Top 10 Architectural Wonders of the World (Updated 2021)
Motions through light
The world is filled with a lot of beautiful wonders to feast our eyes on. The different wonders all around us can be classified into two different classifications: the natural wonders and the man-made wonders.
Man-made structures are very common all around us. Such examples of man-made beauty are buildings, towers, and temples. Although man-made wonders take a very long time to be finished, it’s all worth the wait once you see the finished product.
There are a lot of things to consider in the creation of things such as a building. You need to know the right dimensions, area, design, materials, and many more.
One thing people mostly take their time on is the design of the building. You can create a simple building with the usual length as many others out there. Or you can also choose to create a majestic masterpiece that will serve as a man-made beauty for generations to come. For more reference, here are the top 10 Architectural Wonders of the World.
Viewed as the most important surviving Classical Greek building, the Parthenon is a temple built on the Athenian Acropolis in Greece. It is built to be dedicated to the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena. The people chose her over Poseidon as the patron goddess of Athens. This temple’s construction started in 447 BC and finished in 438 BC. Designing the temple’s interior did not finish until 432 BC.
The Parthenon is a symbol of Ancient Greece and Greek mythology. The name Parthenon came from the greek word parthenon which means “unmarried woman’s apartment” and the word parthenos which means “unmarried woman, virgin.”
The Parthenon temple used to hold the most magnificent statue of the goddess Athena called the “Athena Parthenos.” The statue is a gold reserve that “contained forty talents of pure gold and it was all removable” as stated by Pericles. It was built on a very solid limestone foundation that extended and kept the southern part of the Acropolis summit leveled.
The temple replaced a hekatompedon or “hundred-footer,” a building that stood right next to the archaic temple dedicated to Athena polias of the city. The Parthenon boasts of its magnificent pillars and showcases the finest beauty of Greek architecture. It is recognized as the most perfect Doric temple ever built.
National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China
Named as the largest theatre complex in Asia, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (also known as NCPA or The Giant Egg) is an art centre with an opera house within its vicinity. It is located in the south side of Changán street in the heart of Beijing in the People’s Republic of China and is designed by the French architect Paul Andreu.
This building has a semi-spherical appearance that covers a total of 119.9 km and was said to be covered by a budget of 3.067 billion yuan.
There are a lot of attractions inside this complex that includes an opera theater, music hall, art exhibitions, restaurants, audio shops, and a lot more. The large shell of this building is made up of more than 18, 000 pieces of titanium metal sheets that come in different sizes and shapes.
The underground building’s height is the same as a building with 10 floors as 60% of this building is underground.
The middle part of the building is a glass curtain wall that is made up of 1, 200 ultra-white glasses. What’s fascinating about this building is that it is located in the middle of a lake and the only entrance to this building is through an 80-meter underwater passage.
In the planning and designing of this building, it was said that the height of this should not be higher than the height of the Great Hall of People. It’s breathtaking to see the magnificent beauty of this exceptional building.
Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, The Colosseum or Coliseum (also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre) is the largest amphitheatre to be built during its construction from 70-80 AD under the Flavian dynasty. It is built in the heart of Rome in Italy located just to the east of the Roman Forum.
Materials used to build this amphitheatre are travertine limestone, tuff or volcanic rock, and brick faced concrete. Unlike other theatres that were created in the hillside, this amphitheatre was built on free-standing structure. It is elliptical in design and covers a perimeter of 545 meters.
The Colosseum is considered large as it could hold 50, 000 to 80, 000 spectators all at once in different events held in the amphitheatre with an average of 65, 000 audience. This amphitheatre is mostly used for gladiator fights and public spectacles such as different battles and executions.
This building was mostly used for entertainment during the early medieval era and was used for different purposes later on. Although the structure was ruined by earthquakes and stone thiefs, the Colosseum still serves as an iconic symbol for Imperial Rome.
National Stadium in Beijing, China
The Beijing National Stadium, officially known as National Stadium and also known as the Bird’s Nest, is a building located in the Olympic Green at Beijing in the People’s Republic of China. It is designed to be used for the 2008 Summer Olympics and will be used once again for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
It is made to seat 91, 000 spectators at once. The stadium is said to be covered by $428 million of budget for construction and design.
The original design for this building was inspired by the study of Chinese ceramics, implementation of steel beams to hide the supports for the retractable food, hence the name of Bird’s nest. The retractable roof has later been removed from the design. Shopping malls and hotels are said to be built around the area to increase the stadium’s use.
The National Stadium consists of two main structures: a red concrete bowl made for seating and the outer steel frame that surrounds it. More than 17, 000 construction workers helped in building this stadium. The entire number of steel used in the construction were all made from China.
Renovations in the stadium and around the area will help improve the stadium’s importance and relevance.
Taj Mahal in Agra, India
Taj Mahal, also known as Crown of the Palace, is a mausoleum located on the southern bank of Yamuna River of Agra City in Uttar Pradesh, India. This ivory-white marble building is part of a complex that covers 42 acres of land that includes a mosque and guest house.
The complex is enclosed by walls on the three sides of the area. A Mughal emperor by the name of Shah Jahan, which reigned from 1628 to 1658, commissioned the building to house the tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died while giving birth to their 14th child.
This mausoleum also holds the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. This building was inspired by the love story of this couple. Taj Mahal’s construction started in 1632 and was completed 16 years later in 1648. The other structures and designs around the mausoleum and within the complex were finished five years later.
The building has incorporated design traditions from Persian and early Mughal architecture.
While most Mughal tombs were made out of red sandstone, Shah Jahan made most of his buildings out of white marble mixed with semi important stones. The construction’s budget at that time is said to be 32 million rupees which in modern time would be around 70 million rupees or $916 million USD.
The Taj Mahal was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1983. It is described as “the crown jewel of Muslim art in India.”
Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia
The Sydney Opera House is a performing arts centre where multiple events are held. It is located at the Sydney Harbour in the city of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It has been recognized as one of the most famous and distinctive buildings in the 20th century.
This building was designed by a Danish architect by the name of Jorn Uzton but it was finished by an Australian Architectural team which is led by Peter Hall. The construction of the building was started by Uzton in 1959 and it was finished by the Australian team in 1973.
The design of this opera house follows a certain modern expressionist style which was a big hit in Europe in the early decades of the 20th century. The eye-catching part of this building is the concrete shells on top of it which are precast concrete panels supported by precast concrete ribs.
Although they appear white from a distance, they actually have a chevron pattern of glossy white and matte cream. This building occupies the whole Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour. This building hosts an average of 1, 500 performances and events per year which is spectated and watched by more than 1.2 million people.
Performances are done by many performing artists but they usually are from the three resident companies that are Opera Australia, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and the Sydney Theatre Company. The building’s management is handled by a New South Wales agency called Sydney Opera House Trust.
The Sydney Opera House is understandably the number one tourist spot in Sydney which over 8 million tourists go here every year and approximately 350, 000 of them take a detailed tour of the building’s interior. This building was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage in 2007 and a finalist on the 7 New Wonders of the World campaign.
Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Burj Khalifa is the name of the most well known skyscraper located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. With a total height of 2, 797.9 meters, this is the highest building and the tallest structure in the world up to this date. The construction of this skyscraper started in 2004 and was completed in 2009. This tower was opened to the public in 2010 as a part of a project called Downtown Dubai.
The decision to create this masterpiece of a skyscraper is due to the government’s appeal for Dubai to be recognized around the world not only as an oil-based economy. The Burj Khalifa was designed by the same group of people that designed the Willis Tower and World Trade Center.
This skyscraper was originally called Burj Dubai but was changed to Burj Khalifa to honour the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab Emirates named Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The reason for this is at one point, the president Khalifa provided more funds for the construction of the skyscraper to go through.
The Great Pyramid of Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt
The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Cheops, is the oldest and the largest pyramid among the three different pyramids located in the Giza pyramid complex. The Giza Pyramid complex, also known as Giza Necropolis, is located in the south western outskirts of Greater Cairo, Egypt.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest structure and the only one left that’s still intact in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This pyramid was believed to be created as a tomb for the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu.
Historians believe that the pyramid was constructed in 10-20 years and was finished around 2560 BC. The pyramid has been the tallest man-made structure in the world for about 3, 800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was built in 1311 AD.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is estimated to weigh around 6 million tonnes because it was built of limestone and granite blocks with a number of 2.3 million blocks that have different weights with some weighing as much as 80 tonnes.
What we see right now in the pyramid is the underlying core structure but when it was finished, it was actually covered with limestone casing stones that give the pyramid a soft outer texture. This pyramid is surrounded by a lot of different temples and smaller pyramids for Khufu’s wives.
Angkor Wat in Angkor, Cambodia
Known to be the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Angkor, Cambodia that covers up to 402 acres of land. The highest point of this temple reaches more than 700 feet in height. Angkor Want means “City of temples” in Khmer.”
This place was originally called Vrah Visnuloka or Parama Visnuloka which means the sacred dwelling of Vishnu. It was constructed in the first half of the 12th century by King Suryavarman II and was finished by Jayavarman VII.
It is said that this place is modelled after the mythological Hindu Mount Meru. Mount Meru is a place where Hindus believe that their ancient Gods lived. It was created by the Khmer Empire as a temple dedicated to Vishnu. It was said to be the reason why the features of this temple were made to face the West side because of Vishnu’s association with the west.
Although it was built to be a Hindu temple, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the late 12th century. It is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Sit and was included in the 7 Wonders of the World.
The walls of this temple is covered with different carvings of apsaras (nymphs) and other mythological events and figures. This is a nice place to visit to see the mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism’s beliefs, mostly the latter, placed in a single temple. It’s also a nice place to visit for those who want to know about Cambodia’s history.
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Towers, also known as Petronas Twin Towers, are two skyscrapers located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This building was constructed first back in 1993 and was completed in 1996. Although the towers were ready, they weren’t officially opened until 1999. The structure of this building follows a tube in tube design which is common for twin towers.
The design of this building is referred to as a distinct postmodern style. Each tower had 88 floor levels. The building was made out of reinforced concrete, with a steel and glass facade that is similar to Islamic art, one characteristic to represent Malaysian’s Muslim religion. Both towers served office purposes in today’s world. Tower 1 currently houses the offices of Petronas, a Malaysian oil and gas company.
Tower 2, however, is available for lease to other companies. These two towers are the tallest landmarks in Kuala Lumpur. But they weren’t only the tallest building in Malaysia.
From 1998 to 2004, the Petronas Twin Towers was the tallest building in the world until they were surpassed by Taipei 101. Although they’re not the tallest building in the world anymore, they’re still the tallest twin towers in the world.