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever built. Dozens of workers died while building the bridge across the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, 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.

Tower Bridge
Location: London, England, UK
Architect(s): Horace Jones
Dates: 1886-1894
Style(s): Victorian Gothic


Two views of the Tower Bridge, a late 19th Century bascule and suspension bridge that is one of several bridges spanning the River Thames in London.

Flatiron Building
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): Daniel Burnham
Dates: 1902-1903
Style(s): Renaissance Revival; Beaux-Arts

Two views of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan.  At 20 stories high, the building was an early skyscraper. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Casa Milà (La Pedrera)
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Architect(s): Antoni Gaudi
Dates: 1905-1912
Style(s): Modernisme; Art Nouveau



Exterior and interior views of Antoni Gaudì’s Casa Milà (nicknamed ‘La Pedrera’ or ‘The Quarry’) in Barcelona. After suffering some deterioration in the 1960s-1980s, it received landmark status and the accompanying protections, which have led to restoration and preservation. Casa Milàis one of several Gaudi buildings designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Barcelona Pavilion (German Pavilion, 1929 International Exposition)
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Architect(s): Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Dates: 1928-1929, demolished 1930; rebuilt 1986
Style(s): Modernism


Exterior and interior views of the Barcelona Pavilion. Originally meant to be a temporary structure for the German site at an international expo in 1929, the Barcelona Pavilion was nevertheless rebuilt in 1986.

Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC Main Building)
Location: Hong Kong, China
Architect(s): Norman Foster/Foster & Partners
Dates: 1983-1985
Style(s): Structural Expressionism



Exterior and interior views of the HSBC Main Building, which has little or no internal supporting structure. Also, much of the interior light is provided by sunlight through a system of mirrors.

30 St Mary Axe “The Gherkin” (formerly Swiss Re Building)
Location: London, England, UK
Architect(s): Norman Foster/Foster & Partners
Dates: 2001-2004
Style(s): High Tech Modernism



The shape of Norman Foster’s London skyscraper has led to the nickname, “The Gherkin.” The third image shows the rooftop bar.

Lloyd’s Building
Location: London, England, UK
Architect(s): Richard Rogers
Dates: 1978-1986
Style(s): High Tech; Bowellism


Exterior and interior views of the Lloyd’s Building. Photo of main entrance by Steve Cadman.

Taipei 101 (formerly Taipei World Financial Center)
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Architect(s): C.Y. Lee & Partners
Dates: 2003-2004
Style(s): Postmodernism; Pagoda



Exterior and interior views of Taipei 101, the design of which incorporates some architectural details of the traditional Chinese pagoda.

5 Lists

Stonehenge
Location: Salisbury Plain, England, UK
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 2750-1500 BCE
Style(s): Prehistoric Britian



The megaliths of Stonehenge were part of a large complex of man-made structures that were presumably used for ritualistic purposes. Stonehenge was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Great Sphinx of Giza
Location: Giza, Egypt
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 2558-2532 BCE
Style(s): Ancient Egyptian


While stationed in Egypt, Napoleon’s troops used the face of the Great Sphinx of Giza for target practice. The Sphinx and nearby pyramids were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

Dome of the Rock
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 685-691
Style(s): Islamic; Umayyad



Exterior and interior views of the Dome of the Rock, which is built on the spot where it is believed that Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac, and where the prophet Mohammed ascended into heaven with the angel Gabriel.

Tikal
Location: Guatemala
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 400 BCE – 900 CE
Style(s): Early to Late Classic Mayan



Three views of the ruins of the city of Tikal in what is now Guatemala, not far from the border with Belize. Tikal was a major urban center for a thriving Mayan civilization in Central America between 200 and 900 CE, although some ruins on the site date as far back as 400 BCE. Tikal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The third image shows Temple I (photo by Raymond Osterlag).

Great Mosque of Córdoba (Mezquita; Cathedral of Córdoba)
Location: Córdoba, Spain
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 784-987
Style(s): Moorish; Renaissance



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Great Mosque of Córdoba, or Mezquita. Built during the Muslim conquest of Spain as an Islamic mosque, it has been a Roman Catholic cathedral since the Middle Ages. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Westminster Abbey (Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster)
Location: Westminster, London, England, UK
Architect(s): Henry Yevele; Nicholas Hawksmoor
Dates: 1042-1090; 1245-1517; 1722-1745 (west towers)
Style(s): Gothic; Gothic Revival



Exterior and interior views of Westminster Abbey, final resting place of most British kings and queens until the mid-18th Century. Also buried there are politicians, writers, musicians and scientists, including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Blake, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, Samuel Johnson, John Keats, Rudyard Kipling, Laurence Olivier, Alexander Pope, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Shakespeare, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Wordsworth, Henry Purcell, Isaac Newton, and Charles Darwin.

Tower of London (Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London)
Location: London, England, UK
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1078 (White Tower); 1190s (Inner Ward); 1285 (rebuilt); 1377-1399 (wharf expansion)
Style(s): Norman; Medieval; Romanesque
 

The Tower of London is a complex of buildings with the White Tower at its center, two rings of walls and a moat. Among the involuntary guests in the Tower of London’s prison: William Wallace, King Richard II, Sir Thomas More, Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell, Catherine Howard, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes, William Penn, Samuel Pepys, and Rudolph Hess. Most but not all were executed. The Tower of London was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. Images: (1) the White Tower; (2) aerial view of the complex; (3) the Chapel of St. John, inside the White Tower.

St. Mark’s Basilica (Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of St. Mark)
Location: Venice, Italy
Architect(s): Domenico I. Contarini
Dates: 978-1094, early 18th Century
Style(s): Byzantine; Gothic



First image: The facade of St. Mark’s Basilica, with St. Mark’s Plaza in the foreground. Second image: Aerial view of Basilica and Plaza. Third image: The interior.

Cologne Cathedral
Location: Cologne, Germany
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1248-1473; 1842-1880, 1945-1956 (restoration after WWII bombing)
Style(s): Gothic
 

Two exterior views and one interior view of Cologne Cathedral, which was left incomplete in the 15th Century and only finished in 1880. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

The Kremlin (Moscow Kremlin) (includes five palaces, four cathedrals, walls & towers)
Location: Moscow, Russia
Architect(s): Aristotle Fioravanti; Antonio Solario; Marco Ruffo; Matvey Kazakov; Osip Bove (restoration); Konstantin Thon (Grand Kremlin Palace)
Dates: 1329-1333; 1366-1368; 1462; 1476; 1485-1495; 1505-1508; 1596-1676; 1776 (Senate); 1816-1819 (post-Napoleon restoration); 1839-1849 (Grand Kremlin Palace)
Style(s): Russian; Classical; Neo-Gothic



Two exterior views of the Moscow Kremlin and an interior view of the Grand Kremlin Palace (Andreyevsky Hall). The Kremlin and Red Square were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

Neuschwanstein Castle
Location: Schwangau, Germany
Architect(s): Eduard Reidel
Dates: 1869-1882
Style(s): Romanesque Revival



Two exterior views and one interior view of Neuschwanstein Castle, which was designed as a retreat for Bavarian King Ludwig II. He didn’t want to spend public funds on the project, so he used his own money.

Bauhaus Dessau
Location: Dessau, Germany
Architect(s): Walter Gropius
Dates: 1919-1926
Style(s): Bauhaus; New Objectivity

Exterior and interior views of the Bauhaus School in Dessau, Germany, which was designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. The buildings and grounds were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Golden Gate Bridge
Location: San Francisco, CA, US
Architect(s): Joseph B. Strauss, Irving Morrow & Charles Ellis
Dates: 1933-1937
Style(s): Structural Modernism; Art Deco


The Golden Gate refers to the strait between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It was named by explorer John C. Fremont in 1846 in honor of Byzantium harbor, which was called the Golden Horn.

Glass House (Johnson House)
Location: New Canaan, CT
Architect(s): Philip Johnson
Dates: 1949
Style(s): Modernism


Philip Johnson’s revolutionary statement, the Glass House. The interior image shows The Burial of Phocion, by Nicolas Poussin, which is part of the Philip Johnson Glass House collection.

Farnsworth House
Location: Plano, IL, US
Architect(s): Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Dates: 1946-1951
Style(s): Modernism; International



Two exterior views and one interior of view of the Farnsworth House. Now a museum, it was originally built as a weekend retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, who met architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at a 1945 dinner party.

Notre Dame du Haut
Location: Ronchamp, France
Architect(s): Le Corbusier
Dates: 1953-1955
Style(s): Modernism; Postmodernism

Exterior and interior views of Notre Dame du Haut. Le Corbusier’s building replaced a 4th Century CE pilgrimage church that was destroyed in World War II. Notre Dame du Haut is one of 17 Le Corbusier buildings designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.

Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery)
Location: Kulturforum, Berlin, Germany
Architect(s): Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Dates: 1962-1968
Style(s): Modernism; International


Two exterior views of the Neue Nationalgalerie, a Berlin art museum.

World Trade Center
Location: New York, NY, US
Architect(s): Minoru Yamasaki
Dates: 1966-1977, destroyed in terrorist attack 9/11/01
Style(s): International Style II


Exterior and interior (mezzanine level) views of the World Trade Center.

Seattle Central Library
Location: Seattle, Washington, US
Architect(s): Rem Koolhaas & Joshua Prince-Ramus, OMA/LMN
Dates: 2004
Style(s): Deconstructivism



Two exterior views and one interior view of Seattle Central Library, which contains 362,987 square feet of space for books, computers and other materials.

4 Lists

Precinct of Amun-Re (Temple of Amun)
Location: Karnak Temple Complex, near Luxor, Egypt
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: c. 2000-30 BCE
Style(s): Ancient Egyptian



Three views of the Precinct of Amun-Re in the Karnak Temple Complex: (1) entrance with statues; (2) entrance with rows of sphinxes; (3) the Great Hypostyle Hall.

Solomon’s Temple (First Temple)
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: c. 1000-950 BCE
Style(s): Israelite
(Note: There is no archaeological evidence of this structure.)

Two artists’ imaginings of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th or 5th Century BCE.

Teotihuacan
Location: near Mexico City, Mexico
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 100 BCE – 250 CE
Style(s): Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican; Late Preclassic to Late Classic



Three views of the ruins of of Teotihuacan, which may have been a center for many Mesoamerican cultures. The third image shows the Pyramid of the Sun. Teotihuacan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

Horyu-ji Temple (Hōryū-ji; Temple of the Flourishing Law)
Location: Ikaruga, Nara, Japan
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 607; 711; early 12th Century; 1374; 1603; substantially reconstructed
Style(s): Asuka Period; Nara Period



Three views of the Horyuj-ji Buddhist temple: (1) the Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda; (2) aerial view of the temple complex; (3) corridor. The pagoda may be the oldest wooden structure in the world. The temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Aachen Cathedral (including Palatine Chapel) (Imperial Cathedral)
Location: Aachen, Germany
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 792-814; 983; 14-15th centuries; 1881
Style(s): Carolingian-Romanesque; Gothic



Aachen Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe. Between 936 and 1531 CE, the cathedral was the site of the coronations of 31 kings and 12 queens. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.  Images: (1) exterior; (2) cloister; (3) Palatine Chapel.

Taos Pueblo
Location: near Taos, NM, US
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1000-1450
Style(s): Southwestern Vernacular



Three views of the Taos Pueblo, in New Mexico, which may be the longest continuously-inhabited community in the United States. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

Khajuraho Temples (including Kandariya Temple)
Location: Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 950-1150
Style(s): Nagara


A view of the Khajuraho temple complex (first image) and a view of Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, one of the temples in the complex (second image).  The temples were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Durham Cathedral (Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin; St. Cuthbert of Durham)
Location: Durham, England
Architect(s): George Nicholson & James Wyatt (18th Century); George Scott (19th Century)
Dates: 1093-1280; 15th Century; 18th Century; 19th Century
Style(s): Norman



Two exterior views and one interior view of Durham Cathedral.  The cathedral was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

Krak des Chevaliers (Crac des Chevaliers)
Location: near Homs, Syria
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1140-1170; early 13th Century
Style(s): Medieval



Krak des Chevaliers was built as a stronghold for Western European Crusaders in what is now Syria. Krac des Chevaliers was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006, along with the ruins of the Qal’at Salah El-Din (Fortress of Saladin), also in Syria. Images: (1) exterior; (2) aerial view; (3) interior, showing Hall of the Knights.

The Alhambra (including Palace of Charles V)
Location: Granada, Spain
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: 1338-1391, 1527 (Palace of Charles V)
Style(s): Islamic; Moorish; Renascentist; Mannerist



Three views of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain: (1) partial overview of the site, showing the Palace of Charles V at right; (2) the Palacio del Pórtico; (3) the Courtyard of the Lions. The complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Villa Rotonda (La Rotonda; Villa Almerico Capra)
Location: near Vicenza, Italy
Architect(s): Andrea Palladio
Dates: 1567-1571
Style(s): Renaissance; Palladian



Exterior and interior views of Palladio’s “La Rotonda”, which received its nickname from the central circular domed hall. It was built for a retired priest, Paolo Alemerico.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque “Blue Mosque”
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Architect(s): Sedefkâr Mehmed Ağa
Dates: 1609-1616
Style(s): Islamic; Late Classical Ottoman



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. The interior is dominated by the multiple domes above, colored light from the stained glass windows and many thousands of mosaic tiles adorning the walls.  The predominance of blue tiles has given the Istanbul shrine its popular name, “the Blue Mosque.” The mosque is included in the Historic Areas of Istanbul World Heritage Site, which was designated by UNESCO in 1985. 

British Museum
Location: London, England, UK
Architect(s): Sir Robert Smirke; Norman Foster (Great Court renovation)
Dates: 1823-1852; 2000 (renovation of Great Court)
Style(s): Neoclassical




Exterior and interior views of the British Museum, which is home to many archaeological and historical treasures.  The fourth image shows Norman Foster’s renovation of the Great Court.

Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier)
Location: Paris, France
Architect(s): Charles Garnier
Dates: 1861-1875
Style(s): Second Empire; Beaux-Arts



The Palais Garnier was home to the Paris Opera from 1875 to 1989. Images: (1) exterior view; (2) aerial view; (3) the Grand Staircase.

Itsukushima Shrine (Torii of Itsukushima; Gateway of Itsukushima)
Location: Miyajima, Japan
Architect(s): Unknown
Dates: mid-16th Century; 1875 (current gate)
Style(s): Shinden Zukuri; Shinto; Heian



The Itsukushima Shrine is composed of a number of buildings (see second image), but it is best known for its Torii or Gateway (see first image). At high tide, the torii appears to be floating in the sea. The Itsukushima Shrine was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Washington Monument
Location: Washington, D.C., US
Architect: Robert Mills
Dates: 1848-1885
Style(s): Egyptian Revival
   
Robert Mills’ winning proposal for the Washington Monument, which included a statue of George Washington riding a chariot atop a Classical building (see second image), was significantly modified until all that remained was a simple Egyptian obelisk.

Wainwright Building
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, US
Architect(s): Louis H. Sullivan/Adler & Sullivan
Dates: 1890-1891
Style(s): Chicago School; Palazzo; Modernism



The National Register of Historic Places called the Wainwright Building “a highly influential prototype of the modern office building.” Images: (1) exterior; (2) exterior detail; (3) courtyard.

Palace of Assembly
Location: Chandigarh, India
Architect(s): Le Corbusier
Dates: 1953-1963
Style(s): Modernism



The Palace of Assembly (first image) is part of Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex, which also includes the Secretariat and the High Court (second image). The third image shows the Assembly Chamber. All three government buildings are among the 17 Le Corbusier-designed designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2016.

TWA Terminal (TWA Flight Center)
Location: Kennedy Airport, New York, NY, US
Architect(s): Eero Saarinen
Dates: 1956-1962
Style(s): Modernism; Expressionism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the TWA Terminal, or Flight Center, at Kennedy Airport in New York is now occupied by Jet Blue.

Space Needle
Location: Seattle, Washington, US
Architect(s): John Graham & Co.
Dates: 1962
Style(s):
  
Built for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle is now a major Seattle tourist attraction.

Gateway Arch
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, US
Architect(s): Eero Saarinen & Hannskarl Bandel
Dates: 1947 (design); 1963-1965 (construction); 1967 (opening)
Style(s): Structural Expressionism


The Gateway Arch symbolizes St. Louis’s status as gateway to the western frontier for American settlers of mostly European descent in the 19th Century. Images: (1) Gateway Arch seen from across the Mississippi River; (2) the top of the Arch, showing windows; (3) the five-seat tram capsule used to transport visitors to the top of the arch.

National Assembly Building (National Parliament House; Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban)
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Architect(s): Louis I. Kahn
Dates: 1961-1982
Style(s): Modernism; Monumentalism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Bangladeshi Parliament House in Dacca.

Jewish Museum (new wing)
Location: Berlin, Germany
Architect(s): Daniel Liebeskind
Dates: 1998
Style(s):



Two exterior views and one interior view of the new wing of the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Hong Kong International Airport (Chek Lap Kok Airport)
Location: Hong Kong, China
Architect(s): Norman Foster
Dates: 1998
Style(s): Modernism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Hong Kong International Airport designed by Norman Foster.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria)
Location
: Alexandria, Egypt
Architect(s)
: Snøhetta
Dates
: 1989-2002
Style(s)
: Expressionism



Two exterior views and one interior view of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt. It was meant to replace and update the famous Ancient Library of Alexandria, which was destroyed by fire early in the first millennium CE.

Yokohama International Port Terminal
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Architect(s): Foreign Office Architects
Dates: 2002
Style(s):


Two exterior views and one interior view of the Yokohama International Port Terminal, which was built on an articifical island in Yokohama Bay.

3 thoughts on “Best Architecture of All Time – The Critics’ Picks

  1. Pingback: More Lists About Buildings and Food (Actually, Just Buildings) | Make Lists, Not War

  2. Isaac Amini

    I appriciate your works bcoz of high insipiration u give for my architect studies mln careers

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s