30 Famous Architecture and Building Designs

Architectural Design

Whether you are looking for inspiration for your next grand architectural design feat or simply love gazing upon unique buildings, the Earth is full to the brim with amazing structures for you to enjoy. From famous cathedrals and museums to palaces and everything in between, there are innumerable building designs for you to find inspiration from. Check out some of the most famous structures that are present in our world today, many of which existed before the advent of computerized CAD drafting and design tools.

Burj Khalifa1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa is located in downtown Dubai and measures an impressive 828.9 meters high. The construction of the 160-floor building took place from 2004 to 2010. The monumental task of creating the planet’s largest manmade structure was given to the Chicago Office of American Architectural and Engineering firm that goes by the name Skidmor, Owings and Merril LLP.

The Villa Savoye in Poissy2. Villa Savoye, France
Built in 1928, the Villa Savoye is one of the early, classic examples of the international style of architecture, which is one of the most prominent architectural styles to come out of the 1920s and 30s. Although there were plans to demolish the building, it managed to escape doom after being declared an official historical French monument in 1965.

flatron building3. Flatiron Building, New York
The Flatiron Building is one of the most eye-catching buildings in Manhattan. Designed in 1902 by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, it boasts a distinct triangular shape and was made to fit into the space between the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. While it was never the tallest skyscraper in New York, it has held its place as one of the most inspiring and memorable buildings for architects all over the globe for well over a century.

Guggenheim Museum4. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao
One of the most admired pieces of modern architecture, the Guggenheim Museum is a sweeping, beautiful building that catches the eye straight away. It was created by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry after he won a competition that allowed him to design it. Since its opening in 1997, it is regarded as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century. It has had more than 10 million visitors and held more than one hundred exhibitions over the past 20 years.

Pantheon in rome5. Pantheon, Rome
While Rome plays host to a number of memorable and remarkable buildings, the Pantheon is one of the most popular. It was destroyed two different times and rebuilt beautifully each time. The Pantheon began as a rectangular structure but has been reshaped into the dome that it is today. It has served as rightful inspiration to architects across the globe for 2,000 years, and its roof still holds the title of the world’s largest, non-reinforced concrete dome.

Fallingwater in Pennsylvania6. Fallingwater, Pennsylvania
Fallingwater was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, famed American architect, in the year 1934. It is perhaps the most famous private home in the entire world. This is because the unique design of Fallingwater gives the appearance that it sits on top of a 30-foot waterfall without any sort of solid ground underneath it. It was finalized in 1939 and instantly became renowned. It is now a natural historic landmark that you can visit any time during the year.

7. Buckingham Palace, London
The BuBuckingham Palace in Englandckingham Palace property was purchased in the year 1735 by George III, when it was barely just a red brick house. Since its original purchase, a number of architects have worked to turn it into what it is today. Among those were famous architects Sir Aston Webb, Edmund Blore, and John Nash. Since it was bombed a total of nine times during the Second World War, it underwent constant restorations. It is still in working order and is one of the few operational royal palaces found in the world today.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul8. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Hagia Sophia was built as a church and then it was converted into a mosque before finding its final, modern day purpose as a museum. It provides the perfect example of architecture from the Byzantine Empire and is located in Istanbul, Turkey. The building was first created by Constantine the Great, but after enduring earthquakes and several attempts to burn it down during riots, it has been rebuilt a number of times. Even so, it is still regarded as one of the greatest architectural structures of all time.

space Needle in Seattle9. Space Needle, Seattle
The Space Needle in Seattle was built in the year 1962 for the World’s Fair and was never removed. This famous structure measures 184 meters high and is 42 meters wide at its widest point. It was designed by two architects, John Graham and Edward E. Carlson. A beauty on its own, the Space Needle is also impressive in that it can resist structural damage from earthquakes with a magnitude up to 9.1 and can endure wind velocities as high as 200 miles per hour.

Sydney Opera House in Australia10. Sydney Opera House, Australia
One of the most iconic structures in the world, the Sydney Opera House is thought to be one of the most impressive and monumental works of the 20th century. It was created when architect Jørn Utzon won an international competition to design it. This building is made of three groups of shells that interlock, comprised of a restaurant and two main performance halls.

Chrysler Building in NYC11. Chrysler Building, NYC
During the early part of the 20th century there was a race to construct the tallest building in the world. The Chrysler Building temporarily held the title for one year, until the Empire State building was brought to life. This building was commissioned by the manufacturer of automobiles, Walter P. Chrysler, giving the building its name. Even if it is no longer the tallest, it is still one of the most iconic on the planet.

Taj Mahal in India12. Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal is often called the “Jewel of Muslim art in India.” It was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. While it is often called a palace, it was actually built to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, after she passed away during the delivery of their 14th child. It is known as the perfect intersection between Turkish, Persian, and Indian architecture styles. Construction began in 1632 and was completed in 1648.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy13. Colosseum in Rome, Italy
The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheatre located in central Rome and is, to this day, regarded as one of the greatest architectural creations of Ancient Rome. It fit up to 50,000 spectators at a time and mainly hosted gladiator games among other events. Construction took place between 72 and 80AD, using stone and concrete. The shape and design of the structure has served as inspiration for many modern day stadiums, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome.

Lloyds Building in London14. Lloyds Building, London
The Lloyds Building turned the world of architecture on its head. This futuristic building is often nicknamed the “Inside Out Building” because most of its services, such as the stairwells and the water pipes, are on the outside. Exterior elevators are also present, and these were the first of their kind in the United Kingdom. It was built between 1978 and 1986.

Empire State Building, NYC15. Empire State Building, NYC
The Empire State Building is one of the most famous buildings in the world. This art deco style skyscraper was once the tallest building in the world. Construction began on St. Patrick’s Day in 1930 and was completed in 410 days. An icon of New York City, the building was designed by William F. Lamb and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

St. Basils Cathedral in Moscow, Russia16. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
St. Basil’s Cathedral is a colorful cathedral and is the most visited tourist attraction in all of Moscow. It was designed to look like flames from a bonfire licking at the sky. This landmark can be found just outside of the Kremlin gates and is at the very center of the city. It was built during the years 1554 to 1560 during the reign of Ivan the Terrible.

The Shard in London17. The Shard, London
Also known as the shard of glass, the Shard building towers 87 stories over London, making it the tallest building in Western Europe. Construction began in 2009 and was finished in 2012. The building is located right in the city’s center. It is the second tallest freestanding building in the entire United Kingdom. There are 11,000 glass panels on its exterior and it was developed to have a number of different uses, such as relaxation, working, and living.

The Kaaba in Mecca18. The Kaaba, Mecca
Known as perhaps the most sacred place in the Islamic religion, The Kaaba is a square building found in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Draped in cotton and silk, the structure measures roughly 60 feet in height with meter-wide walls. Its total size takes up about 627 square feet of space. Each year, millions of Muslims come to The Kaaba for their Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

Leaning Tower of Pisa19. Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy
Famous for its tilted design, this tower developed its lean during its construction period when the ground on one side of the tower was too soft and began to give way, no longer able to support the foundation on that side. The construction of the tower began in 1173 but continued for about 300 years. Controversy surrounds who the actual architect behind the structure is.

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur20. Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
The Petronas Towers stand 170 meters over the ground, as twin skyscrapers located in Malaysia. Connected by a double decker skyway between the 41st and 42nd floors, the buildings were known as the tallest in the world between 1998 and 2004. An icon of the capital city, its post-modern style was designed by several people, including Deejay Cerico, Achmad Murdijat, and Cesar Pelli.

St Pauls Cathedral in London21. St Paul’s Cathedral, London
St Paul’s Cathedral is the most iconic building in London. It was created by Sir Christopher Wren and is located at the top of Ludgate Hill, which is the highest point of London proper. Its famed dome is one of the largest domes in the world, measuring 112 meters in height. The original onsite church was founded in 604AD and work on the modern Baroque church began in the 17th century. The designs for the cathedral took its architect a decade to complete, and the construction took another 40 years. It is a famous element in the skyline of the city and is a popular tourist spot.

La Pedrera in Barcelonaa, Spain22. La Pedrera in Barcelonaa, Spain
The city’s most modern building, La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, is located in the urban streets of Barcelona. It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1912. His unique method of design helped to generate some of the most creative buildings in the world. It is one of the most imaginative structures on the planet and is almost more of a sculpture than it is a building. La Pedrera is made of stone and has iron forged balconies that help represent the asymmetry of the natural world.

Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Israe23. Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, Israel
The Dome of the Rock is one of the most beautiful Islamic buildings in the world. Located in Jerusalem, it was created in the 7th century between the years 687 and 691 by Caliph Abd al-Malik. The marble slabs on its interior and the Persian tiles on the exterior were added in 1561 by Suleiman. It is the oldest Islamic monument and continues to inspire architects across the world.

Cologne Cathedral, Germany24. Cologne Cathedral, Germany
The Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany, is a five-aisled basilica that is made in high gothic style. Its construction began in 1248 and ended in 1473, well before it was complete. Work on this cathedral did not recommence until the 1800s and it was finally completed in 1880. It is now known as a Gothic masterpiece and it holds within it many works of art while also housing 12 tombs of archbishops.

Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India25. Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India
The Lotus Temple is in New Delhi, India, and is made up of 27 different structures that are designed together to look like a lotus flower. The petals open into a central hall that measures 40 meters high. In total, the building has nine doors and nine sides, able to accommodate up to 2,500 people. The surface is made out of white marble from Mount Pentelicus in Greece, the same marble that was used to create the Parthenon. It was completed in the year 1986 and is now one of the most visited buildings in the world.

Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin, USA26. Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin, USA
Milwaukee Art Museum is a landmark that is made up of three buildings: the Quadracci Pavillion, created in 2001; the Kahler Building, created in 1975, and the War Memorial Center, created in 1957. It overlooks Lake Michigan and is linked straight to Wisconsin Avenue by way of a cable-stay footbridge. Drivers can come in through the underground vaulted parking garage.

The Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic27. The Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic
The Dancing House, formally known as the Nationale-Nederlanded building, was designed by Valdo Milunic, a Croation-Czech man, as well as Canadian-American architect, Frank Gehry. The new-baroque look creates an unusual shape using 99 concrete panels, each one of a different dimension and shape. It is so popular that it is found on the gold 2,000 Czech koruna coins.

Beijing National Stadium, China28. Beijing National Stadium, China
Known informally as Bird’s Nest, this stadium was made specifically for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The creation of this structure is owed to the collaboration between international and Chinese architects and artists alike. It stands to this day as one of the most well-loved structures and tourist attractions in Beijing.

Eiffel Tower in Paris, France29. Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
It seems wrong to speak of historic and unique architectural landmarks without speaking of perhaps the most famous: the Eiffel Tower. The most iconic structure in France, it was named after the engineer who created it, Gustave Eiffel. It was made as an entrance arch for the 1889 World Expo. The tower measures 324 meters in height and is as tall as an 81-storey building. It attracts millions of visitors every year.

The Parthenon in Greece30. Parthenon, Greece
The Parthenon is the most well-preserved temple in Greece and has been used as inspiration for architecture in much of the Western world. It is full of sculptures, friezes, and ornaments that are to this day thought to be the finest examples of Classical Greek art. The architect that built it, Phidias, is still thought to be one of the best builders and sculptors of ancient times.

With so many marvels to look through, it’s easy to see how inspiration is drawn from old structures and poured into modern ones. The buildings listed here are just some of the many buildings in the world that are waiting for you to discover and use as inspiration for your next architectural CAD design project.