2022-12-22 11:14 AM
Architecture has been a crucial profession throughout history, responsible for modern buildings and landmarks as we know them. It is a unique profession where engineering and art are required to build and design structures. Yet, we only tend to remember and appreciate how remarkable the buildings look compared to those who have worked hard to create them. The architects responsible for designing these buildings deserve a lot more respect for the masterpieces that they have conjured. As a result, we have prepared this article that will discuss the 20 greatest architects of the world. We will also talk about their incredible contributions to society, so you can see exactly why they stand out from the rest. Let's dive in.
Ben van Berkel
Ben van Berkel is a Dutch architect whose humble beginnings began in Amsterdam and London. He is the founder and principal architect of one of the most renowned architectural firms in the world, UNStudio. The firm has over six international offices across the globe and has a mission to create designs that make a lasting impact and solve our society's issues. Headed by Ben van Berkel, the firm has designed many remarkable structures, buildings, and furniture designs. This includes the Mercedes Benz Museum, with a unique and complicated design, results in the formation looking like the iconic Mercedes Benz logo from overhead. They have also designed modern structures that blend nature and cutting-edge designs to counter the environmental issues the world is facing. This can be seen in creating the China World Horticultural Expo and ‘The City of the Future.’ The firm has won scores of awards every year since 1983
Bernard Tschumi is a Swiss architect, writer, and educator who studies architecture in Paris and Zurich. He is associated with the post-modern architectural movement, deconstructivism. This movement ignores classic architecture's rules to open up infinite possibilities and volumes regarding structures. This can be seen in his iconic designs. Some of them are the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Guggenheim Museum in Spain. His iconic works have been the subject of much debate due to his deconstructive approaches. Yet, people who agree with his philosophy consider him a visionary in architecture due to his dynamic and robust designs.
Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect who studied architecture in Copenhagen and Barcelona to become a cartoonist. Bjarke believes that architecture should combine science and art to create buildings that fit our way of life, which is why he analyzes aspects like local culture, climate, and economy. TIME magazine named him among the 100 Most Influential People in 2016 for his award-winning building designs. He is the founder and creative partner of the BIG architectural group, which has had many projects worldwide, with many notable structures. This includes Google HQ in the United States, the Kaktus Towers in Copenhagen, and the Mars Dune Alpha in Houston.
Christian De Portzamparc
Christian De Portzamparc is a French architect and urbanist who graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His founding principle is urbanism, which is regularly reflected in his designs, alongside his sensibility for the environment. His style includes building structures in environments where the interiors and exteriors interpenetrate, as seen in his opera and concert hall designs. Because of his contributions, he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1994, the Grand Prix de l'urbanisme in 2004, and MIPIM Award in 2005. His significant architectural contributions include the urban development of the Massena District in Paris and the ‘400 Park Avenue South' residential tower in New York.
Dominique Perrault is a French architect and urban planner who is world-renowned for his architectural contributions. His unique designs even led to the University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest granting him the title of 'Doctor Honoris Causa.'
They noted several features in his designs, including minimalism and conceptual art interpretations. He has won several awards and distinctions for his contribution to architecture. He has won several awards for his contributions, which include the Silver medal for town planning for the French National Library in 1992 and the Mies van der Rohe Prize in 1996. He has a lot of experience designing several structures for Olympics purposes, including working on the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the event in Paris 2024.
Daniel Libeskind is a Polish-American architect, artist, professor, and set designer who studied Architecture in New York and Essex. He founded the world-renowned Studio Libeskind architecture studio with his wife, Nina, in 1989. His vast design portfolio includes many residential projects, opera sets, and industrial fixtures. His design philosophy is to create buildings that tell a story and should evoke emotion from anyone who looks at them. As a result of his contributions, he has received several awards and recognitions. This includes the American Institute of Architects National Service Award in 2012 for the World Trade Center Master Plan and the MIPIM Award in 2014. Other notable works of his include the Great Canal Theatre in Dublin, the Dutch Holocaust Memorial of Names, and the Jewish Museum in Berlin.
Norman Foster is a legendary British architect and designer. He was granted the title of Baron Foster of Thames Bank for his contribution to Britain's modernist architecture. He is the founder and executive chairman of Foster + Partners, a global studio with projects rooted in sustainability. He is driven by passion and innovation and believes the quality of our environment is essential for our lives. He has an extensive portfolio of works and designs for which he has received several honors and recognitions. This includes The Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award and The Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Some notable works of his include the tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct in France, and the Apple offices in California. For the latter, he worked closely with Steve Jobs until his death.
Jean Nouvel is a French architect who studied at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He is the founder of The Ateliers Jean Nouvel private practice and France's first architect labor union, Syndicat de l'Architecture. He was inspired heavily by the urban planner Paul Virilio and aimed to inject originality into all his works. Combined with his provocative opinions, he has built an international reputation and image. He has received several distinctions and awards throughout his career. This includes the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989 for the Arab World Institute, the Pritzker Prize in 2008, and the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005. His other notable projects include the Copenhagen Concert Hall, the Fondation Cartier museum in Paris, and the Doha Tower skyscraper.
Jeanne Gang is an American architect and founder of the architectural and urban design practice, Studio Gang. She has a forward-looking approach to all her projects while emphasizing research, experimentation, and collaboration in her design process. As a result, she has achieved a broad portfolio of works that have won several awards and recognitions. This includes the 2013 National Design Award for Architecture and the Marcus Prize for Architecture in 2017. She was also named World's Most Influential Architect in 2019 by Time Magazine. In particular, her design for the Aqua Tower in Chicago gained wide recognition, as it was the tallest women-designed building in the world. She would later break her record in 2021 with the construction of St. Regis Chicago. Other notable works of hers include the MIRA skyscraper in San Francisco and One Hundred Above The Park in Missouri.
Joshua Prince-Ramus is an American architect who is the founding principal of the New York-based architecture and design firm REX. His proficiency from a young age led to him being considered among 'The 20 Essential Young Architects' by ICON Magazine. His philosophy of creating architecture that looks good and provides functions for users and communities is ingrained in the way REX operates. This has led to him and his firm receiving several accolades, including two AIA National Honor Awards, an American Library Association National Building Award, and the CTBUH Award of Excellence. He has also been listed in the '5 greatest architects under 50' by The Huffington Post. His notable works include the Munch Area Master Plan in Oslo and Seattle National Library. He is currently working on the PERTH+.
Ken Yeang is a Malaysian architect and ecologist who is the founder of the architectural firm Hamzah and Yeang. He is well-renowned for his ecosystem-based design approach, which performs better than usual green-rating structures. As a result, his works tend to have a unique green aesthetic. The Guardian named him 'one of the 50 people who could save the world' because of his pioneering work in sustainable design. He has won several awards for his eco-architecture, like the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Prince Claus Award, and The UIA Auguste Perret Award. His notable works include the experimental climate-responsive, The Roof Roof House, and the climate-responsive tower Menara Mesiniaga Tower.
Ma Yansong is a Chinese architect who studied architecture in Beijing and Yale University. He is the founder of the MAD architectural firm based in China, which has built designs of various scales. He believes that the buildings in a city should not take away its soul and bases his beliefs on the conceptual 'Shanshui City.' As a result, he tries to bring designs that help capture a spirit and evokes emotions. He has received various awards and recognitions, including the D21 Young Chinese Architect Award and the 2nd Audi Arts and Design Award. He was also labeled as one of the Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business. His notable works include the Absolute Towers in Ontario and Ordos Museum in China.
Moshe Safdie is a legendary architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author. He has explored various principles of socially responsible designs reflected in his works. As a result, he has a vast portfolio of projects which spans urban centers, airports, public parks, neighborhoods, and various institutions. These works can be found worldwide throughout Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America. He has received several awards and accolades, including the 2019 Wolf Prize in Architecture, the Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2020 Genius Award. His notable works across a celebrated 50-year career include Habitat 67 in Montreal, the Rosovsky Hall at Harvard University, and the Khalsa Heritage Memorial Complex in India.
Rafael Moneo is a Spanish architect and educator who received his architectural degree from the Technical University of Madrid. He is well-known for being a master of both academic and professional architecture. His creations have been described as incredibly unique, aesthetic, and functional. In particular, he specializes in building airy interiors where he can create works representing culture and spirit. He has received some notable accolades, which include the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1986 and the National Architecture Award of Spain. Some of his significant works include the National Museum of Roman Art in Spain, the David Art Museum in Massachusetts, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. His work has been showcased at several international exhibitions.
Rafael Vinoly is an Uruguayan architect and principal founder of the worldwide architectural firm Rafael Vinoly Architects. He has built a reputation as a functionalist who believes that buildings should only serve functions as opposed to being glamorous. His firm has also established a trademark for reinventing institutional designs and integrating the public realm into civic buildings. He has received various awards for his work, including the Design Honor from the Salvadori Center in 2007, the Neutra Medal for Professional Excellence in 2000, and the Medal of Honor from the American Institute of Architects in 1995. His notable works include the Chamber of Deputies in Bueno Aires, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and the Bronx County Hall Of Justice. He also designed the Tokyo International Forum, for which he achieved international prominence.
Rem Koolhaas is a Dutch architect, theorist, urbanist, and professor who graduated from the Architectural Association in London. He is considered one of this generation's most influential urbanists and is cited as a representative of the Deconstructivism Movement. His design philosophy can be seen in his published works. This includes Delirious New York and Project on the City, which have received much acclaim from enthusiasts. He has won notable awards like the Pritzker Prize in 2000 and the Royal Gold Medal. TIME Magazine also put him in their top 100 Most Influential People list of 2008. He has several notable works, with his patented horizontal skyscraper design for the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing standing out. Other significant works of his include the Taipei Performing Arts Center, the Qatar National Library, and Nexus World Housing in Fukuoka.
Renzo Piano is an Italian architect whose humble beginnings started with his grandfather's masonry business in WW2. Eventually, he would study architecture at the University of Florence and the Polytechnic University of Milan. His experience working at two international firms for the modernist architect Louis Kahn and engineer Zygmunt Makoski helped him develop his skills and influence his style. Eventually, he would go on to find the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, which has offices worldwide. He has received several awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Award in 1998, the Royal Gold Medal, and the Kyoto Prize. TIME Magazine even included him in their Top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2006. His notable works include The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in Nouméa, The Shard in London, and a unique structure for the Italian Pavilion at the 1970 Osaka Expo. Because of this structure, he received much acclaim.
Richard Meier is an American architect and abstract artist who founded the notable architecture firm Meier Partners. His geometric works are famous for the prominent use of white. He has won several outstanding awards, which include the Pritzker Prize in 1984, the AIA Gold Medal in 1997, and the gold medal in architecture from the Academy of Arts and Letters. Some notable works of his include the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hague City Hall, and The Atheneum in Indiana. However, his most acclaimed design is the Getty Center, a massive museum complex in Los Angeles.
Peter Eisenman is an American architect, educator, and theorist who is the founder and principal of the Eisenman Architects firm. He is well-known for his writing and speaking on architecture. Additionally, his designs have shown elements of high modernism and deconstructivism. He has received notable awards for his internationally recognized works, including the Gold Medal for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2020 and the Wolf Foundation Prize in the Arts. His portfolio of designs is vast, containing large-scale housing, urban design projects, educational institutes, and private houses. Some of his notable works include House VI in Connecticut, Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio, and Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.
Robert Stern is a New York-based architect, teacher, and writer who is the founding partner of the RAMSA architecture firm. He is a legendary figure whose works have been showcased in several galleries, and over twenty books have been published on his work. This is because of his notable signature style, which varies from postmodernism to traditional to New Classical architectural movement. His portfolio is vast, as he has designed private houses and tall apartment complexes. He has received several notable awards and recognitions for his contribution to architecture, including the Driehaus Architecture Prize, the Golden Plate Award, and Edmund N. Bacon Award. He has several notable works, including the classic style 15 Central Park West apartment building in New York, the Disney Beach Club Resort in Florida, and George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.
The Bottom Line
As we have seen in this article, modern structures and buildings would not have been possible without architects' extensive work and expertise. These notable and talented individuals have created some of the most beautiful and functional works that have completely transformed the world of architecture. Their creations will last for centuries and become a part of history long after we are gone. Regardless of their style and philosophy, no one can argue that their contributions have not been valuable. As a result, they deserve our utmost respect and we should be grateful for their contributions to the world. We hope this article has been insightful and introduced you to our world's greatest architects. Thank you for reading!