The following are my choices as the architectural marvels of the 20th century. This century represents a long and distinguished period of distinctive and even monumental architecture. Man reached for the sky during this time, so skyscrapers became a major characteristic of modern cities. Man also stretched the boundaries of materials and imagination.
1. Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest, Hungary, 1901-1903 – This elevated, panoramic walkway looks much older and blends nicely with the much older architecture around it. It offers great views over the Danube River and Pest, below.
Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest
2. Chrysler Building, New York City, 1930 – This lovely, Art Deco structure was the tallest building in the world for 1 year (until the erection of the Empire State Bldg). It is still a distinctive member of New York’s skyline, today.
3. Empire State Building, New York City, 1931 – This architectural icon towers 1472 feet and was the tallest building in the world until the 1970′s. It is still a major tourist attraction in the “Big Apple.”
Empire State Building
4. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1937 – Here is another world travel icon and symbol of the “City by the Bay.” Its distinctive color and prominent position make it eternally noticeable.
Golden Gate Bridge
5. Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC, USA, 1938-1943 – This classic and lovely tribute to the writer of the Declaration of Independence occupies an elevated section of the Tidal Basin and is one of the most popular attractions in this city of great monuments.
6. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA, USA (1919-1947)- This palatial mansion, home of the media magnate, William Randolph Hearst, is one of the most elegant residences in the nation.
7. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, USA (1959)- This is one of, noted architect, Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous and unusual structures. The building here is much more famous than the collection of Art within.
8. Fallingwater, Ohiopyle, PA, USA (1960)– Another of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces, this house epitomizes his philosophy that architecture should blend in with and complement its surroundings. This house also exhibits an incredibly efficient use of available space.
9. Space Needle, Seattle, WA, USA (1961) – This icon and symbol of the city towers 605 feet high, providing excellent views of Seattle, Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. Its futuristic design proclaims Seattle as a thoroughly modern city.
10. Air Force Academy Chapel, Colorado Springs, CO, USA (1962) — This building is one of noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most unusual creations. The steel and glass structure seems to rise to the heavens, as befitting a chapel of this type.
Air Force Academy Chapel
11. Gateway Arch, St Louis, MO, USA (1965) – Another signature architectural gem, this gleaming, steel parabola greets visitors crossing the Mississippi River, traveling west. The architect, Eero Saarinen, is a modernist who constantly pushes the architectural envelope.
12. Sydney Opera House, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (1973) – The distinctive concentric shell design of this iconic structure is recognized around the world as a signature architectural gem. And it’s functional, too.
13. Sears (now Willis) Tower, Chicago, IL, USA (1974) – Still, America’s tallest building, at 1729 feet, this mega-structure complements Chicago’s incredible skyline, one of the most beautiful in the world.
Willis (Sears) Tower
14. CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (1976) – Claiming to be the tallest free-standing structure in the world (1815 feet), this icon and symbol of Toronto dominates the Lake Ontario waterfront and provides views all the way to Niagara Falls, NY.
15. Vietnam Memorial, Washington, DC, USA (1982) – Designed by Maya Lin, this moving, symbolic monument, lists the thousands of American servicemen and women, according to the dates of their death. It is one of the most popular areas on the Mall.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
16. Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1990) – Architect I. M. Pei designed this distinctive skyscraper to blend in nicely with Hong Kong’s dramatic skyline. It rises 1205 feet, but complements rather than dominates the area.
Bank of China Tower
17. Tian Tan Buddha of Po Lin, Ngong Ping, Hong Kong, China (1993) – This huge, dramatically situated bronze Buddha can be found on the grounds of the Po Lin Monastery. The typical approach, for visitors, is via a long, cable car ride.
Po Lin Buddha
18. Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai, China (1995) – This distinctive tower, sitting dramatically along the riverfront in the Pudong section of the city, proudly proclaims the position of Shanghai as a modern city, equivalent to any around the world.
Oriental Pearl Tower
19. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1998) – These twin towers, connected by a skywalk, dramatically ushered in the emergence of Malaysia onto the world scene in trade and commerce.
20. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, England (1987-1997) – This structure is much more important for its restoration of history rather than its architectural style or accomplishment. It is a faithful recreation of the original Globe Theater, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed.
21. Millenium Bridge, London, England (1998-2000) – This pedestrian footpath across the Thames River is symbolic of the turn of the millenium and has ushered in a new age in this old city.
22. Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA, USA (1999) — This incredibly unusual building of gleaming steel was designed by noted architect Frank Gehry. The ground-breaking occurred in 1999 although it was not opened to the public until 2003.
Disney Concert Hall