Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid was born in Iraq and was the first woman to win a Pritzker Architecture Prize (often called the Nobel Prize in architecture). She completed her studies in London, where she started working at the architecture company of her former teachers. In 1980, she opened her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects.

Although she is a winner of numerous international contests, she had the misfortune of never seeing many of her projects built. Forbes ranked Hadid the 69th most powerful women in the world in 2008, while New Statesman ranked her the 42nd most influential figure on the planet in 2010.

Her work is generally daring, unconventional and artistic and her structures are often characterized by a Deconstruvist approach. MAXXI – the National Museum of the 21st Century Arts is considered to be her finest work, but the subsequent structures are also highly acclaimed: the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Bergisel Ski Jump in Innsbruck, Phaeno Science Center and the Opera House in Guangzhou.

(taken from

Walter Burley Griffin

Walter Burley Griffin is an American architect and landscape architect that designed Canberra, Australia’s capital city. He developed the L-shaped floor plan and the carport and it was the first user of reinforced concrete.

In 1911 the Australian Government held an international competition to build the country’s new capital city. Griffin also participated in the contest and his plan was selected as a winner in the next year. World War I broke out in 1914, so the funds for the new capital were considerably diminished. Griffin confronted himself with slower progress of working than he expected.

The creation of a Federal Committee to supervise his work in 1920 made Griffin to resign from the project and completely withdraw from any further activity in Canberra. All of his buildings plans for Australia’s new capital were never built. Afterwards, he opened offices in Melbourne and Sydney. One of the first major projects after leaving Canberra was the Capitol Theatre in Melbourne.

In America, his work consisted of building family houses in the states of Illinois and Iowa. He also got the chance of designing Newman College at the University of Melbourne, Palais de Danse in St. Kilda (later destroyed by a fire) and Castlecrag, a suburb of Sydney.

(taken from

Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava was born in Valencia and is one of the greatest architects, sculptors and structural engineers Spain has seen in the last century. The early world-wide recognition led to offices opening in Valencia, Zürich, Paris and New York City.

He started his career running numerous civil engineering projects, such as bridges and train stations. The bridge Puente del Alamillo in Seville is the most prominent work as a civil engineer and it rapidly became a landmark of the city. The Montjuic Communications Tower in Barcelona and the Allen Lambert Galleria were his first works as an architect. The 54-story twisting tower in Malmö, Sweden (HSB Turning Torso) was also designed by Calatrava and is the second tallest residential buildings in Europe.

Calatrava has less than two decades of designing amazing buildings, but he holds an impressive portfolio that will open more record-breaking opportunities in the future. He is currently designing the future station at World Trade Center Transportation Hub and it is planning numerous other projects.

(taken from


Le Corbusier

Charles-Édouard Janneret, known under the pseudonym Le Corbusier (French for “the raven-like one”), was not only an architect and a pioneer of the International Style, but also a designer, urbanist, writer and painter. He was one of the first in his branch that was concerned by the quality of life in big, crowded cities.

Le Corbusier started his five decade career with designing villas through the use of modern techniques. He designed Villa Savoye near Paris, a construction that is said to be a milestone for modern architecture. This was Le Corbusier’s idea of a machine a habiter (“a machine for living in”), a remarkable project that proved to be as beautiful and functional as a machine.

Le Corbusier thought that his austere and unornamented buildings will help to build cleaner and brighter cities in the future. This concept lead to two developments: The German Bauhaus style, concerned on the social aspects of designing buildings and America’s International Style – a symbol of the Capitalism, a prevailing style among the office builders and upper-class people. Le Corbusier’s major buildings include Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, The National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp and The Centre Le Corbusier in Zürich.

(taken from

Ieoh Ming Pei

Pei was born in China and at the age of 17 he came in United States of America to study architecture. 76 years later, he is deservingly called one of the greatest masters of modern architecture. He is well-known for his large, abstract geometrical forms and for incorporating the traditional Chinese style in his work.

Pei started his career in 1950 with the design of quite a regular corporate building in Atlanta, Georgia. After establishing his own company, in 1955 he focused on urban projects such as the Kips Bay Towers in Manhattan, New York City or the Society Hill Towers. He started to make a real difference with the Mesa Laboratory, located just outside Boulder, Colorado. The new laboratory fitted amazingly well in the local landscape and years later became an award-winning masterpiece due to its aesthetic features, its functionality and the durability in time.

His following projects included new buildings for some American universities, airport terminals, public libraries and even city halls. He soon started designing buildings all over the world for governments, international banks and prestigious cultural institutions.

Pei’s most popular works are: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Le Grand Louvre (The Pyramid) in Paris, The Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.

(taken from

Antoni Gaudí

Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect that although worked during the Art Nouveau times, several other influences can be noticed in his works. Those made him famous for their unique design that went beyond the limitations of Modernism. The Gaudi’s signature city is Barcelona, but his early works include several other projects around Spain.

As a devoted Catholic, he designed a structure that will become one of the most populous churches in the world – Sagrada Familia. He designed it to have 18 towers – 12 for the 12 apostles, 4 for the 4 evangelists, one for Mary and one for Jesus. The work on Sagrada Familia commenced in 1882 and is expected to be completed in 2026.

Gaudí’s masterpiece is a combination of three styles – Spanish Late Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau. The plan of the building is truly unique, characterized by a remarkable complexity: there are double aisles, three portals and three façades. The whole structure is 90 meters long, 60 meters wide and it will be 170 meters high when the last tower will be finished.

Park Güel is one more of his works and another landmark in Barcelona. It is considered a municipal garden and the entrance is free. The park features a terrace and a long bench in the form of a sea serpent, roadways with built in bird nests and colonnaded footpaths and many more. Other brilliant works of Gaudi include Casa Cavalet, Casa Vicens, Casa Batlló and Casa Millà.

(taken from

Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho is considered to be a pioneer in creating new possibilities for using the reinforced concrete just for aesthetical reasons. He started with designing the first state-sponsored skyscraper in the world, for the Brazilian government. It was completed in 1943 and after decades it was recognized as the first example of Brazilian modernism.

He was part of the international team that designed the UN headquarters in New York and his conceptual plan was the main source of inspiration for the constructors. His membership in the Brazilian Communist Party limited his chances of working in the United States and got him exiled up until 1985. By the time the exile ended, he designed the main administration buildings in Brasilia, the country’s new capital city.

While in Europe, he created several buildings, including the headquarters of the French Communist Party and the Mondadori Publishing House office near Milan. After returning to his home-country, Niemeyer continued to design impressive structures around Brazil such as: Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the Catedral Militar Igreja de N. S. da Paz, the Memorial dos Povos Indigenas and many others. At his age (103), he continues to work at his office in Rio de Janiero.

(taken from