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Inspirational Architecture: Our Favorite Buildings

Inspirational Architecture: Our Favorite Buildings

Firm updates02/02/2017

Each month we invite our staff to answer a simple question, inviting them to share some diverse and sophisticated answers. This month we asked them: What are your three favorite buildings you’ve visited in person? Take a tour through some of the buildings we’ve visited across the globe.


La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona, ES
Architect: Antonio Gaudi

The design of La Sagrada by Antoni Gaudi stemmed from the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals. The building consists of 18 towers all with a special significance to the religion of Christianity. The middle tower is dedicated to Jesus Christ with the surrounding four towers expressing the gospel books focusing on the life and teachings of Jesus. His mother the Virgin Mary is represented in the tower above the apse, and the other 12 towers represent the 12 Apostles.


Falling Water
Mill Run, PA
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright

Constructed from Americas favorite Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, Falling Water is the most unique home in the world and is considered to be the greatest example of American architectural design. Built to appear as a standing structure, the building is actually stretched over a 30’ waterfall, creating the allusion of a floating structure. Today the house is a National Historic Landmark.


Walt Disney Concert Hall
Los Angeles, CA
Archtiect: Frank Gehry

Walt Disney Concert Hall is a perfect example of the architectural style, deconstructivism (postmodern architecture). Uniquely designed with curving lines and stainless steel skin, the building resembles silver sails soaring into the sky. Originally Frank Gehry designed the building to be clad in stone, but later changed it to metal finish after receiving praise for his building in Bilbao. The structure is one of the most visited buildings in Los Angeles.

Louis Kahn designed the facility in 1965 to inspire an environment for scientific research or an “intellectual retreat.” Each building has six stories, the first three stories contain laboratories and the last three are used a utility spaces. Most interesting about the structure is that the first two stories had to be built underground in order to meet zoning codes. A strip of water lies at one end of the open plaza, creating a sense of symmetry between the buildings. The Salk Institute is a simple structure, constructed of concrete, wood, steel and glass, which has become an inspirational piece in the architecture world.


De Young Museum
San Francisco, CA
Architect: Herzog deMueron

Next up on the list is the De Young Museum re-opened in 2005 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The building was designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chaan Architects in a pseudo-Egyptian revival style constructed of warm, natural materials including copper, stone, wood and glass. One of the most outstanding features of the structure is the 144 foot tower that spirals down to the ground level from the top of the building. The museum has always been a popular location to visit and a true focal point for San Francisco with its impressive integration of art, architecture and natural landscape.


Gamble House
Pasadena, CA
Architects: Greene & Greene

Architects Greene & Greene followed a sense of design that begins with intense attention to detail and craftsmanship. Their bungalows mark the height of the American Arts and Crafts style. The free style of design creates a masterpiece by simply focusing on the nature and art of the existing space. The Gamble House is a representation of American-style architecture mixed with classical European buildings influenced by mansions of the time.


Kimbell Art Museum
Fort Worth, TX
Architect: Louis Kahn

The Kimbell Art Museum originally opened in 1972. Designed by Louis Kahn, is a true example of modern architecture with repeated forms in a simple structure constructed of concrete, travertine and white oak. “Light is the theme” informed the design, utilizing slivers of skylights amplified by reflectors below along the spine of the barrels. The gallery spaces, courtyards and auditorium were all built to be flexible spaces that can be reconfigured to accommodate different displays.


Seattle Central Library
Seattle, WA
Architect: Rem Koolhaas

The Seattle Central Library goes against the design of traditional libraries which tend to be flat and one dimensional. The building was built on a continuous spiral ramp, containing four-stories. Eight horizontal layers define the public space within to fit the building’s function. Rem Koolhaas didn’t just create a library; he created a public space that caters to the people, bringing them a quiet, enjoyable post-modernist space.


The Getty Center
Los Angeles, CA
Architect: Richard Meier

One of LA’s most visited destinations, The Getty Center combines modern design with beautiful gardens, open spaces and amazing views of the city. Sitting atop a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains, natural light illuminates the space and is one of the building’s most important architectural elements. 1.2 million square feet of travertine stone covers the building, revealing fossilized leaves, feathers and branches within the stone.


Bradbury Building
Los Angeles, CA
Architect: George Wyman, Sumner Hunt

The Bradbury Building is one of LA’s hidden treasures and is the oldest commercial building remaining in the central city. Designed by Architects Sumner Pt. Hunt and George H. Wyman and originally built in 1893, the Bradbury is a light-filled Victorian court with open cage elevators, marble stairs and ornate iron railings, making it one of Downtown’s most photographed icons.

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Firm updates - 11/01/2016