The world is full of breathtaking architectural masterpieces. From the more famous–the Eiffel Tower and Coliseum–to lesser known, like the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport. History has produced some exceptional architecture, many of which can often be found on travelers bucket lists (Machu Picchu anyone?). But what about the more modern, and probably lesser known places? Places that are just as inspiring but a little more under the radar? Luckily, we have found seven pieces of architecture that stand out from the rest and will likely make you stop and say, “wow.”

Below are seven architectural wonders that should be on every travelers bucket list.

The Shard, London, UK

This 95-foot skyscraper stands proudly over the city of London. Nicknamed the Shard or the “Shard of Glass,” it is the tallest building in the UK and the European Union. Completed in late 2012, the building has 72 floors as well as an observation deck with amazing views of the surrounding area. 


Museu de Arte Contemporânea (The Museum of Contemporary Art), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Museu de Arte Contemporanea was designed by Oscar Neimeyer and was his last project before his death at the age of 100. Today, the museum sits at a great vantage point along the coast of Brazil, with views of nearby Pan de Azucar Peak and Guanabara Bay. 


Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain

Another museum of modern and contemporary art, this one sits in the Basque Country of Spain. One of the largest in the country, it’s home to many Spanish works of art. Inaugurated in 1997 by King Juan Carlos I, it quickly became one of the most inspiring works of contemporary architecture and a turning point in architectural culture.

Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India

This remarkable structure was finished in the late 1980’s and is meant to embody the flower it is named after. One of the many Baha’i temples around New Delhi, it is open to all. Built from 27 different marble pieces–all in the shape of petals–with three petals arranged to form nine sides. According to a CNN report, it is one of the most visited buildings in the world.  


Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Otherwise known as the Petronas Twin Towers, these two skyscrapers held the title of tallest building in the world from 1998 to 2004. Officially opened by the Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1999, today the towers are home to some big name tenants, including Microsoft, Reuters and Boeing.


MAAT, Lisbon, Portugal

The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology is a surreal structure that sits just west of the city center. The newer building is connected to the much older Tejo Power Station. Together, they are one of the most visited sites in the country. The museum is open to all, and is meant to encourage creative thinking. 


Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Toronto, Canada

The largest museum in Canada, the Royal Ontario Museum or ROM, is home to exhibits displaying art, natural history and world history. Sitting in the University of Toronto District, it is the largest field-research institute in Canada, with programs spanning across the globe.

While the museum is quite beautiful on its own, the must-see architecture feature is known as the “Crystal.” Opened in 2007, this addition to the museum is made entirely of glass and aluminum–making it easily stand out from the original museum’s stone facade.


The world is teeming with awe-inspiring architectural wonders. While this list could easily be longer, we believe these seven architectural pieces rise above the rest and really make you stop and consider human ingenuity.



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