Architecture means different things to different people, but good architecture is not subjective – a really impressive building will never fail to inspire awe in all of its visitors. And modern architecture is all about that initial impression – that spellbound wonder – that almost delusional grandeur that you can’t quite believe is real.
Here’s a quick countdown of our favorite cities to visit, if you’re looking for the best of the best in modern architecture.
#5 – Berlin, Germany
This choice may come as a bit of a surprise, but if you’ve ever been to Deutschland’s Hauptstadt (and we would definitely recommend doing so), then you’ll know why it’s on the list. There are a number of impressive, futuristic buildings in Berlin, such as the famous Tempodrom, an arena not far from Potsdamer Platz.
Symbolic of the newly united city, it combines the smoothness of a dome with sharp edges. One thing to do is head up to the observation deck of the Fernsehturm – from over 200m up, the view is amazing.
#4 – Tokyo, Japan
Japan as a country has a reputation for being well ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to technology, and its architecture is no exception, especially in the capital.
Ancient pagodas stand alongside some of the most fascinating skyscrapers in the world – just look at the Midtown Tower for proof. Last year, Tokyo became home to the tallest tower in the world: its Skytree, at 634m tall, surpassed the Canton Tower. The metamodern style construction is glorious, and offers unparalleled views of the city.
If you like things a little smaller, pay a visit to the Koban police box. We’re not saying anything else, as that might spoil it!
#3 – Toronto, Canada
Home to the famous CN Tower (with its incredible, distinctive, postmodern observation deck), Toronto is full of architectural achievements. The financial district is spotted by some of the world’s largest skyscrapers, and the design of the City Hall is as risky as it is awe-inspiring, with its two pieces curving in a semi-circle.
Make sure you don’t miss the TD Canada Trust Tower – its higher floors create a distinctive, layered pattern, reminiscent of a Lego structure.
#2 – Shanghai, China
If you want to see one of the most stunningly modern cities in the world, going to China might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But with Shanghai (as well as Hong Kong), it’s well worth the flight. The Oriental Pearl Tower is a distinctly Space Age Eiffel Tower, whilst the fantastic World Financial Centre defies description with its blue brilliance, something that McCormick Architecture or any other firm would be jealous of.
Head down to the Pudong District for the best architecture, but go at night if you really want to be amazed.
#1 – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Come on, you knew Dubai was going to be number one! The highest man-made structure in the world lives in Dubai, the incredible Burj Khalifa. Standing at more than 800m tall, the Burj truly looks as though it is scraping the sky. It holds nearly twenty world records, so that alone makes Dubai worth a visit.
The city lights up like a Christmas tree at night, and is home to a number of artificial islands which will take your breath away. Dubai: city of the future.