Table of Contents

50 Iconic Modern Buildings

The design of buildings, office blocks, homes, and museums cannot always be revolutionary as they often follow widely accepted standards necessary to accommodate humanity. However, a building that defies logic pops up in the construction space every once in a while. In an almost universal manner, such structures shift architectural practices to a new direction. These modern buildings draw inspiration from facilities in the past and attempt to better cultural and engineering progress. We believe that the 50 buildings discussed in this article achieve this feat.

How do modern buildings differ from traditional construction? 

Modern and traditional buildings can coexist in construction, but many differences come to play when dealing with these types of construction. Below are some of the differences between modern facilities and traditional buildings.

  • Modern buildings use a greater variety of materials used in construction compared to traditional buildings.
  • Modern buildings have better functionality and designs compared to traditional buildings. Their designs are minimalistic but have impeccable facades.
  • Sculptures and paintings are also an integral part of modern buildings.
  • The main advantages traditional buildings have over modern facilities are the availability and cost of materials and labor.
  • Traditional buildings have an excellent way of stenciling a people's culture and history in memory, and therefore some modern buildings are built using conventional methods.

Modern buildings are an excellent way of conserving the ecosystem and environment. Due to the unique features introduced in modern buildings, it has made their demand skyrocket. Therefore, it is evident that the modern architect has a more prominent role than the traditional architect.

1. Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building globally and tallest in Asia. It reaches a height of 632 meters and is in China's business district; it also has some of the world's fastest elevators and is one of the few tall buildings to achieve a LEED platinum status as a green building.

2. The Oculus 

The Oculus is the centerpiece of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in Manhattan. It was designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The structure resembles a dove taking off in flight. The elliptical dome is made from structural steel.

3. Louvre Abu Dhabi 

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art museum located on an archipelago on the coasts of Abu Dhabi. It is 24,000 square meters with 8000 square meters of the gallery. It was from an agreement between France and the UAE and is France's biggest cultural project.

4. The Guggenheim museum 

The Guggenheim Museum is in Bilbao, Spain. It was designed by the culturally oriented art architect Frank Gehry, and it was open for public use in 1997. The museum is along the Nervion River. It has over 250 works of art and attracts close to 500,000 visitors annually.

5. Crystal Palace 

The Crystal Palace was a massive glass structure initially built to house the great exhibition of 1851. The facility was demolished and rebuilt between 1852 and 1854, and it remained on that site till 1836. Sir Joseph Paxton designed this remarkable structure, and it had an intricate network of iron rods and glass.

6. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

La Sagrada Familia is a large basilica in Barcelona, Spain. The building is famous for its unfinished state. Construction began under the guidance of architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. Construction started in 1882, and since it solely relied on private donations, the progress was plodding. It is due for completion by 2026.

7. Home insurance building, Chicago

The Home insurance building was the first skyscraper, and it stood in Chicago between 1885 and 1931. The building was 54.9 meters tall and was supported inside and outside using structural steel. The building initially had ten stories, and the owners later added two stories. It was eventually demolished in 1931 to make way for new buildings.

8. Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is the world's most famous monument, attracting close to 7 million tourists per year. For 41 years, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest building globally. It was designed by the renowned artist Gustavo Eiffel for the 1889 World trade fair. Up to date, it is a global cultural icon.

9. Pentagon

The Pentagon is the world's largest office building, and it derives its name from its five-sided nature. It is in Arlington, Virginia, close to Washington DC. It is the headquarters of the Department of Defense in the United States. It was designed by the architect George Bergstrom, and it is a symbol of national unity.

10. Empire state building 

This skyscraper is framed from steel and ascends 102 stories. It was completed in 1931 and remained to be the tallest building till 1971. It was also New York's tallest skyscraper till 2012. It is an excellent example of the distinctive art design and one of the most famous buildings up to our time.

11. Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is in Port, Jackson, Australia. It is probably one of the most photographed buildings in the world. It has a unique roof of gleaming shell structures that resemble white sails. It was completed by the Australian architect Peter Hall, and it was open to the public in 1973.

12. Lotus temple 

The Lotus temple is a house of worship in New Delhi, and the name means God arises at dawn. It was designed by the Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba who bagged many awards even before project completion. The project was consecrated and opened in 1986.

13. Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building standing at 828 meters in height. It is in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and it was initially named to honor Sheikh Khalifa of Abu Dhabi. The skyscraper is a multi-purpose building with commercial, hospitality, and residential ventures.

14. One World Trade Center

The One World Trade Center was formerly known as the Freedom tower and is the main building in the World Trade center tower complex. Its architect is David Childs, and his firm was responsible for the design of the Burj Khalifa and Willis Tower. This building is the tallest in the United States.

15. The Shard, London

Renzo Piano, an Italian architect, designed the Shard, formerly known as the London Bridge Tower. It stands at 309 meters, and it is the tallest building in the United Kingdom. It has outstanding architecture and resembles shards of glass.

16. Sea Lion Park, New York

The Sea Lion park was founded by a famous showman Captain Paul Boyton. He was the one who came up with the idea for admission fees to amusement parks. This caused the boom of many big amusement parks such as Six Flags and Disneyland.

17. Chrysler Building, New York

The Chrysler is a decorated skyscraper in Manhattan, New York, and it stands at 319m and is the tallest brick building globally. The building was constructed by William Chrysler, the head of the Chrysler Corporation. Its modern and iconic style makes it among the significant architectural structures in America.

18. Seagram Building

The Seagram Building is a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan, and the building was designed by Robert Allan Jacobs and a few other people. The building is 38 stories tall and acts as a public plaza. Initially, it was the headquarters of the Canadian distiller, Seagram Company.

19. Central Park Tower, New York

It is also known as the Nordstrom Tower, and it is a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan. It is the tallest residential building globally, rising to a height of 472 meters. Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture designed it.

20. Cathedral of Brasilia

Brasilia's architecture reflects the people's roots with such a rich history and culture. The cathedral of Brasilia is the seat of the Archdiocese of Brasilia. It is a hyperboloid engineering structure. It has 16 columns that weigh 90 tons each. The construction was completed and dedicated in 1970.

21. The Gateway arch

The Gateway Arch is a 190-meter steel structure in the shape of an arch. The monument is the tallest structure in Missouri, and some sources state it is the tallest monument in the Western Hemisphere. It is the centerpiece of the Gateway National Park and attracts thousands of tourists. It was designed by the architect Eero Saarinen in 1947.

22. Bangladesh National Parliament

The Bangladesh National Parliament is one of the most significant legislative complexes globally. It houses all legislative activities of Bangladesh, and it is in the country's capital of Dhaka. It was designed by the architect Louis Khan. Cultural and monumental archetypes inspired the building in Bangladesh.

23. 432 Park Avenue Condos

At 425 meters, 432 park avenue is the second tallest residential building in the world. It was designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects and was ready for occupancy in 2015. The CIM group designed it, and it has some of the most expensive residences in New York.

24. La Tourette

This building was primarily designed for the spiritual awakening of the inhabitants of France. Construction began in 1953, and it was completed seven years later. UNESCO inscribes it as one of the world's famous heritage sites.

25. Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center is known for its expansive occupancy of land. The complex consists of 19 buildings that sit on 22 acres of land. The buildings are also known for their expensive Art Deco, which the Rockefeller family commissioned. The Rockefeller family commissioned the building.

26. Casa Batlló

Antoni Gaudi designed the Casa Batlló, which is one of his masterpieces. He remodeled it from a previously built house in 1904. The building has an organic and skeletal quality and an identifiable modern sculptured stonework.

27. Villa Tugendhat

The Villa Tugendhat is one of the prototypes of modern architecture in Europe. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed it, and it is in Brno, Czech republic. The building was erected from 1928 to 1930 for the affluent Jewish family of Fritz Tugendhat and his wife, Greta. It is also among the buildings in the UNESCO World Heritage.

28. Torre Latinoamericana

The Torre Latinoamericana is a skyscraper in the historic center of downtown Mexico, and it is 166m in height. For 27 years after its completion in 1956, it was the tallest building in Mexico. It is in a highly seismic zone, and it surprised people by withstanding an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in 1985, whereas other buildings collapsed.

29. AON Center

The AON is a supertall skyscraper east of Chicago designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1974 and was initially the headquarters of the Standard Oil Company. The building is 346 meters tall and is the fourth tallest in Chicago. The building headquarters AON and Kraft Heinz.

30. Larkin Building Wall

The Larkin Building wall was designed in 1903 by Frank Lloyd Wright, and it was built for the Larkin Soap company. The building utilized steel frame construction and tinted mortar. It was the first office building to implement modern innovations like suspended toilet partitions, air conditioning, and in-built furniture.

31. Schindler House

The Schindler is a house in West Hollywood and is known for departing from standards of modern architecture. It was designed by the architect Rudolph Schindler, and the residence was meant to be a working space for two families. The house did not have any conventional living room, dining room, or bedroom.

32. Haus am Horn

This building was designed by George Muche and was meant for the first exhibition running from July to September 1923. It revamped modern-day architecture, and visitors can understand innovative and revolutionary approaches used in construction. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

33. Willis Tower

The Willis Tower is a 108 story building that captures Chicago's vibrancy under one roof. The building held the title of the world's tallest building for 25 years. More than a million people visit its observation deck annually. Among its most prominent tenants is United Airlines. It is the 23rd tallest building globally.

34. Pirelli Tower

The Pirelli is a 127 meters skyscraper in Milan, Italy and its distinct features are its curtain wall facades and tapering sides. The Pirelli Tower was one of the first skyscrapers to abandon the block form. After its completion in 1961, it was the tallest building in Italy.

35. Palace Building Gustavo Capanema

The Palace Building Gustavo Capanema is a government office building in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was the first modernist project in Brazil and housed the Ministry of Education and Health. It was designed in 1935 and 1936 and is one of Brazil's finest examples of modern architecture. The building was named after an author and educator, the first education minister in Brazil.

36. Unity Temple

The Unity Temple is a church in Oak Park, Illinois, home to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. The building was constructed between 1905 and 1908, and it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect. The building is considered the first modern structure globally from its use of only reinforced concrete in construction.

37. Perkins House

The Perkins House is a historical museum in Castine, Maine. It is one of the oldest houses representing a well-preserved state of Georgian architecture. The museum is listed among the national register of historic places and is open for visitors on a limited basis between July and August.

38. First Unitarian Church of Rochester

This building is one of the most significant religious works in history. Louis Kahn designed it, and it was open for use in 1962. The building is in Rochester, New York. Its characteristics are deep folded brick walls with complex ceiling light towers that allow indirect natural light.

39. Osterreichische Postsparkasse

This building was founded by law in 1882, and it was a postal savings bank in Vienna, Austria. The idea behind the building was to encourage people to save money. It had clear concrete and steel glass lines that made the building appear impenetrable and solid.

40. Kimbell Art Museum

This is another renowned structure designed by Louis Kahn. The museum hosts many art collections, traveling exhibitions, research libraries, and educational programs. It is noteworthy because of the wash of silvery natural lights that bounce from its vaulted gallery ceilings.

41. Metropolitan Opera House

It is also known as the Lincoln center or Met and is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York. The building was opened in 1966, and it is to date the most extensive repertory opera house globally with a seating capacity of 3850. It is home to the Metropolitan Opera Company and the American Ballet Theatre.

42. Planalto

The Planalto is the office of the President of Brazil. The building was designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1958. It was constructed in a modernist style and has been home to Brazilian presidents since its inception. It was declared part of Brazilian national heritage in 1987.

43. Minar-e-Pakistan

The Minar-e-Pakistan is a national monument located in Lahore, Pakistan. It was developed between 1960 and 1968 to commemorate the passing of the Lahore Resolution. The resolution was a call to separate an independent homeland for Muslims in British India. The tower is a blend of Islamic and modern architecture.

44. Trump Tower

The Trump Tower is a 58-floor building in midtown Manhattan housing the headquarters of the Trump Organization. It also houses the penthouse residence of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Construction of the building commenced in 1979, and it was completed in 1983.

45. Isokon Flats London

The Isokon flats are a block of 36 reinforced concrete flats designed by the Canadian engineer Wells Coates. The apartments are in London. The apartments were developed between 1929 and 1932 to experiment with minimalist urban life.

46. Houston Astrodome

The Houston Astrodome was the first domed sports stadium in Houston, Texas. Construction began in 1962 and was completed in 1965. The mayor of Houston, Roy Hofheinz, was known for his pioneering modern museums, and he financed the project.

47. New Museum New York

The New Museum in New York is the only dedicated contemporary art gallery in Manhattan and is known for its art and curatorial art. The museum was founded in 1977 and attracted thousands of tourists annually. It is a significant contributor to the urban landscape in New York.

48. Residences at St. Regis State art gallery

These residences were built by articulation and intelligent construction planning. They magnify the area they sit in using their rare collections of art galleries. This skyscraper is in Toronto, Canada, and was designed by Zeidler Partnership architects. The building has steel reinforced frames and reflective windows to give exquisite interiors.

49. One Canada Square

The One Canada Square is the third tallest building in the United Kingdom. It is a skyscraper that goes 50 stories from ground level, stretching to 235 meters. Its design followed earlier precedent buildings such as Brookfield Place and the Elizabeth Tower. The building has a pyramid roof and a flashing aircraft warning light which is rare for most buildings.

50. 22 Bishopsgate

The building, also known as Twentytwo, is a commercial skyscraper in London, United Kingdom. It stands at 278m with 62 stories. It was initially named the Pinnacle, but after redesign following the great depression, it took the name 22 Bishopsgate, its postal address. It is the second tallest building in the European Union and the United Kingdom.


You are now acquainted with modern buildings in construction, and hopefully, you enjoyed the list. Innovation and technology keep evolving in engineering, and modern facilities will keep improving over the years.