1Capital Gate – Abu Dhabi, UAE
This leaning tour in the UAE puts the Tower of Pisa to shame. Capital Gate, a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi adjacent to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, is designed with a striking lean. At 160 m (520 ft) tall with 35 stories, it is one of the tallest buildings in the city and inclines 18° to the west.
In June 2010, Guinness World Records certified Capital Gate as the “World’s Furthest Leaning Man-Made Tower.” The record shows that the Capital Gate has been built to lean more than four times that of the Leaning Tower of Suurhusen.
How does the tower stand without toppling over? The gravitational pressure caused by the 18° incline is countered by a technique called pre-cambered core, which uses a core of concrete reinforced with steel that is deliberately built slightly off-center. It is also anchored to the ground by 490 piles, which are drilled 20–30 meters underground.
2Sunrise Kempinski Hotel – Beijing, China
In the hotel industry, 2015 is a year of remarkable openings and re-openings. While the Middle East continues to wow, China is rising as a hospitality hotspot. Two amazing architectural feats are set to debut in Beijing this year. One of the most awe-inspiring is certainly the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel in Beijing.
On the edge of a lake, 60 kilometers outside of Beijing is a building with the ultimate feng shui. “Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, Beijing embodies the shape of the rising sun and symbolises harmony, unity and infinity. From the side, the hotel is shaped like a scallop, which represents ‘fortune’ in Chinese culture. The front view is that of the ‘Rising Sun,’ which is symbolic of the ‘fast-developing economy of China.’ The main entrance of the hotel is shaped like the mouth of a fish, which is symbolic of ‘prosperity,'” says the hotel’s official press release.
The hotel is covered with an exterior of 10,000 glass panels that stretch to a span of 18,075 sq.m. They are arranged in such a manner that the top portion of the building reflects the color of the sky, the middle reflects the Yanshan Mountains and the bottom reflects the lake.
3The Marina Bay Sands Hotel – Singapore
Possibly the biggest and most well-known chunk of the Singapore skyline, the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino consists of three towers with a giant boat-like structure joining them at the top (57th floor). On said floor, there’s an infinity pool overlooking the entire Central District, a restaurant/chocolate bar, and the ever popular Ku De Ta Club. The ground level connects directly to the metro system and has it’s own shopping mall, which comes complete with a gondola pond, skating rink, and food court. It’s the most expensive stand-alone casino property and is valued at $8 billion. It was designed by ab Israeli/Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie, who says its look was inspired by card decks.
4Cumulus – Nordborg, Denmark
Is it a meteorite? A cell? A molecule? “There are many possibilities—that’s exactly the project’s intention,” says Berlin-based architect Jürgen Mayer H. of his design. The Cumulus Building is an exhibit hall and addition to Danfoss Universe, a science and technology museum near the southern Denmark headquarters of its namesake thermal engineering conglomerate (the other addition is a similarly alien-looking cafeteria).
In 2007, it was chosen as one of the “new seven wonders of the architecture world” by Conde Nast Traveler, a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine.
5City of Arts and Sciences – Valencia, Spain
The City of Arts and Sciences is an entertainment-based cultural and architectural complex in Valencia, Spain. It is the most important modern tourist destination in that city.
The complex is situated at the end of Turia’s former riverbed, which was drained and rerouted after a catastrophic flood in 1957. (The riverbed was turned into a picturesque sunken park.)
Designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and built in July 1996, it is an impressive example of modern architecture. The “city” is made up of the following: El Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofía — an opera house and performing arts centre; L’Hemisfèric — an Imax cinema; the Planetarium and Laserium; L’Umbracle — a walkway/garden; El Museu de Les Ciències Príncipe Felipe — the science museum; L’Oceanogràfic — an open-air aquarium; and Ágora — a versatile space where varied events will take place.
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6Akshardham Temple – Delhi, India
Counted among the world’s most wondrous houses of worship, Akshardham Temple in New Delhi showcases the blend of technical modernity with traditional architectural styles.
Covering an area of over 8,000 square meters on the banks of the Yamuna river, the sprawling sandstone-marble temple was built without any steel. The building attracts the bulk of the area’s tourists to the Indian capital.
Opened in 2005, this is the second monument inspired and developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham.
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7Chapel of the Holy Cross – Arizona, USA
Spectacularly situated between red rock towers in Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Catholic chapel constructed in 1956. The chapel was built on a twin-pinnacled spur about 250 feet high, and juts out over a thousand foot red rock wall. Its construction was something of a miracle in itself.
The chapel is a fine example of modern architecture, and all attention is focused on a great window and cross behind the altar. The unique architecture and location of the Chapel of the Holy Cross are the inspirations of Marguerite Bruswig Staude, who, when she went on a trip to New York City in 1932, observed that a cross could be seen in the newly constructed Empire State Building when viewed from a certain angle. She was then inspired to build a church based on that design. Staude looked all over Europe and the U.S. for an ideal location, before setting on the majesty of Sedona.
8Infinity Tower – Dubai, UAE
The Infinity Tower is the world’s tallest high-rise building with a twist. The unique and almost complete skyscraper spirals an amazing 90? from its base to its crown, 305 meters (1,000 feet) above the ground.
The 80-story high residential tower has dynamic waterfront views, which depend on its elevation. Amazingly, there is not a single structural pillar anywhere inside the building.
9Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia
One of the oldest buildings on our modern list (inaugurated in 1973), The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most architecturally recognizable.
The building, with its soaring white roof and shell-shaped sails atop a massive, red granite platform, has been internationally acclaimed as an architectural icon of the 20th century. It is the focal point of Sydney Harbour and a reflection of its character.
A great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape—at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour—the building has had an enduring influence on architecture. The Sydney Opera House comprises three groups of interlocking vaulted “shells” which roof two main performance halls and a restaurant. These shell structures are set upon a vast platform and are surrounded by terrace areas that function as pedestrian concourses. In 1957, when the project of the Sydney Opera House was awarded by an international jury to Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it marked a radically new approach to construction.
It is the youngest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
10Nagoya Science Museum and Planetarium – Aichi, Japan
The Nagoya City Science Museum is located in Sakae, Nagoya, at the center of Nagoya City in central Japan. The building was designed in the form of a giant ball placed between rectangular holders and houses the world’s largest planetarium, which is equipped with a 35-meter projection dome. In 2012, much of the museum was renovated to coincide with the opening of the planetarium. The upper floor of the building currently houses a museum display of space and future technologies.