8 beautiful European cities for structure lovers

From Unesco-protected wonders to modern masterpieces, Europe has one thing for each touring structure buff. 

Right here’s Lonely Planet’s roundup of the very best the continent has to supply.

The futurist NEMO Science Museum was initially in-built 1923 © stacyarturogi / Shutterstock

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

Don’t miss: Renzo Piano’s NEMO Science Museum.

Amsterdam’s world-famous Royal Palace is the hallmark of the Dutch Golden Age, initially constructed as town corridor.

However the Netherlands’ capital additionally has some excellent modern buildings, together with Renzo Piano’s copper-green NEMO Science Museum and Benthem Crouwel’s streamlined, ultramodern extension to the Stedelijk Museum of modern artwork and design (accomplished in 2012), which appears like an enormous bathtub. 

Jump over to Rotterdam as a way to kind your individual opinion of the controversial fashionable buildings of native starchitect, Rem Koolhaas, together with De Rotterdam and Timmerhuis. Then try to make it to Utrecht to see the ground-breaking Thirties Rietveld-Schröderhuis by Gerrit Rietveld.

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The exterior of the MAS Museum, Antwerp, on a sunny day. To its let, a ship is being dwarfed by the building.
The MAS Museum is 10 storeys excessive, with 5700 m² of exhibition house © Michael Jacobs / Artwork in All of Us / Corbis information

Antwerp, Belgium 

Don’t miss: The Axel Vervoordt–designed Kanaal district

Positioned in Antwerp’s northern docks district, museum-gallery MAS, by Dutch architects Neutelings en Riedijk, is among the many metropolis’s hottest sights.

Shaped of ten crimson sandstone blocks, its undulating partitions of glass give guests the impression of trying by way of waves. The MAS accommodates the multi-floor ‘MAS Boulevard’ that anybody can discover totally free, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Zilte (very undoubtedly not free), a wise cafe and 360-degree views that guests on a funds can get pleasure from with a picnic. 

Simply outdoors town, the Kanaal district – masterminded by architect and inside designer Axel Vervoordt – is a spot of pilgrimage for design-lovers. E book a tour of the artwork gallery, the place every artist’s work is featured in a separate room, or take a tour of Vervoordt’s low-key showroom.

Vincent van Duysen’s stripped again, modern design is discovered throughout Antwerp. Try his restaurant-concept retailer, Graanmarkt 13 (nice meals) and sneak a peek on the Lodge August, situated in a former convent. Lodge Julien is one other of van Duysen’s buildings. Maison Guiette in Antwerp, one among Le Corbusier’s ‘white villas’, was the architect’s first fee outdoors of France and is a Nineteen Fifties traditional.

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The exterior of the Barcelona Pavilion, which was designed by Mies Van Der Rohe for the 1929 World Exposition. A shallow pool filled with stones is visible in front.
Barcelona Metropolis Council reconstructed the unimaginable Barcelona Pavilion in 1980 © Torval Mork / Shutterstock

Barcelona, Spain  

Don’t miss: Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich’s Pavelló

The architect most related to Barcelona is, after all, Gaudi, and a go to to the Sagrada Família is a necessary a part of any go to. However Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich’s Pavelló can also be a must-see. Designed for the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona, it was reconstructed within the Nineteen Eighties. The modernist gem options an apparently hovering roof, and the ostensibly easy building makes use of lavish supplies equivalent to marble, crimson onyx and travertine. 

The town has a lot to curiosity college students of latest structure: from Jean Nouvel’s Torre Glòries (previously Torre Agbar), to Herzog & de Meuron’s El Fòrum and Frank Gehry’s golden Peix (Fish) – one thing between a sculpture and a constructing – which might be seen from the seashore.

Additionally value taking a look at are EMBT’s Mercat de Santa Caterina close to the cathedral, Norman Foster’s Torre de Collserola telecommunications tower, Santiago Calatrava’s Olympic Flame and, one among Richard Meier’s finest buildings, the Museum of Modern Artwork, which some have likened to a Mondrian portray. The sq. to the entrance has turn out to be a well-liked gathering spot.

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The outside of the Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut, in Ronchamp France
It’s mentioned that Le Corbusier styled the Chapelle de Nortre-Dame du Haut with the

Basel, Switzerland 

Don’t miss: Le Corbusier’s Chapelle de Notre-Dame du Haut

Nowadays, Basel is thought for internet hosting ART Basel, a world artwork truthful held in June every year. However the metropolis additionally hosts some beautiful structure: works by Mario Botta (the Financial institution for Worldwide Settlements) and Richard Meier (the Euregio Workplace Constructing) are right here, in addition to home-grown darlings Herzog & de Meuron, whose web site helpfully lists all of the buildings they’re answerable for in Basel with a map displaying the situation of every. The Vitra Campus in close by Weil Am Rheim has works by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Alvaro Siza and Tadao Ando, amongst many others.

The town can also be a gateway probably the most necessary works by a grasp anyplace on this planet. Basel is a brief drive from Le Corbusier’s extraordinary Chapelle de Notre-Dame du Haut, situated within the quiet Ronchamp, which simply over the border with France.

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A winding stair in the interior of the New Helsinki city library, which is called Oodi. People are walking up and down the stair, and writing is visible on its inside.
Helsinki’s architecturally beautiful library was constructed within the metropolis’s cultural district © Subodh Agnihotri / Shutterstock

Helsinki, Finland 

Don’t miss: ALA Architects’ Oodi library 

Helsinki covers many architectural bases, from the romantic Kansallismuseo (Nationwide Museum) with its gray granite stonework and green-tinged copper roof, to the Nordic classicism of the Yrjönkatu Swimming Corridor. The tiny Temppeliaukio – or the Church of the Rock – was designed by brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen in 1969, and constructed straight into the encompassing granite bedrock which varieties the partitions of the chapel. In the meantime, whereas the modern ecumenical Kamppi Chapel of Silence, designed by K2S Architects, resembles an enormous wood bowl.

The town’s Oodi library units the usual for libraries of the long run. Positioned within the Töölönlahti neighborhood, the library incorporates a café, restaurant, cinema, recording studio and 3D printing room. With extra time, contemplate a highway journey a few hours outdoors town to the long-lasting Villa Mairea in Noormarkku, by Aino and Alvar Aalto, in-built 1939 as a house for artwork collectors, Maire and Harry Gullichsen or staying for every week and touring the total spectrum of Aalto buildings.

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A night view of the Pompidou Centre. A stair that resembles a tube is visible going up the side of the building.
The Pompidou Centre is the biggest fashionable artwork museum in Europe © robert napiorkowski / Shutterstock

Paris, France 

Don’t miss: Centre Pompidou by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers  

For devotees of Le Corbusier, the prospect of day strolling round Paris going from one constructing of his to the following is a captivating one. Begin with Villa La Roche and Villa Jeanneret within the sixteenth, hit Hôtel Molitor for lunch overlooking the restored Artwork Deco swimming pool, and within the afternoon swing by the Ozenfant Home, the Swiss Pavilion, Maison Planeix and the Fondation Armée du Salut (Salvation Military Hostel) which is open to the general public.

You possibly can even go to the architect’s personal restored penthouse condo and studio, on the highest two flooring of the Immeuble Molitor — the world’s first condo constructing with totally glazed facades and among the many architect’s 17 Unesco-listed buildings. Take a prepare out to Poissy and go to what many regard to be his masterpiece, Villa Savoye.

In case you’d wish to introduce some stability to your journey by visiting the works of different architects, the Arab World Institute by Nouvel, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France by Perrault and the Pompidou Centre by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, also needs to be in your record.

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The skyline of Malmo, Sweden. The brightly-lit Turning Torso building is visible.
Sweden’s Turning Torso constructing stands at a dizzying 190m © kimson / Shutterstock

Malmo, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark

Don’t miss: Arne Jaconbsen’s SAS Royal Lodge

At 190m and 57 storeys excessive, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s Turning Torso is the tallest constructing in Sweden. It was additionally the primary twisting constructing on this planet to be totally constructed – there at the moment are no less than thirty others all over the world, from Shanghai to St. Petersburg to Milan. Accomplished in 2005, the primarily residential constructing is divided into 9 segments of five-story pentagons, which rotate 90 levels as the peak will increase, all related by a metal exoskeleton.

The tower is situated beside the landmark Öresund bridge, acquainted to followers of the Scandi-noir crime drama collection The Bridge that includes the detective Saga Norén. Throughout the bridge in Copenhagen, buildings by Arne Jacobsen embrace the Danish Nationwide Financial institution and the SAS Royal Lodge. Try to slot in a go to to Louisiana, designed by Vilhelm Wohlert and Jørgen Bo, in all probability probably the most lovely artwork gallery on this planet.

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A shot of the inside of the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany. The floor is green and support beam is visible in the middle of the photo.
Along with its beautiful structure, the Staatsgalerie additionally hosts Annibale Carracci’s ‘Corpse of Christ’ portray © Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock

Stuttgart, Germany

Don’t miss: Jim Stirling’s Music Faculty and Neue Staatsgalerie 

Stuttgart, the capital of the southwest German state of Baden-Württemberg, is a mecca for each architectural buffs and anybody with an curiosity in automotive design. Two adjoining buildings by Jim Stirling – the Music Faculty and the Neue Staatsgalerie – are among the many British post-modernist architect’s most interesting; Corbusier additionally made it to Stuttgart again within the 30s and has a stupendous home within the mannequin village at Weißenhofsiedlung within the hills above the middle of Stuttgart. 

Petrol-heads will discover it laborious to comprise themselves in Delugan Meissl’s Porsche Museum and UNStudio’s Mercedes-Benz Museum; the latter agency additionally designed The Centre for Digital Engineering, accomplished in 2013.  

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