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Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Ten Greatest Feats of Architecture

10. The Eiffel Tower
Paris, France

Gustave Eiffel originally designed this amazing monument, which has become France’s foremost cultural icon, for the World Fair in 1889. Believe it or not, it was supposed to be taken down after 20 years. Of course, that didn’t happen and now its one of the most visited monuments in the world.
The design of this fantastic tower is the height of elegance. The economy of this design dictates that the tower’s 10,000 tonnes could be melted down in the same spot to be only 6 feet high. Its also rumoured that despite its size, the pressure exerted on the ground by the tower is like a man exerting pressure on a chair.
9. Burj Khalifa
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sure this is a really recent addition to human architectural history, but the tallest building in the world deserves a mention. Over the last couple decades there seems to be a competition out there for the tallest building, from the Petronas twin towers, to Taipei 101. Then the Burj in Dubai came along and blew them all out of the water.
Reaching 2,700 feet high, it dominates the already massive Dubai skyline. The engineering needed to pull off this feat is spectacular as its glossy, shiny towers seem to climb one on top of the other as it reaches the sky.
8. Millau Viaduct
Millau, France

An impressive feat of architecture and engineering by a consortium of consultants, this largest bridge in the world was an ambitious project. Its sleek, slender figure and modern design made it a difficult work to build. This magnificent design took a lot of inspirational vision and courage to pull off.
7. Florence Cathedral
Florence, Italy

The main reason this makes the list is the dome created by Brunelleschi in the 1400s. Not only is it an imposing figure which overlooks the rest of the orange-roofed cityscape of Florence, but it was actually built which no scaffolding or any other type of support at all. This mighty dome was a marvel of construction for its time and still holds up to this day.
6. Angkor Wat
Angkor, Cambodia

One of Asia’s most magnificent and powerful structures, Angkor Wat has been somewhat ravaged by time and barbarian hordes, but its architectural brilliance is still contained within that mighty temple. Its beautiful Khmer style design contains much detail and is open to lots of interpretation as to the spiritual meaning behind the way it was built. One of East Asia’s true gems.
5. Colosseum
Rome, Italy

One of the most famous structures in the world for almost 2 millennia, the Colosseum is probably the most amazing piece of Roman architecture. Its multilevel network of arches are magnificent. It was built so efficiently that it could evacuate 50,000 people in eight minutes. This magnificent building still manages to contain within it the might and glory of ancient Rome.
4. St. Peters Basilica
Vatican City, Italy

The most extravagant building in Christendom has to be St. Peter’s in the Vatican. This magnificent church was designed by some of the most creative architectural and artistic minds in history, including Donato Bramante and Michelangelo.
The genius of the use of scale in this building is really something that needs to be seen in person. The way that everything in this massive building had to be measured and adjusted measured so that from ground level everything looked flawless is incredible. The interior of the cathedral is jaw-dropping. And the great dome, rising from the shoulders of Rome’s other great dome the Pantheon, is the perfect piece to cap it all off.
3. Hagia Sophia
Istanbul, Turkey

The peak of Middle East architecture, the Hagia Sophia is a master of the domes. This building was revolutionary in the way it stacked its domes on top of each other. What makes Hagia Sophia stand out is the way its is able to use space It is truly a marvel of building design.
2. Taj Mahal
Agra, India

The true gem of Asian architecture it the royal Taj Mahal of India. This grand mausoleum from the Mughal empire is a stunning in its artistry and craftsmanship. Its gem-studded white marble makes this amazing monument glimmer and shine for all who visit it, while its incredible symmetry stands as a shining example for all aspiring architects. It is four hundred years old and its beauty has yet to be diminished. The Taj Mahal is architectural poetry.
1. The Great Pyramids
Giza, Egypt

When it comes to great feats in human design and construction, none is as impressive as the mighty pyramids of ancient Egypt. These great leviathans of civilization have been a symbol of man’s architectural ingenuity for not only centuries, but for millennia.
How they actually pulled off this feat is still quite a mystery, yet pull it off they did. There is something very pure about the pyramidal shape and they even follow the golden ratio of aesthetic perfection. The interior of these monoliths are stunning in the way they support the massive weight above it. The architectural design, masonry, and engineering needed to build the last remaining ancient wonder of the world are a true testament to human construction and civilization.

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