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North American Buildings : Architecture

Key Contemporary Architectural Developments in North America

post updated September 5, 2021

North American Buildings – geographical by country

Canadian Architecture

Greenland Architecture*

Mexican Architecture

American Architecture

* geographically part of North America, politcally part of Europe

North American Building – Key Selection

e-architect pick out (from our resource) what we feel are the most significant buildings of recent decades in North America, with an emphasis on the last decade…of course some major older buildings are missing, we don’t have images for some 20th Century buildings (photos welcome!). For example, houses by Wright, Neutra, Schindler, Lautner etc.

These aren’t selected as the best North American architecture but as the buildings that asked serious questions, stepped forward, innovated and challenged. Views welcome.

Farnsworth House, Plano, USA
Date built: 1950
Design: Mies van der Rohe
Farnsworth House
photo © gm+ad architects
Farnsworth House
“an icon of 20th century modern architecture”

The Farnsworth House is regarded as one of the most significant of architect Mies van der Rohe’s buildings, of similar importance to canonical works such as the Barcelona Pavilion.

860-880 Lake Shore Apartments, Chicago, USA
Mies van der Rohe
860-880 Lake Shore Drive Chicago North American Buildings
photo : William Zbaren
860-880 Lake Shore Drive Based on ideas and theories Mies had been perfecting since his earliest days as an independent architect in 1920s Berlin, these buildings redefined highrise living for the post-war generation.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA
Frank Lloyd Wright
Guggenheim Museum New York - North American Buildings
photo : David M. Heald, © SRGF, New York
Guggenheim Museum New York – organic Modernist architecture

Habitat 67, Montreal, Canada
Moshe Safdie, Architect
Habitat 67 North American Buildings
photo © Timothy Hursley
Habitat 67
Habitat 67 began life as a master’s thesis project prepared in 1961 by Mr. Safdie, then an architecture student at McGill University. He came up with the idea of a high density apartment building that would provide residents with privacy as well as peace and quiet. He was invited to develop his idea for Expo 67 and did so alongside engineer August E. Komendant.

Seattle Public Library, Seattle, USA
Rem Koolhaas Architects / OMA
Seattle Library building
photo : Philippe Ruault
Seattle Library
“The essence of the Public is that it is free.
Increasingly public space has been replaced by accommodations of quasi-public substance that while suggesting an open invite, actually make you pay. The library stands exposed as outdated and moralistic at the moment that it has become the last repository of the free and the public. Our ambition is to redefine the library as an institution….in an age where information can be accessed anywhere, it is the simultaneity of all media and (more importantly) the curatorship of their contents that will make the library vital.”

New York by Gehry, NYC
Frank Gehry
Rippling Building New York
picture : dbox
New York by Gehry
Architecturally, Gehry’s design carries the drama of the exterior curtain wall movement into residents’ private spaces, the building’s folds result in some 200 unique apartment layouts from which to choose. Where the façade undulates outward, large free-form bay windows that change location from floor to floor make the most of the building’s unique site, allowing for unobstructed panoramic views in every direction.

“This building pays homage to New York City,” said Frank Gehry, “I wanted to create something with humanity to it, in the tradition of other NYC buildings…”

What about Fallingwater, the Getty Center, or the Inland Steel Building, etc.? We can’t fit them all in, but views welcome at info(at)

New North American Architecture

Major projects that are currently in progress, whether under design or construction (or both!):

Chicago Navy Pier Redevelopment, USA
James Corner Field Operations
Chicago Navy Pier - North American Buildings
photograph Courtesy Navy Pier, Inc.
Chicago Navy Pier Competition

Freedom Tower, New York City, USA
Freedom Tower New York
tower under construction
Freedom Tower New York

SFMOMA Expansion, San Francisco, USA
SFMOMA Expansion North American Buildings
image © Snøhetta
SFMOMA Expansion

Recently Completed Building Designs

Jameson House, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Foster + Partners
Jameson House - North American Buildings
photograph : Nigel Young, Foster + Partners
Jameson House

Natural History Museum of Utah, USA
Ennead Architects, LLP with GSBS
Natural History Museum of Utah Building
photograph © Jeff Goldberg/Esto
Natural History Museum of Utah

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA
Design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Building
© Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Museo Soumaya, Mexico
FREE | Fernando Romero EnterprisE
Soumaya Museum North American Buildings
photograph : Adam Wiseman
Museo Soumaya

MIT Media Arts & Sciences Building, Boston, USA
Fumihiko Maki and associates
MIT Media Lab North American Buildings
photo courtesy of Andy Ryan
MIT Media Lab Building

Central Los Angeles Area High School #9, CA, USA
Central Los Angeles Area High School #9 for the Visual and Performing Arts
photo © Duccio Malagamba
Central Los Angeles Area High School #9

North American Architecture

Individual North American buildings : Major Projects, alphabetical:

Absolute Tower, Mississauga, Canada
Absolute Tower Canada
picture from architect
Absolute Tower Canada

Aqua Tower, Chicago, USA
Studio Gang Architects
Aqua Tower
picture from architects
Aqua Tower

Arango Residence, Acapulco, Mexico
John Lautner
Acapulco house - North American Buildings
photo : Sara Sackner
Acapulco house

Contemporary Jewish Museum, USA
Studio Daniel Libeskind
Contemporary Jewish Museum
photograph © Andrew McRae
Contemporary Jewish Museum

Crystal Cathedral, Los Angeles, USA
Philip Johnson with John Burgee
Crystal Cathedral North American Buildings
picture © Andrew McRae
Los Angeles Cathedral

Florida Southern Colleges, Florida, USA
Frank Lloyd Wright
Annie Pfeiffer Chapel
photo © Robin Hill
Florida Southern Colleges Buildings

Fogo Island Artist Studios, Newfoundland
Saunders Architecture
Fogo Island Studios
photo from architects
Fogo Island Studios

The Getty Center, Los Angeles, USA
Richard Meier & Partners
Getty Center Building
image © Alice McRae
Getty Center Building

GRAM – Art Museum, Grand Rapids, USA
Design: wHY architecture
GRAM Art Museum - North American Buildings
photo : Chris Barrett@Hedrich Blessing
GRAM Michigan

Holy Rosary Catholic Church, USA
Trahan Architects
American church
photograph : Tim Hursley / The Arkansas Office
Holy Rosary Church

La Estancia Chapel, Mexico
Bunker Arquitectura
Mexican chapel - North American Buildings
photo : Megs Inniss
Mexican chapel

Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, USA
Design: Steven Holl Architects
American museum building
image from SGLA
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art

Nestlé Application Group, Mexico
Michel Rojkind Arquitectos
Nestlé Application Group Queretaro
photo © Paúl Rivera/
Nestlé Building Queretaro

New Tamayo Museum, Mexico
BIG + Rojkind Arquitectos
New Tamayo Museum
picture : Glessner Group
New Tamayo Museum

Prada Epicenter, New York City, USA
Rem Koolhaas
Prada New York - North American Buildings
photo : Armin Linke
Prada New York

Renaissance ROM Extension, Canada
Studio Libeskind
Toronto museum building
picture Courtesy Studio Daniel Libeskind
Royal Ontario Museum

Saint Louis Art Museum, USA
David Chipperfield
American museum building
picture © Imaging Atelier 2007
Saint Louis Art Museumn

Smithsonian Museum Courtyard, USA
Foster & Partners
Smithsonian Institute interior
photo : Nigel Young / Foster + Partners
Smithsonian Institute

Spaceport America, New Mexico, USA
Foster + Partners
Spaceport America
picture : Foster + Partners
Spaceport New Mexico

Sunset Chapel, Acapulco, Mexico
Bunker Arquitectura
Sunset Chapel North American Buildings
picture : Esteban Suárez
Sunset Chapel

Swiss Embassy, Washington, D.C., USA
Design: Steven Holl Architects
Swiss Embassy building
picture © Andy Ryans
Swiss Embassy Washington, D.C.

Tori-Tori Restaurant, Mexico
Michel Rojkind Arquitectos
Tori-Tori Mexico - North American Buildings
photo : Paul Rivera © rojkind arquitectos
Tori-Tori Restaurant

Torre BBVA-Bancomer, Mexico
RSH+P with Legorreta + Legorreta
Torre BBVA Bancomer
image from architect
BBVA-Bancomer Headquarters

Torre Cube – Office Block tower, Guadalajara, Mexico
Carme Pinós
Torre Cube
photograph : Lourdes Grobet
Cube Tower Guadalajara

University of Iowa building, USA
Design: Steven Holl Architects
American University building
picture © Andy Ryans
University of Iowa Building

ViILA NM, New York, USA
ViILA NM North American Buildings
photo : Christian Richters
ViILA NM New York

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
Herzog & de Meuron with HGA, Inc.
Walker Art Center
photo : Paul Warchol
Walker Art Center

Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, USA
Gehry Partners
American Concert Hall
photo © Andrew McRae
Walt Disney Concert Hall

Winspear Opera House, Dallas, USA
Foster + Partners
American Opera house
image : Foster + Partners
Winspear Opera House

Zimmerman House, Manchester, USA
Frank Lloyd Wright
Zimmerman House
picture © Adrian Welch
Zimmerman House

More North American Buildings online soon

World Architecture – geographical

by continent

African Architecture

Asian Architecture

Australasian Architecture

European Architecture

North American (this page)

South American Buildings

Museum Buildings

Office Buildings

American Architecture : major developments + designs

American Architects

Comments / photos for the North American Building page welcome