There are over two million cities in the world, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of these cities exist unbeknownst to people living in other parts of the world. Every so often, however, a major event will occur, or a fantastic structure will be built allowing a city to gain global recognition and international prestige.

Students pursuing architectural careers will study the wide range of prominent architectural structures that have broken boundaries and put their cities on the map. Here is a list of some of our favourite buildings which represent their cities in the global architectural realm.

Japan’s Simplistic Architecture: Church of the Light

Located in Osaka, Japan, the Church of the Light was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando in 1989. Professionals with architecture training will recognize Ando’s work to be part of the minimalist trend, built using only one material: concrete.

Ando’s Church of the Light is most commonly known for its breathtaking east-facing altar. The altar is made up of four concrete slabs that are separated by two gaps. These gaps allow for natural light to shine through to the building’s interior and form an illuminated cross.

Tadao Ando is known as the architect who brought global attention to post-war architecture in Japan. He often portrays the dual nature of existence in his work, as is shown in Church of the Light, which depicts the strong contrast between light and dark, as well as light and solid.

China’s Architectural Masterpiece: Bird’s Nest Stadium

Students enrolled in an architecture college will definitely recognize this structure. The Bird’s Nest Stadium was built for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games and was designed by Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron alongside Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The Stadium boasts a complex steel cage-like exterior and has a maximum capacity of over 90,000.

What is most impressive about this spectacular structure is that it is also considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums in the world. This is because, during winter, the indoor parts of the stadium are heated by undersoil geothermal pipes, and rainwater is collected and stored in underground tanks for irrigation.

Aqua Tower Designed by Female-Led Architecture Firm

The Aqua Tower is an 82-story residential skyscraper located in downtown Chicago. CAD college graduates might recognize this structure as the work of Studio Gang Architects—an American architecture and urban design firm that was founded by Jeanne Gang.

Those who have seen Chicago’s Aqua Tower know that it appears to have an undulating, wave-like quality. This is mainly because each resident’s balcony is stretched outwards by approximately 12 ft. to provide a better view of various nearby landmarks. Jeanne Gang has stated that she wanted the structure to be as sustainable as possible, and this is represented in the building’s balconies which provide solar shading, as well as other sustainable features such as rainwater collection systems, and energy-efficient lighting.

The Aqua Tower has been granted several awards since its inception, including the 2009 Emporis Skyscraper Award of the year. This project is also the largest ever awarded to an American firm headed by a woman.

Are you interested in an architecture and design career?

Find out more about the programs of study offered at Digital School Technical Design College.