Amazing works of modern architecture you need to see in real life

Mar 16, 2018

The 21st century is one of the most prolific and daring periods in the history of architecture. Here are five head-turning buildings to visit, now.

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The “starchitect” label is a little overused, but the late Zaha Hadid was certainly a true original. Her fluid and organic designs are scattered all over the world, but the Heydar Aliyev Center (above) in Baku, Azerbaijan, with its soaring white curls, is easily one of her most famous.

SEE ALSO: PHOTOS: Geometric art print-like images of architecture in Europe 

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Another building that’s worth the trek is Harbin Grand Theatre (above). Rising up over the lush wetlands of north-eastern China, the design by Beijing-based Mad Architects features a sinuous facade of white aluminium panels that swoop in gorgeous swirls to evoke a drifting snowstorm.

SEE ALSO: 5 starchitect buildings in Singapore 

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On the other side of the world, Sydney has added to its list of iconic buildings with Frank Gehry’s startling design of twists and folds – some critics say it looks like a crumpled paper bag – for the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building (above) at the University of Technology Sydney’s Business School. And in Hamburg, Herzog & De Meuron’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall (main photo) is a stunner, with its shimmering facade and tent-like roof comprising 1,100 mirrored glass panes.

SEE ALSO: 8 beautiful historic buildings in Budapest you must visit and Instagram

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New Yorkers, meanwhile, are still swooning over Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The structure’s highlight is the Oculus (above), an internal rib of glass and stainless steel topped with an over 100m-long skylight that soars over the massive column-free hall. Design buffs looking for a comprehensive tour of a city’s buildings can consider Architectural Adventures, which conducts trips to cultural hotspots such as Beijing, St Petersburg, Havana and Tallinn, led by local experts approved by the prestigious American Institute of Architects.

To book tickets to these destinations and more, visit www.singaporeair.com.

– BY DAVEN WU

PHOTOS: HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTER FACEBOOK, HARBIN GRAND THEATRE, UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY, WTC PROGRESS

This article was originally published on May 13, 2017.