10 Best Eye-Popping Modern Buildings

  • The Shard

    The Shard in London, England

    Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Renzo Piano, the Shard has already become a much loved – and hated by some – iconic London landmark since its completion in early 2013. The tallest building in Western Europe is meant to look like a shard of glass piercing the heart of London, and the view from the top is nothing short of spectacular.

    Photo courtesy of Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

  • Glasgow Riverside Museum

    Glasgow Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Scotland

    Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid, the woman behind the Glasgow Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, holds the distinction of being the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize for her distinctively futuristic design concepts featuring fragmented geometry. The Riverside Museum houses the Glasgow Museum of Transport and Travel.

    Photo courtesy of nuklr.dave

  • Burj Al Arab

    Burj Al Arab in Dubai, UAE

    Architect Tom Wright earned a spot on the modernist elite list for his compelling design of the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. The already iconic Emirates hotel – located on its own artificial island – is meant to look like a sail billowing in the wind. The inner detailing of the atrium is just as impressive as the building's exterior facade.

    Photo courtesy of Burj Al Arab

  • Torre Agbar

    Torre Agbar in Barcelona, Spain

    Thanks to the influence of Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona is no stranger to eye-popping architecture. The latest addition to the city's skyline, the phallic-like Torre Agbar, was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel to resemble a geyser jutting into the sky. At night, 4,500 LED lights illuminate the building in bright colors.

    Photo courtesy of Pedro Belleza

  • Habitat 67

    Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada

    Israeli–Canadian architect Moshe Safdie originally designed Montreal's Habitat 67 for his master's thesis during his days at McGill University. When the residential complex was constructed on the banks of the Lawrence River in 1985, it became one of the most significant architectural landmarks in all of Canada.

    Photo courtesy of Ryan Dickey

  • City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia

    City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia, Spain

    Fully completed in 2005, the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain looks like the set of a futuristic sci-fi film. The Spanish duo Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela who designed the complex worked on it for over 10 years amid a political firestorm over financial concerns. The controversial project is responsible for 20 percent of Valencia's significant debt.

    Photo courtesy of vil.sandi

  • Lotus Temple

    Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India

    The flower-like Lotus Temple in New Delhi serves as the headquarters of the Baha'i religious movement. The modern expressionist design by architect Fariborz Sahba  – a Baha'i devotee himself – has bagged numerous awards and has become one of the most-visited buildings in the world.

    Photo courtesy of Peter Verkhovensky

  • Notre Dame du Haut

    Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchomp, France

    The Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchomp, France may very well be the crowning achievement of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, known as a pioneer of modern architecture. The asymmetrical colored glass windows within the church are meant to impart a feeling of sacredness to the space.

    Photo courtesy of John Lord

  • The Eden Project

    The Eden Project in Cronwall, UK

    The collection of biomes known collectively as the Eden Project, located in Cornwall, was the brain child of British architect Nicholas Grimshaw. Inside, you'll find thousands of plant species divided into thematic gardens, with environmental education at the heart of its vision.

    Photo courtesy of Karen Roe