When architecture is this beautiful, it feels more like you’re looking at something dreamt up by an artist than a functional building. And these five favourites, curated from our Pinterest boards, are definitely artworks in their own right.
Nanjing Wangjing Chapel
Built by AZL architects, this chapel is perfectly reflected in the adjacent Nanjing river in China, and is inspired by three things: the quality of wood, embedded geometries and natural light. The exposed timber planks inside lead up to a thin skylight than spans the entire length of the roof, allowing loads of brilliant light to flood the interior.
Heydar Aliyev Center
It’s pretty much impossible to compile a list of architectural wonders without including something by the late Zaha Hadid. And the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, brilliantly illustrates why she was dubbed ‘the queen of the curve’. Azerbaijan wanted something that reflected the romance and optimism of the newly free city of Baku following the country’s breakaway from the Soviet Union, and this structure does the job beautifully. See more of our favourite buildings by Hadid here.
Emporia Shopping Centre
If any building is fit for the set of Eldorado, it’s this one. The spectacular Emporia shopping centre in Sweden was designed by Wingårdhs. It features a giant glass chasm that stretches across a grid shell structure and curves up and back to allow daylight to enter into the courtyard within.
Designed by architect Coetzee Steyn, the Bosjes chapel near Wellington in South Africa has a dramatically curved, flowing roof that makes the entire building appear as though it’s floating on two large ponds of water. Beyond it – and visible from every angle inside the structure, which has glass walls on all sides – are vistas of the Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountains, which provide this exceptional building with a glorious backdrop. Read more about the beautiful Bosjes Estate, here.
Japanese architect Takashige Yamashita designed this nursery near Mount Fuji to welcome people approaching from all directions. The sculptural roof undulates above glass-walled rooms and makes the building appear to be open on all sides. Plus the light wood and many windows make the interior feel bright and spacious, creating a perfect gathering space for the surrounding community.
Find more breathtaking buildings on our ‘Incredible Architecture’ Pinterest board.