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World’s Most Abstract Architecture: Top 5

November 5, 2020

 

 

Santiago Calatrava’s City of Arts and Sciences Building in Valencia, Spain

Santiago Calatrava is an architect born in 1951 in Valencia, Spain. He is an architect, structural design and analyst engineer, sculptor, and painter. Calatrava is known for unifying beauty and function in his buildings and projects. He incorporates many aspects of the human body and nature in his works.

There has been quite some critique on the building style of Calatrava, as many consider it over-the-top and too flamboyant. However, he has also gained great successes with his projects. The largest of these is La Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (The City of Arts and Sciences) in Valencia, which is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. Other buildings include Yuan Ze University in Taipei, and the O’Hare Global Terminal in Chicago.

 

 

 

Rem Koolhaas’s CMG Headquarters in Beijing

Rem Koolhaas is an architect born in 1944 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Next to designing as an architect, Koolhaas is active as a Professor in architectural theories and urban space at Harvard University. Koolhaas is known for his works that embrace modernity. He often uses asymmetry, and unexpected uses of colour. Therefore, he can be seen as a deconstructivist architect.

However, what sets him apart from others in this style is his strong focus on humanity. Urban planning is heavily emphasized, as Koolhaas designs buildings paying attention to the role it plays to people’s everyday life. Koolhaas’ largest project to date is the CMG Headquarters in Beijing. Other famous works are De Rotterdam in Rotterdam, and the BLOX design hub in Copenhagen.

 

 

 

Ieoh Ming Pei’s The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio

Ieoh Ming Pei is an architect born in 1917 in Guangzhou, China. When he was 17 years old, he moved to the US, and never left it. Ieoh Ming Pei unfortunately died in 2019. Pei is often referred to as the master of modern architecture. Even though his work cannot be considered traditional, it is seen as timeless, and often with references to the past. He is known for using simple geometric lines, and developing clean and sharp-edged designs. His goal is to create monumental architectural works.

 

 

 

Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Paula Rego Museum in Lisbon

Eduardo Souto de Moura is an architect born in 1952 in Porto, Portugal. His major works include a contemporary building design of conservatism and modernism. He is sometimes considered to be a neo-Miesian architect, however he himself replies that certainly he had some Miesian influence, but remains to be original. Souto de Moura is always looking for this originality and uniqueness in his works. Besides, paying attention to the global challenges, such as environmental issues, is normal to him. He is known for his well-executed material use, and his often extraordinary colour use.

In 2011 he won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011. This prize is given to architects who have significantly altered society and humanity in a positive manner. One of his marvellous pieces of architecture is the Paula Rego Museum in Lisbon. The design was made in concordance with Paula Rego’s wishes. She stated that the building should be “fun, lively and also a bit mischievous”. Some other famous architecture of Souto de Moura include Estádio Municipal de Braga, and Casa do Cinema, both in Portugal.

 

 

 

Kazuyo Sejima’s Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland 

Kazuyo Sejima was born in 1956 in Ibaraki, Japan. She is known for her clear modernist elements in her designs. In 1995 she decided to partner up with Ryue Nishizawa, one of her former employees, into the architecture studio SANAA. In 2010 SANAA won the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Their focus is on exploring the relationship between interior and exterior space. The buildings are known to reflect their surroundings. Sejima got famous for her buildings with large windows, which create a fluid transition between interior and exterior. One of these buildings that describe Sejima’s style is the Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland. Some other distinctive buildings are the Christian Dior Building in Tokyo, and De Kunstlinie Theater and Cultural Center in Almere.

 

 

Texts by:

Giant Gailis

Architecture Quote

 

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