Traveling the Globe for Design Inspiration and Architectural Masterpieces

Traveling the Globe for Design Inspiration and Architectural Masterpieces

We’re now in the season that inspires travel, often to destinations one hasn’t visited before. It’s the ideal time to set your sights on far off places you’ve always dreamed of traveling to. While your calendar may be full for the rest of the summer already, Design Institute of San Diego has curated a list of international landmarks worth visiting, if not next summer, then at least once in your life. These landmarks are not only culturally rich and breathtaking but also great examples of design to keep you inspired while on vacation.

Design Inspiration & Architectural Masterpieces

 

Heydar Aliyev Center

Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects
Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects – Photo by Aleksandr Zykov

This majestic structure is located in Baku, Azerbaijan and was designed by famous architect Zaha Hadid. Known for its distinctive, curved style, the center spans 619,000 square feet and is named after the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan. The building houses a conference hall (with 1000-seat auditorium), a gallery hall and a museum.  Its notable fluid form allows the various cultural spaces to connect while providing each element its own identity and privacy.

Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects
Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid Architects – Photo by Shankar S.

Jinhua Architecture Park

If you’re ready for a destination with notable architectural landmarks and are willing to travel a great distance, then Jinhua Architecture Park should be on the top of your travel list. Located in the city of Jinhua in eastern China, this park contains 17 pavilions designed by Chinese and international architects. Designer and curator Ai Weiwei started the project in 2002 and dedicated it to the memory of his father, the poet Ai Qing. You can find a full list of the 17 unique structures here.

Welcome Center at Jinhua Architecture Park
Welcome Center at Jinhua Architecture Park
The Bridging Tea House from the East, Fernando Romero, Mexico
The Bridging Tea House from the East, Fernando Romero, Mexico

Park Güell

Built between 1900-1914 and officially opened in 1926, Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Located in Barcelona, it is a public park made up of gardens and architectural elements. It was originally a part of an unsuccessful housing site and has since been converted into a municipal garden. Gaudi incorporated elements from religious mysticism, ancient poetry and motifs of Catalan nationalism into the park.

Entrance to Park_Güell
Entrance to Park_Güell

The Supertrees

Circling back to Asia, The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore is a must-see. Spanning 82-160 feet in height, these tree-like structures are actually vertical gardens that perform a myriad of functions such as planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens. An elevated walkway known as the OCBC Skyway runs between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens. A coordinated light and music show every evening makes the Supertree Grove come to life.

The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
The Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore – Photo by Rod Waddington

Easter Island

Moai are found throughout the island and at the main quarry on Easter Island
Moai are found throughout the island and at the main quarry on Easter Island

Easter Island is a Chilean island that sits at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle in Oceania. What the island is most famous for are its moai, the monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people who inhabited the island between the years 1250 and 1500. There are nearly 1,000 of them and about half are found at the main moai quarry Rano Raraku, while hundreds of others were placed on stone platforms around the island’s perimeter.

Some moai are scattered throughout the island perimeter
Some moai are scattered throughout the island perimeter – Photo by Arian Zwegers 

Stonehenge

If you ever find yourself in England, make sure to stop at Wiltshire to see the prehistoric monument Stonehenge. Believed by archeologists to have been constructed between 3000 and 2000 BCE, this British cultural icon is made up of a ring of standing stones; each standing stone is about 13 ft high and 7 ft wide and weighs about 25 tons. It is believed to have been associated with burial from the beginning. Because it was created by a culture that left no written records behind, many aspects about Stonehenge, including how it was built and what purpose it serves, remain subject to debate.

The mysterious Stonehenge stones in Wiltshire, England
The mysterious Stonehenge stones in Wiltshire, England

Giant’s Causeway, North Ireland

In Northern Ireland, you’ll find the Giant’s Causeway, an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. They are the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption, but if you were to believe the legend, the columns are the remains of a causeway built by an Irish giant from Gaelic mythology. It has been named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom.

A section of Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland
A section of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

CMG Headquarters

Completed in May of 2012, CMG Headquarters is located in Beijing, China and serves as the headquarters for China Media Group. Architects Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeran of OMA worked with Cecil Balmond of Arup to provide the complex engineering design. The building has 51 stories and is 768 ft. tall. The building is not a traditional tower, rather a loop of six horizontal and vertical sections covering over 5 million square feet of floor space.

CMG Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeran
CMG Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeran – Photo by Tauno Tõhk

Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Rock Church)

This Lutheran church is located in Helsinki, Finland and is built directly into solid rock. Designed by brothers and architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, the project was completed in 1969. Known for the abundance of natural light that comes through the skylight along with its excellent acoustics, the church is used as a concert venue often. One of the most popular attractions in the city, the Rock Church welcomes about half a million tourists annually.

Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Rock Church) located in Helsinki, Finland
Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Rock Church) located in Helsinki, Finland

Great Mosque of Djenné

Should you ever make your way to Mali, the Great Mosque of Djenne should be on your to-do list. Considered one of the most famous landmarks in Africa and the greatest achievement of Sudano-Sahelian architecture, it is the largest mud-built structure in the world. The walls are made of sunbaked earth bricks called “ferey” as well as sand and earth base mortar. It is coated with a plaster to give it a smooth, sculpted appearance.

Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali
Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali

This list is just a well-rounded starting point for our readers who seek adventure in the summer. The world is filled with countless attractions and wonders, it is impossible for any single human to experience it all in a lifetime. However, the desire to broaden your horizon and seek design inspiration globally is one that we encourage, and if the opportunity ever presents itself for you to visit one of these amazing spots, seize the moment and go for it!

 

Sources:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:201805_Zen_Space_from_Northwest_Perspective.jpg

https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parque_G%C3%BCell#/media/Ficheiro:El_bicho_2.JPG

https://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/attractions/supertree-grove-ocbc-skyway/facts-and-figures.html

Supertrees, Singapore

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moai_at_Rano_Raraku_-_Easter_Island_(5956405378).jpg

Easter Island, Rano Raraku, moais

https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-stonehenge-1427572/

https://pixabay.com/photos/giant-s-causeway-northern-ireland-539862/

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/travel/article/3011250/azerbaijan-oil-rich-and-crossroads-asia-and-europe

Heydar Aliyev Center

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankaronline/37068822405

 

 

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