Soaring High: Best Buildings by Cesar Pelli You Have to See

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | © Peter Scholey / Alamy Stock Photo
Ieva Matiejunaite

Cesar Pelli is an Argentine-American architect known for designing some of the world’s tallest buildings. In 1991, he was listed among the 10 most influential living American architects by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Pelli has also won many important architectural awards, such as the AIA Gold Medal. Take a look at these five impressive buildings that helped to garner the architect his fame.

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Petronas Twin Towers

Bridge, Park, Building, Shop
These twin skyscrapers were the tallest buildings in the world for the period between 1998 and 2004, and remain the world’s tallest twin towers to this day. The Petronas Towers are located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and are designed to reflect the country’s dominant Islamic culture. Rub el Hizb, an important symbol in Islamic cultures, which is characterized by two overlapping squares with a circle inscribed in the center, constitutes the basic structure of the building. There is also a sky bridge built to connect the towers on the 41st and 42nd floors. The towers are open to visitors, have a little display telling the history and the meaning behind the towers’ design and a gift shop. Moreover, they offer wonderful views of Kuala Lumpur from the aforementioned sky bridge – perhaps not for the faint hearted though!

Wells Fargo Tower


Wells Fargo Tower Minneapolis, MN

Another majestic skyscraper of Pelli’s, the Wells Fargo Tower dominates the skyline of Minneapolis, Minnesota, at a whopping 235.6 meters tall. It was designed using a modernized art deco style and is very elegant both inside and out. The tower is especially beautiful at night when it gets all lit up between sunset and sunrise. It also contains a branch of the Wells Fargo History Museum, the exhibits of which include an 1863 stagecoach, telegraph equipment, golden nuggets and coins.

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Art Gallery, Concert Hall, Market, Opera House

© Peter Schickert / Alamy Stock Photo

This center is the largest performing arts center in Florida. Completed by Pelli in 2006, The Arsht Center consists of two main buildings — the Ziff Ballet Opera House and the Knight Concert Hall, which are connected by an outdoor plaza. The Ziff Ballet Opera House and the Knight Concert Hall are both composed of a series of stepped masses made from beige Sardinian granite and punctuated by large glass and steel curtain walls at their entries. The design of the buildings embodies the modernity of the performing arts center but also the fragility and lightness of art on a more abstract level. During its grand opening in October 2006, the center hosted such stars as Gloria Estefan and Andy García.

The Pacific Design Center

Building, Market, Museum

Pacific Design Center

The Pacific Design Center is situated in West Hollywood, California. Completed in 1975, it is often called “the Blue Whale” because of its gigantic size in relation to the surrounding buildings and the stunning blue glass cladding that gives it its color. This building, notable for its reflective blue exterior and geometric design, brought Pelli early recognition. The Center is home to the West Coast’s top decorating and furniture market, with showrooms, public and private spaces, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art and two restaurants to boot. It is also known for hosting the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award Party, which is one of the longest-running and best known of post-Oscar get-togethers.

One Canada Square


One Canada Square, London

This skyscraper, located in the swish Canary Wharf district in London, is the second-tallest building in the UK, surpassed only by the Shard. It rises 235 meters above the ground and has 50 floors. The building is clad with expensive stainless steel, while one of its most dominant features is the pyramid roof which contains a flashing aircraft warning light – a rare feature for buildings in the United Kingdom. Completed in 1991, it is primarily used for offices, although there are some shopping units located on the lower ground floors.

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