40 Most Famous Architects of the 21st Century

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Bjarke Ingels

© Bjarke Ingels Group

Born on 2 October 1974 Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect who heads the architectural practice Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Known for his innovative and ambitious design approach, many of his buildings defy traditional architectural stereotypes. He often incorporates sustainable development ideas and sociological concepts into his designs, but often tries to achieve a balance between the playful and practical approaches to architecture.

At the bedrock of Bjarke’s philosophy is his belief that in order to deal with today’s challenges, architecture can profitably move into a field that has been largely unexplored. A pragmatic utopian architecture that steers clear of the petrifying pragmatism of boring boxes and the naïve utopian ideas of digital formalism. Like a form of programmatic alchemy he seeks to create architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, parking and shopping.

Beach and Howe

© Bjarke Ingels Group

West 57th Street

© Bjarke Ingels Group

César Pelli

© Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

César Pelli (October 12, 1926) was born in Argentina where he earned a Diploma in Architecture from the University of Tucuman. He first worked in the offices of Eero Saarinen serving as Project Designer for several buildings including the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport in New York. In 1977, Pelli became Dean of the Yale University School of Architecture and also founded Cesar Pelli & Associates (now known as Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects).

His designs have avoided formalistic preconceptions. He believes that buildings should be responsible citizens and that the aesthetic qualities of a building should grow from the specific characteristics of each project such as its location, its construction technology, and its purpose. In search of the most appropriate response to each project, his designs have covered a wide range of solutions and materials.

In 1995, the American Institute of Architects awarded Pelli the Gold Medal, in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished achievement in architecture. And in 2004, he was awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the design of the Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Petronas Towers

© Wikimedia Commons

BOK Centre

© Wikimedia Commons

Christian de Portzamparc

© Martell XO Architect Edition

Christian de Portzamparc (born 5 May 1944) is a French architect and urbanist who graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1970; and has since been noted for his bold designs and artistic touch. His projects reflect a sensibility to their environment and to urbanism that is a founding principle of his work. This consequently won the Pritzker Prize in 1994.

Both an architect and urban planner, he is implicated in the research of form and meaning. His work focuses on research over speculation and concerns the quality of life; aesthetics are conditioned by ethics; and he maintains that we have too often dissociated one from the other. He thus focuses on all scales of construction, from simple buildings to urban re-think; with the town as a founding principal of his work, developing a parallel and a crossover along three major lines: neighbourhood or city pieces, individual buildings and sky-scrapers.

Christian de Portzamparc’s iconic buildings, urban poles of attraction, create environments wherein the interior and exterior spaces inter-penetrate, working as catalysts in cityscape dynamics. Some of his renowned buildings include Hergé Museum, Philharmonie Luxembourg and Cidade da Música.

Chateau Cheval Blanc Winer

© Erik Saillet

Cidade Das Artes

© Nelson Kon

Daniel Libeskind

© Studio Libeskind

An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind (born on 12 May 1946) is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, literature, and poetry, Mr. Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, unique and sustainable.

In 1989, Mr. Libeskind won the international competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. A series of influential museum commissions followed, including the Felix Nussbaum Haus, Osnabrück; Imperial War Museum North, Manchester; Denver Art Museum; Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; Danish Jewish Museum; Royal Ontario Museum; and the Military History Museum, Dresden.

In 2003, Studio Libeskind won another historic competition—to create a master plan for the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre in Lower Manhattan.  In addition to a towering spire of 1,776 feet, the Libeskind design study proposed a complex program encompassing a memorial, underground museum, the integration of the slurry wall, special transit hub and four office towers.  This plan is being realized today.

Extension to the Denver Art Museum, Frederic C. Hamilton Building

© Studio Libeskind

Centre De Congrès À Mons

© Studio Libeskind
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  • PrinceAyOkuns

    Wonderful co-creator & re-designer of environment with The Almighty…am going to be one of them…by His grace

  • Hafedh Yahya

    Congrats Samuel for this interesting collection of information. however you miss some information about the origins of some architect like Zaha she was born in Iraq /Mosul. great job thank you again

  • nick mata

    If we will post our architectural works here, i guess we’ll put our best works for others to see as an inspiration and maybe justify “award winning”… Where are the best works of Shipla Architects being an award winning architect?

  • Manuel Marichal

    Kudos, Samuel, getting the most 40 famous in one
    list is not easy, but a few good names could be left out the list. I suggest you
    add (10) ten more and make the list with 50 including: IM Pei,
    Nicholas Grimshaw, Michael Hopkins, KenzoTange, Craig Edward Dykers &
    Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (Snφhetta), Diller Scofidio+Renfro (RS+R), Coop
    Himmelblau, Arata Isozaki and Adrian Smith+Gill Gilles (AS+GG)
    And by the way, Burj Khalifa design credits goes to Adrian Smith who left SOM in 2006 to start his own firm with Gill Gilles known as AS+GG Architecture in Chicago

    • Joe_3

      Sou Foujimoto, SANAA, Chipperfield (huge miss from the list of 40), David Adjaye, Aires Mateus, Souto De Moura, John Mcaslan.. A few from the 40 also belong in a 20th century list…

  • Matt Dorry

    Of course, with her death, it’s only natural Zaha be at the end of the list. I’m surprised I made it to the end without violently vomiting. It’s disgusting. All of it. These people are spiritually and philsophically bankrupt, if not morally, if they think there’s any beauty or worth or truth to the monstrosities they erect.

    • yoda

      The list is created in an alphabetical order you fool.. Zaha is in the end coz her name starts with a Z.. not coz she is dead.

  • Phaidon_Shreve

    What? No Alberto Campo Baeza. Start over.

  • Çağatay Yanaraltın

    no alberto campo baeza but bjarke lmao