7 modern architectural wonders

Conde Nast Traveler, an American travel magazine, in its April issue highlighted seven mega architectural wonders stretching from China to Dubai to Canada.

New Museum of Contemporary Art (Manhattan, US)

New York Times described it as ‘viewing art in a stack of boxes’. As you climb out of the Prince Street subway station at Broadway in lower Manhattan, New York, a gleaming apparition grabs your attention. Designed by Japanese architects Kazuo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the firm SANAA, the $50 million, 60,000-square-foot-building is an eight-story stack of shiny, metallic boxes set off-kilter from one another. The museum contains several levels of galleries, which are designed as high-ceilinged, white-walled spaces, with concrete floors and narrow skylights illuminating one side.

Cumulus (Nordborg, Denmark)

An exhibit hall at Danfoss Universe, Nordborg, Denmark, and Cumulus is a spectacular building, which has an irregular roof, curves and angles, like a bite taken out of a cloud. The building openened on May 5, 2007. Designed by Jurgen H Mayer, the 1,000 sqm building hosts varying exhibitions throughout the year. The interior of the Cumulus building is kept in black and white, the only accents being the red cushions on the stairs and the exhibition props.

Kogod Courtyard (Washington DC, US)

The Kogod Courtyard, with its elegant glass canopy designed by world renowned architect Norman Foster, opened to the public on November 23, 2007 at the historic Patent Office Building that houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Foster, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (1999), worked with the Smithsonian to create an innovative enclosure for the 28,000-square-foot (2,601-sq-meter) space at the centre of the building that is sensitive to the historic structure; the new ‘floating’ roof does not rest on the original building which was built in phases between 1836 and 1868.

Wembley Stadium (London, UK)

The new Wembley Stadium in London is an architectural masterpiece. It is the equivalent of 25,000 double-decker buses; the total length of the escalators is the same as a 400 meter running track; the stadium roof rises to 52 meters above the pitch; the new pitch is four meters lower than the previous one. Each of the two giant screens in the new stadium is the size of 600 domestic television sets. The soft drink dispensers can pour 30,000 cups in a little over 10 minutes Approximately 40,000 pints of beer can be served during half time in a football/rugby league match. The arch is 133 meters above the level of the external concourse. With a span of 315 meters, the arch is the longest single span roof structure in the world. With a diameter of 7.4 meters the arch is wide enough for a Channel Tunnel train to run through. The stadium will be a centerpiece of the 2012 Olympics.

Burj Dubai (UAE)

Burj Dubai is the world’s tallest building once completed. The final height of the building is a well kept secret because of ‘competition.’ But it is speculated that it will be around 2,275 feet and will exceed 160 floors. The tower is being constructed by a South Korean company, Samsung Engineering & Construction. This company also built the PETRONAS Twin Towers in Malaysia and the Taipei 101. The interior will be decorated by Giorgio Armani. An Armani Hotel will occupy the lower 37 floors. Floors 45 through 108 will have 700 private apartments. An outdoor swimming pool will be located on the 78th floor of the tower. Corporate offices and suites will fill most of the remaining floors, except for a 123rd floor lobby and 124th floor indoor/outdoor observation deck. It will also boast of the world’s fastest elevator.

The Crystal (Toronto, Canada)

The Crystal is the dramatic highlight of a $270 million renovation project intended to boost the Royal Ontario Museum’s role as a Toronto focal point. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the Crystal comprises five interlocking, self-supporting prismatic structures that interface with, but are not attached to, the original historic Royal Ontario Museum buildings. The exterior is 25 per cent glass and 75 per cent extruded-brushed, aluminum-cladding strips in a warm silver color. The steel beams, each unique in its design and manufacture and ranging from 1 to 25 meters in length, were lifted one by one to their specific angle, creating complicated angle joints, sloped walls, and gallery ceilings. Approximately 3,500 tons of steel and 38 tons of bolts were used to create the skeleton, and roughly 9,000 cubic meters of concrete were poured. Michael Lee-Chin’s (chairman, Portland Holdings Inc) extraordinary $30 million gift to the ROM is an act of both gratitude and hope.

Red Ribbon (Qinghuang Dao, China)

The Tang He River Park site is a river corridor at the outskirts of the fast developing city of Qinghuang Dao, China, with lush vegetation and diverse species but was occupied by deserted irrigation structures and garbage dumps. Turenscape took a minimum design approach, integrating ecological principles with modern art. A ‘ribbon’ made of steel was introduced across the whole area parallel to the river and penetrates through the willow grove. This ‘red ribbon’ provides seating and displays native plants.

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