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Nine modern buildings you need to see


Category: Architecture, building and construction

25 June 2018

Around the world in nine buildings: here are the modern architectural masterpieces we think you need to see.

Chapel of St Albert the Great / Simpson & Brown Edinburgh

Let’s kick off with this hidden gem. Built as a much-needed replacement to an old chapel, and the result is stunning. Four tree-like Corten Steel columns hold up a canopy of curved oak slats, which let the sunlight drift down to create a light and airy space underneath. Well worth a look.

Saint Benedict Chapel / Peter Zumthor Switzerland

Built after an avalanche swept the previous chapel down a mountain. Turns out that was for the best, as Peter Zumthor’s re-design boasts clear mountain views and an unconventional but pleasing shape. Oh, and protection from those pesky avalanches.

Royal National Theatre / Denys Lasdu London

Open public spaces. Large, flat surfaces. And in the eyes of Prince Charles, all the vibes of a nuclear power station. But love it or hate it, this is one of the most recognisable examples of Brutalist architecture in Britain. You can’t miss it.

Marina City / Bertrand Goldberg Chicago

These twin curiosities remain one of the world’s most densely inhabited developments. Each tower offers 450 living spaces and amenities, including a concert hall, bowling alley, and four restaurants. Who knew living inside a giant corn cob could be so glamorous.

Habitat 67 / Safdie Architects Montreal

Designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie as a way of creating fancy housing in built-up urban areas. Made up of 354 identical concrete 'boxes' and arranged in a way that leaves each one open to a rooftop garden and plenty of fresh air. Nice.

Säynätsalo Town Hall/Alvar Aalto Finland

This modern structure serves as town hall to a tiny farming town in Finland. The architect, Alvar Aalto, reportedly built the council chamber 17 meters high just to one-up the 16-meter high town hall in Siena. Take that.

WISE - The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education / David Lea and Pat Borer Wales

The WISE building really sets out to prove a point. Not only does it serve as a hub of research and training for renewable technologies, but with its solar panels, tight double glazing and hemp-based insulation it serves as an example of what can be achieved.

Market Hall in Ghent / Marie-José Van Hee + Robbrecht & Daem

The Market Hall is striking, with its spiky, towering design and open floor space. It complements the existing gothic town hall nearby and was intended to breathe life back into Ghent’s historic heart. It’s definitely done the job.

FRAC Dunkerque / Lacaton & Vassal

The beauty of this structure’s design is in its ability to provide a breath-taking platform for contemporary art exhibitions. It’s immense, multi-levelled, and absolutely full of natural light. If you have an old boat warehouse lying around, there are worse things you could do with it.

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