5 Famous Architects

We all know that architecture plays a functional role in society but it also serves the aesthetic aspect which is why it has always stood apart from other forms of art. Architecture not only provides shelter but also shapes our daily experiences.

Furthermore, architecture leaves behind glass, steel, and stone monuments, expressing the several layers of history that elucidate the evolution of a place and an era

The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.

– Frank Lloyd Wright

Buildings are, in fact, both a utilitarian need and an artistic manifestation of a civilization. Architects not only make civilizations conceivable but also magnificent.

Guggenheim Museum

Today, we’ll explore some of the most famous architects of history. Some rocked the globe with their revolutionary styles, while others are recognized for their classic works. Let’s begin.

  1. Antoni Gaudí

Gaudí spent his whole career in Barcelona, where he completed all of his designs, including the 1883 cathedral known as La Sagrada Familia – his most famous work which is still under construction today. The Spanish architect established a unique style, inspired by his faith in God and his love of nature.

Gaudi took his cues from nature, preferring curves instead of straight lines, bold colors, and varied textures. We can see the influence of nature in the tree-like columns in the interior of the Church. His style was unique. Some would even say ‘bizarre’ as it was a mixture of Gothic, Baroque, Victorian, and Moorish elements. Gaud’s work would have a huge influence on following generations of modernists.

Fun Fact: For Barcelona fans, the touristic Plaça de Catalunya isn’t the only ‘plaça’ to visit. Plaça Reial is an open plaza near La Rambla that has bustling cafes, vibrant buskers, and architect-designed lampposts. That’s correct, those elaborate lampadaires were created by Gaud himself as his first job after graduating from the Barcelona Architectural School. There isn’t a single street or plaza in the city that hasn’t been adorned by his surrealist talent.

  1. Mies Van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (mostly known by his surname, Mies) was one of several contemporary architects who transitioned from the elaborate, conventional designs of the nineteenth century to the sleek, minimalist forms of the twentieth century.

He was chosen to design the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona after swiftly established his name in residential work in his own country. He is also well-known for creating the Barcelona chairs, which are cantilevered chairs with steel frames. Mies, on the other hand, went to the United States in 1937, where he was longstanding director of (and built the site for) Chicago’s Armour Institute’s School of Architecture.

Mies built numerous well-known buildings in the United States, including the Seagram Building in New York City and the Lake Shore Drive condominiums in Chicago. He frequently used exposed structural steel in his architectural designs to symbolize the Industrial Age. And, always emphasizing “less is more,” his designs are simple and elegant, with no unnecessary decoration.

Fun Fact: Mies famously drew a building façade in just an hour to get his first design assignment. His supervisor was attempting to come up with an innovative design at the moment, and he had spent weeks brainstorming possibilities. When he approached Mies for assistance, he drew a wonderful model for the boss’s ideas. He got employed on the spot, of course.

  1. Frank Llyod Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is regarded to be the greatest architect of all time. Wright’s early tutor, Louis Henri Sullivan, helped Wright create a distinctly American style of design. Wright considered interior and exterior spaces to be one and was ahead of his time in terms of architectural designs and construction processes, despite never having attended a formal architecture school. In spite of over 150 years, his organic and natural shapes, which seemed to merge with nature, and inventive details are still regarded as some of the finest architectural and design concepts of all time.

When it comes to architecture, Wright was partial to that of the Prairie School, which originated in the Midwest U.S. and focused on horizontal lines to fit into the environment. The Robie House, erected in Chicago in 1910, is a renowned example of his Prairie-style architecture. This notion was taken a step further by Wright, who advocated for what he called organic architecture (also known as organic design). In this context, structure and materials are used to blend designs with the natural surroundings.

Wright created Fallingwater in Pennsylvania in 1935, which sits just over a waterfall. He also designed New York’s Guggenheim Museum, which includes a spiraling corridor instead of distinct levels.

Fun Fact: When Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller wanted to build a house together, they contacted Wright. Wright’s response was to construct a large contemporary residence with organic shapes and stunning landscaping as soon as possible. As much as they desired a simple life, they rejected the design since it was too vast and pricey.

  1. Frank Gehry

There is no doubt that Gehry’s works are one of the most unique and creative architectural phenomenons on the planet. The deconstructive and postmodern forms designed by Gehry became broadly famous, with people gathering from all across the world to experience his buildings and to marvel at the architectural wonders he produces. He explores irregular forms and bold, expressive shapes in contrast to the conventional, utilitarian inclinations of the international style.

He rose to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s when his line of corrugated cardboard furniture became wildly popular. By the 1990s, he had honed his style and gained a reputation for creating structures that appeared organic, undulating, and free-flowing.

He has set the standard for modern architecture, having been named “the most significant architect of our age” by Vanity Fair. One of his greatest accomplishments is his ability to create places that play with the interaction of shapes and surfaces, and we all appreciate his unusual use of materials that defy all logic in how they interact. He created the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, which debuted in 1997 and was supposed to seem like a ship as well as a living thing. He also built the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which opened in 2003 and is recognized not just for its distinctive architecture but also for its outstanding acoustics. Gehry, who is in his 90s, is still creating new projects.

 

Fun Fact: Gehry is an avid yachtsman who has incorporated sail forms into numerous buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. In 2008, he partnered with the German shipyard German Frers to develop Foggy, a boat for Richard Cohen, known for his 86-year-old architect’s magnificent undulating patterns. He had had this concept in his head for many years but had not had the opportunity to put it into action due to his workload.

  1. Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid (1950–2016), one of the few female architects to reach the status of starchitect and the first to win architecture’s Oscar, the Pritzker Prize, was recognized for futuristic projects that used curved, swooping shapes. She was born into a wealthy Iraqi family in Baghdad, and according to The Art Story, by the age of 11, she knew she wanted to be an architect.

Hadid defied convention, rejecting the linear geometry commonly used by architects in favor of an Expressionistic design that frequently looked to relate to the feminine form—though not on purpose. She rapidly acquired a global reputation for her groundbreaking theoretical studies and contributions.

She designed the first Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2000, and her structures all around the globe have captivated audiences. The “contoured profile” of the Guangzhou Opera House, which allows access to the river, or the swooping Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, creates a continuous, flowing link between its surrounding plaza and the building’s interior. In 2004, Hadid became the first female architect to win the Pritzker Prize for her contributions to the discipline.

Fun Fact: Hadid’s success was largely due to her perseverance and drive. Since the year 2000, she has received an award every year. A record-breaking 12 prizes were given to the visionary Pritzker Prize laureate in only one year. Plus, Zaha Hadid had a successful line of shoe designs. Despite having curves as her signature design element, she herself lived in a non-curvy conventional house.