With the 21st century well underway, some people are wondering why we don’t have colonies on Mars and flying cars yet. While those advances may be a ways off yet, you can find some very futuristic structures right here on Earth.
Buildings with truly advanced structure and function already exist and they’re pretty amazing. Take a look at the list of most futuristic buildings in the world.
1. West 57, New York City
One of the few residential buildings in the World with a futuristic twist, West 57 contains 600 apartments in the already packed Big Apple. However, you would never guess it by looking at the building from the outside. It appears to be a slightly squashed metal and glass pyramid, with odd bits jutting out along the front face.
The block on West 57th Street combines two trends favorably: the walls of the buildings separate a private green area from the street for the inhabitants of the block while at the same time offering breathtaking views of the city from the height of the skyscraper. In addition, the 150-meter triangle of the main building allows the sun’s rays deep into the complex while not obscuring the view of the Hudson River.
2. Atomium, Brussels
Atomium is one of the main symbols of Brussels, a model of the crystal lattice of iron, which is enlarged 165 billion times. The Atomium was created in 1958 to open the World Exhibition “Expo-58”. The building was designed to replicate an iron crystal.
It is 102 meters high and features nine stainless steel balls that escalators can access. The escalators run inside tubes that connect the spheres.
The Atomium is a fantastic building with a museum, an observation deck, entertainment, and a restaurant. In the uppermost sphere on level 8 is the panoramic restaurant Belgium Taste (Taste of Belgium). Breathtaking views open from its windows.
In fact, this futuristic building was not supposed to go beyond the World Fair, but it became one of the most visited attractions in Brussels. During the day, steel atoms glisten in the sun, and in the evening, they are illuminated with colored lights.
3. Bullitt Center, Seattle
Not all futuristic buildings look like something out of a science fiction movie. Some are futuristic based on their function more than anything. The Bullitt Center is one such building. It does involve a lot of mirrored glass, but the real magic is what happens inside and around it.
Bullitt Center is the first office center awarded the Living Building certification as the World’s most environmentally friendly commercial building. In 2014, Bullitt Center produced 60% more energy with solar panels than was used. In addition, the building is permeated with “smart” systems, some of which have been used in multi-story construction for the first time.
The office building is energy and carbon neutral, using a green roof to filter gray water and rain. Solar panels power the entire six floors of the building, and a rainwater capture system on the roof makes this building nearly sustainable.
4. Palazzo Lombardia, Milan
The Palazzo Lombardia is a complex of buildings in Milan, Italy, including a 161 m tall skyscraper. It is the main seat of the regional government of Lombardy, located in the Centro Direzionale di Milano (“Directed Center of Milan”) area, northwest of the city center.
The Italian Palazzo Lombardia is an office tower with a modern look. This futuristic tower is also packed with eco-friendly features. For example, the beautiful, transparent pillows of fluorine-based plastic that make up the roof are eco-friendly.
There are also dual glass walls with blades that rotate vertically to allow for incredible views while providing shade. The entire place is heated using geothermal systems.
5. Galaxy Soho Building, Beijing
China has several amazingly futuristic buildings, and the Galaxy Soho is one of the newest ones. Built-in 2012, the multi-purpose edifice comprises four domes connected by elegantly curved bridges and suspended platforms. The materials used include aluminum, glass, stone, and stainless steel, so it looks modern with an organic vibe.
This futuristic building is a bold, striking and monumental project implemented by the British architect and designer of Arab origin Zaha Hadid.
Galaxy Soho’s design reflects traditional Chinese architecture. The 330,000 square meters of the complex house individual domed structures or towers rather than rigid blocks. These towers have a curvature and flowing organic form with no corners. The concept is taken from the origins of traditional Chinese architecture. Merged volumes create the effect of constant mutual adaptation and movement between each element.
Three lower above-ground and one underground level are occupied by a shopping and entertainment center, and 12 upper floors are given over to offices. At the top level, there are panoramic bars and restaurants. In addition, this futuristic building has two tiers of underground parking.
6. Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Dubai is home to several impressive buildings, but perhaps one of the most impressive is the 2,716.5-foot tower that is Burj Khalifa. It is the World’s tallest building and tallest free-standing structure.
It also breaks several other records, though other buildings strive to top this. The tower is impressive to look at, as well. Three structures are built around the center core, with staggering levels.
The Burj Khalifa was originally conceived as the tallest building in the World. However, its design height was kept in the strictest confidence so that if a building of greater size were planned, adjustments would be made to the project.
The tower has residential apartments, hotel rooms, business offices, retail space, entertainment centers, restaurants and cafes, gyms, observation decks, and swimming pools. The building is served by 57 elevators, but only one of them can rise from the ground floor to the top of the skyscraper.
7. Absolute World Towers, Toronto
The Absolute World Towers look somewhat like elongated and slightly flattened tin cans. Standing at 518 and 589 feet, the two towers twist gradually as they move upward to create a unique monument. The towers house offices and stand above the city, marking it as a place of advancement.
Towers grew at the crossroads of Hurontario and Burnhamthorpe. The designers sought to provide excellent visibility from anywhere in these futuristic buildings.
The two towers have been nicknamed “Marilyn Monroe” by residents of the Canadian city of Mississauga within the boundaries of the Greater Toronto Area for their “curvy” forms. The meandering silhouette reflects the structure, which distinguishes them from most similar buildings, where such an effect is achieved using balconies or a facade.
8. The Crystal, London
Photo: Jim Linwood
The Crystal’s crystal-like form unites two design stories: “a multi-faceted urban world” and the Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition of London in 1861, demonstrating the latest industrial revolution technologies.
This futuristic building is also one of the most eco-friendly structures around the globe. The single-shell glass building uses solar energy and the Earth’s heat exchange resources to generate its energy. Other important innovations are on display here, including rainwater harvesting, a polluted water treatment system, and electric vehicle chargers.
Inside the unique-looking edifice, you will find an extensive exhibit covering sustainable living and urban sustainability.
9. Spaceport America, New Mexico
Photo: Jeff Foust
You can’t get any more futuristic than a spaceport. The building was designed to launch and receive spacecraft, and it looks like you’d expect while blending into the New Mexico desert. So far, the spaceport has launched 12 successful missions and is home to UP Aerospace, Armadillo Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic. It is the first commercial spaceport in the World.
This commercial spaceport in New Mexico resembles a spaceship. It is this similarity that gives the building a futuristic look. The history of the spaceport has had 12 launches since 2006.
10. Al Bahar Towers, Abu Dhabi
Al Bahar Towers is a twenty-five-story complex located east of Abu Dhabi. These two majestic twin skyscrapers, which today are a kind of gate in the east of the city, were built in 2012. The traditions of Arabic architecture, proven over the centuries, and modern technological solutions perfectly combined in the appearance of the buildings.
The Al Bahar Towers feature a unique shading system that changes as the sun moves across the sky. Shields open and close as needed to provide the interiors with cool air. As a result of the use of this solution in the Al-Bahar towers, the level of solar radiation penetrating the offices has decreased by 50%. At the same time, comfortable and safe diffused light enters without hindrance. At night, the umbrellas roll up like flowers.
The architects were inspired to create an ultra-modern system by the region’s traditional mashrabiya – a patterned lattice that protects windows and balconies from the sun.
Today, the 29-story skyscrapers are the headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Investment Council (ADIC) and the head office of Al Hilal Bank. So while the towers may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, they are also incredibly efficient and eco-friendly.
While some amazingly advanced buildings have space-age designs, others stick to a more organic look. Eco-friendly buildings are more likely to make up the cities of the future than glass and metal spires, though these have a place, as well.
Every year, more amazing structures are finished, adding beauty and function to the world. What do you think about this list? Share your thoughts in the comments section.