Is there a better word in the English language than “sky scraper”? A gleaming building reaching into the ether in an attempt to defy gravity and literally scrape the sky. Like the Moon landing, humanity’s ongoing quest to build taller and more unique buildings is a testament to our optimism. The contest to construct the tallest skyscraper continues with Saudi Arabia currently in the lead with the Jeddah tower scheduled to be completed by 2018.
As rockstar architect Frank Gehry said: “Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.” Follow Travelstart on our whirlwind tour of modern architectural wonders around the world and let us know your favourites in the comments below.
1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai UAE
Courtesy of BurjKhalifa.ae
Currently the world’s tallest artificial structure at 829.8 metres with 160 stories. Visitors can visit “At the Top” on the 148 level and 125 level.
Cost: A general admission ticket for adults over the age of 12 at non prime time and to watch the sunset will set you back a cool R1500 or 350 AED.
2. The Shard, London
Courtesy of assets.lovetheatre.com
The tallest building in London and the European Union the Shard is a marvel of modern engineering boasting 95 stories offering the finest views of fast-paced London.
It’s best to book your ticket to the Shard in advance as they are a couple of pounds cheaper online.
Cost: Adults older than 16 pay £25.95 and £33.95 for the view and a glass of champagne. £35.95 for a day and a night visit (both visits have to take place on the same day)
For everything you need to know about flights to London go here.
3. Manta Resort, Pemba Island
Courtesy of The Manta Resort
On Zanzibar’s sibling island, the more exclusive, rustic Pemba features one of the most incredible hotels in the world. There’s an underwater room where you can watch manta rays and rainbow fish gliding past from your bed.
Cost: $750 (R11 400) for the underwater room for two people sharing per night. Getting to Pemba is an easy boat trip from Zanzibar. For everything you need to know about flights to Zanzibar go here.
4. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE
Courtesy of Architectureintlprogram
This jaw-dropping constellation of man-made islands is best viewed from the air.
Cost of a the 40 minute Dubai Silver tour with Seawings: $461 (around R7000).
For everything you need to know about flights to Dubai go here.
5. Marina Sands, Singapore
Courtesy of Someformofhuman via Wikimedia Commons
This incredible building (or three connecting buildings) is the most expensive standalone casino property in the world. Treat yourself to a drink in one of the three glamorous sky bars instead of paying the visitors fee.
For everything you need to know about flights to Singapore go here.
6. Taipei 101, Taiwan
Tapei 101 courtesy of Alton via Wikimedia Commons
The previous tallest building in the world is still billed as the tallest green building. Each evening a different colour light is shone on the building represent the different days of the week.
R234 a ticket to the outdoor observatory, which is accessible by stairs from the 89TH floor, watch out for strong winds!
For everything you need to know about flights to Taipei go here.
7. Haohan Qiao Bridge, China
Haohan Qiao Bridge via Brainberries.co
This is the world’s longest glass bottomed bridge. Sufferers of vertigo are not going to have a good time, whatever you do- don’t look down. Or do as the thrill is in the clear, reinforced glass view of the surrounding national park. Known as Brave man’s bridge this is not for the faint hearted. For everything you need to know about flights to China and their connections go here.
8. The Bayterek, Kazakhstan
Courtesy of Doris Rieck via Wikimedia Commons
Known for a lot more than Borat’s imagined place of birth, Kazakhstan is a rapidly modernising The striking Bayterek monument iin the capital Astana was designed to represent a folk tale about the mythical tree of life and a magic bird of happiness named Samruk, who laid its egg in the crevice between two branches of a poplar tree.
For everything you need to know about flights to Kazakhstan go here.
9. The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain
Courtesy of Thespainscoop.com
Architect Philip Johnson has described Frank Gehry’s master piece as “the greatest building of our time”. The museum is located in the city centre and it costs 13 euros for an adult admission. For everything you need to know about flights to Bilbao go here.
10. The Suez Canal, Egypt
Courtesy of W. M. WELCH via Wikimedia Commons
The ultimate demonstration of the determination and innovation of human engineering the Suez Canal actually manages to divide Asia and Africa by providing a waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea thereby saving ships a 7000 km journey.
Head to the historic quarter of Port Said for a pleasant waterfront experience of the canal.
For everything you need to know about flights to Cairo go here.
11. The Louvre, Abu Dhabi
Courtesy of arabianbusiness.com
Modern and Renaissance meet as this space-agey buiding is set to house an enormous collection of unseen artworks and sculptures from the basement of the Paris, Louvre. The geometric roof design pays tribute to Arabian culture. Opening soon.
For everything you need to know about flights to Abu Dhabi go here.
12. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
The biggest mosque in the UAE houses the largest persian carpet in the world. The walls are inlaid with marble and mother of pearl and the construction incorporated design elements from all over the world. The mosque can house up to 40 000 people at one time.
Good to know: visitors are required to wear the robes available free of charge in the cloakroom beneath the mosque.
13. The Atomium, Brussels
Courtesy of Flickr user Mike Cattell via Wikipedia
Built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair the Atomium’s unusual aesthetic has stood the test of time and successfully captures the zeitgeist of scientific discovery and technological progress that characterised the late 50’s/ early 60’s.
For everything you need to know about flights to Brussels go here.
14. The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Courtesy of Dudva via Wikimedia Commons
These towers were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004. You can actually walk from one to the other on the sky bridge though this feature was added to strengthen the construction and add stability.
Visits to the Sky bridge and viewing deck are open from Tuesday to Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online or at the base of the towers. An adult ticket costs R240.
Open on all public holidays with the exception of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha.
For everything you need to know about flights to Kuala Lumpur go here.
15. Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Courtesy of Ferrari World
Seen from the air, Ferrari world in the UAE’s wealthiest emirate looks unreal. This shiny red homage to the magnificence and power of the Ferrari racing engine includes an entire theme park. Be sure to ride the fastest roller coaster in the world while you’re here.
Tickets to the theme park for kids cost around R850 each for an all day visit.
16. National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing
Courtesy of Chinatourguide.com
Known by locals as “the giant egg” this impressive near cyclindrical structure gives the impression of a full oval when reflected in teh surrounding water. It hosts Opera, Theatre and Music events in its respective halls. The best way to experience it is to attend a performance.
For everything you need to know about flights to Beijing go here.
17. The Tokyo “Skytree”
The Skytree is currently the second tallest building in the world and the tallest in Japan. The innovative design includes seismic proofing to negate the effects of an earthquake. There is a viewing deck for visitors.
For everything you need to know about flights to Tokyo go here.
18. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Courtesy of Corlaci.com
Gaudi’s fantastical Sagrada Familia is about to be completed after decades of construction. Every centimetre of the cathedral is alive with intricate detail and unexpected design elements. For everything you need to know about flights to Barcelona go here.
19. Agora Garden, Taipei, coming in 2016
Courtesy of construction21.org
This incredible helix design is unlike anything you’ve seen before. The purpose of Vincent Callebau’s twist design is to create a series of hanging gardens. This energy efficient building hails a new generation of design. For everything you need to know about flights to Taipei go here.
20. Jeddah Tower, Saudi Arabia coming soon in 2018
Courtesy of The pinnacle list
Soon to hold the title of tallest building in the world the Jeddah Tower will reach a record-breaking 1 km in height! Initial plans were for 1.6 km but the geology proved unstable for such levels. For everything you need to know about flights to Jeddah go here.