To delight in UNIQUE and INSPIRING, or historical and culturally important architecture plays a big part in any travel experience. Cruising Ocean Drive in Miami, synonymous with ART DECO and Collins Ave, which has given rise to the style term ‘MIMO’ or Miami Modern comes to mind. Add to this, the role of the Instagram INFLUENCER, whose need for follower gratification and constant search for the perfect photo backdrop, has helped give rise to ‘Architecture Tourism’.  Here, I round up some of my favorite examples around the world, worth checking out.

1. 1111 Lincoln Road, South Beach – Miami, USA

Surprisingly, my favourite building in South Beach, Miami is a CAR PARK building!  A bold statement, given the numerous examples of stunning architecture I love in Miami, however this is no ordinary car park building. Designed by RENOWNED Swiss firm, Herzog & de Meuron this fully open structure, with varying (and indulgent) ceiling heights offers uninterrupted 360˚ views and even incorporates a HIGH END fashion boutique on the 5th floor.  Used also as a venue, the car park plays host to events including weddings, FASHION shows,  product launches,  even yoga classes and there’s also a fabulously secret penthouse apartment CLEVERLY woven into the building.  

2. Heydar Aliyev Center – Baku, Azerbaijan 

For architecture JUNKIES, this is truly one example of the late Zaha Hadid’s work you need to see and experience!  In order to do so though, you’ll have to head off the beaten track to Azerbaijan – part of the former Soviet Union, where RIGID structures dominated from a past Communist era.

Since independence in 1991, there’s been heavy investment in modernization and development in the capital of Baku, and a strong DESIRE to depart from its Soviet legacy.  This structure does exactly that…in spades!  As the nation’s cultural hub, this stunning performance and exhibition venue is literally an exhibition in itself, featuring Hadid’s signature flowing CURVES.  If this building is representative of Baku’s optimism, I think the future is looking particularly bright!

3. Burj Khalifa – Dubai, UAE

For the simple fact that this beautiful 828m tall structure is ‘currently’ the TALLEST in the world, and impressively located in Dubai where there’s certainly no shortage of diverse and creative buildings making the destination an architectural HOTSPOT.  Designed by the acclaimed Chicago based, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (who also designed One World Trade Center in New York), Burj Khalifa incorporates the Armani Hotel Dubai and is one of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions – the unique experience of enjoying an uninterrupted view of the SUNRISE with breakfast is worth the 5.30am call time! 

4. Musee du Louvre – Paris, France

Now home to the most famous and most visited museum in the world, construction began in the mid 1500s originally as a palace and used as a royal residence until 1682 when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles.  The Glass Pyramid entrance to the Louvre, designed by FAMOUS  architect, I.M. Pei  in 1989 was a highly CONTROVERSIAL addition and considered disrespectful to the integrity of the  historic palace with its stark modern contrast. Today however, the pyramid is an ICONIC  landmark in its own right!

5. Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort – Huzhou, China

Located on the shores of Lake Tai in the Yangtze Delta plains near Shanghai, design DEVOTEES will love the ‘DONUT’ hotel designed by architect, Ma Yansong.  The getaway location is known for its bamboo forests and spa retreats, also attracting  ARCHITECTURE tourists. What a coup for Sheraton!

6. Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao, Spain

Museums are often accommodated in spectacular and unique buildings, hence why I’ve included several on this list.  This museum of modern and contemporary art with its RIPPLING titanium walls, were certainly an architectural GAME CHANGER in 1997, upping the cool factor of the art works displayed within, and is instantly recognizable as a FRANK GEHRY designed building.

7. Angkor Wat – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Wat (translating as ‘City of Temples’) is part of a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world.  As a UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll be inspired by the sheer, monumental scale and mind boggling detail of this temple, and you should allow 2-3 days to explore a portion of the site.  With over 1 million Instagram posts to #angkorwat, this destination should be firmly on your travel bucket list!

8. Fallingwater – Mill Run, USA

Despite being designed in 1935 by perhaps America’s most iconic architect, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, this residential house in Mill Run, Pennsylvania (known as Fallingwater) remains completely contemporary today.   Set in the Bear Run Nature Reserve, the house successfully integrates the stream and waterfall and has become a national historic landmark, now open to the public to view.  Such a beautiful example of man, and architecture in HARMONY with nature!

9. Museum of Contemporary Art – Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Designed by famed Brazilian architect, OSCAR NIEMEYER, the Museu de Arte Contemporânea (or  the MAC) was completed in 1996, yet still appears futuristic today – perhaps because it appears like it has just landed from outer space.  The building sits on a cliff above Guanabara Bay, offering visitors panoramic views across to Sugarloaf, and Rio de Janeiro.  Complimenting the structure is its SWIRLING red entrance ramp, which made the perfect catwalk when the MAC played host to the Louis Vuitton 2017 Cruise collection, coinciding with the museum’s 20th anniversary and completion of extensive renovations.  “Being able to show a fashion collection in such an architecturally powerful space is a sensorial experience,” said Ghesquire – LV Creative Director.

10. LA MURALLA ROJO – Calpe, Spain

Built in the late ‘60’s on the rocky cliffs of Calpe in the Alicante region of Spain you can rent an apartment via Airbnb at La Muralla Roja (or The Red Wall).  Looking very FORTRESS like (perhaps enhanced by its cliff location), this is in fact an apartment block of STRIKING colour and is the brainchild of influential architect RICARDO BOFILL, who drew inspiration from, or should we say ‘ROCKED’  the casbah influence here!

11. Chrysler Building – New York, USA 

Perhaps one of the most recognized examples of Art Deco architecture is this midtown MANHATTAN skyscraper, which was once the tallest building in the world when it was completed back in 1930 (albeit briefly once the Empire State Building was completed).   STRIKING eagle gargoyles decorate corners of the 61st floor, though they are difficult to appreciate up close, particularly as there is no longer any observation decks open to the public anymore, though the lobby remains a TREAT to view the art deco details and ceiling mural.

12. Taj Mahal – Agra, India

This immense, historical beauty of white marble was built during the mid 1600’s by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal  – such an expression of LOVE.  Having been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, this much admired masterpiece of Mughal architecture is a jewel, and a MUST SEE destination when visiting India.

With so many examples of architecture around the world, we would love to know of some of your favourites!