The world’s 5 most stunning contemporary buildings

The world’s 5 most stunning contemporary buildings

The concept of “contemporary architecture” is not easy to define.
Today this architectural movement born in the ‘80s enjoys worldwide popularity, unlike modern architecture which can be seen only in Europe and in the United States.
Contemporary architects experiment with several different styles, from postmodernism to high-tech architecture and new interpretations of traditional architecture, by using highly conceptual shapes and designs.
But let’s take a closer look at the main features of this truly remarkable architectural style of our day.

Features of contemporary architecture 

We can define contemporary architecture as a style of construction capturing various styles and influences, whilst embracing creativity and eco-friendliness by using cutting-edge technology and materials.
Contemporary architects use modern design software programs and revolutionary techniques such as simulation and computerized projects. CAD (which stands for “Computer-Aided Design”) is a very popular tool to create a 3D model of a building at the design stage and prior to construction.
Smooth lines mixed with fluid shapes and traditional materials like glass and steel are processed with state-of-the-art techniques and used in conjunction with recyclable and innovative materials such as plastics and 3D-printed structures.
Contemporary architects also give great importance to sustainability, which translates into energy-efficient buildings made from recycled materials.
Another distinctive feature is the presence of large glass windows optimizing natural light into the rooms.
The starting point for these buildings is always the location which, in many cases, can benefit from improved visibility, be it the result of requalification, regeneration or conversion.
These unusual and aesthetically pleasing works of architecture feature an innovative design which will stand the test of time, and whether they are green, smart or developed by a star architect, they may help revitalize expanding metropolitan areas, inject fresh blood into neighborhoods affected by urban decay or regenerate urban centers of great historical significance.
These buildings are the highest expression of new contemporary architecture – they must leave their own mark and gain iconic status.
Let’s take a look at 5 stunning buildings which capture all the nuances of this innovative and revolutionary style!

1. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Designers: Zaha Hadid and Samoo
Location: Seoul, South Korea<

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza, abbreviated as DDP, is a major cultural urban development landmark located in the Dongdaemun district of Seoul, South Korea. Designed by Zaha Hadid – known as the “Queen of the Curve” – and Samoo, this incredible building features a distinctively neo-futuristic design.
The DDP includes a marketplace, a multipurpose park, several cafés, shops, various exhibition and pedestrian areas. The Design Plaza is open 24/7, so people can enjoy a full-on cultural and shopping experience at any hour of the day or night.
A popular attraction for tourists and locals alike is the Rose Garden, which consists of 25,550 LED roses lighting up automatically at sunset.
Did you know?
In 2015, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza was the most tagged Instagram location in South Korea!

2. The Shard

Designer: Renzo Piano
Location: London, UK

The Shard, also known as the Shard of Glass, is a skyscraper located in the London Borough of Southwark.
Standing at an impressive 309.6 meters (1,016 feet), it is the tallest building in London and the seventh-tallest skyscraper in Europe.
Designed by RPBW Architects under the direction of  Renzo Piano, a world-renowned Italian architect and inaugurated in 2012, the Shard has a characteristic pyramid shape which stands out in the London skyline. Its most distinctive features, according to Piano, are its brightness and transparency.
This glass-clad pyramidal tower is truly multifunctional: it houses retail spaces, offices, hotels, private homes, restaurants and bars, as well as a private hospital clinic.
And if you want to admire the London skyline, you could not pick a better location! The building offers a superb 360-degree view of London, including the River Thames, Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge.
Did you know?
The skyscraper reflects the seasons: The rain gives the building a gorgeous sparkle in spring, autumn and winter, whereas sunlight bounces off the glass in the summer.

3. The cube berlin

Designer: 3XN, Denmark
Location: Berlin, Germany

Intelligent architecture on a human scale is the best way to describe the cube Berlin, designed by the Danish studio 3XN.
This very special combination of architecture and artificial intelligence is located in the Washingtonplatz district in central Berlin.
Opened in 2020, this new 10-storey building was designed to house futuristic workspaces by combining cutting-edge design, technology and sustainability.
This spectacular glass cube is also referred to as the “smartest building in Europe” due to the advanced integration of data collection technology throughout the building. . This technology monitors how the users consume energy on a daily basis and then it self-learns how to maximize the energy flow so none of it is wasted. Users can also interact with this server and customize how energy is used in their working environment.
Did you know?
You can book your workspace and even your parking space in the cube underground parking lot. Charging stations are also available for your electric car and bicycle!

4. The Opus

Designer: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in the world, located in Downtown Dubai and next to the Business Bay. And here in the Burj Khalifa district, you cannot help but to also notice the Opus, a 93-meter building with its own identity that depends on the observer’s point of view.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, Opus is now home to the Me Dubai luxury hotel that was first opened by the Meliá group in the Middle East.
The challenge for the architect was to come up with a building which could stand out in the forest of skyscrapers in the Dubai skyline.
Original and anti-conformist, this building features two 100-mt-towers connected at the top and bottom by a four-story atrium and an asymmetrical bridge suspended 71 meters from the ground, which altogether makes a curving void in the middle. This majestic mirrored glass building creates a void effect which is a playful combination of space and gravity.
In addition to the hotel, which includes 74 rooms and 19 suites, this incredible masterpiece also houses offices, residences, restaurants, cafés and bars.
Did you know?
During the day, the façade reflects the sky, the sun and the surrounding city, while at night the curving void is illuminated by a myriad of LED lights, all controllable individually and installed inside each glass panel.

5. The Deichman Bjørvika Library

Designer: Atelier Oslo and Lundhagem Architects
Location: Oslo, Norway

Designed by Lundhagem Architects and Atelier Oslo, Deichman Bjørvika is the new public library of the Norwegian capital, located between Oslo Central Station and the Snøhetta Opera House on the waterfront.
Inaugurated in June 2020, the library spans six floors and boasts a cinema, a 200-seat auditorium in the basement, a café, a restaurant and a wealth of resources available to the public such as multimedia laboratories, a theater and a podcast studio.
Panoramic windows on each level offer a sweeping view of the city, while on the top floor you can admire the Oslo Fjord in all its breathtaking beauty.
Originally designed to house the extensive Deichman book collection -consisting of 450,000 volumes placed on three black towers -, the library has developed into a vibrant hub – a modern meeting place for learning, promoting activities and sharing knowledge.
Did you know?
The Deichman Bjørvika Library manages a public art project by Katie Paterson, a Scottish artist, and is called the Future Library. Every year and for the next 100 years, a writer will contribute with an original piece of work to be published and displayed in the library.

Innovative styles, cutting-edge recyclable materials, hi-tech architecture and great attention to preserving the environment  – but that’s not all. These works of contemporary architecture have also become the symbols of an urban regeneration driven, in all intents and purposes, by strategies aiming for intelligent growth and complete sustainability.
Limiting land consumption in cities to reduce environmental impact and revitalizing areas affected by urban decay to give citizens a new environmental, economic and social lease on life. This is the embodiment of the concept of a “smart city”, i.e. urban areas where resources are managed in a sustainably efficient way.
How can you contribute to developing these smart cities? For example, by converting old abandoned buildings into automated parking lots!

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