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Harbin Cultural Centre, China | © Adam Mørk
Harbin Cultural Centre, China | © Adam Mørk

This New Book Is the Go-to Travel Guide for Architecture Geeks

Picture of Charlotte Luxford
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 1 December 2017

Whether you’re an architecture aficionado or an intrepid traveller who wants to learn more about the incredible buildings you discover on your adventures, new book Destination Architecture is the ultimate bible, featuring more than 1,000 of the world’s most compelling contemporary designs.

Despite its breadth of coverage, this is still a handy portable guide that’s ideal for taking on your trips abroad, covering a groundbreaking collection of buildings designed by the world’s greatest architects, from grand institutions to unexpected hidden gems.

The book is organised geographically, illustrated with 26 maps and covers every continent, plus it points out which buildings are open to the public so you can explore inside, as well as admire the outside.

The work of more than 650 internationally renowned and lesser known architects are showcased in the book, with starchitects including the likes of David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid Architects, Jean Nouvel, Sir Norman Foster, Steven Holl, Peter Zumthor and Shigeru Ban.

All of the 1,000 buildings mentioned have a stunning image and a brief bit of background information on what makes the building notable, stating key design features and its cultural significance – contact numbers and web addresses for each one can be found in the back of the book.

Here are just a few of our favourite buildings highlighted in the book:

Kärsämäki Church, Finland

OOPEAA, 2004

This modern design employed materials and construction techniques from the 18th century, when the original church had been built. A square box with a gabled roof utilises concepts of core and cloak. The cloak is made of tar-dipped aspen shingles and a crowning lantern directs natural light inside.

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© Jussi Tiainen

Tainan Tung-Men Holiness Church, China

MAYU architects, 2015

This church is mainly composed of cast concrete, balanced with the warm wood and copper colours used for the curved sanctuary ceiling, oak staircase and feather-like, perforated aluminium screens of the main facade. A cafe and bookshop are at ground level, with a chapel and prayer rooms above.

079 a Tainan

© Shawn Liu Studio

Learning Hub, Singapore

Heatherwick Studio, 2015

Nicknamed ‘The Dim Sum‘ for its likeness to a stack of steamer baskets, this structure features 12 towers, each with eight storeys, comprising 56 rough-hewn concrete pods. There are almost no straight edges – from the undulating walls, cast with Aztec-like motifs, to the slanted load-bearing pillars that resemble tree trunks.

CMC39

© Hufton + Crow

The Orange Cube, France

Jakob + MacFarlane, 2011

In a former harbour zone in the city of Lyon, this five-storey cultural centre cuts a striking form, its orange cube carved out by an enormous conical hole. Creating a huge atrium that rises through the heart of the volume, the void interrupts the fine, mesh facade of pixelated metal.

251 a Orange Cube

© Andrea Bosio

Sailing Tower, Denmark

Dorte Mandrup, 2015

Anchored on the edge of Aarhus’s Docklands, this arrow-shaped tower is composed of steel sheet pierced with holes and folded to encompass a two-level viewing platform. Rendered in white marine paint, the tower is accessed from a staircase to the first platform; a second staircase leads to the panoramic lookout.

160 b Salling

© Torben Eskerod

Szczecin Philharmonic Hall, Poland

Barozzi Veiga, 2014

The translucent ribbed glass cladding of this concert hall contrasts dramatically with the conditions of its surrounding environment. Its most prominent feature is its zigzagging roofline, made up of a series of sharply pitched gables. It comprises a 1,000-seat symphony hall and a smaller venue for chamber music.

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© Simon Menges

Harbin Cultural Centre, China

MAD architects, 2014

Referencing the region’s wintry landscape of snow dunes, this cultural centre is cloaked in undulating aluminium panels. Situated across a three-petalled floorplan, the main spaces include a 400-seat theatre, a large public plaza for outdoor performances and the grand theatre, which is clad in sinuous bands of Manchurian ash.

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© Adam Mørk

The highlighted projects are excerpted from the book, which is the first in Phaidon’s new Destination series – buy the book from Amazon here, or directly from the publisher here

Destination Architecture -2D

Courtesy of Phaidon