Iconic Building, Famous Designs, Icon Architecture, Pictures

Icon Buildings : Architecture from around the world

Famous Architectural Designs from across the globe

post updated 21 Feb 2020

Iconic Buildings

Iconic Buildings – Contemporary Architecture

Listed in order of iconic stature (not architectural merit!):

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Architect: SOM – Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill
Burj Khalifa tower - Icon Buildings
photo from architect
Burj Khalifa
The world’s tallest building – inaugurated on January 4, 2010 – with an observation deck on level 124. At over 800 metres and with more than 160 floors, here are some of the essential numbers associated with the world’s tallest building. The world has a new global landmark. When the skyscraper reached 512.1 metres (1,680 ft) it became the tallest building in the world. It took over from Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which at 508 metres* (1,667 ft) had held the tallest-building-in-the-world title since it opened in 2004.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Design: Frank Lloyd Wright
Guggenheim Museum New York Icon Buildings
photo : David M. Heald, © SRGF, New York
Guggenheim Museum New York
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, architecture, and other manifestations of visual culture of the modern and contemporary periods, and to collect, conserve, and study the art of our time.

The Burj al Arab is the World’s tallest hotel
Design: Atkins
Burj al Arab Icon Buildings
image : Jumeirah
Burj al Arab
The iconic building is one of the world’s leading resort hotels, a landmark tower hotel, set within a 65 acre site on the shores of the Arabian Gulf in Dubai. The design is intrinsic to the success of the resort, it is different, stylish, unique and makes a strong statement about where Dubai is going and what it aims to be, modern and vibrant. The building is designed in the shape of a breaking wave. This extraordinary 321m tower is entirely unique in design, fulfiling the clients brief for a landmark building in Dubai. It looks set to take its place amongst the likes of Sydney Opera House & the Eiffel Tower as symbols of their countries.

Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, USA
Mies van der Rohe, Architect
Farnsworth House Icon Buildings
image © gm+ad architects
Farnsworth House

Empire State Building, New York, USA
Design: Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, Architects
Empire State Building
photo : Andrew McRae
Empire State Building

Bilbao Guggenheim, Spain
Architect: Frank Gehry
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Icon Buildings
photo from architects
Bilbao Guggenheim
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is not only one of the most famous 20th century buildings globally, but it is credited with the current phenomenon of so-called ‘iconic architecture’ (of course iconic architecture has existed long before the Bilbao Guggenheim). City councils across the globe saw the effect the building had on the city – notably increased revenue via tourism – and decided they too wanted something similar.

Barcelona Pavilion, Spain
1929; pavilion building reconstruction 1986
Design: Mies van der Rohe Architect
Barcelona Pavilion Icon Buildings
photograph © Adrian Welch
Barcelona Pavilion
This iconic building is for many architects their favourite building in the World. It’s architecture is pure poetry, simple honest planes of stone with slim, graceful polished steel cruciform columns. The integration of water through two shallow pools brings calmness and reflection to the pavilion. The architect was interested in developing free flowing space and this is done using walls as planes in isolation, joined by sliding elements or glass

Sydney Opera House, Australia
Jørn Utzon
Sydney Opera House
photo © Derek McGavigan
Sydney Opera House
This is a masterpiece of late-modernist architecture that is admired internationally and treasured by the people of Australia. The architect worked with Ove Arup on this seminal building. In 1966 Jorn Utzon left Sydney, never to return. He was forced out of the project by political infighting and the cancellation of his contract.

Pyramide du Louvre, Paris, France
I.M. Pei & Partners Architects
Louvre Pyramid
picture © Isabelle Lomholt
Louvre Building

Jewish Museum Berlin, Germany
Daniel Libeskind, Architect
Jewish Museum Berlin
photo © Bitter Bredt
Jewish Museum Berlin

Historic Icon Buildings

Iconic Buildings – Historic Architecture

Tour d’Eiffel, Paris
Gustave Eiffel
Eiffel Tower platform proposal
photograph © Isabelle Lomholt
Eiffel Tower

Big Ben‘ + Houses of Parliament, London, England
Architects: Barry + Pugin
Houses of Parliament London
photograph © Nick Weall
Houses of Parliament

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
80 AD

Colosseum Rome - Icon Buildings
photograph © Adrian Welch
The Colosseum

Lists complied by e-architect editor Adrina Welch.

Comments or additions re our list of Iconic Buildings welcome

Icon Buildings Selection

Iconic Buildings – Article re Icon Buildings by architect Colin Gordon,
written for e-architect, extract below:

“Disneyland is 50 years old this week and its success speaks volumes. People visit these attractions in droves to escape their personal environments and immerse themselves in the American Dream. Iconic architecture, like Prozac has arrived to service the populist need.

As architects we do not write the brief and therefore we can only service society’s need for instant gratification by producing more icons. That is, unless we strive to change the political agenda within which we operate.

The one thing that really irks me about Iconic architecture though is the pitiful post rationalisation. Listening to a blob-monger trying to justify their creation in contextual terms is excruciating”.

Iconic Skyscraper Building : Chrysler Building, New York
Chrysler Building New York
photo © Joe Lekas

Iconic Architecture

Icon Building Glasgow

Comments for the Iconic Buildings page welcome