We recently told you about some of our favorite US architecture, and now we're going international. These 10 masterpieces are certainly not the only buildings to see, but each one has the history, unique features and just plain wow factor to make them well worth the trip.
1. La Sagrada Familia (above) — And you thought your construction project was slow! This Barcelona building project began all the way back in 1882. Catalan architect Gaudi designed and worked on this gothic masterpiece until his death in 1926. Built only with donated funds, the project is still uncompleted but is nonetheless a must-see Barcelona landmark.
2. Lloyd's of London
Richard Rogers designed this "inside-out" skyscraper to recall traditional gothic architecture but in a completely sleek, modern way, making the 25-year-old building an interesting stylistic mix between London's wealth of historic buildings and its modern, new construction.
3. The Dancing House
It's nickname is Fred and Ginger and you can probably guess why. This 1996 Prague building was co-designed by Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic. Today it houses offices, but you can still head to the roof's restaurant to enjoy not only the architecture, but the river views as well.
4. Marcel Sembat High School
Photo via Business Insider.
This 2011 project in Sotteville lès Rouen, France is a technical automobile high school which required both classrooms and large interior garage spaces. French architecture firm archi5 updated existing buildings (of varying in age and condition) and garages and unified them using green roofs and sloping walls to blend the building into the surrounding landscape.
5. One Bligh Street
This Sydney, Australia office tower is not only super-cool and curvy to look at, it's friendly on the environment, too. It utilizes a double skin with outer louvers to regulate temperature, solar panels to produce energy and a basement sewage plant to recycle 90% of the building's waste water.
6. Druzhba Holiday Center
Photo by Frederic Chaubin via Creative Hotels
This late Soviet-era structure was built in 1984 by Igor Vasilevsky in the once-thriving resort town of Yalta, Ukraine and now functions as a hotel. Guests enter the spaceship-like property by a catwalk bridge and, as you may guess, enjoy panoramic views of the black sea.
7. Leaning Tower of Pisa
If not for the soft ground that caused its steep lean, this structure may have been just another Italian bell tower. It was completed in stages over the course of 200 years between 1173 and 1373 but continued to drift slowly for several more centuries until it was near collapse. Finally, in 2001, engineers' stabilization efforts (removing soil from the raised side to level it out) paid off, buying the tower an estimated 300 more years of standing upright.
8. Sheraton Huzhow Resort
Designed by Chinese architect Ma Yasong (who is also known for projects such as Absolute World in Ontario) the Huzhou, China resort is 27 stories of luxury on Taihu lake. It's appropriately nicknamed the 'horseshoe hotel' for its unique, arching shape.
9. Taj Mahal
Ringing in as the best architectural romantic gesture, the Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1653 by emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his third wife Mumtaz Mahal after her death. Its not only a World Heritage Site and a gorgeous example of Mughal architecture, but it hosts millions of visitors every year.
10. Louvre Pyramid
This glass pyramid is fascinating not for only its geometric glass (conspiracy theorists say there are exactly 666 panes) but also for its stark contrast with the rest of the building (which was originally a 12th century fortress) and surrounding gardens. I.M. Pei designed this alternative Louvre entrance in 1989 and it has since become one of the most iconic symbols of Paris.
(Image credits: Shutterstock; Lloyd's on London; Shutterstock; Business Insider; Wikipedia Commons; Creative Hotels; Shutterstock; Sheraton; Shutterstock; Shutterstock)