10 buildings you must see before you… get bunions

It’s a while since I did one of those lists of things that really inspire me (I can hear the groans out there already) but a new book bought for me by my daughter S and son-in-law I has got me sharpening the old list pencil again. The book is ‘1001 Buildings You MUST See Before You DIE‘. It’s one of those cliched and improbable titles  – I imagine it would take many years of travelling the 7 continents just to take in all the buildings listed, let alone all the other things people think you should see whilst still breathing (sports stadia, works of art, great views, classic hotels etc). It’s also a bit of a stretch – I’m not convinced that I really can’t meet my maker until I’ve been to visit either Preston or Dublin’s Central Bus Stations or the Park Hill housing estate in Sheffield or the former zeppelin hangars which have been converted into the rather ugly  Central Market Halls in Riga, Latvia. But there are some stunning buildings around the world which I’ve been lucky enough to visit and many, many more I’d love to see before that bucket gets kicked.

A list of the buildings I have most enjoyed seeing and experiencing and would suggest are worth a look if you get the chance and the feet are up for it,  would be:

1 and 2. Both of the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and New York – two very different and stunning designs from the architects whose work I most admire, the two Franks… Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a look at these images:



3. The Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. It was designed by Enric Miralles who died before seeing his controversial work completed (he should have read the book). It went horribly over-budget and was years late but the finished building is just quirky and beautifully detailed and, well, fabulous:

scot parl
4. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Typifies the stylishness of Milan – a beautiful arcade in the heart of the city which is brilliant for fashionista watching (except on the day this photo was taken!):


5. Chichen Itza, the incredible Mayan settlement in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. The whole site is just mind-boggling in its architectural sophistication built some 1500 years ago. How they did it God only knows:


6 and 7. La Pedrera, Gaudi’s fabulous apartment building in Barcelona – even the roof terrace is awesome and it’s possible to see Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece from there, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral


8.  Chrysler Building New York. It’s not the biggest skyscraper and has always been overshadowed by the slightly taller and much dowdier Empire State building but it’s possibly the most beautifully-detailed. I just think it’s possibly the sexiest skyscraper in the world. If Carlsberg did tall buildings they’d do them like this;


9. Wales Millenium Centre. Sounds a bit mundane but it’s a piece of architecture which has truly succeeded in its aim of celebrating the essence of Welshness (no jokes please):

wales mc

10. I’ve  got to pick something in Paris; it could have been the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Pompidou Centre or Sacre Coeur but I’ve plumped for the Musee d’Orsay which like Tate Modern is an arts gallery created from a former industrial unit – in this case a former train station. And the result is stunning:


If I had to choose only 10 more places to visit before greeting St Peter I’d have to go for:

–  Sydney Opera House

– Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s country home for the Kaufmann family set in the Pennsylvania mountains

– Fiat’s fabulous art deco Tagliero building in Eritrea

– Glasgow School of Art designed by Charles Rennie MacKintosh

– Reichstag building

– Treasury at Petra

– Parthenon

-Disney Concert Hall, LA

– Mercedes Benz Museum Stuttgart

– Beijing National Stadium – the Birdnest

That’s it another indulgent posting but if there’s a building that knocked your socks off or you’d love to visit please let me know.



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