Best Cities for Design and Modern Architecture

By chili, May 4th 2010 in Vacation Ideas Comments (42)

In the 21st century, the art of shaping the city's design has reached new heights. Ultra modern and technologically advanced buildings are emerging all around the world, creating metropolises that stun with a new kind of appearance and functionality.


Check out where to go to find the world's best planned cities, where architecture and design form a unique cutting-edge urban landscape.


7. Toronto. Canada.

Toronto. By Bobcatnorth (Away)

Ontario College of Arts and Design. Toronto. By Bobcatnorth (Away)

The extraordinary and striking design of the Ontario College of Arts and Design perfectly illustrates the direction in which the Toronto's urban design is heading. The black and white cube suspended above the ground on colourful giant legs is Will Alsop's (London-based architect) controversial piece of modern development.

Other examples of "what is to come" are such projects as the spectacular extension of Royal Ontario Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, an American architect and artist, or Norman Foster's University of Toronto new pharmacy building. In truth, Toronto, the financial and cultural centre of Canada, is becoming a pioneer of modern development in the country.

Royal Ontario Museum. By wvs

Royal Ontario Museum. By wvs


6. Copenhagen. Denmark.

Danish Royal Library. By aha42

Danish Royal Library. By aha42

Danish sense of beauty and aesthetics reflected in the country's approach towards fashion design, interior design and arts can also be observed in the unique and world-class architecture. Danish cities are superbly planned down to the last detail, though far from being boring, as exemplified by Copenhagen.

The capital of Denmark boasts such architectural jewels as Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, designed by the famed Arne Jacobsen, an iconic Danish designer, Ordrupgaard, extended by Zaha Hadid, the world-recognized deconstructivist architect or Black Diamond. The latter construction is an amazing granite and glass extension of the historical Royal Library that has become the city's landmark.

Ordrupgaard Museum Extension by Zaha Hadid Architects. By Peter Guthrie

Ordrupgaard Museum Extension by Zaha Hadid Architects. By Peter Guthrie


 5. Barcelona. Spain.

Barcelona. Port Vell. By MorBCN

Barcelona. Port Vell. By MorBCN

Barcelona is a great blend of old historical architecture with modern development. One might even venture to say that today it is the modern urban design rather than ancient buildings that attract tourists from all over the world. Among the city's contemporary architectural highlights is Port Vell, a former run-down harbour of empty warehouses and factories that was transformed into modern public space attracting 16 million people a year.

Other striking up-to-date projects worth-seeing in the city are the wonderfully reconstructed Santa Caterina Market, Mare Nostrum Towers, one of the most spectacular skyscrapers in Barcelona, Hotel Arts, Agbar Tower and The Fish, a sculptural masterpiece by Frank Gehry.

The Fish. By Jasmic

The Fish. By Jasmic


 4. New York. The USA.

New York is one of the world's best examples of a city where architecture meets design. Although the city is mainly associated with its skyscrapers, the high-rise buildings are not the only examples of its unique modern development. While in the city, don't miss such cutting-edge projects as the New Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Manhattan, a dynamic composition of a stack of boxes, designed by Tokyo-based architects Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA or the transparent walls of the recently renovated Juilliard School.

Among other worthwhile constructions are also the newly opened minimalistic glass store of Apple in Upper West Side, or the luxury One Jackson Square residential development. And believe it, it's just the tip of the architectural iceberg that can be found in the city.

 New Apple's Store. By DC9T

New Apple's Store. By DC9T


 3. Sydney. Australia.

King Street Wharf By Christopher Chan

King Street Wharf By Christopher Chan

From the iconic Opera House to more recent developments, Sydney is a city of the finest architecture and one of the world's most exciting urban designs. Beautifully located on the hills surrounding the Sydney Harbour, the city's architecture has been mainly influenced by European modernism and the high-rise development.

Beside skyscrapers of the CBD (central business district) and naval architecture of Darling Harbour area, Sydney is home to amazingly stylish beach houses and residential development, great public spaces, from the ultra modern universities and libraries to art galleries, museums and cafes.

A contemporary building in the city center. By sachman75

A contemporary building in the city center. By sachman75


 2. Berlin. Germany.

Reichstag. By Wolfang Staudt

Reichstag. By Wolfang Staudt

The historical reunification of Berlin that began in 1990 triggered the city's great transformation in terms of social, political and architectural structure. The city's urban image is characterized by ongoing spatial and structural modifications and improvements and every year there are some new amazing buildings emerging in the city, from the futuristic Sony Centre and revamped Potsdamer Platz to more recent Berlin Hauptbahnhof (the railway station).

Truly, Berlin has been recovering architecturally fast and today it is a city of unique solutions, great design and fantastic contemporary developments in architecture.

Molecule Men. By Wolfgang Staudt

Molecule Men. By Wolfgang Staudt


 1. Chicago. The USA.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion. By shapeshift

Jay Pritzker Pavilion. By shapeshift

Be it the green roof on the Hall that helps the city to save on energy costs, Millennium Park that perfectly combines art, architecture and landscape design (like the extraordinary Jay Pritzker Pavilion), or the city's numerous high-rise buildings, Chicago is regarded as one of the most exciting and finest architectural creations of the modern world.

The city remains the birthplace of great urban design that has been followed by many metropolises from Paris to Hong Kong.

City's Hall Green Roof. By mindfrieze

City Hall Green Roof. By mindfrieze


  1. bookworm May 5, 2010 2:24 AM


  2. Brendan May 31, 2010 11:41 PM

    Are you kidding? How long did you spend researching this list, three minutes?

  3. andre Paul Jauregui Jun 1, 2010 2:01 AM

    Can you say anticlimactic

  4. Rizal Jun 24, 2010 2:13 PM

    GOOD..! i like it..

  5. tom desuja Jun 29, 2010 10:13 PM

    wow! this is amazing

  6. Jason Jul 13, 2010 11:45 AM


  7. Duncan Aug 30, 2010 12:39 AM

    Although I would like to think Toronto would make this list it seems unlikely that Toronto or any Canadian or American City would make the top 5. Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai have built some of the most impressive buildings.

  8. sunhee han Sep 24, 2010 10:54 AM

    Wonderful! I've been to just Barcelona and Berlin.

  9. kt Oct 19, 2010 8:53 AM

    contemporary architecture indeed

  10. Chicagoan Dec 2, 2010 6:22 PM

    I love Chi-Town. It is amazing. Come here!

  11. Muhammad Dec 9, 2010 10:31 AM

    oh what a beatiful

  12. A.R. Dec 14, 2010 10:40 PM

    Canadians are just too modest about their architecture, when it's often stunning.

  13. mahsa Dec 15, 2010 7:29 PM

    are lovely!!

  14. zu-sky Dec 28, 2010 2:05 AM

    brisbane does it for me
    then cape town followed by orangezicht and ipswich

  15. Nicky Pingtown Jan 5, 2011 12:30 PM

    It was very interesting for me to read that post. Thank author for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

  16. YK Jan 17, 2011 6:41 AM

    Sydney ?? WTF ?? ? When I traveled Australia, the only impressive architecture I saw was the Opera House. If you are to put an Australian city in this list, then you MUST put Melbourne in it. The Federation Square is one of the most bizarre buildings I have seen, and they have a new stadium built there that looks like a dome thing. I saw some optical illusion buldings whilst in Melbourne, near the Docklands.

  17. clippingimages Jan 26, 2011 5:47 AM

    Marvelous images.Thank you.

  18. jonathan Jan 26, 2011 6:41 PM

    these some nice pictures

  19. clippingimages Feb 5, 2011 5:37 AM

    Awesome pictures.Thanks to share these.

  20. tanvir Feb 12, 2011 11:07 AM


  21. greenup Feb 19, 2011 6:02 AM

    I have to say that both Sydney and Melbourne are fabulous design cities. I think the Amsterdam docklands and Rotterdam are very exciting too.

  22. :) Feb 27, 2011 5:48 PM

    amazing ..!!

  23. sekSpeams Mar 17, 2011 4:38 PM

    My name is Alice. I'm from U.S. I like chatting on video. If you have a good personality and if you are between 18-35yrs please visit, see my photo , and I video chat. I am so lonely and need some fun with confident guy.

  24. ;--() Jun 9, 2011 12:24 PM

    Sydney is an exciting place and is only going to get more so. Love it.

  25. fekadesilassie Adane Jun 26, 2011 3:00 PM

    art will continue

  26. anisha Sep 1, 2011 9:22 AM


  27. Panada Bear Sep 12, 2011 3:39 PM

    Toronto? Absolutely no way. Whoever wrote this list obviously hasn't visited China otherwise Beijing, Shanghai & Hong Kong would be in the top ten easily, let alone the top five. Also Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore. Toronto is old...Chicago as well...N.America is not modern anymore by global standards. Anybody who's been alive in the past 10-20 years and has been to Asia, especially China knows that it is the 21st century. Chicago couldn't even get the money together for their new "Spire" tower. What is this list from 1985?

  28. Pahaha Oct 22, 2011 9:23 PM

    Um you're kidding right? First of all, get rid of all the American cities for a start. Secondly add some noteworthy cities... ie. London, Tokyo etc... Do you actually research your posts or just opinionate.

  29. Nayeem Dec 15, 2011 8:33 PM


  30. md waliur rahman Dec 16, 2011 12:10 PM

    I like all

  31. Alan Jan 14, 2012 12:08 AM

    I totally agree with the selection of Chicago. The way the modern buildings and structures integrate with the lakefront and green spaces is truly incredible.

  32. Mehdi Apr 28, 2012 6:48 PM


  33. D Jun 8, 2012 5:30 PM

    Tokyo is the top architecture city in the world bar none

  34. Richmond VA Jun 8, 2012 5:31 PM

    Unbelievably Eurocentric as well. This list is shameful

  35. Oli Jun 20, 2012 6:54 AM

    YK is right, Melbourne beats Sydney for Architecture any day.
    Even Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Queensland is more exciting than Sydney when it comes to skyscrapers which is mostly populated by tall grey boxes

  36. Aspiring Architect Jun 27, 2012 5:55 AM

    I agree Chicago is the best! I been to cities in asia and even dubai but the nothing compares ot the old and new architectural structures like Chicago. The skyline and Lake Michigan come alive in the summer. Saving up to go back!

  37. Keep it Real Jun 27, 2012 6:01 AM

    Chicago is the "motherland" of great architectural amazements...but also the motherland of political corruption and the birth of the modern gangster (which to some its the same). Beside that, a great place to go in the summer but stay away from the winter.

  38. Duggg Jul 11, 2012 10:00 PM

    Chicago is not that modern in contrast to Asian cities. If I was going to a city to see modern architecture Chi would not be on my list.

  39. V&V. compny Jul 17, 2012 5:42 AM

    paris, newyork, london i like very much this place...."

  40. Your Name...shadi Nov 9, 2012 2:15 PM

    i love all of them

  41. Richard Feb 23, 2013 4:09 PM

    You could not be more wrong about Denmark if you tried. First, Copenhagen is not representative. Second, some ostentatious buildings don't make for a nice city. Why not visit Koeln or Basel which don't feature many starchitect buildings and are vastly more convivial than Coåenhagen and the other dreary towns of Denmark. Danish planning is sterile. As Dorothy Parker said of Oakland, there is no "there" there.

  42. Klaus Jun 3, 2013 3:05 PM

    Eurocentric? From my list of cities (with a higher density of impressive 20th century architecture; not "buildings"): OK, I have never travelled to China, but Basel, London, Paris, Rotterdam and Tokyo offer more per m2 than Chi + Tor. Even Lille does. Sorry folks, but I assume, who travels to Florence because of the Renaissance should not wonder to experience Da Vinci, Michelangelo and the likes … and hardly ask whether they were – or are – "stars" (by what definition anyway?)

  43. Name: Feb 6, 2016 9:22 PM