Most Famous Glass Buildings Around the World That Make You Go Whoa
Jul 7, 2019
There are several amazing buildings around the world, famous for their delicate glass work and sound, stable design. Their structures manage to look so breathtakingly beautiful, that these buildings qualify to be the best glass structures of the world.
Constructed with steel and glass, but looking light as air. In various styles of convoluted post-modern design but looking like castles out of a fairy tale... Buildings made of glass facades, or even entirely of glass, are a marvel of modern engineering.
With the advent of sophisticated architecture software that enables architects to envision and calculate the physical nuances of building impossible structures, humans can now literally touch the skies, by standing on glass.
Yes, it's possible today that incredibly detailed and well-thought out structures are being created daily. They break records and win awards; their architects are the cream of their kind. Here are a few examples of the best glass structures from around the world.
30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), London, UK
Architects: Sir Norman Foster, the Arup Group
Inaugurated in April 2004, the Gherkin is an iconic, energy-efficient, and contemporary landmark in London, constructed on the bomb site of the Chamber of Shipping and the Baltic Exchange, located on St Mary Axe Street.
It received numerous awards, one of which, the RIBA Stirling Prize, was awarded through a unanimous decision. The building was sold to new owners in 2006 for £630 million, and resold again in 2014 for £700 million.
The Louvre Pyramids, Paris, France
Architect: I.M. Pei 4 other glass pyramids were constructed besides the one at the main entrance to the Louvre, completed in 1989.
It was created to cover the underground lobby in front of the museum, to deal with the millions walk into the former Finance Ministry. Made of 673 panes of glass, the pyramid's function is to divert the crowd to different parts of the Louvre. Another smaller, but famous landmark is the underground inverted pyramid in the shopping mall in front of the Louvre.
The National Center for Performing Arts, Beijing, China
Architect: Paul Andreu Inaugurated in 2007, the Giant Egg is a recognizable landmark on the horizon of Beijing, made of titanium and glass.
It is surrounded by an artificial lake so that the hemisphere above ground is reflected in the water to make it look like a whole egg. Visitors access the building by walking through an underground tunnel under the lake. It is home to an opera theater with a seating capacity of 5,452 people.
The Dancing House, Prague, Czech Republic
Architects: Vlado Milunić, Frank O. Gehry Completed in 1996 on a vacant plot (a house bombed in 1945), the building stands out from the design of its neighbors.
It represents the transition of the Czech from communism (static) to democracy (dynamic). It was earlier named after the dancing couple of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Originally visualized as a cultural center, it houses offices and a top floor restaurant and is featured on a gold coin issued by the Czech National Bank in 2005.
Hotel W, Barcelona, Spain
Architect: Ricardo Bofill Commanding an unparalleled view of the Mediterranean Sea, the Sail Hotel or Hotel Vela as it locally called, is a 5-star hotel under the purview of Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Finished by 2009, it boasts of multiple restaurants, bars, lounges, 473 rooms, 67 suites, and all imaginable facilities. Its sheer glass surface reflects the sky and sea.
The Botanical Garden, Curitiba, Brazil
Architect: Abraão Assad
A popular attraction for tourists, locals, and researchers since 1991, designed after London's Crystal Palace, the main greenhouse is constructed of iron and glass in the French art nouveau style.
The Botanical Museum within has garnered a formidable reputation as the 4th best herbarium in Brazil. Spanning 240,000 sq. m, the garden contains several rare and native species, amazing lighting, conducts local events, and has top-notch recreational facilities.
The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Architect: Frank O. Gehry Commissioned by the Basque Country Government, Spain, the sprawling 24,000 sq. m museum was inaugurated by Juan Carlos I, former King of Spain, in 1997.
It is maintained by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and regularly features large-scale avant-garde and abstract art installations and exhibits. It reignited a dying interest in the economy of the city, helped generate revenue and garnered center stage.
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum, Netherlands
Architects: Neutelings Riedijk Architects
The building lives up to its name. Finished in 2006, it functions as an archival building that documents all audio-visual information generated in the Netherlands.
Keeping needs in mind, the archives are situated below ground, in an area where sunlight is not needed. The space above is occupied by a museum, offices, client services, and public space that are situated around a central "well" made for natural light to penetrate.
The Sage, Newcastle, UK
Architects: Foster and Partners, BuroHappold, Arup, Mott MacDonald. An enormous concert hall of steel and glass on the banks of the Tyne, the Sage is a center for music education and the official hall of the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
Inaugurated in 2004, it has 3 halls of differing sizes. The biggest is structurally designed to accommodate interiors to any type of music, with an alterable ceiling, and curtains to draw over wooden walls. The entire building is constructed to support acoustics.
The Shard, London, UK
Architect: Renzo Piano Opened in 2013, the Shard is the tallest building in London with 95 stories (309 m) in height. It was designed to be a city in itself, supporting offices, restaurants, hotels, and living spaces.
The topmost floor is a public observatory. It is coated in 11,000 glass pieces, and is one of the first in the world to be constructed according to new standards of durability, after 9/11. The building, therefore, can tolerate sways of about 16 inches.
The Aldar Headquarters, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Architect: MZ Architects Looking like a flat circular disc driven into the ground, the Aldar HQ is the first in its architectural innovation in skyscrapers, as its circular shape, instead of a normal, tall structure.
Completed in 2010, it is 110 m tall and made of steel, glass, and concrete. The circular steel frame is supported by a diagonal steel grid that gives it structural strength.
Besides the mentioned list, there are several glass structures to be found everywhere in the world, in every metropolitan city. All these structures are marvels of human engineering, effort and sheer will-power, and many more are on their way to surprise you.
Architects take inspiration from varied sources you'd be surprised to see, like skyscrapers inspired by the 90o twist in the human spine to structures imitating animal forms... Where we have come in terms of architectural structures reflects the kind of impossible buildings that we will get to see in the future.