While modern architecture is characterized by general, overarching themes like simplicity of form and the notion that form follows function, seeing these ideas come to life is something that's unique to every building or structure. Never has there been a better time to witness this than now. Modern architecture is changing the way we work and how we spend our leisure time. Today, we take a look at seven stand-out examples that have been designed to revolutionize our everyday lives. From an actual urban park wrapped inside a building to a conceptualized mini city in the sky, these architectural feats of wonder push the creative limit, asking us to interact with them like we could have never dreamed possible.
Cycle Around a Museum's Exterior - China
Have you ever biked around buildings like this? Architecture and design firm JDS Architects created the stunning Chongming Bicycle Park for a competition proposal. Called an "urban oasis," it consists of a museum, visitor center and multi-purpose hall. The flagship attraction is a double helix museum that encourages visitors to ride their bikes down the exterior ramp. In addition, the multi-purpose hall is like a "hilly island" with a network of intertwining undulating ramps and terraces that visitors can either walk or ride their bikes down.
Walk the Roof of an Underground Rail Station - China
Slated to become the world's largest underground high-speed rail station when it's completed in 2015, the Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus is a marvel. While it will connect Hong Kong to Beijing, it's the terminal's exterior that makes it truly unique. The station's roof will act like both a walkway and a park that visitors are encouraged to enjoy. It was designed by Andrew Bromberg of architecture firm Aedas.
Stroll an Urban Park Wrapped Inside a Building - South Korea
Have you ever seen a park that's right smack dab in the middle of a building? Called the "Culture Forest," this art and culture center has an urban park designed inside! Seoul-based Unsangdong Architects won first prize in a competition to build this in SeongDong-gu, South Korea. Powered and naturally lit by the sun, the center is filled with benches, trees, lush vegetation, and places to relax and reflect while looking down at the city.
Enjoy Concerts and an Artificial Beach on a Pier - Florida
Who knew a pier could do so much! Looping vertically into the ocean like a 360-degree stunt ramp, the Wave Pier by Mesh Architects can, not only host outdoor concerts, it can also act as an artificial second beach. The Wave Pier was Mesh Architects' entry for St. Peterburg's design competition to create a new cultural center for the city. What a spectacular sight!
Sleep in an Underwater Hotel - Dubai
Though we've all heard rumors of underwater hotels, this one looks like it's actually going to be built. Dubai-based construction company Drydocks World and Swiss firm BIG InvestConsult will create the Water Discus Hotel, a luxury underwater hotel in Dubai. It will have 21 suites that are 10 meters below the surface and, with the hotel's ability to rotate, guests will enjoy incredible views of the ocean down below. A special lighting system will illuminate the sea life outside and guests will be able to zoom in and take a closer look at all the tiny creatures using macro photography.
Live in a Vertical Forest - Italy
Talk about living green. Currently under construction is the ultimate green architecture project. Based in Milan, Italy, it's called Bosco Verticale (or "Vertical Forest" in Italian). It consists of two 27-story towers that will become home to not only people but also to 900 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 ground plants. Using the latest in green technologies like water reclamation, wind and solar, the towers will be a shining example of how residential buildings can live in harmony with nature. Planners hope that the greenery will act as a filter to pollution from traffic, shade people from the sun and provide changing appearances, as new plants come alive during the different seasons.
Escape to the City in the Sky - Above Any Metropolis
Where do you go to escape the craziness of everyday life? If you live in a metropolis, perhaps you'd visit the "City in the Sky." This architectural design concept, that was inspired by the lotus flower, was created by London-based architect Tsvetan Toshkov. He imaginated a tranquil oasis that one could escape to or as he called it "a hideaway from the rush of everyday life."