Great cities often embody a special blend of characteristics, from food and culture to retail and park space.
The best are their own unique, global brands that feature a distinct look, feel and promise. But most often, it’s a city’s landmarks and unique architecture that make the strongest first impression.
One can’t think of Barcelona without imagining the sweeping curves of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, from La Sagrada Família to La Pedrera.
Most often, it’s a city’s landmarks and unique architecture that make the strongest first impression.
Miami conjures images of Ocean Drive, lined with Art Deco-inspired hotels in bright yellow, pink and blue. And flying over Tel Aviv, the first thing we see is the iconic “White City” skyline, a sea of Bauhaus-style buildings recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei once said, “Architecture is the very mirror of life. You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place; they are the reflection of society.”
Incidentally, large cities aren’t the only ones where renowned architects have made their mark.
Pei famously designed the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library in Columbus, Ind., a city of fewer than 40,000 residents that is also home to works by Henry Moore, Eliel Saarinen and Gunnar Birkerts. Those buildings, which serve as the backdrop of a small Midwestern town, are what led Lady Bird Johnson to nickname Columbus, “Athens of the Prairie.”
Scroll through our slideshow to see other cities around the world that house a remarkable number of works by famous architects.