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There are lots of lists with rundowns of the wonders of the world. From the ancient to the natural, the lists have encompassed everything from the Great Pyramid of Gaza to the Great Barrier Reef. And with so many notable buildings currently standing, we thought we would compile our own list for the seven modern wonders of the world.
Empire State Building
The colossal Empire State Building, 102-stories high, is currently the fifth-tallest skyscraper in the United States. Designed by William F. Lamb, the Empire State Building is an American cultural icon. Construction of the building began in 1930 and was part of a competition in New York for the title of ‘world’s tallest building.’ It is certainly one of the most famous and recognised buildings in the world. It is a highly appreciated piece of architecture in America, and it has been represented in popular culture numerous times. Also, in 1983, a balloon company recreated the infamous skyscraper scene in King Kong, by attaching an inflatable King Kong to the Empire State Building, which was in celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary.
The Petronas Towers are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From 1998 to 2004, they were the tallest buildings in the world, and today they remain the tallest twin towers in the world. Designed by architect Cesar Pelli, they are landmark buildings in the Malaysian capital and the towers also feature a double decker sky bridge connecting the two buildings, which is the highest two-story bridge in the world and famously saw Catherine Zeta Jones clinging to it in the film Entrapment.
London’s Shard is a glass-clad pyramid tower and currently the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the fifth tallest in Europe. It was built as a replacement for the Southwark towers, and was designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano. The structure was completed in 2012 and it is made up of 11,000 glass panels on the exterior. The name of the building was inspired by the criticism that Piano’s design faced from English heritage, a charity that manages the National Heritage collection, which is a portfolio of the country’s historic buildings and designs. They claimed that the building would be “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London.”
Located in Bilbao, Spain, the Guggenhiem Museum is a contemporary and modern art museum. It is one of the largest museums in Spain, and features various works by Spanish and international artists. It has become a popular tourist attraction and in its first three years, the museum was visited by nearly 4 million people. The building is a very contemporary and innovative design, with curves on the exterior intended to be appear unconventional. It is one of the most admired works in contemporary architecture. Despite being hailed as a “signal moment in architectural culture,” it did face some criticism of being a symbol of cultural imperialism. However, it is widely considered a masterpiece of the 20th century.
As the tallest building in the world, standing at 829m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is no doubt a modern wonder of the world. Not only is it the world’s tallest building, but it only took five years to complete, which is a speed record for such a large construction. The building was named in honour of the President of the United Arab Emirates, and the ruler of Abu Dhabi. It was built to be the centrepiece of a large development that would feature several thousands of homes. and a surrounding 27-acre park. The building has even been used in popular culture, as some of the scenes in the American film, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, were shot on the Burj Khalifa, and Tom Cruise performed many of the stunts himself.
Also known as Casa Mila, La Pedrera is a modernist building in Barcelona, Spain. The building was commissioned by Pere Mila i Camps and his wife in 1906 and was completed six years later. The building is recognised and characteriszed for its self-supporting stone façade. The huge chimney tops that resemble medieval knights, and the building’s rippling structure, make the building rather unusual in appearance, but it is the La Pedrera’s uniqueness that makes it so remarkable. It is a popular tourist attraction and it is a venue to many concerts throughout the summer, as well as providing a terrace bar in the roof. La Pedrera was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984, so it is very much a landmark building.
Sydney Opera House
And finally, The Sydney Opera House is the most distinctive and popular attraction in Australia. It is a multi-performing arts centre and hosts well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by an enormous 1.2 million people. The Sydney Opera House has several different venues and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building every year. The Sydney Opera House’s structure and style is Expressionist Modernism, and it has been described as a “great urban sculpture set”. Also, the building was listed as a World Heritage site in 2007.
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