Architecture is a crucial aspect of our society as the cities and towns we live in would not exist without it. Architecture is so prevalent throughout history that it is considered an art form of building and designing structures. There have been numerous examples of significant architectural landmarks throughout history, like the Eiffel Tower or the Great Pyramids. But have you ever wondered who is responsible for all the best of the modern structures and buildings that you see around you? Probably not as much as you’ve thought about their works themselves.
Therefore, we will talk about the world’s top 20 brilliant architects and their works.
Ben van Berkel
Ben van Berkel is a renowned architect who is a founder of UNStudio, one of the most prominent architecture firms in the world. He studied architecture in Amsterdam and London, after which he began the pursuit of turning his theoretical ideas into practice. His firm has been responsible for building many famous structures, buildings, and even furniture designs. The Mercedes Benz Museum was designed by them and had a unique triangular design at the core of its structure that mimics the Mercedes Benz logo. They also designed the World Horticultural Expo in China that boasts a design that is a nice blend between science and nature. They have also a green vision of the future city that is entirely self-sufficient and green.
Bernard Tschumi is a famous architect whose works are generally associated with deconstructivism, which is the breaking down of structures, usually as a sign of rebellion against classic architecture. Some of these works include the Acropolis Museum in Athens and the Le Rosey Concert Hall. These structures are renowned but have also gained considerable criticism as many people feel that his designs aren’t practical enough for human needs. However, others have said that his buildings have a sense of grace, which stands out from more fancy structures.
Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect who founded the BIG architectural group with many renowned architectural designs worldwide. He was even named among the 100 Most Influential People by TIME magazine for his architectural contributions. His architectural philosophy involves the combination of art and science to create giant structures that improve people’s lives. He is part of notable design projects, including the 2 World Trade Center, which will replace the original Twin Towers demolished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His firm has even designed the Mars Dune Alpha for NASA in Houston, Texas, for the Mars exploration program.
Christian De Portzamparc
Christian De Portzamparc is a leading French architect who learned the craft from New York and Paris. He was even awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize and was given the most prestigious French city planning award. His designs are renowned for being quite bold and artistic, making him one of the best architects for designing opera and concert halls. Some of these landmark buildings include the Cidade das Arte in Brazil and the Philharmonie Luxembourg. He has also designed towers such as the unique Lille Tower in France.
Dominique Perrault is a renowned French architect who has won several awards and distinctions for his contribution to architecture. His designs have had several interpretations from different people who believe minimalist designs and conceptual arts inspire him. They have noted how he values space in his designs, which is seen mainly in the French National Library design, which was given the silver medal for city planning by France. He has also designed several structures for Olympics purposes, including the Olympic Tennis Center in Madrid and the Olympic Swimming Pool in Germany. He is currently working on the Olympic and Paralympic Village for Olympics Paris 2024.
Daniel Libeskind is an architect that founded his architecture studio with his wife, Nina, in Berlin, Germany. His studio has designed a wide variety of structures, including buildings, sculptures, and concert halls. His design philosophy is to create innovative and modern structures but are also balanced out by contemporary design to ‘not forget the past.’ While his works have been renowned by the majority, they have also received a lot of criticism for having elements of deconstructivism and using limited structural elements. Some of his most notable works include the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Great Canal Theatre in Dublin, and the Reflections luxury residential area in Singapore.
Norman Foster is a renowned British architect who is the founder of the most extensive architectural practice in the UK. He has been recognized for his contributions to architecture through several awards, including the royal decree of having the title of Baron. He is a key figure in developing high-tech architecture, which incorporates cutting-edge technology into architectural designs. He has designed several renowned structures, including the Millau Viaduct in France and Apple offices, for which he worked closely with the CEO, Steve Jobs. His structures give off extremely modernistic vibes, which are seen in the most notable buildings in the modern development of the Middle East.
Jean Nouvel is a French architect who has received several distinctions throughout his career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the Pritzker Prize. The Arab World Institute he designed in Paris helped him receive international fame and has led to him designing several notable structures worldwide. He has also taken part in several intellectual debates about architecture. He generally has exceptionally provocative opinions about architecture as he does not like to follow the norms, which is why he has received a lot of criticism. What he aims to do in his designs is always think out of the box to come up with something unique, which helps him stand out in the architectural world. Some other notable structures he has created are the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Agbar Tower in Barcelona.
Jeanne Gang is an American architect who founded Studio Gang, which is a renowned architectural firm. Her design of the Aqua Tower in Chicago led to her gaining recognition as the tallest designed building by a woman. She later broke this record in 2021 with the construction of St. Regis Chicago. She has received many notable awards for her projects and was named World’s Most Influential Architect in 2019 by Time Magazine. Her design projects implement a lot of research and experimentation as she considers modern and traditional approaches, making her unique.
Joshua Prince-Ramus is an American architect renowned for being influential in his craft at a very young age. This has led to him receiving several recognitions, such as being listed in the ‘5 greatest architects under 50’ by The Huffington Post and ‘The 20 Essential Young Architects’ by ICON Magazine. Some of the notable projects he is currently working on are The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center and the Necklace Residence in New York. He brings modernist designs that integrate green solutions that make it a good representation of the current and future of modern architecture.
Ken Yeang is a Malaysian architect renowned for ecological architecture and having green aesthetics in his designs. He is one of the pioneers for sustainable architectural design, which has led to people considering him as one of the people who will save the planet by the Guardian newspaper. He employs bioclimatic design in his architectural structures and assesses the region’s climate where the structure is being built. Many people believe that he simply adds greenery to his structures, but he also adds a complete habitat to them to integrate seamlessly with the environment. He has won several awards for his work on sustainable architecture, like the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Ma Yansong is a Chinese architect who founded the MAD architectural firm based in China. He is renowned for making a name for himself in the architecture world for his unique designs from a very young age. He takes inspiration from the famous Chinese scientist, Qian Xuesen who criticized the industrialization that cities in China were heading towards. He felt that this direction would lead to soullessness and lack of spirit, which was necessary for the country. Ma Yansong took this a step further, saying that a city must also evoke emotion from its people and tries to bring this spirit into his designs. This can be seen in his unique projects like the Absolute Towers in Canada and Harbin Opera House in China.
Moshe Safdie is a renowned architect that is considered to have inspired generations of architects. His works are notable for being socially responsible and humanely designed to include social and cultural elements of the place where they are being built. He has created airports, urban centers, and civic institutions on these principles, leading to him becoming internationally renowned. Many of his works are also known to integrate nature into them, like the Albert Einstein Institution in Brazil and the Surbana Jurong Campus in Singapore. Other famous designs he is known for are the Jewel Changi Airport and Habitat 67.
Rafael Moneo is a Spanish architect who won the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1986. His works are renowned for enhancing urban spaces with modern designs and having spacious interiors that use cultural designs. This makes his designs ideal for universally bettering urban areas. He is also renowned as an architectural academic and has been published in several publications.
Rafael Vinoly is an Uruguayan architect and founded his practice with the same name that currently practices worldwide, including Europe, Asia, Africa, the USA, and the Middle East. His practice gained a lot of fame in South America for completing many projects within a short range of time, which led to high demand for his work. Some of his notable works include 432 Park Avenue and the Curve Theatre. However, his works have received criticism for causing intense sun glare due to curved glass exteriors that have reportedly melted some automobiles and burned carpets in shops.
Rem Koolhaas is an influential Dutch architect that is considered a representative of deconstructivism in architecture. Additionally, he is also considered one of the more important architectural thinkers, which Time magazine recognized when they put him in the Top 100 of the World’s Most Influential People in 2008. He had worked on several notable buildings and is known for putting twists in typical architectural structures like skyscrapers, like when he patented the horizontal skyscraper design. Some famous designs of his are the Central China Television Headquarters in Beijing and the new Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Renzo Piano is an established Italian architect who received several awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Award in 1998. He is renowned for building several structures over three decades, resulting in his designs being used worldwide and spanning a wide variety of formats. His notable designs include the Kansai International Airport, The New York Times Building, and The Shard in the UK. He also founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, which has over 150 staff that have experience working in various countries.
Richard Meier (bad reputation)
Richard Meier is an American architect well known for using the color white in geometric designs he employs in his works. Although he had established himself in the architecture world, his design of the Getty Center led to international recognition. He received many recognitions, including the Pritzker Prize in 1984. Some other notable works of his include the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and Meier on Rothschild. His legacy has been tainted significantly after a series of sexual harassment and assault allegations.
Peter Eisenman is an internationally renowned architect known for being deconstruction, formalist, and high modernist in his designs. It is often alleged that he likes his designs to be provocative and perceived as hostile to humanity. He has received several awards for his work, including the Gold Medal for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and the Wolf Foundation Prize. He has embarked on several large-scale projects that include the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the University of Phoenix Stadium.
Robert Stern is an architect who is renowned for his post-modern style of architecture, where he integrates classical elements into his designs. This has led to him being awarded the Driehaus Architecture Prize for his contribution to contemporary classical architecture. Although he worked on private houses, he is better known for designing large and tall apartment complexes. He has even gone away from these approaches towards classical designs in recent years, largely depending on his projects. His more notable works include the George W. Bush Presidential Center and Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
Architecture is an undeniable part of our society and has been part of our history for centuries. Most of them have been immortalized, with many even being considered historical landmarks that attract many tourists. However, we often tend not to appreciate the creators of these works, especially of modern designs prevalent in the cities we live in. We hope this article has been informative and has helped you learn about some of our contemporary world’s most brilliant architectural minds.