Throughout the years, architecture has evolved to not only accommodate all human needs, but to also push the boundaries of imagination and exceed our expectation of size and shape. The competition for the world’s tallest, quirkiest, greenest or most futuristic building have been head to head between some pretty impressive architectural accomplishments, a stand alone symbol of the country’s progress and forward thinking development. Here at DYH we choose our top 3 architectural marvels, which amaze with their unusual forms and expression, making a deserved entrance into design history books.
Great Arch of Defense (Paris, France)
Located in the Parisian district La Defence, the blueprint of the Great Arch of Defence was the winner of an international architectural competition Tete Defence, which gathered in total 424 architects from around the world. Its simple, pure and at the same time imposing structure swayed the first place, credits to the unknown back than architect – J.O. Von Spreckelsen. The arch was launched in 1987 and it involved 2000 workers and 2 whole years to complete.
The inspiration for the winning design came as a 20th century twist of the Arc de Triomphe, in order to touch on the symbol of humanity rather than military victories. The structure is executed with a concrete base, covered with glass and 350,000 slabs of Carrara marble. The building is almost a perfect cube with a hollow centre playing with the notion of heaviness and lightness. The arch also features a cloud-like tent which adds a dynamic feel to the sturdy straight forms of the arch as well as sheltering visitors from the sun and rain. This fine mixture of opacity and transparency is what makes the Great Arch of Defense an enduring symbol of Paris.
The Piano and Violin House (Anhui, China)
Built in 2007, by architect students at the Hefei University of Technology, the Piano and Violin shaped building stands as a unique merge between sculpture and architecture. Currently used as a showroom for city planners for the newly created district of Shannan in Huainan City, China, the main hall of the building is positioned on the piano floor – a vast open plan space that can definitely accommodate some musical events in the near future.
This floor is accessible via the transparent violin structure, which holds the elevator an staircase of the building. The unusual architecture has become a popular tourist destination as well as preferred space for weddings and official ceremonies. The building has been created to a scale of 50:1 and offers beautiful outline illumination of the edges of the building at night.
Hotel Marques De Riscal (Elciego, Spain)
Located in the medieval village Elciego in the Basque country of northern Spain, Hotel Marques De Riscal is the unique creation of acclaimed architect Frank Gehry. With an extensive portfolio of shopping centres, museums, houses, universities and performing art venues, the celebrity designers turned his eye on hospitality, creating this unique bow of wave-like elements and shapes. The hotel is positioned in the midst of a Rioja vineyard making the 43-room estate even more attractive amongst tourists. The impressive venue also features 150 seat restaurant with celebrity chef Francis Piniego, who in 2004 was the first Riojan chef to receive a Michelin star. The Claudine Vinotherapie spa is a definite hit amongst guests, which are regulars in the luxury hotel chains.
The authentic, avant-guard feel and look of the hotel combines comfort and exceptional exterior and interior design – with state-of-the-art, uniquely designed suites, featuring raw maple wood, dark marble bathrooms and furniture by Gehry.