Many appreciate London’s deep history…

…but may not understand the city’s reticence about adding modern architecture, particularly that which could draw attention from Big Ben or Westminster Abbey, to its famous skyline.  Recently, however, London fired a shot heard round the world of architecture when it unveiled The Shard, a 95-story modern skyscraper, designed by the renowned Renzo Piano, wrapped in glass and in the shape of a pyramid near London Bridge.  In one fell swoop, traditional London transformed itself and demanded to be taken seriously in embracing modernity.

The Shard-02

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Visitors now have the chance to see the entire city and savor the views from high above.

The Shard-01

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This modern tower was no fluke or one-hit wonder either.  Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and located along the city’s famed Victoria Street, 62 Buckingham Gate is unlike many buildings in London.

62 Buckingham Gate-01

62 Buckingham Gate © 2015

Imagine an architect creating glass and steel origami with the ease and angles of that created with scratch paper.  The result is startling…and brilliant.

62 Buckingham Gate-02

62 Buckingham Gate © 2015


What happens when one of our most famous and admired architects…

…one of the greatest museums in the world, and a country hungry to create an unparalleled cultural destination–sans any limits on funding or creativity–meet and agree on a singular vision ?  There could be a number of answers but the only one that matters is the one which will open in 2015 in the United Arab Emirates.  Jean Nouvel has joined forces with the French government and created an outpost to the beloved and highly prized Louvre.

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His creation, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, is one of his finest.  Exquisite and subtle, the building’s most note-worthy visual element resembles a hand-sewn fabric button and appears to float effortlessly over the waterfront characterizing Saadiyat Island’s Cultural District.

Louve Abu Dhabi-01

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The fact it has been decades since any modern architecture…

…has been designed and built in Havana, Cuba is a dual-edged sword, both a blessing and a curse.  The latter is problematic since what makes an urban area thrive is the constant and consistent introduction of new buildings, businesses and public spaces–assuming, of course, they are all worthy of fruition.  The former, many would argue, is exactly why Havana retains a genuine, old-world charm.  The city, although crumbling in many areas and poor, in many way still succeeds because that charm cannot be manufactured or duplicated with a nondescript, cookie-cutter skyline which characterizes many other places around the world.  And one of its most noteworthy examples is Edificio Bacardi at Avenida de Bélgica No. 261, between Empedrado y San Juan de Dios.  Although the company, now officially known as The Bacardi-Martini Group, is no longer headquartered in the country, it’s building still stands as both a tribute to grand architecture and one of the world’s most famous and iconic logos–the silhouette of the bat which adorns its bottles sits triumphantly atop the building.

Bacardi Building-01

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