The 20th century saw a period of experimentation and innovation at an unprecedented pace, a direction that also marked the architectural expressions of the time. Paris, as one of Europe’s leading centers for artistic and cultural expression, was also the epicenter for the formation of new architectural styles, from Le Corbusier’s modern architecture revolution to expressions of the High-Tech style as seen in the design of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers’ Centre Pompidou. The social transformation found its expression through Brutalist public institutions or residential ensembles, like the ones designed by Renée Gailhoustet and Jean Renaudie at Irvy-Sur-Seine, while political movements attracted architects from across the ocean, including Oscar Niemeyer, who created his first European building in the French capital.
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Cairo Architecture City Guide: Exploring the Unique Architectural Blend of Historical and Contemporary in Egypt's Bustling Capital
Cairo, Egypt's vibrant capital, is a unique synthesis of both historical and contemporary architecture. One of the most populated cities in Africa, this busy urban agglomeration has a long, rich history and is home to nearly 20 million people. Apart from the infamous Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, which have attracted tourists for ages, the city has been a melting pot of cultures, histories, and built environments alike.
The city of Cairo has witnessed many different eras, each characterized by unique architectural styles. After the Ancient Egyptians, the Islamic Period saw the birth of iconic buildings like the Mosque of Ibn Tulun and the Mosque of Sultan Hassan. These were followed by the Mamluk Period, during which structures such as the Al Rifai Mosque and the Mosque Madrassa of Sultan Barquq were constructed, boasting exquisite stone carvings, towering minarets, and intricate decorative motifs. The Ottoman era brought its own landmarks, including the Mosque of Muhammad Ali and the Citadel of AlQalaa. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, Cairo experienced an influx of European architectural styles due to colonial influences. This resulted in the construction of notable structures such as the Cairo Opera House and the Cairo Tower.
Copenhagen Architecture City Guide: 20 Projects to Discover in the 2023 UNESCO World Capital of Architecture
For most architecture enthusiasts, mentions of the city of Copenhagen will prompt images of pedestrian-friendly streets, suspended bike lanes, quaint water canals, and overall happy residents. The capital of Denmark has many accomplishments to boast: over 60 percent of its residents commute to work by bike, it was among the first cities to set up a strategic plan to achieve carbon neutrality, resulting in an 80% decrease since 2009, and it has become of the most cited study cases for its urban planning and infrastructure. To add to the list, UNESCO has named Copenhagen the 2023 World Capital of Architecture, prompting an array of architecture-focused events and festivals. The title further emphasizes the city’s position as a laboratory for innovative contemporary architecture and people-centered urban planning.
The city of Copenhagen has had a somewhat unusual evolution. After becoming a highly industrialized city by the end of the 19th century, the city began adopting the English concept of the “garden city” in an effort to sanitize and decentralize its neighborhoods. In 1947, the “Five Finger Plan” was developed to guide urban development and expand the city along five main arteries. This led to a transit-oriented infrastructure with small clusters or urbanity along the transportation routes. The major shift appeared in the 1960s. Spearheaded by Jan Gehl’s initiative for Strøget, Copenhagen started transforming its car-heavy areas into pedestrian-friendly zones. What followed was a period of urban development that prioritized the well-being of its residents while encouraging architects to experiment with innovative human-centered designs.
Though lesser known, the Hungarian city of Veszprém is one of the oldest and most important cities in the country. Designated as the European Union Capital of Culture for 2023, Veszprém boasts a longstanding history, visible through its evolving, yet well-preserved architectural monuments. In fact, one of the first notable observations as one walks through the city streets is its eclecticism and layers of historically diverse buildings, that sporadically arise. Despite the difference in styles and architectural languages, they collectively tell the story of the county and its spiritual and political relevance. Its pedestrian-friendly streets, many parks and public spaces, connect the Veszprém monuments, as one delves into a historic promenade.
Milan Architecture City Guide: 15 Must-See Landmarks and 15 Contemporary Attractions in Italy's Fashion Capital
A global city and cosmopolitan hub, Milan is mainly recognized today as a fashion and economic center, widely coveted by visitors from around the world. It is the second most populated city in Italy and hosts some of the major fashion and design-related events in the world. Milan also houses prestigious educational institutions, many of which are renowned for heritage and conservationist specialties.
The latter is quite relevant, seeing as the city's most recognizable tourist attractions are the gothic Duomo di Milano, Santa Maria delle Grazia, or the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, amongst other classical and baroque sites. On the other hand, the city also has some of the boldest and most experimental modern and contemporary buildings that highlight the marriage of the beautifully crafted and often ornamental heritage with the modern, post-modernist, and contemporary monuments that make up Milan's unique style.
Capital city of the United Arab Emirates, the city of Abu Dhabi is located on an island in the Persian Gulf, connected to the mainland by a short bridge. Home to the local and federal government offices, as well as to the President of the UAE, Abu Dhabi was formerly an undeveloped town with only local significance that transformed into a large metropolis, at a record speed of development and urbanization.
Japanese architect Katsuhiko Takahashi created the master plan of the city in 1967, with a target population of 40,000. Encouraged in the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030, tall skyscrapers symbolize nowadays its iconic architecture, as well as new developments of Al Maryah Island, and the Sheikh Zayed mosque initiated and constructed under the administration of the late President Sheikh Zayed, a pivotal figure in the development of the contemporary UAE.
Munich – Bavaria’s capital since 1506 – is a city with layers and layers of history. Its many years as a rising architectural epicenter have left an interesting and unique mix of buildings. From Middle Age churches and cathedrals to contemporary synagogues. From skyscrapers to small pavilions. Brutalism to Art Nouveau. Munich’s architecture is truly extensive and marvelous.
Though not acknowledging Munich’s beer wonders would be wrong, the only mention of this substance would be in the stunning buildings (like the new Paulaner HQ by Hierl Architekten) that contain them. Yes, other aspects of the city are grandiose, but let’s focus on Munich’s top attraction: its architecture.
New York City is one of the most exciting places in the world. As an epicenter for the arts, media, and culture, New York has a rich history and a promising future, told mainly through its architecture. Perhaps more known for iconic buildings like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, or even mega-tall residential towers like 432 Park Avenue that have been on the rise, New York also has an abundance of buildings that tell a different story about the history of the Big Apple.
Ljubljana is Europe’s little secret. This small capital city (less than 300,000 inhabitants) is perhaps surprisingly big in terms of architecture, and the variety of its built history makes it a mandatory stop in your architectural journey. From richly painted churches to sobering Brutalism. From classical Baroque and Habsburg-inspired architecture to delightful Art Nouveau façades and interiors. And of course, abundant greenery (Ljubljana is Slovenia’s – and now Europe’s – green capital) and food.
Ljubljana is a city that has many layers. Its beginnings as a Roman city are still visible (a wall, the world’s oldest wooden wheel, and the roads in and out of the city to name a few). Its contemporary vestiges might have aged, but their meaning hasn’t – think of the Republic Square or Brutalist petrol stations. It’s when we visit in person that we are able to truly feel these places and understand these layers.
Doha Architecture City Guide: 15 Contemporary Projects to Explore Architecture in the Capital City of Qatar
Doha is the capital of Qatar and the county’s most populated area, accommodating more people than the rest of Qatar combined. Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Doha is a relatively young city, founded in the vicinity of another settlement, Al Bidda, sometime during the 1820s. In recent years, the city has seen rapid population growth, an image reflected in the architectural landscape. During the 1960s and 1970s, many of the old districts in Doha have been demolished to make space for new developments, while a number of schemes have been deployed to advocate for the preservation of the city’s cultural and architectural heritage.
In 2022, Qatar welcomed the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, one of the most anticipated sports events of the past year, held in an Arab country for the first time. With many stadiums built in or around Doha, the country prepared extensively for the event, yet concerns were raised due to the hot climate and the extensive adaptations needed to host a sporting event of this scale.
From the 19th century onwards, with the Industrial Revolution, the growing population, and the ever-more pressing demands for urban space in Europe, the first reflections on the city emerged. More than that, the process of disciplinary structuring of urban design begins as a theory and practice inherent to the new historical moment that was being consolidated and would have its product, concerning cities, as an attribute of the 20th century. Within this disciplinary logic, configured from a social or political demand linked to militaristic pretensions of order and urban control, the 20th century was the stage for the entire development of this industrial society, which had the city as its horizon.
Home to architectural styles spanning almost three hundred years, the is no city like New Orleans. The meld of French, Spanish, and Caribbean architectural influences, in conjunction with the demands of the hot and humid climate, has impacted the urban fabric as much as the culture itself. Located along the Mississippi River and close to the Gulf of Mexico coast, the construction of ports, NOLA’s trading history, and forceful natural phenomena like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 illustrate how water has shaped the city.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Orleans adapted its values to respond to the changing needs of its recovering community. Although reconstruction is not only architectural responsibility, New Orleans public architecture has contributed to revitalizing and reinhabiting the city after the disaster. Museums, parks, and churches, each of these places connects people to each other in ways that define and support community.