The Top 7 Cities in Asia for Architecture Lovers

Photo by: George Kedenburg III on Unsplash

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The architectural wonders of Asia are a testament to the continent’s long and illustrious history and culture. Numerous architectural marvels, ranging from centuries-old temples to cutting-edge towering structures, may be found all throughout the entire continent. The amazing collections of structures and monuments in some cities, however, make them destinations of choice for architectural enthusiasts. Based on the quantity and variety of architectural attractions available, we’ve compiled a list of the seven best Asian cities for architecture buffs. Whether you’re more interested in historic buildings or cutting-edge structures, you’ll find enough to marvel at in each of these locations.

1. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan, with its fascinating combination of contemporary and conventional structures, cutting-edge designs, and historic significance, is a must-see for every architect in search of ideas. The Tokyo Skytree, Rainbow Bridge, and the Sony Corporation offices are just a few of the city’s many landmarks that have gained international acclaim for their innovative layouts and contributed to Tokyo’s reputation as a pioneer in architectural innovation. Many of the city’s old structures, like temples, shrines, and fortresses (including the world-famous Tokyo Imperial Palace), have been preserved, giving visitors an insight into Japan’s rich architectural history.

In addition, the city has been shaped by the likes of Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma, and Kenzo Tange, all of whom have made their imprint on Tokyo with their groundbreaking architecture. For instance, Kengo Kuma’s landmark Tokyo Olympic Stadium is an attractive combination of contemporary and classical Japanese styles. The stadium’s wooden mesh facade is reminiscent of conventional Japanese architecture, but the stadium’s forward-thinking design, influenced by the natural world creates a stunning setting for athletic events.

Furthermore, Tokyo’s many districts, neon-lit avenues, and soaring towers provide architects with a never-ending source of ideas. Tokyo has a wide variety of inspiring architecture, from tightly packed flats that creatively use their limited square footage to cutting-edge skyscrapers that overshadow the cityscape.

2. Beijing, China

Beijing, China, with its many historic buildings and modern marvels, is a paradise for budding architects. Beijing, China’s capital for nearly 800 years, is home to several historical landmarks such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Summer Palace. These architectural marvels are a reflection of China’s long history of artistic achievement and have served as models for architects all across the globe.

Beijing is well-renowned for both its ancient architecture and its cutting-edge contemporary structures, such as Rem Koolhaas’ CCTV headquarters, Herzog & de Meuron’s National Stadium (popularly referred to as the “Bird’s Nest”), and Zaha Hadid Architects’ Leeza SOHO. These structures display the most advanced engineering and architectural techniques in their fields, providing a look into the future for students of architecture.

Ambitious architects may find many sources of motivation in Beijing’s distinctive urban setting, which has crowded streets, colorful districts, and soaring buildings. The Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture and Tsinghua University are two of the best architecture programs in China. Aspiring architects may learn from some of the best in the field by attending one of these institutions.

3. Singapore

Because of its many landmark buildings which boast avant-garde designs, state-of-the-art technology, and environmentally friendly construction methods, Singapore has earned international acclaim as an architectural role model. The city-state exemplifies the potential of planning and architecture to improve city life and make cities more hospitable places to live.

One of Singapore’s most iconic sites is Marina Bay Sands, a massive resort complex that has a hotel, casino, and convention center. The building’s three towers are connected by a massive sky park, and its remarkable layout has made it famous across the globe.

Another innovative design is Gardens by the Bay, a 101-hectare park with gorgeous plant areas and distinctive Supertree pillars that function as vertical greenhouses and solar energy panels. At night, the Supertrees’ solar energy systems, which range in height from 25 meters to 50 meters, supply a spectacular display by lighting up the landscape.

As part of its commitment to environmental protection, Singapore incorporates green technologies like rainwater collection, solar electricity, and rooftop flora into many of its public housing buildings. The Pinnacle@Duxton, for instance, has sky gardens on its 26th floor, giving residents access to outdoor space and unmatched views of the city below.

The government of Singapore is well recognized for its commitment to initiatives like the Public Art Trust and the Architecture and Urban Design Excellence program, both of which promote the arts in public spaces.

4. Seoul, South Korea

The South Korean capital of Seoul has been making headlines in recent years thanks to some very remarkable building projects. Already well-known for its thriving performing arts community, the city is making headlines for its forward-thinking, eco-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing architecture.

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a futurist project by the famous architect Zaha Hadid, is a must-see while visiting Seoul. A stunning juxtaposition to the adjacent classic architecture, the building’s sleek lines and metallic surface are what render it an essential stop for tourists in Seoul.

The Namsan Seoul Tower, a communications and lookout platform with amazing panoramas of the city, is another prominent structure. The tower is a landmark of Seoul’s contemporary skyline and is a favorite among tourists thanks to its novel form and hilltop location.

In addition, the Seoul Greenway, a system of linked greenery and parks meant to minimize carbon emissions and encourage environmentally friendly modes of moving around, is an example of the city’s dedication to environmentally friendly building practices. The city also has numerous places for people to congregate and socialize, such as the park that was constructed in the middle of what used to be a freeway and is now called Cheonggyecheon Stream.

The architectural wonders of Seoul extend beyond individual structures and buildings to encompass entire neighborhoods, such as the Bukchon Hanok Village, an ancestral Korean town that has been preserved and renovated to showcase the city’s cultural heritage.

5. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a snapshot of the relationship between booming economies and remarkable feats of urban planning. The city’s booming economy has sparked a wave of development, yielding a stunning collection of structures that highlight the best in contemporary architecture.

The International Commerce Centre (ICC) is the highest structure in Hong Kong at 484 meters, making it one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The ICC, created by the renowned architect Cesar Pelli, exists as an embodiment of Hong Kong’s position as a worldwide financial centre, and its unique design has made it a popular tourist destination.

The Bank of China Tower, a soaring edifice created by architect I.M. Pei, is another notable landmark. The building’s unusual triangular form and precise angles have made it a worldwide icon and a must-visit destination for architectural aficionados from all over the world. The Zero Carbon Building, which has solar panels and a geothermal cooling system, is a great example of environmentally responsible architecture.

The government of Hong Kong has a strong reputation for supporting the arts and design, as shown by programs like the Urban Design Guidelines and the Harbourfront Enhancement Committee.

6. Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is one of the greatest places in Asia to visit if you appreciate architecture. The atmosphere is an intriguing blend of conventional, modern, and avant-garde architectural influences. Taipei 101, once the highest building in the world, is instantly recognizable due to its distinctive pagoda-style architecture.

Even beyond Taipei 101, this metropolis has many more remarkable structures. Classical Chinese architecture, such as intricate courtyards, roofs, and woodwork, is on exhibit at the National Palace Museum, making it a significant cultural hub. The massive white Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is another well-known structure constructed to pay tribute to the country’s founding father and beloved leader.

Taipei is famed for its grand structures, but its bustling neighborhoods also have attractive examples of traditional shophouses and cutting-edge high-rises. Furthermore, energy-efficient and environmentally conscious buildings like those in the Xinyi District show Taipei’s dedication to sustainability and green architecture.

The city of Taipei is enhanced by its many museums, galleries, and cultural institutions, which provide a fascinating look into the evolution of building styles and aesthetics. Tourists interested in architecture will find Taipei’s blend of ancient and modern buildings fascinating.

7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Even though Malaysia is still a developing country, its capital city of Kuala Lumpur has grown into a leading center of architectural creativity in Southeast Asia. From a peaceful small town to a booming metro rich with spectacular architecture, the city has evolved and developed greatly over the years.

The Petronas Twin Towers are instantly identifiable as the landmark of Kuala Lumpur. At 452 meters in height, these towers were once the tallest in the world and are now among the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The twin towers, designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, combine contemporary and Islamic architectural styles to celebrate Malaysia’s multiethnic heritage.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower, a 421-meter-tall telecom and broadcasting tower, is another notable building in the city. Because of its novel design, the tower has become a popular tourist destination and a landmark in the architectural world.

Kuala Lumpur’s tropical climate has also influenced the city’s architecture, which often has green roofs, rainwater collection systems, and natural air circulation. Using renewable energy sources and green roofs to reduce heat absorption and improve air quality, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center is a model of eco-friendly design.

Final Thoughts

Some of the most beautiful and innovative buildings in the world can be found in Asia, and we’ve selected seven of the greatest sites to visit to learn about the continent’s fascinating past. Visit any of these places, and you will be more inspired and appreciative of the built environment, whether you are an experienced architect, a design student, or just an admirer of beautiful architecture.