Architecture, like any other profession, has its stars. So, to honour the ‘stars’ of architecture, below is A&D’s list of the top 10 architects of the modern era. Now you may not agree with all of those on this list, but at the same time, I’m sure you'll agree they are all significant designers in their own special and unique way.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Coming from the mid-west state of Wisconsin, Wright changed 20th-century architecture. Inspired by the buildings that he found on the American prairies, Wright created the simple and practical ‘Prairie House’ style as a reaction to the over-embellished Victorian aesthetic.
As a disciple of both Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, British architect Norman Foster worked with Buckminster Fuller, the American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor of the now-famous geodesic dome. This must have made a massive impression on Foster since his most famous buildings feature very similar geodesic designs on their facades.
Spending most of his career in Barcelona, Gaudí is most famous for the 1883 Catholic cathedral known as La Sagrada Familia, which is still under construction today. With a style that was a mix of Baroque, Gothic, Moorish and Victorian elements, he also derived influence from nature.
Polish architect Daniel Libeskind founded Studio Daniel Libeskind in 1989 with his wife. Berlin’s Jewish Museum was Libeskind’s a major international success, while other notable works include the Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin and the Imperial War Museum in England.
Italian architect and engineer Renzo Piano has many unique and varied styles that at tie defy description although broadly speaking, range from the Neo-Brutalism of his Whitney Museum of American Art in New York’s Meatpacking District, to the elegant Menil Collection in Houston, Texas.
Ben van Berkel
One of Dutch architect’s Ben van Berkel most well-known works is the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, while his more recent notable recent buildings include Theatre Agora and the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
This Spanish sci-fi baroque architect as some have called him, designed buildings that resembled the ribcages of dinosaurs. Calatrava has been called one of the ‘most distinctive architects working today’, as his best known recent creation is the Transit Hub for the World Trade Center.
Best known for his works of modern architecture, including the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, Johnson is also the founding director of MoMA’s Department of Architecture and is a gatekeeper of architectural trends who shaped architectural ideas from the mid-1930’s onwards.
This Finnish American architect and industrial designer was noted for his neo-futuristic style, later known as the Bauhaus’s straight-line philosophy that evolved into the International Style.This in turn became the now-familiar aesthetic for business and government office buildings around the world.
This Canadian-born American architect, who lives in Los Angeles is perhaps still the most famous architect in the world right now, mainly due to his 1997 design of the Guggenheim Museum branch in Bilbao, Spain. Gehry’s billowing forms quite literally seem to defy gravity, with The Guggenheim as one the finest example of this style.