Thursday, February 3, 2011

Top 5 Favorite Buildings in the World That I Haven’t Seen in Person


My favorite building in the whole world is the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. This was the personal chapel of the king of France and was built in the 13th century. The style is called Rayonnant Gothic, a style that emphasized light and height. It’s like a bird cage where the windows are the walls and the colors look like a jewel box. Sigh! Sainte-Chapelle photo.


Hagia Sophia was commissioned by Justinian in the 6th century. It was built on the site of two previous churches, and once completed, it had the largest dome in the world. During the Ottoman rule, it was converted into a mosque. Hagia Sophia photo by Spectrum Colour Library/Heritage-Images via Brittanica.


The Guggenheim Bilbao was designed by Frank Gehry. It’s the Portuguese branch of the Guggenheim organization; the original is in New York City built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building truly represents how advances in technology allow structures to be free of traditional ideas of structure. It’s organic and industrial at the same time which gives it that amazing look. Photo from Guggenheim Museum.

This Texas museum was designed by Renzo Piano to house the art collection of the de Menil family. Piano makes his spaces so full of light and the sharp edges are just so precise! To me, it is the perfect use of space and light with an airiness that is mind-boggling. Photo from the Menil Collection

Another museum on the list. This is the Jewish Museum in Berlin designed by Daniel Liebskind. Liebskind also plays with the limits of form versus structure like Gehry. His intent with this wing of the museum was to create a dark, confusing, oppressive atmosphere to evoke what the prisoners in concentration camps felt. Some spaces are incredibly claustrophobic and uncomfortable, many are extremely dark, and the layout is like a maze to disorient you. Photo by Jens Ziehe from © Jewish Museum Berlin.
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4 Responses to “Top 5 Favorite Buildings in the World That I Haven’t Seen in Person”

  1. 1

    Alyssa — February 3, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    Love Hagia Sophia! However, while it *was* used as a mosque, the Blue Mosque is actually across the street (built over 1000 yrs later).

  2. 2

    ehalvey — February 3, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Good catch, Alyssa! It's been a while since I've had a Byzantine class to refresh my memory.

  3. 3

    Colin Talcroft — February 15, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

    I enjoyed this post. I'd put Haghia Sophia near the top of my list, too, and St. Chapelle, as you say, is amazing. I've always liked the TWA terminal at JFK, in New York. Too many European cathedrals to mention….. Anyway, very enjoyable blog.

  4. 4

    ehalvey — February 16, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Colin. I don't think I've seen the TWA terminal at JFK. I've only been in that airport once.

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