When many think of design, they think fashion and web design; few think about the design that goes into the very buildings to which we work, live, and are entertained. Design can be simple and expected, or it can be the unexpected, like the buildings below. Today I would like to showcase six of my favorite architectural masterpieces on planet earth. While judging the beauty, keep in mind all the mathematical calculation that the architects had to go through.
Mathematics and architecture have always been close, not only because architecture depends on developments in mathematics, but also their shared search for order and beauty, the former in nature and the latter in construction. Mathematics is indispensable to the understanding of structural concepts and calculations. It is also employed as visual ordering element or as a means to achieve harmony with the universe. Here geometry becomes the guiding principle.
Beijing National Stadium – Beijing, China
Designed by a team of architects, namely Chinese architect Li Xinggang and Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the concept behind this building was to make it as natural looking as possible. Construction took a little more than 4 years and required about 33 million dollars. The building is comprised of an open steel structure with waterproof semi-transparent air bubble film covering it.
Cubic Houses – Rotterdam, Netherlands
Designed by the now deceased Dutch architect Piet Blom, the design of these houses’ is one of his claims to fame. Deemed the “Cubic Houses,” each of these 1980s built homes, 40 in total, consist of three split levels; the bottom level is a living area, the middle level features a sleeping and bathroom area, and the top level is either a second bedroom or living area. According to Blom, this was meant to represent, “a kind of village within a main city, a safe haven in which anything could happen.”
Dancing Building – Prague, Czech Republic
Located next to the Vltava River, this structure, known as the Dancing House (Tan?ící d?m) was built between 1992 and 1996. It is a staple of Prague due not only to its interesting design, but to the views of the Vltava River and Prague Castle. The building was designed by Czech architect Vlado Vlado Miluni? and American architect Frank O Gehry in the early 1990s. Inspired by the dancing duo Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers, the architects initially named the building the “Astaire & Rogers Building.”
Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao, Spain
Who hasn’t heard of the Guggenheim Museum? Built in the late 1990s and designed by Frank Gehry, this beautifully crafted museum is located in Bilbao, Spain. The building’s design is one that exemplifies Gehry’s signature style described as sleek, curvy, and free.
The Urban Cactus – Amsterdam, Netherlands
A project not yet completed, this future housing project was designed by UCX Architects as well as Ben Huygen and Jasper Jaegers. The concept was to form a building that not only was green, but looked “green”. Complete with curvaceous balconies designed to allow for optimal sunlight on residents’ balcony gardens, and a light colored overall exterior, this building’s purpose was certainly fulfilled.
Wozoco’s Apartments – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Faced by high demand for housing and to retain green, open spaces, Amsterdam’s WoZoCo apartments were designed to accommodate said demand. Designed by MVRDV, a Dutch architecture firm, the building’s interesting design will accommodate 100 units built specifically for elderly residents.
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