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Architectural favorites


What is your most favorite building?  

  1. 1. What is your most favorite building?

    • Grand Central
    • Chrysler
    • Empire State
    • Seagram
    • Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank
    • Bank of China
    • Central Plaza
    • Jin Mao
    • Petrona Towers
    • Taipei 101
    • Two International Finance Center
    • Other
    • None

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Ever since the completion of the WTC (which was horrible architecture) in New York in 1972, enthusiasm for building tall in the US has waned significantly, especially after 9/11. Building tall skyscrapers used to be a phenomenon in New York during the late 1920's and early 1930's, when the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings were built.

Today the focus is on designing shorter, more visually attractive buildings that are more environmentally friendly, energy efficient, safe, and practical for business usage.

Asia is much different and seems like the fever to build super tall structures there never diminished after 9/11.

Taipei 101 looks like an inverted pagoda. Anyone been up to the observatory yet?

Taipei 101 will not be the tallest for long because Shanghai is planning on completing its Shanghai Financial Center by 2007. Also Hong Kong is currently building Union Square with 111 stories on Kowloon, to serve as a gateway from the airport into the city. When it is completed, Union Square will have the largest indoor shopping mall in Asia.

Anyone have any architectural favorites? Here are some of the famous or popular ones:

1) Grand Central Terminal - New York (1913, McKim, Mead & White)


2) Chrysler Building - New York (1930, William van Alen)


3) Empire State Building - New York (1931, John Raskob)


4) Seagram Building - New York (1957, Mies van der Rohe)


5) Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (1986, Norman Foster)


6) Bank of China (1990, I.M. Pei)


7) Central Plaza (1992, DLN Architects and Engineers)


8. Jin Mao (1998, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)


9) Petrona Towers (1998, Cesar Pelli)


10) Taipei 101 (2004, C.Y. Lee & Partners)


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Chrysler Building! Even though I am not a Chrysler car fan.

So far, the poll is 100% for Chrysler. Because I am the only one who voted! :mrgreen:

Why is the Seagram Building there? It lacks creativity.

Is the Shanghai Financial Centre the one with a hole in on top? If so, pure ugly.

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Taipei 101 is horrible building! Two years ago, when they still built it, I lived near this monster and passed it by everyday on my way to subway. :(:-?:evil::wall Maybe I dont like it because it has sharp lines not smooth lines. But I don't like skyscrapers anyway....

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I don't like Taipei 101 either. Petrona looks like an intimidating monster built more to show off a country's economic ascendancy. Jin Mao is so-so, although the design is better than those two.

Empire State is elegant and sleek without being intimidating, like an island in serene aloofness in the middle of Manhattan. New York used to have a Pennsylvania Station similar to Grand Central:


Unfortunately that Penn Station was demolished in 1963 for the sake of urban renewal.

I like Hong Kong's Bank of China even though it looks like a dagger pointed to the sky. (Bad fengshui). The design is great and it's not too tall if you compare it to the ridiculously super-high designs being considered by PRC. The engineer Leslie Robertson was the same guy who engineered the WTC in New York.

Sorry if I bored you. But hope I was able to convert you 8)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Why is the Seagram Building there? It lacks creativity.

The co-architect of the Seagram, Phillip Johnson, died yesterday.



I think the Seagram is an elegantly proportioned building. True it lacks the dazzle of the Chrysler and the ruggedness of the Empire State. But the way it is set back from the street by the plaza, and its bronze tinted windows also makes it very appealing in my opinion. I've been to the Four Seasons restaurant, which Johnson also designed, inside the Seagram.

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I couldn't commit to one overall favourite building, but say "favourite tall building" I would currently choose the fairly new swiss-re tower (gerkin) in london.

On a general city note, I like venice - even though it is not very well maintained. It reminds me of an old lady who's beauty can still be percieved although her youthful radiance has long gone.

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Yeah, I like Venice too. It's just around 250 km away from my home, so there's no excuse for me to go there more often..... :oops:

In my home town, Ljubljana, we have skyscraper, which is called Skyscraper. It is only 70 m high, but is called Skyscraper. :mrgreen:

Here is picture:


It was build in 1933 and was highest building in Ljubljana until mid-90s when WTC was built.

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  • 3 months later...

The New York Times is publishing a special section on the Chrysler Building, which celebrates its 75th anniversary today. The building is breathtakingly beautiful at night.


When New Yorkers Started Looking Up

"In a skyscraper war, unlike a Western gunfight, the architect who draws first loses. Whoever builds first can be outdone - literally topped - by a rival who follows with a taller building. But not always.

In the annals of New York real estate, the height race of 1929 has never been surpassed in intensity and human drama. Two skyscrapers vied to be the world's tallest: the Chrysler Building, at 405 Lexington Avenue, and the Bank of the Manhattan Company Building, at 40 Wall Street.

Adding to the sense of showdown, the respective architects, William Van Alen and H. Craig Severance, were former associates who had parted acrimoniously a few years before. It was Van Alen who "finished" first, with newspaper accounts reporting that he would complete his nickel-chromium cupola 925 feet above street level. Severance promptly seized his chance. He ratcheted his tower slightly higher so that it could peer down on the Chrysler Building, haughty and smug, from a perch exactly two feet higher.

Every New Yorker knows the end of the story: inside the Chrysler dome, in immense secrecy, a massive metal spire was being constructed. As soon as Severance's building was near completion, the Chrysler majestically deployed its spire, releasing it like the stinger of a colossal wasp. The building's tip rose and rose, finally topping out at 1,046 feet, making the Chrysler the tallest building in the world and - even after the Empire State Building surpassed it less than a year later - the apotheosis of modern American striving.

Seventy-five years after the building opened to the public, it is the most beautiful sight on the skyline, treasured perhaps more than ever by New Yorkers and the rest of the world.

Tomorrow is the Chrysler Building's 75th birthday, and House & Home is marking the occasion with an issue devoted to its history, lore and legacy and to Jazz Age Manhattan."


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I respect your opinion, but just curious, what examples of buildings would you say is architectural art?

A building can be both a feat of architectural engineering and architectural art. In my opinion, the Chrysler is an example of architectural art, both exterior and interior, in the Art Deco style. If you ever visit the lobby of the Chrysler, you will see what I am referring to, although you still might say it is ugly. :wink:

The World Trade Center Twin Towers is a perfect example of architectural engineering, but not architectural art. They were great engineering, but lousy monolithic boxy designs with no character or personality.

I think a building needs to not only be aesthetically designed, but also energy efficient as well. For example, the New York Times is currently building a new headquarters that looks light and transparent on the outside, with a garden atrium on the roof. The Times told the architect to design it this way to reflect the newspaper's mission of making news open and accessible to the public. Once completed, you can see reporters and journalists working inside the building at night. Also the building detects the amount of sunlight entering office windows, and once the sunlight drops to a certain level, the lights automatically switch on, exposing moving workers to pedestrians below.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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