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Architectural Designs: Unique, weird and wonderful

We live in a competitive, technological world, where everyday new skills and tools are being updated to keep up with the constantly evolving world we live in.

More and more is expected of architectural designers and structural engineers to ensure they stand out compared to others within the same field. More recently we’re recognising the importance of providing eco-friendly solutions in every area possible from conception to competition of buildings. Projects need to be energy and cost efficient to comply with today’s outlook and cultural perceptions.

Having a unique building that is atheistically appealing, as well as environmentally friendly, intrigues the public, tourists, the local council and other stakeholders. In some places, projects like this ultimately become an attraction to the city in which it’s created, boasting the revenue for the local community.

Here at Conrad we’ve compiled a list of impressive projects that we think are excellent in terms of architectural and structural design.


City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

Architect: Santiago Calatrava and Felix Candela

Value: £1bn

The first building of this futuristic project was completed in 1998. The City of Arts and Sciences is breath-taking to observe, the technically designed architectural elements are a sight to behold.

Designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, this little city has become one of the top attractions that Valencia has to offer. The buildings are home to an oceanographic aquarium, science museum, entertainment complex and so on.

The structural elements comprises a mix of materials, ensuring a modernistic approach using the latest technology.





Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Architect: Adrian Smith

Engineers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Value: $1.5bn

This tower is the world’s tallest building of aluminium and glass attributes, standing proudly at 512 metres.

The construction piece is designed around the idea of the Hymenocallis flower. A spiralling shape centralising the core, ensuring the structural elements are protected against the wind.

The building is multi-use, ranging from residential and leisure to open event spaces fitted with top of the range, bar lounges.



The Shard, London

Architect: Renzo Piano

Developer: Irvine Sellar (Sellar Property Group)

Engineer: WSP

Value: £1.5bn

A landmark and top tourist attraction sits in the heart of London, towering over buildings across western Europe at 306m.

The Shard, designed by Irvine Seller  (London Bridge Quarter Ltd) and architect Renzo Piano, was fully completed in 2012. Again, a multi-use platform consisting of glass elements- designed to ‘open’ at the tip skyscraper, allowing a more natural development.

Located next to London’s major transport systems, the structure was built to encourage tourism and for travellers and Londoners to use the transport systems provided, resulting in more cars off the road.



Lotus Temple, New Delhi - India

Architect: Fabriboz Sahba

Engineer: Flint & Neill

Value: £16m

The Lotus Temple is a project designed for worshippers of all religions and races in India. The architectural piece replicates the lotus flower, sacred to India.

The structural pieces comprise of 9 petal-shaped concrete pieces, with elements of glass and steel. The structural pieces are open allowing air to breathe through the building. A cost-effective way of ensuring the place is cool during the summer period. The architectural piece was fitted with solar panels where electricity is generated within the building.




The Louvre Pyramid, Paris

Architect: Ioeh Ming Pei

Engineer: Nicolet Chartrand Knoll Ltd, Rice Francis Ritchie, Ian Ritchie

Value: £12m

A modern redevelopment of the pyramids created by the well-established architect Ieoh Ming Pei. A complex arrangement of inter-linked steel and reflective glass, this masterpiece of design is true sight to see.

The vision was to ensure transparency, and so 675 glass panes were fitted by engineers, using small and clear steel structures, with the latest technology.

The project was initially created to improve the accessibility issue with the Louvre Museum, due to an increase in tourists who were visiting.

Built in the 1980s, the pyramid is impressive as it is simplistic.




Flatiron Building New York

ArchitectDaniel Burnham 

Engineer: The Fuller Construction Company

Value: $190m

An unusual design created by Daniel Burnham, nicknamed the “flatiron” building due to its’ resemblance to the common household item. It’s actually the ‘Fuller Building’, a 22-storey, 94 metres tall construction.

Using steel structures, the building is a sturdy fixture. Its’ exterior comprises of limestone and glazed terra-cotta, ensuring the elements and materials are protected against environmental elements- which was the main reason the building was designed in this unique structure.

Evidentially, the triangular shape forms a very narrow angle of the rooms within the building. This creates panoramic views across the city. It’s currently one of top tourist spots of New York.



The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao - Spain

Guggenheim Museum, Frank O. Gehry

Architect: Arata Isozaki, Himmelb (I)au and Frank O. Gehry

Engineers: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and Consentini Associates

Value: £230m

A museum filled with modern and contemporary art. The structure was well-planned with every element carefully designed with a purpose. 

Situated along the Nervion River, this impressive, unique structure reflects the water wonderfully. Its’ reflective panels sparkle against Bilbao’s river.

The designers revolved the architecture around the idea of ‘randomness’. Thousands of structural elements are purposefully designed and placed to reflect the light creating a dazzling effect.

Materials include stone, titanium and glass. With each exhibition area recognised by the designs on the exterior of the building. A truly fascinating architectural piece, unlike any other.


Have a strong passion for architecture and want to work for a company that offers more exciting project exposure? Find a specialist consultant to discuss your ambitions with, or apply for a specific opportunity that excites your architectural flair: Conrad Consulting - Architecture

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Tags: Architecture Thoughts

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