Some of the world’s most amazing structures are also the most practical. Japan, England, the Netherlands, and other low-lying countries have developed ingenious, high-tech systems for flood control. These dams, gates, and water barriers were not designed for beauty, and yet many are so visually arresting, they take your breath away.
For Americans who remember the devastation of levee breaches in New Orleans, what could be more beautiful?
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Buckminster Fuller’s 1949 geodesic dome design influenced a generation of visionaries.Efficient and economical, “Bucky’s” dome was widely hailed as a possible solution to world housing shortages. Fuller reached an international audience when he designed the U.S. Pavilion’s Biosphere at the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal, Canada.
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Today’s mega-sized airports handle air travel but not space travel. Famous for his “high tech” buildings, architect Norman Foster designed a special spaceport to solve this problem. The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building, “Spaceport America,” sprawls across desert landscape in New Mexico.
A whirlwind tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago is likely to take you to the majestic Rookery Building on LaSalle Street, in the center of the financial district. With steel frame engineering, elaborate ironwork, and a grand oriel staircase, the building conveys elegance and solidity. But, how much of the design belongs to Wright?
The Lobby details added in 1905 are Wright’s, but the building itself grew from the genius of two earlier masters, John Wellborn Root and Daniel H. Burnham.
Begin your journey: Inside the 1888 Rookery Building >
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