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Top 4 of the Most Extraordinary Buildings in the World

Feature image - Top 4 of the Most Extraordinary Buildings in the World
We would like to present some famous buildings for Architecture lovers. Every month, we will present you the most incredible buildings known worldwide. Here you will find four of them; located in Italy, USA, Denmark and France.

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1. Palazetto dello Sport by Pier Luigi Nervi

By Mister No, CC BY 3.0, Link

The Palazzetto dello Sport is an indoor arena located in Piazza Apollodoro, in Rome, Italy.

It was constructed for the 17th Summer Olympics in 1960 and was inaugurated in 1957. The venue was constructed by the Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi under the direction of Engineer Giacomo Maccagno and designed by the Architect Annibale Vitellozzi.


The Palazzetto dello Sport is considered one of Nervi’s most famous international works in his entire career. Not only was he already 69 years old when he completed these four structures with his own construction company, but also, he was able to finish the entire construction in 12 to 18 months.

What helped him to work that fast was twenty years of intense and complex experimentation on statics and construction aspects. It is also during these twenty years of research that he devised a new building material called “ferrocemento” and a unique construction process: structural prefabrication, which allowed him to face the simultaneous construction of four imposing projects.

This makes the Palazzetto dello Sport one of the most extraordinary buildings in the world.

2. Oculus by Santiago Calatrava

British photograph duo Hufton + Crow

Oculus is the futurist station of New York. Built at the bottom of the One World Trade Center tower, it replaces the original train station PATH, unfortunately lost in the 9/11 attacks. The project began one year after the attacks and and was inaugurated in March 2016, fourteen years of work.

Oculus has been designed by the Spanish Architect, Santiago Calatrava.


About the construction, to Architectural Digest, Calatrava said:

“I was just learning from New York to do something extraordinary […] All the city inspired me. I wanted to enter into this context. I wanted to emulate, not to imitate, but to emulate, Grand Central Terminal, such a civic monument and such a beautiful place.”

With a shape that can be imagined as a bird rising into the air, the Oculus pays tribute to New York’s past and makes the architecture one of the most beautiful in the world.

3. Elephant House by Norman Foster

Nigel Young from Foster + Partners

The Elephant House is an area of 3500m2 at Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark, designed by architects Foster + Partners and in collaboration with Stig L Andersson Architects. Completed in June 2008, the purpose on the design of this area was to provide the animals a healthy, stimulating environment and also easy and accessible spaces for visitors.

Foster + Partners

This construction included lots of research as Foster + Partners explains on their website:

“Extensive research into elephants’ social patterns provided design cues. The tendency for bull elephants in the wild to roam away from the herd suggested a plan organised around two separate enclosures. These enclosures are dug into the sloping site, both to minimise the building’s physical impact in the landscape and to optimise its passive thermal performance. Covered with glazed domes, the spaces maintain a strong visual connection with the sky and changing patterns of daylight. From the entrance square visitors enter the foyer and are lead by ramps down into an educational space, with views into the enclosures along the way. At the end of this route, broad public terraces offer splendid views across the herd paddock. Barriers between the animals and visitors are discreet, and the paddock walls are concealed in a linear pool so that the visitor encounters the elephants as another ‘surprise’ in the landscape of the park.

As we can see, architecture has no limits. It can be a stadium, a train station, or even an area for animals. This makes the Elephant House an exceptional architecture, grandiose, and one of the most extraordinary buildings in the world.

4. Pathé Foundation by Renzo Piano

ArchDaily - Michel Denancé, Paul Raftery

Located in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, in France, the headquarters of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé is designed by the famous Architect, Renzo Piano. The project started in 2006 and the headquarters opened in 2014. The building of 2 200m2 includes the Foundation’s offices, archives, a documentation and research center, a DVD library, an exhibition space, and a screening room.

About the building:

A new transparent building just behind the street facade that looks a little like a greenhouse, is the public area of the Foundation. From this building, visitors have a view through the transparent ground floor of the second building in the courtyard that houses the project’s main activities, to the garden beyond. The peculiar design of this building is determined by the limits and requirements of the site. While keeping its distance from the surrounding buildings, the new building actually improves its neighbours’ access to daylight and air and by reducing the building’s footprint, the project creates space for a garden at the back of the site.

The upper part of the building is made of glass, providing natural light for the Foundation’s offices. From the street the building is glimpsed through and over the restored façade – a discreet presence during the daytime, it will softly glow at night.”

All the information about the building are available here

The Jérôme-Seydoux-Pathé Foundation is a research center for historians, teachers, students, and anyone interested in cinema. Piano can thus claim to have created a space in the image of what it represents: an incredible building.


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