Great design is about a combination of aesthetics and practicality, and there are buildings around the world which have become iconic due to their practical design features.
These four buildings are examples of great design which has brought a practical solution to a problem and subsequently created a unique design.
New York city water towers
New York City has some of the most iconic buildings anywhere in the world with the Empire State building, the Chrysler building and the new World Trade Centre dominating the skyline. Perhaps a less prominent feature of New York design is the iconic water towers that are found atop countless buildings in all the boroughs.
After 1800’s as New York’s skyline grew higher, above 6 stories, the water moving infrastructure in place could not take the pressure. Water towers were introduced as an intricate part of New York’s framework to help safely move water to the 7th floor and above. Despite the design and technology having advanced these water towers are still very much in use all over New York. Additionally, as sustainability is becoming a priority, some of these buildings have also introduced grey water recycling.
Taipei 101 building
The iconic skyscraper in Taiwan has been designed to withstand common but extreme weather conditions such as typhoon winds and earthquake tremors. The building has been designed to be flexible yet structurally resistant, with the most iconic design feature being the 660-tonne steel pendulum that serves as a tuned mass damper. The pendulum is suspended from the 92nd to the 87th floor, and it’s designed to sway and offset movements in the building caused by extreme weather conditions.
The building was formally known as the Taipei World Financial Center is used to house offices and restaurants. Under the LEED certification, it’s considered to be one of the greenest buildings in the world.
Centre Georges Pompidou
The building is situated in the Beaubourg area in Paris and was designed in the style of high-tech architecture. The building houses the Public Information Library, Modern Art Museum and music and acoustic research centre.
However, while the attractions in the building are awe-inspiring and over the years have seen over 180 million visitors, what is most exciting about the design of the building is that it is the first example in the architectural history of an ‘inside-out’ building. The structural, mechanical and circulation systems are on the outer exterior of the building. These are colour coordinated – blue for air conditioning, yellow for circulating electricity, green for water and red for circulating people (escalators and lifts).
The striking presence of colour makes the building stand out. The practicality of this design is noteworthy as well. As all function related mechanism are on the exterior, this frees up all the space inside with each floor expanding through the building entirely allowing big showroom space for artwork or other activities.
Located in Atlanta, it is the home of NFL team Atlanta Falcons. It currently holds the record as the world’s largest video board, unsurprising as it’s a circular 360 LED display that rings the opening of the stadium’s roof. However, the functionality and impressiveness of this building does not end there. The stadium also features an eight-panel retractable roof.
The shape of the roof resembles a pinwheel and as of July 2018, after several issues and delays, has been reported to work perfectly with opening or closing of the roof taking approximately 8 minutes. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is one of the 5 NFL stadiums with a retractable roof.