Four world cities the architecture lover must visit

If you love architecture, you no doubt enjoy indulging your passion while travelling. We certainly do, which is why we’ve put together our top four cities for fans of architecture. Some are obvious, but you may be surprised at some of the others we have included on our list.

1. Beautiful Barcelona

Barcelona is as good a starting point as any. The city is blessed by the fact that Antoni Gaudi designed several of its iconic buildings, and no visit is complete without a visit to the beautiful Sagrada Familia.

It really is a remarkable piece of architecture. Interestingly, Gaudi was not the original architect – he took over from Francisco de Paula Del Villar in 1883, at which point he completely transformed the building.

Unfortunately, at the time of his death in 1926, only a quarter of this stunning minor basilica was complete. By 2010, it was still only half finished.

However, for architecture fans, the fact the building is still being constructed is a dream come true. It means that you can still see and admire the bones of large parts of the building. Plus, the fact it has been built over the course of 136 years means that you are able to view a wide range of construction techniques during your visit.

It really is a remarkable place. Barcelona has far more to offer than just Gaudi´s work, but there are at least 10 of his buildings, monuments and works of art for you to visit while you are in the city.

Barcelona is also the place where the famous Catalan Modernist Joseph Puig i Cadafalch worked. Over his long career, he created numerous iconic buildings in Barcelona. Today, six of them are still in use and in good condition. The Casa Amatller, the Casa Martí, the Casa Terrades and the Casa Macaya are amongst the best of them. While visiting the Casa Marti, take the time to have lunch in the famous restaurant Els Quatre Gats.

2. Chicago – the home of the high-rise

In October 1871, the great city of Chicago burned for two full days. The huge fire destroyed 3.3 square miles of the city. It was a tragedy, but also a catalyst for change, which ultimately made the city the special place it is today.

The fact that so many people needed a home led to the first true high-rise residential buildings being built there – an architectural tradition that Chicago continues to embrace to this day.

In Chicago, there are interesting buildings from every era. A visit to the iconic Aqua Tower has to be top of your list. Its sculptural form softens the edges of the building, as well as providing plenty of private outdoor space for its residents.

A visit to the Hancock Tower, which was finished in 1968, is another must. No trip is complete without a photo taken from its 96th-floor lounge, which is open to the public.

In 1910, Robie House was built by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. This prairie-style house inspired many modernist architects. The list of buildings you must not miss is a long one, and includes The Art Institute, Aon Center, The Prentice Women´s Hospital towers and, of course, Sears Tower.

If you like boat trips, there is the chance to combine two of your passions. Some of the city´s most stunning buildings are located alongside the riverfront, so, there are plenty of architecturally themed boat trips available.

3. Istanbul – Centuries of beautiful architecture

You rarely see the architecture of Istanbul get the credit it deserves, which is a real shame because this ancient Turkish city has plenty to offer. Istanbul is thought to have been continuously occupied since around 3000 BC. This and its location on the Silk Road means there are some really interesting historical sites for architecture fans to visit. You really must not miss the 17th century Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofya and the Topkapi Palace.

However, there are also plenty of modern buildings for you to enjoy. Among the most interesting are the Municipality Building, the İMÇ (Istanbul Manifaturacılar Çarşısı) Textile Wholesale Area and the SSK Building.

All of these were built during the 1950s and 60s, at a time when the city underwent something of an industrial renaissance. For a centre of commerce like Istanbul, finance and banking have always been important industries. Therefore, it is not really surprising to find some of the most interesting historic buildings in and around Karaköy Square. This area was the old banking district. The list of interesting buildings to see in Istanbul is a long one, so the above ideas really are just the tip of the iceberg.

4. Mumbai – a city in transition

Few cities have such a complete and varied architectural timeline as Mumbai does. There are examples of well-preserved buildings from every era.

This interesting city was first settled around 600 BC. The city is a blend of Indo-Saracenic, Gothic, Victorian, Art Deco and modern architecture. A good starting point is the Gateway of India; a beautiful monument in a combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles.

If you love Art Deco, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Mumbai. The Indian city has more examples of this architectural style than anywhere else in the world. However, as you would expect, in Mumbai there is a distinctly Indian feel to the city´s Art Deco buildings. It is hard to say exactly how many Art Deco buildings there are in Mumbai, but there are easily over 100 well-preserved examples. Amongst the most attractive are the Chandra Villa, the Don Bosco High School and Rivendell House, but don´t forget the little places like Pai house and the Karfule Petrol Station.

The list of Victorian and Gothic buildings is also huge. It is impossible to list them all here. Plus, of course, the city is currently undergoing amazing changes with modern buildings going up across the city.

If you like skyscrapers, this is your place. Mumbai already has 118 completed high-rise towers. There are a further 114 under construction, including the tallest residential building in the world – World One.

We would really like to hear about your favourite cities and buildings. You never know – you might inspire us to write about them and maybe even visit them!

Posted by Mark
May 2, 2018

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