These modern creations are poised to change the way we design buildings for generations to come.
BURJ KHALIFA, DUBAI
Towering 2,722 feet over the sands of Dubai, the world’s tallest building has 162 floors and is capped by a 700-foot spire. Twice the height of the Empire State Building, Burj was constructed with half as much steel! To support a building that tall, engineers developed a special buttressed core—a new design that may help future skyscrapers stretch even higher.
THE SHARD, LONDON
This 87-story skyscraper is Europe’s tallest. The glass pyramid rises south of the River Thames and features eight angled and glazed glass facades. The panes reflect the sky above and the city below, meaning the Shard changes its look every day.
GUANGZHOU OPERA HOUSE
Look out, Sydney Opera House. You’ve got competition. The futuristic building in China features a freestanding concrete auditorium that’s patched together by granite and glass steel frames. Although a straight line is nowhere to be found inside the 1800-seat concert hall, the acoustics are perfect.
PEARL RIVER TOWER
Guangzhou’s Pearl River Tower is as green as a building can be. It’s equipped with wind turbines, solar collectors, and photovoltaic cells to power the building. It’s the largest radiant-cooled office building in the world
The two towers in Mississauga, Ontario, look like Goliath tried twisting them out of the ground. From bottom to top, the towers twist around 209 degrees like a screw (some floors turn a staggering eight degrees!)
AL BAHAR TOWERS
Image credit: Xinhua/Landov
Living in a glass building can make desert heat even worse. But the Al Bahar Towers know how to keep their tenants from getting uncomfortably warm. A curtain wall of protective geometric panels wraps around the towers like a honeycomb. The panels open and close with the sun, reducing the temperature inside by more than 50 percent and dampening any need for air conditioning.