Today, architecture has changed significantly; no longer is a building a simple structure on the urban landscape; it now has something that makes it stand out: texture. Gone are the days when people only waited for the tallest building. Architecture continues to challenge its boundaries, giving us new types of structures that are appealing inside and out. Here are some of the most interesting structures—or wonders—of the world.
Guangzhou TV Tower in Guangzhou, China
What makes this structure most interesting is that unlike many other wonderful structures in the world, this has the features of a woman. This makes it known as the twisted lady, or the supermodel. Two thousand feet high, it is certainly an imposing structure. At the “waist” part (560 feet off the ground), a staircase replaces floors and walls, so that visitors can see the texture of the structure. Inside it are also a couple of rotating restaurants where you can dine with a view, several shops, as well as a movie theatre. If you plan to visit and stay nearby, the Grand Hyatt in Guangzhou is a 23-story hotel in the central business district. It costs around $175 to $230 for a stay for two.
Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa
In a city where soccer is sacred, it is but natural to expect a stadium that reflects the city’s sport. 2010 is the year that an African nation will host the tourney, so Architect Bob van Bebber thought it only right to create a huge, ninety-four-thousand-seater stadium where fans from all over the world can come together. Its interesting design is actually based on a calabash—something that has been turned into a beer stein, a musical instrument, and even a motorcycle helmet. This gourd can be found all over the continent, and its versatility in use speaks much of the unity-amidst-diversity theme. Outside, its earth colors are set into fire by lights. This makes for an amazing place where people off all ages and cultures can come together, relax and share their stories with each other. But it is not just meant for this particular event, as the stadium serves as a symbol, and hope, for the future.
For a brief stay, Athol Place is a quaint ten-room hotel whose gardens are blooming beautifully with purple jacarandas in spring. A suite costs around $320 to $450. Wandies serves a buffet of salads, muttons and dumplings, and their entrees cost $6 to $11.
Design Museum Holon in Holon, Israel
Tired of straight lines and boxed buildings? In Israel, there is a beautiful, expressively-curvy museum that seems to defy traditional design and gravity. Ron Arad’s red-orange steel ribbons wrap around a courtyard, and come together to form the lower gallery’s walls. Different interactive exhibits are placed inside, complementing the structure, and to enter it you must pass through a cave-like entranceway. This impressive work of art made of steel has captivated many, and this design that’s ahead of its time is sure to continue captivating many.
If you need a place to stay in order to experience the place longer, five miles away is a charming 1920s mansion that has just been reconstructed. The Hotel Montefiore is located in Tel Aviv, and has a dozen guestrooms, completely furnished with Bauhaus furniture. A stay for two will cost around $350 to $400. To satisfy your hunger, drop by Charcuterie, whose adornments of antique lamps make it a quaint place to stay while enjoying a surprising meal of pork. Food costs $15 to $20.
Cooper Union in New York
When people talk about environment-friendly designs, we usually imagine a boring, box-shaped structure that is only efficient. Upon seeing Cooper Union, however, no one will think of “green” designs the same way again. Shaped like a cube, there is a hook-like jagged slash right in the middle. A staircase that is twenty feet wide goes up the rooftop atrium, which is also the skylight of the astounding 175, 000 square foot structure. Seventy-five percent of this place makes use of natural lighting, and it makes use of stainless steel panels that are insulating, as well as radiant cooling and heating. All in all, it is forty percent more energy efficient; not bad for a superstructure as this one. A great place where one can hold lectures and look at the architectural exhibits. For $459 to $650 you can stay at Crosby Street Hotel, and The Double Crown restaurant offers Asian-Indio-British fusion cuisine, and their entrees start at $17.
Za Koenji Public Theatre in Tokyo, Japan
Want to experience a different kind of theatre-viewing? Known for it’s dizzying neon lights and colorful people, Tokyo is one city that will never be boring. Yoko Ito’s crater-like theatre is a play on public and private spaces; intending to make it look like an enclosed playhouse, he succeeds in creating a fun space that fits the bright and playful landscape in Tokyo. A thin, black steel covers a silhouette shaped like a scallop, making the imposing thirty-six-thousand square foot structure less intimidating to the performing arts community. Its wonders does not end with its shape however; a concert hall was created flat, but another which serves as the venue for a dance group’s rehearsals makes use of a flooring which bounces back—to help with the cartwheels and jumps.
Peninsula Tokyo is another ingenious place whose stone elements and wooden fixtures hide the rooms’ high-tech features. A stay for two will cost from $670 to $890. Relish the Japanese experience as you dine in Kushibeh, eating yakitori and being fascinated by the walls which are plastered in sake labels.
Calais Fine Arts and Lace Museum in Calais, France
Since the early nineteenth century, Calais has already been producing lace. As homage to this, the Calais Fine Arts and Lace Museum is a steel and glass structure which is L-shaped, a reference to the town’s industrial past. It is definitely a celebration of the creation and beauty of lace, which has been so significant to this town. Designed by Paul Pamart, the museum is also filled with costumes, magazines that feature lace, and naturally, the material itself.
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