Have you ever looked at science fiction movies and wondered about all the futuristic designs? Futuristic technology portrayed in Hollywood movies leave us in awe and we wonder if such structures and designs might ever be real? But look around you, science and technology has advanced so much in the last decade that space travel is common, possible and dare I say, civilian space travel might be a very frequent thing in the future. Talking about technology, futuristic buildings and architecture has improved by leaps and bounds and we have seen some of the coolest and magnificent structure’s pop up all over the world. They are visually arresting, ultra-modern, sleek and smooth; having an appearance of space age we usually see in comics and books and look almost as if they have burst out of a science fiction movie. A lot of these buildings have boosted the tourism industry of a country, for example, Dubai where towers and skyscrapers have increased in the last couple of years, making it a hotspot destination. These buildings show us what is in store for our future. There are literally hundreds of such futuristic buildings all over the world, but this is a selective list and I’ve put together a few of these cool structures.
10. Galaxy Soho Building, China
Architect – Zaha Hadid
Designed by Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid, this cool building was launched in 2012 in Beijing, China. It is a huge development spreading over 328,204 square meters consisting of office and retail space. Standing at a height of 60 meters, this compelling urban structure comprises of 12 office floors and 3 retail floors. The building consists of four domes connected with each other by sky bridges and platforms which have been made with aluminum, stone, glass and stainless steel. It has a fluidity of curves which has been inspired by nature. Considering China’s ancient heritage, this building is a stark reminder of its ceaseless growth.
9. Agora Theatre, Netherlands
Architect – UN Studio
This building which looks like an IKEA Store from outside is actually a multifunctional theatre. Located in Lelystad, the capital of Flevoland in the Netherlands, this unique structure has become a cultural icon for the country. The walls are constructed to give off a kaleidoscope effect, you usually experience in a theatre, the main theatre hall is built in a reddish hue and the lobby is pink. The building is visible from far off because of its distinct orange beacon and once you enter in, the interiors are spellbinding with shades of red, pink, crimson and cherry. The use of unusual colours to build the theatre is a work of art in itself. This theatre intends to project the arts and theatre in a sculptural form during the day whilst glowing at night, becoming a major tourist attraction.
8. Absolute World Towers, Canada
Architects -Burka Architects, MAD Studio
Also known as the Marilyn Monroe towers because of their sky high curves and voluptuous design, these towers are a part of a residential condominium twin tower skyscraper complex in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Voted one of the world’s best new skyscrapers, the tower twists 209 degrees from the base to the top, with both buildings of 50 storeys and 56 storeys respectively. It comprises of a three storeys lifestyle and recreation Centre with over 30,000 sq. of amenities space with six levels of underground parking. The two towers look distinctly over the city’s skyline, and are expected to revolutionize the expanding suburb of Mississauga.
7. Bullitt Center, Seattle, USA
Architect – Miller Hull
Generally regarded as the greenest office building in the world, this commercial office building is located in Seattle, Washington. What sets this structure aside from every other is that it is a new prototype for urban sustainability. Designed to be energy and carbon neutral, it has a green roof that filters the building’s gray water, rain water collection and a unique pavement that allows the water to seep into the soil, preventing wastage and run-off. Working and functioning as a living organism, the building remains independent of municipal and sewage system. Another compelling feature is the use of solar panels on the roof to harness sunlight that provides power to the six story building, also multitasking as a rainwater capturing cistern. It also has a transparent glass stairwell on the outside wall of the building providing a stunning view of the city.
6. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Architects – Wilkinson Eyre and Landscape architects Grant Associates
This gorgeous structure is not exactly a building per se, but is nevertheless an intriguing and beautiful nature park which has catapulted Singapore’s tourism industry to new heights. Located in Marina Bay, Singapore, the enormous park consists of three waterfront gardens, spanning over 250 acres of reclaimed land. It’s most important feature is the Supertree grove, a forest of 16 storeys high structures covered with living plants as well as photovoltaic cells that harvest solar energy. There are about 18 of such Supertree groves connected to each other by bridges and covered with numerous plant species and rare botanical plants. This slightly trippy garden fantasy land also consists of shell shaped greenhouse, thousands of rare plants in huge domed conservatives and a man-made waterfall which provides a fantastic view at night.
5. Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, USA
Architect – Thom Mayne
Museums contain knowledge, information and preserve history and science and nature museums play an important role in educating us about ourselves, our evolution and life systems. The Perot museum launched in 2012 is one such natural history and science museum located in Dallas, Texas. The aim was to create an engaging urban atmosphere while simultaneously creating awareness about science. It boasts of rare features like a 54 foot continuous flow escalator housed within a tube-like glass structure, a rooftop planted with rare and drought tolerant plant species, a rainwater collection system , LED lighting, off-grid energy generation technology and solar-powered water heating, The most exceptional feature being a Leap Frog Forest of glowing amphibians.
4. Air Force Academy Chapel, Colorado, USA
Architects – Walter Netsch, Jr., Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Also known as The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, this singular structure has become an icon for modernist architecture. Completed way back in 1962, its most striking feature is its row of seventeen spires as well as its stunning chapel. Looming at a height of 150 meters towards the sky, the structure is made of aluminum, glass and steel with 100 identical tetrahedrons, spaced a foot apart which are filled with coloured glass. Perhaps what is the most unique thing about this amazing building is that it has four separate worship areas, The protestant Chapel, The Catholic Chapel, The Jewish Chapel and The Buddhist chapel. It also consists of all faiths rooms where anyone can pray regardless of religion.
3. The Crystal, London
Architect – Wilkinson Eyre Architects
Unveiled in 2012 as a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens, owned and operated by them, The crystal is a building located on the royal victoria dock in east London. What sets it apart is its dynamic crystal shaped glazed glass structure encompassing an area of about 6,000square meters. It is home to one of the largest exhibition focused solely on urban sustainability and sustainable living and development. It consists of exhibition spaces, conference Centre, technology and innovation Centre as well as office space, electric vehicle recharging points and a cafe. Among its other features as well as new innovations are rainwater harvesting, black water treatment and solar heating. This dramatic green urban structure aims to reap the benefits of the latest sustainable technology with measures such as LED Lighting, high efficiency ventilation whilst also harnessing solar energy through translucent glass.
2. Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Architect – Adrian Smith
The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, also known as the Khalifa towers are actually so tall that you watch two sunsets on the same day. It was surrounded by a lot of hype and media publicity on its unveiling in 2010 and has up till now lived up to its name of being the tallest man made structure in the world standing at an impressive height of 829.8 m 2,722 ft. Boasting of 163 floors including 46 maintenance levels, 2 parking levels in the basement, over 900 apartments as well as an elevator with the longest travel distance in the world. Then there is the extraordinary architecture, the dome motif, the spiral minaret which is prevalent in Muslim architecture, the spire and the stunning views the building offers of the Persian Gulf. The view is even more spectacular during the night and a number of show stopping firework displays take place on New Year’s Eve.
1. Atomium, Brussels, Belgium
Architect – André Waterkeyn, André Polak and Jean Polak
This ultra-modernistic iconic building is located in Brussels, Belgium. Originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels world fair, held in Heysel, Brussels, this super cool building is a replica of a single unit of iron crystal blown up 165 billion times. Considered to an architecture marvel, it stands at a height of 102 meters with nine spheres of stainless steel connected to each other by tubes. The tubes consist of escalators and a lift to allow access to the other spheres which contain exhibition halls and other public spaces. The top sphere has a restaurant and offers a panoramic view of the city and the other five spheres are open to the public. The monument has become one of the most popular structures in Europe.