57 Most Famous Architects Of The 21st Century

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


Architecture begins with an idea. So, the maestros of architecture not only set out on radical journeys into the unknown; they made it back with gems of sheer beauty and incredible ingenuity.

I dared to list 57 indisputably famous 21st Century architects who have shaped our generation’s iconic and memorable buildings. Initially, I wanted to make a countdown from 57 to 1, but I conceded that architecture and architects could not be ranked – that design has an apparent subjectivity associated with it. So I will instead arrange my list alphabetically, from A to Z, and trust that I have captured the outliers of the architecture today. 

And while the very concept of ‘star architecture’ is a hot subject in design and architecture circles, let’s put our differences aside and celebrate these men and women – even if it’s just for their ability to stand out.

Before we start, if you believe we’re missing anyone, feel free to reach out

Related Post:Top Architecture Firms in the World

1. Álvaro Siza

Alvaro Siza

Image Credits: reggiani.net

Álvaro Joaquim de Melo Siza Vieira (born 25th June 1933) is a Portuguese architect and architectural educator internationally known as Álvaro Siza. He graduated in architecture in 1955 at the former School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. 

He completed his first built work (four houses in Matosinhos) even before his studies in 1954, the same year he started his private practice in Porto. In 1992, he was awarded the Pritzker Prize for the renovation project he coordinated in the Chiado area of Lisbon. This historic commercial sector was all but destroyed by fire in August 1988. 

Siza believes that architects don’t invent anything; they transform reality – a philosophy that saw the jury citation for his 1992 Pritzker Prize: “Like the early Modernists, his shapes, molded by light, have a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest.”

Expo’98 Portuguese National Pavilion

Image Credits: archdaily.com

The Building on the Water

The Building on the Water by Álvaro Siza

Image Credits: archdaily.com

2. Antoine Predock

Antoine Predock

Image Credits: architectuul.com

Antoine Predock (born 1936 in Lebanon, Missouri) is an American architect based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the Principal of Antoine Predock Architect P.C., a studio he established in 1967. Predock attended the University of New Mexico and later received his Bachelor of Architecture from Columbia University.

Predock first gained national attention with the La Luz community in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Later, the Nelson Fine Arts Centre at Arizona State University became his first nationally won design competition. 

As one of the famous architects, Predock’s work includes the Turtle Creek House, built in 1993 for bird enthusiasts along a prehistoric trail in Texas; the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College and a new ballpark for the San Diego Padres. In 2006, he won the A.I.A. Gold Medal. And in 2007, Predock was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Right

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Trinity River Audubon Centre

Trinity River Audubon Centre

Image Credits: tx.audubon.org

3. Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith

Image Credits: chicagobusiness.com

Adrian Smith (born on 19th August 1944 in Chicago) is a famous architect known for his work on some of the world’s tallest and most iconic skyscrapers. He studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology, receiving his Bachelor of Architecture in 1969.

Smith began his career working for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (S.O.M.), one of the largest architecture firms in the world. He quickly rose through the firm’s ranks and became a partner in 1980, where he worked on high-profile projects, including the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which is currently the tallest building in the world.

In 2006, Smith left S.O.M. and founded his firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. Since then, he has continued to work on some of the world’s most impressive skyscrapers, including the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which, when fully constructed, will be the world’s tallest building.

Smith’s modern architecture is represented by his innovative and sustainable designs, which often incorporate cutting-edge technology to achieve environmental sustainability. He is known for his attention to detail and ability to balance form and function in his designs.

During his colorful career, Smith has been recognized for his contributions to the field of architecture, receiving around 125 awards and honors, including the C.T.B.U.H. Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Finally, he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.) and has served as President of the Chicago Chapter of the A.I.A.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Image Credits: pexels.com

Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China

Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, China

Image Credits: goshopshanghai.com

4. Aires Mateus

Aires Mateus

Image credits: worldarcitecture.org

Aires Mateus (born on 21st July 1963 in Lisbon) is a Portuguese architect known for his minimalist and contemporary designs emphasizing the relationship between space, light, and materiality, with a focus on complex geometries and a greater variety of material. Aires earned his degree in architecture from the University of Lisbon. He then established his architecture firm with his brother, Francisco Mateus, in 1988. Since then, they have completed many projects, including residential buildings, public spaces, museums, and cultural centers.

His notable projects include the House in Melides I in Portugal, the Furnas Monitoring and Investigation Centre in São Miguel, Portugal, and a faculty building for the Université Catholique de Louvain’s Tournai campus. His designs are characterized by a focus on simple geometric shapes and painstaking attention to detail. Aires Mateus has received several awards, including the Ibero-American Architecture Biennale prize and F.A.D. Prizes.

Furnas Monitoring and Investigation Centre

Furnas Monitoring and Research Centre

Image Credits: geotuorismroute.eu

House in Melides I

House in Melides I, Grândola

Image credits: arquitecturaviva.com

5. Alberto Campo Baeza

Image Credits: en.wikipedia.org

Alberto Campo Baeza (born on 22nd February 1946 in Valladolid) is a Spanish architect and university professor. He is known for his minimalist and modernist approach to architecture, characterized by a strong focus on light, space, and materiality, rather than a showcase of decoration and ornamentation.

Campo Baeza studied architecture at the Technical School of Architecture of Madrid, and his architecture is known for its simplicity and elegance. He often uses concrete, steel, and glass materials and eliminates color to create an illusion of more natural light. One of Campo Baeza’s most notable projects is the Caja de Granada Savings Bank in Granada and the Turégano House in Madrid.

Campo Baeza has received numerous distinctions and honors, including the Heinrich Tessenow Gold Medal in 2013 and the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture in 2013. Finally, he has also been invited to speak at conferences and events worldwide and has published several books on architecture.

Caja de Granada Savings Bank

Caja de Granada Savings Bank in Granada

Image Credits: archello.com

Turégano House in Madrid

Turégano House in Madrid

Image Credits: metalocus.es

6. Alejandro Aravena

Alejandro Aravena

Image Credits: brittanica.com

Alejandro Aravena (born in Santiago on 22nd June 1967) is a Chilean architect. He studied architecture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, graduating in 1992. Aravena’s architectural approach is characterized by his commitment to social housing and sustainable design. In addition, he seeks balance between architectural technology and natural materials, as well as between manual labor and handicraft.

One of Aravena’s most notable works is the “Half a House” project, which he designed to provide affordable housing for low-income families in Chile. The project was designed to be built in stages, allowing families to add to their homes as they could afford it. He has also designed a number of other famous projects, including the Siamese Towers in Santiago and the image .

His work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2016. He has also been named a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum and has received the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale for his work on social housing.

Siamese Towers

Siamese Towers in Santiago

Image Credits: archilovers.com

Angelini Innovation Center

Angelini Innovation Center in Santiago

Image Credits: architectural-review.com

7. Ben Van Berkel

Ben van Berkel

Image Credits: iaac.net

Ben van Berkel (born in 1957) is a Dutch architect and founding partner of the internationally acclaimed architectural practice – UNStudio. He studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam; and later at the Architectural Association in London, where he received his A.A. Diploma with Honours in 1987.

In 1988 he and his wife, Caroline Bos, set up an architectural firm in Amsterdam called Van Berkel & Bos Architectuurbureau. With the firm, he realized the Karbouw office building and the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, among other projects. A decade later, van Berkel and Bos relaunched their practice as UNStudio, with U.N. standing for “United Net” to acknowledge the collaboration of the architectural design process.

Ben van Berkel has lectured and taught at many architectural schools around the world. Before he became a Professor of Conceptual Design at the Städelschule in Frankfurt in 2001, he was Visiting Professor at Columbia University, Princeton University, and Harvard University. And in 2011, Ben van Berkel was appointed the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Central to his teaching is the inclusive approach of architectural works integrating virtual and material organization and engineering constructions. His most notable recent buildings putting him amongst famous architects, include Theatre Agora, Mercedes-Benz Museum, and the W.I.N.D. House.

Theatre de Stoep

Theatre de Stoep

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Theatre Agora

Agora theater

Image Credits: flickr.com

8. Bernard Tschumi

Bernard Tschumi

Imaage Credits: dezeen.com

Bernard Tschumi (born 25th January 1944) is an architect and educator widely associated with deconstructivism or post-modern architecture. Benard is the son of famous architect Jean Tschumi, born of French and Swiss parentage. He works and lives in New York City and Paris. He studied in Paris and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where he received his degree in architecture in 1969.

Tschumi taught at Portsmouth Polytechnic in Portsmouth, U.K., the Architectural Association in London, the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, Princeton University, the Cooper Union in New York, and Columbia University, where he was Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1988 to 2003. 

His first notable project was the Parc de La Villette, a competition he won in 1983. Other projects include the New Acropolis Museum, Rouen Concert Hall, and Bridge in La Roche-sur-Yon.

New Acropolis Museum

New Acropolis Museum

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Alesia Museum

Alesia Museum

Image Credits: archdaily.com

9. Bjarke Ingels

Bjarke Ingels

Image Credits: dline.com

Born on 2nd 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 playful and practical approaches to architecture.

At the bedrock of Bjarke’s philosophy is his belief that to deal with today’s challenges, architecture can profitably move into a predominantly unexplored field: a pragmatic ideological 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, making him one of the most famous architects today.

Beach and Howe

Image Credits: big.dk

West 57th Street

West 57th Street

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

10. César Pelli

César Pelli

Image Credits: metalocus.es

César Pelli (12th October 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 T.W.A. Terminal at J.F.K. Airport in New York. In 1977, Pelli became Dean of the Yale University School of Architecture and 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, construction technology, and purpose. In search of the most appropriate response to each project, his designs have covered various solutions and materials.

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

Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers

Image Credits:archdaily.com

B.O.K. Centre

BOK Center

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Update (20/07/2019): Famous architect, César Pelli, passed away at the age of 92 years. 

11. Christian De Portzamparc

Christian De Portzamparc

Image Credits: hannahassouline.com

Christian de Portzamparc (born 5th 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 urbanism, a founding principle of his work. This consequently won the Pritzker Prize in 1994.

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: neighborhood or city pieces, individual buildings, and skyscrapers.

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 prominent buildings include Hergé Museum, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and Cidade da Música.

Chateau Cheval Blanc Winer

Chateau Cheval Blanc Winer

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Cidade Das Artes

Cidade Das Artes

Image Credits: archdaily.com

12. Craig Edward Dykers & Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (Snφhetta)

Craig Edward Dykers & Kjetil Trædal Thorsen

Image Credits: wsj.com

Craig Edward Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen are the co-founders of the architectural firm Snøhetta. Dykers was born on 14th September 1961 in Frankfurt, Germany, and Thorsen was born on 23rd March 1958 in Haugesund, Norway.

They founded Snøhetta in 1989, and the firm is known for its innovative and sustainable approach to architecture, which focuses on collaboration, context, and the natural environment. The firm has designed many famous projects, including the Alexandria Library in Egypt, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, the National 11th September Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York City, and the award-winning Tverrfjellhytta or Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion.

Their work has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 2019 for the design of the Mutrah Fish Market in Oman and the Red Dot Award for Design Concept in 2018 for the Powerhouse Telemark project.

Alexandria Library

Alexandria Library in Egypt

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Tverrfjellhytta or Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion

Image Credits: archdaily.com

13. David Adjaye

David Adjaye

Image Credits: vogue.com

Sir David Adjaye (born on 22nd September 1966 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) is a famous architect known for his innovative and socially-conscious designs that explore the intersection of architecture, history, and culture. He grew up in London, England, earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from London South Bank University and his Master of Architecture degree from the Royal College of Art.

In his early career days, Adjaye worked for several notable architecture firms, including David Chipperfield Architects and Eduardo Souto de Moura Architects, before starting his firm, Adjaye Associates, in 2000.

His notable projects include the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO in Russia, and the Aishti Foundation in Beirut, Lebanon. He has also worked on numerous residential and commercial buildings, public spaces, and installations.

Adjaye has since received numerous honors and awards, including the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Royal Gold Medal in 2021, the Crystal Award, the Order of Merit in 2022, and is a Knight Bachelor of Britain.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Image Credits: archiitecturaldigest.com

Moscow School of Management

Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO in Russia

Image Credits: adjaye.com

13. Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind

Image Credits: dw.com

An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind (born on 12th 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 resonant, unique, and sustainable architecture.

In 1989, Mr. Libeskind won the international competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. A series of influential museum commissions making him a famous architects entry 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 rebuilding 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, an underground museum, the integration of the slurry wall, a special transit hub, and four office towers. This plan is being realized today.

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

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

Image Credits: libeskind.com

Centre De Congrès À Mons

Centre De Congrès à Mons - Libeskind

Image Credits: libeskind.com

15. David Childs

David Childs

Image Credits: archdaily.com

David Magie Childs (born on 1st April 1941 in Princeton, New Jersey) is an American Architect and chairman emeritus of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He is best known for his controversial redesign of the new One World Trade Centre in New York City.

Childs graduated from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1959 and later from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1963. He first majored in zoology before turning to architecture at the Yale School of Architecture and earning his master’s degree in 1967. He joined the Washington, D.C. office of S.O.M. in 1971 after working with Nathaniel Owings and Daniel Patrick Moynihan on plans to redevelop Pennsylvania Avenue.

The major projects that gave him recognition among the famous architects include the Four Seasons Hotel, the U.S. News and World Report headquarters, the headquarters for National Geographic, Worldwide Plaza, 450 Lexington Avenue, Bertelsmann Tower, and One World Trade Centre.

One World Trade Centre

One World Trade Center

Image Credits: ticketlens.com

National Geographic Headquarters

National Geographic Headquarters

Image Credits: nationalgeographic.org

16. David Chipperfield

David Chipperfield

Image Credits: the-talks.com

Sir David Chipperfield (born on 18th December 1953 in London) is a British architect known for his minimalistic and timeless designs prioritizing functionality, materiality, and context. He graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1977.

After completing his education, Chipperfield worked for several notable architecture firms and architects, including Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, before establishing his firm, David Chipperfield Architects, in 1985. Since then, he has gained international recognition for his innovative and award-winning designs, which often combine modern elements with traditional building techniques and materials.

Some of Chipperfield’s notable projects include the James Simon Gallery on Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany and the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery in Wakefield, England. He has also worked on numerous cultural institutions, such as museums, galleries, concert halls, and residential and commercial buildings.

Chipperfield is famous for his attention to detail, use of natural materials, and focus on each project’s cultural and historical context. He has received numerous accolades, including the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize in 2007 for the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, Germany, and the Tessenow Gold Medal.

James-Simon Gallery in Neues Museum

James-Simon Gallery in Neues Museum in Berlin

Image Credits: architectours.com

The Hepworth Wakefield

Image Credits: theguardian.com

17. Diébédo Francis Kéré

Diebedo Francis Kéré

Image Credits: flickr.com

Diébédo Francis Kéré (born in Burkina Faso in 1965) is a highly acclaimed architect, designer, and university professor. Kéré studied at the Technical University of Berlin before founding the Kéré Foundation and Kéré Architecture. He is known for his innovative designs, which blend modern and traditional elements, and his intense focus on sustainability and social responsibility.

Kéré’s organic architecture is characterized by his use of local materials and techniques, such as mud, stone, and timber, and his buildings are designed to be naturally ventilated and energy efficient. Some of his most notable buildings include the National Assembly of Burkina Faso, Gando Primary school in Burkina Faso, and the Serpentine Pavilion in London.

Kéré has received numerous awards for his contributions to architecture, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and the B.S.I. Swiss Architectural Award. In 2022, he was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, becoming the first African to win the prestige.

Burkina Faso National Assembly

Burkina Faso National Assembly

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

Gando Primary School

Primary School, Gando

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

18. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio – Diller Scofidio+Renfro (RS+R)

Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio

Image Credits: architectmagazine.com

Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio are two American architects who founded the firm Diller Scofidio+Renfro (DS+R) in 1981. Charles Renfro later joined the firm in 1997. DS+R is known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to architecture, which combines elements of art, technology, and social commentary.

Elizabeth Diller was born in Poland on 22nd June 1954, and Ricardo Scofidio was born on 14th November 1935 in New York City. Diller studied architecture at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, while Scofidio studied architecture at Columbia University.

The architectural approach of DS+R shows the desire to create buildings and spaces that challenge the boundaries between art and architecture. The team’s work often incorporates elements of performance art, interactive installations, and multimedia displays.

DS+R’s notable projects include the High Line in New York, the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, an art museum featuring a unique honeycomb-like structure, and the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

The firm has received numerous accolades for its work, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award and the National Design Award for Architecture from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

The High Line

The High Line, New York

Image Credits: cntravelor.com

The Broad Museum

The Broad Museum

Image Credits: thebroad.org

19. Frank Gehry

Frank Gehr

Image Credits: news.usc.edu

Frank Owen Gehry (born on 28th February 1929) is a Jewish architect born in Canada and a United States resident based in Los Angeles. He established his practice in Los Angeles, California, in 1962 – and later Gehry Partners, L.L.P. in 2001. 

His firm uses the Digital Project – a sophisticated 3D computer modeling program initially created for the aerospace industry, to thoroughly document designs and rationalize the bidding, fabrication, and construction processes.

Several of his buildings – the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles; Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, France – including his private residence, have become world-renowned tourist attractions. 

His works are cited as among the most important works of contemporary architecture in the 2010 World Architecture Survey, which led Vanity Fair to label him “the most important architect of our age.”

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Image Credits: mpkelley.com

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

20. Jacques Herzog & Pierre De Meuron

Jacques Herzog & Pierre De Meuron

Image Credits: vitra.com

Jacques Herzog studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (E.T.H.Z.) from 1970 to 1975. He was a visiting tutor at Cornell University, U.S.A., in 1983. He was also a visiting professor at Harvard University, U.S.A. (1989 and since 1994), a professor at ETH Zürich since 1999, and co-founder of ETH Studio Basel – Contemporary City Institute since 2002.

Pierre de Meuron studied architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (E.T.H.Z.) from 1970 to 1975. With Jacques Herzog, he was a visiting professor at Harvard University, U.S.A. (1989 and since 1994) and professor at ETH Studio Basel, E.T.H.Z. (since 1999).

Jacques Herzog established Herzog & de Meuron with Pierre de Meuron in Basel in 1978. Together they have won the Pritzker Prize (2001), the Stirling Prize (2003), and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2007). Their practice has designed a wide range of projects from the small scale of a private home to the large scale of urban design. 

While many of their projects are highly recognized public facilities, such as their stadiums and museums, which have put them in the book of famous architects, they have also completed several distinguished private projects, including apartment buildings, offices, and factories.

The Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest)

Beijing National Stadium

Image Credits: designignbuildings.co.uk

Perez Art Museum

Perez Art Museum

Image Credits: archdaily.com

21. Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

Jean Nouvel (born on 12th August 1945) is a French architect who studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l’Architecture. He has obtained several prestigious distinctions throughout his career, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005, and the Pritzker Prize in 2008.

In 1981, Nouvel won the design competition for the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute) building in Paris, whose construction was completed in 1987 and brought Nouvel to the international scene. Mechanical lenses reminiscent of Arabic latticework in its south wall open and shut automatically, controlling interior lighting as the lenses’ photoelectric cells respond to exterior light levels.

Ateliers Jean Nouvel, his current practice, was formed in 1994 with Michel Pélissié and is one of the largest in France, with 140 people in the main office in Paris. The practice also has site offices are Rome, Geneva, Madrid, and Barcelona.

White Walls

Jean Nouvel's White walls

Image Credits: dezeen.com

One Central Park

One Central Park

Image Credits: domusweb.it

22. Jeanne Gang

Jeanne Gang

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Jeanne Gang (born in 1964) is the Founder and Principal of Studio Gang Architects, an award-winning architecture and urban design practice based in Chicago and New York. Internationally recognized for her innovative use of materials and environmentally sensitive approach, Jeanne explores the role of design in revitalizing cities.

Through projects ranging in scale from community anchors and cultural institutions to tall mixed-use buildings and urban planning, she engages in pressing contemporary issues and their impact on the human experience. Jeanne has produced what some critics consider today’s most compelling architecture to make her one of the most famous architects, including the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the W.M.S. Boathouse at Clark Park, the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, and Aqua Tower.

Jeanne’s work has been exhibited at the International Venice Biennale, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. A distinguished graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, she has taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Rice, and Illinois Institute of Technology, where her studios have focused on cities, ecologies, and materials.

Aqua Tower

Aqua Tower

Image Credits: archi-photos.com

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership

Image Credits: arch2o.com

23. John McAslan

John Mcaslan

John McAslan (born in Scotland in 1954) is a British architect known for his innovative designs that integrate the traditional and the modern. He studied architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. He later founded John McAslan + Partners, an architectural firm based in London that has completed many projects around the world, including cultural, residential, and commercial buildings, plus transportation infrastructure.

One of those projects is the redevelopment of King’s Cross Station in London, which involved the restoration of the historic train shed and the creation of a new public plaza and pedestrian bridge. He has also worked on the Round House in London.

In addition to his work as an architect, McAslan is a philanthropist known for his commitment to social and environmental sustainability. He has worked on projects in developing countries, including schools, hospitals, and community centers, and has been a vocal advocate for sustainable design practices. McAslan has been recognized with numerous awards for his contributions to architecture, including 29 RIBA awards, including the Gold Medal.

King’s Cross Station

King's Cross Station

Image Credits: mcaslan.co.uk

The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse

Image Credits: mcaslan.co.uk

24. Joshua Prince-Ramus

Joshua Prince-Ramus

Image Credits: seattlepi.com

Born on 11th August 1969, Joshua Prince-Ramus is the Principal of R.E.X., an internationally acclaimed architecture and design firm based in New York City, whose name signifies a re-appraisal (RE) of architecture (X).

Operating across many scales, R.E.X. consistently advances new building paradigms and promotes the agency of architecture. Seminal projects include the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas; the Vakko Fashion Center in Istanbul, Turkey; and the Seattle Central Library – all opened to critical acclaim.

Yongsan International Business District

Yongsan International Business District

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Vakko Headquarters and Power Media Center

Vakko headquarters and power media center

Image Credits: archello.com

25. Kazuyo Sejima

Kazuyo Sejima

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Kazuyo Sejima (born on 29th October 1956 in Ibaraki) is a Japanese architect known for her sleek, minimalist designs incorporating light and space to create serene spaces. She graduated from Japan Women’s University with a degree in architecture in 1981.

Sejima began working for the architecture firm Toyo Ito & Associates before establishing her firm, S.A.N.A.A., in 1995 with Ryue Nishizawa. Since then, she has gained international recognition for her unique and innovative designs. Some of Sejima’s notable projects include the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan; the Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut; the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the Louvre-Lens Museum in France.

Her architectural style employs transparency, light, and space to create minimalist and serene spaces that blur the boundaries between the interior and exterior. In addition, her designs often feature large, open spaces with minimal partitions and a neutral color palette, allowing natural light to flood the space and creating a sense of weightlessness and calm. She has received numerous accolades and recognition, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2010, becoming only the second woman to receive the award.

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut

Grace Farms in New Canaan, Connecticut

Image Credits: nytimes.com

26. Ken Yeang

Ken Yeang

Image Credits: prestigeonline.com

Ken Yeang (born in 1948) is a Malaysian architect, ecologist, and author known for his signature eco-architecture and eco-master plans.

Yeang is an early pioneer of ecology-based green design and master planning, carrying out design and research in this field since 1971. The Guardian names him as “one of the 50 people who could save the planet”. Yeang’s operating headquarters, Hamzah and Yeang, is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with other offices in London and Beijing, China.

Born in Penang, Malaysia, Yeang grew up in a tropical Modernist house designed by Iversen van Sitteren and attended Penang Free School. He obtained his qualifications in architecture from the Architectural Association School in London (A.A.).

In 1969, he interned at the Singapore architect practice S.T. S. Leong before returning to the A.A. to complete his diploma under Peter Cook (1972). He did his postgraduate at Cambridge University Department of Architecture.

Yeang has completed over 12 bioclimatic eco-high-rise buildings, several thousand dwellings (terraced houses), over two million sq. ft. of interior design space, numerous eco-master plans, and eco-city designs. Overall, he completed over a hundred building projects worldwide, bringing him into focus in the famous architects’ list. Yeang lectures extensively in over 30 countries at conferences and schools of architecture on his ideas and work on ecological design and master planning.

His key built works include the Roof-Roof House (Malaysia), Menara Mesiniaga (an I.B.M. franchise) (Malaysia), National Library Singapore (Singapore), Solaris (Singapore with C.P.G. Consult), Spire Edge Tower (India with Abraxas Architects), DiGi Data Centre (Malaysia), Ganendra Art House (Malaysia), Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Extension (under Llewelyn Davies Yeang, UK), the Genome Research Building (Hong Kong with Andrew Lee King Fun & Associates).

National Library Singapore

National Library, Singapore

Image Credits: timeout.com

Spire Edge Tower


Image Credits: aeccafe.com

27. Kengo Kuma

Kengo Kuma

Image credits: ft.com

Kuma was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1954. After graduating in Architecture from the University of Tokyo in 1979, he worked at Nihon Sekkei and T.O.D.A. Corporation. He then moved to New York to study at Columbia University as a visiting researcher from 1985 to 1986.

In 1987, he founded the “Spatial Design Studio.” In 1990, he established his office, “Kengo Kuma & Associates.” He has taught at Columbia University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Keio University, where in 2008, Kuma received his Ph.D. in Architecture.

Kuma is currently a Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Tokyo, running diverse research projects concerning architecture, urbanity, and design within his own Laboratory, Kuma Lab.

Kuma’s stated goal is to recover the tradition of Japanese buildings and to reinterpret these traditions for the 21st century. In 1997, he won the Architectural Institute of Japan Award, and in 2009 was made an Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

His seminal text Anti-Object: The Dissolution and Disintegration of Architecture from 2008 calls for an architecture of relations, respecting its surroundings instead of dominating them. Kuma’s projects maintain a keen interest in manipulating light with nature through materiality.

His key projects include the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, Bamboo Wall House in China, L.V.M.H. (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) Group’s Japan headquarters, Besançon Art Center in France, and one of the largest spas in the Caribbean for Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay.

Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks Coffee | Kengo Kuma & Associates

Image Credits: Arch2O.com

ArtA Cultural Centre

Image Credits: archdaily.com

28. Ma Yansong

Ma Yansong

Image Credits: architecturaldigest.com

Beijing-born architect Ma Yansong is recognized as an influential voice in the new generation of architects. As the founder and principal of MAD Architects, Ma leads design across various scales. In recent years, many of Ma’s designs follow his conception of the “Shanshui City,” which is his vision to create a new balance between society, the city, and the environment through new forms of architecture.

Since designing the “Floating Island” in 2002, Ma has been exploring this idea through an international practice. At MAD, Ma has created a series of imaginative works, including Absolute Towers, Hutong Bubble 32, Ordos Museum, China Wood Sculpture Museum, and Fake Hills.

In 2010 he became the first architect from China to receive a RIBA fellowship. And in 2012, his iconic project “Absolute Towers,” two residential towers in Mississauga, Canada, was named the “Best Tall Building in the Americas” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (C.T.B.U.H.).

Absolute Towers

Absolute Towers

Image Credits: rockwool.com

Chaoyang Park Plaza

Chaoyang Park Plaza

Image Credits: archdaily.com

29. Massimiliano And Doriana Fuksas

Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas

Image Credits:worldarchitecture.org

Studio Fuksas, led by famous architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, is one of the world’s most outstanding international architectural firms.

Over the past 40 years, the firm has developed an innovative approach through various projects, ranging from urban interventions to airports, from museums to cultural centers and spaces for music, from convention centers to offices, from interiors to private houses and design collections.

With headquarters in Rome, Paris, and Shenzhen, the practice has an international reputation and has completed over 600 projects in Europe, Africa, America, Asia, and Australia, receiving numerous international awards.

From large to small scale, the holistic approach of Studio Fuksas allows for devising wholly integrated design solutions. With a cosmopolitan team, the practice designs by researching, challenging, and simply asking the right questions.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport’s new Terminal 3, which his firm designed and built between 2008 and 2013 (with parametric design support by the engineering firm Knippers Helbig), is an outstanding example of the use of parametric design and production technologies in a large-scale building that the practice has come to be associated with.

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport

Shenzhen Bao'an International  Airport

Image Credits: parking.net

MyZeil Shopping Mall

MyZeil Shopping Mall

Image Credits: archdaily.com

30. Michael Hopkins

Sir Michael Hopkins (born on 7th May 1935) is a famous architect from Poole, Dorset, England. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and later founded the architectural firm Hopkins Architects with his wife, Patty Hopkins.

Hopkins uses advanced engineering techniques and focuses on environmental sustainability. In addition, he is a passionate advocate for the role of architecture in promoting social and cultural values.

He has designed a number of projects, including the Portcullis House in London, which is the home of the U.K. Parliament’s Members of Parliament, and the Mound Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, which is characterized by its innovative use of a curved steel roof.

Hopkins was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1994. The award’s citation appreciated his integration of traditional architectural elements with advanced and environmentally responsible technology. Hopkins was also knighted and received The Most Excellent Order of The British Empire (O.B.E.) reward for his immense contributions to arts and sciences.

Portcullis House

Portcullis House

Image Credits: flickr.com

Lord’s Cricket Grounds

Lord's Cricket Grounds

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

31. Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Moshe Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author. Embracing a comprehensive and

humane design philosophy, Safdie has shown commitment to architectural typologies that support and enhance a project’s program; that is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place; and that responds to human needs and aspirations.

Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1938, Safdie moved to Canada with his family at a young age. He graduated from McGill University in 1961 with a degree in architecture. After apprenticing with Louis I. Kahn in Philadelphia, Safdie returned to Montreal to oversee the master plan for the 1967 World Exhibition.

In 1964 he established his firm to realize Habitat ’67, an adaptation of his thesis at McGill, which was the central feature of the World’s Fair and a groundbreaking design in the history of architecture.

In 1978, Safdie relocated his residence and principal office to Boston. He served as Director of the Urban Design Program at Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 1978 to 1984 and as Ian Woodner’s Professor of Architecture and Urban Design from 1984 to 1989.

He designed six of Canada’s principal public institutions in the following decade, including the Quebec Museum of Civilization, the National Gallery of Canada, and Vancouver Library Square.

Some of his most notable projects include the acclaimed Habitat ’67 in Montreal; the Artscience Museum and Marina Bay Sands, a museum and mixed-use integrated resort in Singapore; and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.

Artscience Museum and Marina Bay Sands

The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands

Image Credits: archello.com

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Image Credits: safdiearchitects.com

32. Nicholas Grimshaw

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw

image Credits: archdaily.com

Sir Nicholas Grimshaw (born on 9th October 1939) is a famous British architect. He studied architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and later co-founded the architectural firm Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners (now Grimshaw Architects) in 1980.

Grimshaw’s architecture is distinguished by his use of modern materials, advanced engineering techniques, and focus on environmental sustainability. He has designed several notable projects, including the Eden Project in Cornwall, England, a series of biomes designed to showcase different ecosystems, and the Waterloo International railway station in London, characterized by its innovative use of glass and steel.

Grimshaw has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2019. Queen Elizabeth II made him a Knight Bachelor in 2002.

Waterloo International Railway Station

Waterloo International railway station

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Eden Project

Eden Project

Image Credits: edenproject.com

33. Norman Foster

Norman Foster

Image Credits: matisse.co.nz

Lord Norman Foster (21st Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate) is maybe the most famous architect globally, and was born in Manchester. After graduating from Manchester University School of Architecture and City Planning in 1961, he won a Henry Fellowship to Yale University, where he was a fellow of Jonathan Edwards College and gained a Master’s Degree in Architecture.

In 1963 he co-founded Team 4, and then in 1967 established Foster Associates, now known as Foster + Partners. Founded in London, it is now a worldwide practice, while the company’s founder is one of the most notable architects with project offices in more than twenty countries.

Over the past four decades, the company has been responsible for extensive work, from urban master plans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices, and workplaces to private houses and product design.

Since its inception, the practice has received 470 awards and citations for excellence and has won more than 86 international and national competitions.

30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin)

30 St Mary Axe Tower, London

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

425 Park Avenue

425 Park Avenue

Image Credits: stirworld.com

34. Peter Zumthor

Peter Zumthor

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Zumthor was born in Basel on 26th April 1943, the son of a cabinet maker. He apprenticed to a carpenter in 1958 and studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in his native city starting in 1963. In 1966, Zumthor studied industrial design and architecture as an exchange student at Pratt Institute in New York.

And in 1968, he became a conservationist architect for the Department for the Preservation of Monuments of the canton of Graubünden. This work on historic restoration projects gave him a further understanding of construction and the qualities of different rustic building materials.

Zumthor founded his firm in 1979. He has taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, the Technical University of Munich, Tulane University, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. As his practice developed, Zumthor could incorporate his knowledge of materials into modernist construction and detailing.

His buildings explore the tactile and sensory qualities of space and materials while retaining a minimalist feel.

His best-known projects are the Kunsthaus Bregenz, a shimmering glass and concrete cube that overlooks Lake Constance in Austria; the cave-like thermal baths in Vals, Switzerland; the Swiss Pavilion for Expo 2000 in Hannover, an all-timber structure intended to be recycled after the event; the Kolumba Diocesan Museum (2007), in Cologne; and the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel, on a farm near Wachendorf.

Currently, Zumthor works out of his small studio with around 30 employees, in Haldenstein, near Chur, in Switzerland. His dedication has made him the laureate of the 2009 Pritzker Prize and the 2013 RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Saint Benedict Chapel

Saint Benedict Chapel

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Kolumba Museum

Kolumba Museum

Image Credits: wikiped

35. Rafael Moneo

Rafael Moneo

Image Credits: scmp.com

José Rafael Moneo Vallés is a Spanish architect born in Tudela, Spain, on 9th May 1937. He won the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1996 and the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2003. He studied at the E.T.S.A.M. Technical University of Madrid (U.P.M.), receiving his architectural degree in 1961.

In 1963 he received a two-year fellowship to learn at the Spanish Academy in Rome, which greatly influenced his later work. He has taught architecture at various locations worldwide. From 1985 to 1990, he was the chairman of Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he was the first Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture.

His notable works worldwide include the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, Spain; the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles; the Murcia Town Hall on the Cardenal Belluga Plaza; and the Davis Art Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

In 2012, he was awarded the 2012 Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts. According to the jury, Moneo is a Spanish architect of universal scope whose work enriches urban spaces with serene and meticulous architecture.

An acknowledged master in both the academic and professional fields, Moneo leaves his mark on each of his creations, simultaneously combining aesthetics with functionality, especially in the airy interiors that act as impeccable settings for great works of culture and the spirit.

National Museum of Roman Art

National Museum of Roman Art

Image Credits: area-arch.it

Columbia University Northwest Corner Building

Image Credits: archdaily.com

36. Rafael Viñoly

Architect Rafael Viñoly

Image Credits: wsj.com

Viñoly was born in Uruguay in 1944. By age twenty, he was a founding partner of Estudio de Arquitectura, which would become one of the largest design studios in Latin America. His celebrated early work transformed the landscape of Argentina, where this practice was based. In 1978, Viñoly moved to the United States.

After briefly serving as a guest lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, he settled in New York in 1979. In 1983, Viñoly founded Rafael Viñoly Architects P.C., a New York-based firm that has grown to encompass offices in London and Los Angeles.

In 1989, he won an open international competition to design the Tokyo International Forum, Japan’s largest and most important cultural complex. Completed in 1996, this design secured Viñoly’s reputation as an architect of great imagination and immense professional rigor with a proven capacity to create beloved civic and cultural spaces.

His forty-five years have been consistently driven by the belief that the essential responsibility of architecture is to elevate the public realm. As in his much-publicized proposal for the World Trade Center site, his most profound focus has been maximizing the opportunity for civic investment generated by every construction project.

While cementing his place among famous architects, Viñoly’s work marks a sustained structural originality that transcends the passing fads of architectural movements.

At home with both large-and small-scale projects, his recent work ranges from university buildings. These include the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Some more are the nanosystems research facilities such as the University of California, Los Angeles, California NanoSystems Institute; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia; and the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

432 Park Avenue

432 Park Avenue

Image Credits: rastellidesign.it

Carrasco International Airport

Carrasco International Airport

Image Credits: architypereview.com

37. Rem Koolhaas

Rem Koolhaas

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Remment Lucas “Rem” Koolhaas ( born 17th November 1944) is a Dutch architect, architectural theorist, urbanist, and Professor in the Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

Koolhaas studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is the founding partner of O.M.A. and its research-oriented counterpart A.M.O. based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

He first came to public and critical attention with O.M.A. (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture), the office he founded in 1975, together with architects Elia Zenghelis, Zoe Zenghelis, and Madelon Vriesendorp (Koolhaas’s wife) in London.

In 2000, Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize.And in 2008, Time put him in their top 100 of The World’s Most Influential People. Koolhaas’ firm is now known almost exclusively for large-scale works, such as the CCTV Headquarters (named the “Best Tall Building in the World” in 2013) and the Seattle Library (which is widely regarded as one of the most important buildings of the 21st century).

But O.M.A.’s influence does not end with its diverse portfolio. Perhaps most importantly, the firm is a hotbed for architectural talent and innovation and boasts of having groomed some of the world’s front-row designers. Notable names include Zaha Hadid, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Bjarke Ingels, and Jeanne Gang (all of who have made it to this list of 40 Famous Architects of the 21st Century).

Seattle Central Library

Seattle Central Library

Image Credits: doublestonesteel.com

CCTV Headquarters

CCTV Headquarters

Image Credits: archute.com

38. Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano

Image Credits: npr.org

Piano was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1937, into a family of builders. The Italian architect was educated and subsequently taught at the Politecnico di Milano. He graduated from the university in 1964 and began working with experimental lightweight structures and basic shelters.

He worked at the firm of iconic architect Louis Kahn in Philadelphia from 1965 to 1970 and later with Z.S. Makowsky in London. He then established an architectural firm with Richard Rogers named Piano & Rogers, where they worked together from 1971 to 1977. It is here that they designed their most famous project – the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

In 1981, Piano founded the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, which today employs 150 people and maintains offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York City. He has become known for his museum commissions, including the Morgan Library in New York City and the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam.

Recently, many of Piano’s most notable projects have been completed. These include skyscrapers such as The New York Times Building in Midtown, Manhattan, and The Shard in London, Europe’s tallest skyscraper opened on 6th July 2012.

Piano won the Royal Gold Medal (1989); the Praemium Imperiale (1995); the Pritzker Prize (1998); the A.I.A. Gold Medal (2008); and was in August 2013 appointed senator for life because of his “outstanding cultural achievements” by the President of the Italian Republic.

The Auditorium of the Park

The Auditorium of the Park

Image Credits: archute.com

Kimbell Art Museum Expansion

Kimbell Art Museum Expansion

Image Credits: nytimes.com

39. Richard Meier

Richard Meier

Image Credits: architectsjournal.co.uk

Richard Meier received his architectural training at Cornell University and established his office in New York in 1963. His practice has included major civic commissions in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including courthouses, city halls, museums, corporate headquarters, and housing and private residences.

Among his most notable projects are The Getty Center in Los Angeles; the Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy; the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia; Perry and Charles Street Condominiums in New York, New York; the Canal+ Television Headquarters in Paris, France; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain.

In 1984, Mr. Meier received the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. The same year, he was selected architect for the prestigious commission to design The Getty Center in Los Angeles, which opened to widespread and critical acclaim in December 1997.

In 1997, Richard Meier received the A.I.A. Gold Medal, the highest award from the American Institute of Architects, and, in the same year, the Praemium Imperiale from the Japanese government in recognition of lifetime achievement in the arts.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the American Institute of Architects. He received a Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the A.I.A. in 1980 and a Gold Medal from the Los Angeles Chapter in 1998. In 1989 Meier received the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Neugebauer House

Neugebauer House

Image Credits: archdaily.com

The Getty Center

Getty Center

Image Credits: blogs.getty.edu

40. Richard Rogers

Richard Roger

Image Credits:dezeen.com

Richard Rogers is the 2007 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the recipient of the RIBA Gold Medal in 1985, and the 1999 Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Medal winner. He also won the 2000 Praemium Imperiale Prize for Architecture, the 2006 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement (La Biennale di Venezia), and the 2007 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal. Richard Rogers was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 1986, knighted in 1991, and made a life peer in 1996.

The idea of the piazza is a crucial preoccupation of Rogers. He understands that cities are made out of people, not buildings and that the life between buildings is what matters. He thus considers cities to be a stage where people perform and that buildings are the sets that frame the performance.

But the key to Roger’s philosophy is that; “Architecture is too complex to be solved by any one person. Collaboration lies at the heart of all my work. I enjoy the dynamic that flows when different disciplines, from sociology to mathematics, engineering to philosophy, come together to create solutions. This integration creates an ethos that best serves, and an aesthetic that best symbolises, the modern world. No-one is more integral to the clarity of a project that an enlightened client…”

London School of Economics campus

London School of Economics campus

Image Credits: dezeen.com

Bodegas Protos Winery

Bodegas Protos Winery

Image Credits: archdaily.com

41. Robert Stern

Robert A. M. Stern

Image Credits: forbes.com

Robert A. M. Stern (born 23rd May 1939) is a New York City and New Haven-based American architect, professor, and academic writer. He received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 1960 and a master’s degree in architecture from Yale University in 1965. Stern has cited Vincent Scully and Philip Johnson as early mentors and influences.

He is currently the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture. He heads his architecture firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects, often referred to as R.A.M.S.A. Stern represents New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture, emphasizing urban context and the continuity of traditions. He may have been the first architect to use the term “post-modernism,” but more recently, he has used the phrase “modern traditionalist” to describe his work.

In 2011, Stern was honored with the renowned Driehaus Architecture Prize for his achievements in contemporary classical architecture. Some of his firm’s major works include New York City’s new classical 15 Central Park West and the late modern Comcast Center skyscraper in Philadelphia.

Tour Carpe Diem

La Tour Carpe Diem

Image Credits: digitime-timelapse.com

520 Park Avenue

520 Park Avenue

Image Credits: mansionglobal.com

42. Ryue Nishizawa

Ryūe Nishizawa

Image Credits: zeit.de

Ryue Nishizawa (born on 7th February 1966 in Kanagawa) is a Japanese architect who graduated from Yokohama National University and later co-founded the architecture firm S.A.N.A.A. with Kazuyo Sejima in 1995. Together, they have created numerous innovative and award-winning designs, including the Moriyama House in Tokyo, Japan, the Teshima Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan, and the famous Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, U.S.A.

Besides S.A.N.A.A., Nishizawa is also the director of the Office of Ryue Nishizawa, which he established in 1997. He is a prominent architect and has received numerous awards and honors, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2010, which he shared with Kazuyo Sejima. Nishizawa is the youngest recipient of the prize.

Moriyama House

Moriyama House, Tokyo

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

Teshima Art Museum

Teshima Art Museum, Kagawa

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

43. Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava

Imag Credits: mardinaskf.com

Santiago Calatrava is a famous Spanish architect born in Valencia on 28th July 1951. He studied architecture at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and later civil engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He established an architectural and engineering practice in Zurich in 1981.

Calatrava’s early career was primarily dedicated to bridges and railway stations, with designs that elevated the status of civil engineering projects to new heights. His entry into high-rise design began with an innovative 54-story-high twisting tower called Turning Torso (2005) in Malmö, Sweden.

Since then, he has defined his international style as bridging the division between structural engineering and architecture – with a very personal style derived from numerous studies of the human body and the natural world.

Turning Torso

The Turning Torso Of Malmö, Sweden

Image Credits: forbes.com

Florida Polytechnic’s Science, Innovation, and Technology Campus

Florida Polytechnic University Innovation, Science and Technology

Image Credits: tlc-engineers.com

44. Sheila Sri Prakash

Sheila Sri Prakash

Image Credits: share-architects.com

Sheila Sri Prakash is a globally celebrated architect and designer. Sheila has a B.Arch from the Anna University School of Architecture and Planning and attended the Executive Education Program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She founded Shilpa Architects in 1979 as a solo practitioner.

She was recently named among the 50 most influential names in Architecture and Design in 2015 by Architectural Digest and listed among a category of “Reinventors” for having “built a formidable legacy” and an “inspirational practice that designs societies and not merely buildings or cities.”

She has over 1200 completed architectural projects in her portfolio. She addressed the Institute of Architects in Japan and spoke about Indo-centric sustainability. In 2013, she was named the “Top 100″ architects in the world by the prestigious Italian Journal of Architecture – Il Giornale dell’ Architettura. 

On invitation from The Honorable Prime Minister David Cameron, she was involved with the London Olympics to enhance the sustainability of the Olympics’ Infrastructure. Her recommendations to the United Nations 2012 Rio+20 Summit in Brazil have been adopted in the mandate for sustainability presented to heads of nations.

She also spoke at the Global Green Summit by Bloomberg in Singapore as a breakthrough thinker for her pioneering work on the “Reciprocal Design Index” that she developed at the World Economic Forum. It prescribes parameters and metrics surrounding sustainable design by extending the environmental framework of sustainability to factor socio-economics.

Samten IVR Prime Golf Villa

Samten IVR Prime Golf Villa

Image Credits: shiplaarchitects.com

Zique Luxury Unisex Salon & Spa

Zique Luxury Unisex Salon & Spa

Image Credits: shiplaarchitects.com

45. Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

Shigeru Ban (born on 5th August 1957) is a Japanese architect known for his innovative work with paper, mainly recycled cardboard tubes, used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims. Time magazine profiled him in their projection of 21st-century innovators in architecture and design.

For Ban, one of the essential themes in his work is the “invisible structure.” He does not overtly express his structural elements but instead incorporates them into the design. Ban is not interested in the newest materials and techniques but rather in expressing the concept behind his building.

In 2014, Ban was named the 37th recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious prize in modern architecture. The Pritzker jury cited Ban for his innovative use of materials and his dedication to humanitarian efforts worldwide – calling him “a committed teacher who is not only a role model for the younger generation but also an inspiration….”

Nine Bridges Country Club

Nine Bridges Golf Clubhouse, Yeoju

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

Cardboard Cathedral

Cardboard Cathedral

Image Credits: archdaily.com

46. Souto De Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura

Image Credits: trends-mag.com

Eduardo Souto de Moura ( born on 25th July 1952 in Porto) is a Portuguese architect known for his minimalist and modernist architecture. He studied architecture at the University of Porto and later became the institution’s architectural professor.

As one of the top world-famous architects, Souto de Moura has worked on numerous projects, including the Braga Municipal market in Portugal, the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais, and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London. His work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011 and the Pessoa prize in 1998.

Paula Rego Museum

Paula Rego Museum

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Mercado Municipal de Braga

Mercado Municipal de Braga

Image Credits: archello.com

47. Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto

Image Credits: madoken.jp

Sou Fujimoto (born on 4th August 1971 in Hokkaido, Japan) is a Japanese architect known for his innovative and experimental designs that blur the boundaries between architecture and nature. Fujimoto graduated from the University of Tokyo in Japan and École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris.

Some of Fujimoto’s most famous buildings include the Serpentine Pavilion in London, UK, the Musashino Art University Museum & Library in Tokyo, Japan, and the House NA in Tokyo, a small residential glass house characterized by its minimalist design and transparent walls.

Fujimoto’s architectural style features the use of light, space, and nature, which he combines to create ethereal spaces. His designs often feature open-plan layouts, complex geometries, and a minimalist aesthetic that emphasizes how human behavior determines the function of a space.

Fujimoto received numerous awards and honors, including the Architectural Review Award Grand Prize in 2006 and the Kenneth F. Brown Architecture Design Award in 2007.

Musashino Art University Museum & Library

Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

House NA

House NA

Image Credits: architizer.com

48. Steven Holl

Steven Holl

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Steven Holl was born in 1947 in Bremerton, Washington. He graduated from the University of Washington and pursued architecture studies in Rome. In 1976 he attended the Architectural Association in London and established Steven Holl Architects in New York City.

Considered one of America’s most influential architects, Steven Holl is recognized for his ability to blend space and light with great contextual sensitivity and utilize each project’s unique qualities to create a concept-driven design. He specializes in seamlessly integrating new projects into contexts with particular cultural and historical importance.

Steven Holl has been recognized with architecture’s most prestigious awards and prizes. Recently, Steven Holl received the 2012 A.I.A. Gold Medal, the RIBA 2010 Jencks Award, and the first-ever Arts Award of the B.B.V.A. Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards (2009).

In 2012, Steven Holl received the Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus Award from the University of Washington. In 2003 he was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). In 2002 the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institute, awarded him their prestigious National Design Award in Architecture.

In 2001 France bestowed the Grande Médaille d’Or upon him for Best Architect of the Academy of Architecture. In the same year, Time Magazine declared him “America’s Best Architect” for his ‘buildings that satisfy the spirit and the eye.’

Nanjing Sifang Art Museum

Nanjing Sifang Art Museum

Image Credits: stevenholl.com

M.I.T. Simmons Hall

M.I.T. Simmons Hall

Image Credits: stevenholl.com

49. Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando

Image Credits: indesignlive.sg

Tadao Ando, born in 1941, is one of the most renowned contemporary Japanese architects. Characteristics of his work include large expanses of unadorned architectural concrete walls combined with wooden or stone floors and large windows.

Active natural elements, like the sun, rain, and wind, are distinctive in his style. He designed many notable buildings, including Row House in Sumiyoshi, Osaka, in 1976, which gave him the Annual Prize of Architectural Institute of Japan in 1979.

He also designed the Church of the Light, Osaka, 1989; the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis, 2001; Armani Teatro, Milan, 2001; the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 2002; and the 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in Tokyo, 2007.

Tadao has received many awards, including the Gold Medal of Architecture, Academie d’Architecture (French Academy of Architecture) in 1989, The Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, the American Institute of Architects in 2002, and the Gold Medal of Union Internationale des Architectes in 2005.

Ando is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He has been a visiting professor at Yale, Columbia, UC Berkeley, and Harvard.

Church of the Light

Church of Light in Ibaraki, Osaka

Image Credits: arquitecturaviva.com

152 Elizabeth Street

152 Elizabeth Street

Image credits: 152elizabethst.com

50. Terry Farrell

Sir Terry Farrell


Sir Terry Farrell (born 12th May 1938) is a British architect and urban designer. He graduated with a degree from Newcastle University and a Masters in urban planning at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

In 1980, after working for 15 years as a partner with Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Farrell launched his firm, Terry Farrell & Partners (now known simply as Farrells). He garnered a strong reputation for contextual urban design schemes and exuberant works of post-modernism.

In the early part of his career with Grimshaw, Farrell emphasized housing projects. Later, after the break with Grimshaw, he became the U.K.’s principal postmodernist. His journey to the most famous architects list began with the TV-am headquarters in Camden Lock and the redevelopment of Comyn Ching Triangle in London’s Covent Garden.

His projects in the 80s and 90s included Charing Cross Station, the MI6 headquarters building, the Deep Aquarium in Hull, and the International Centre for Life in Newcastle. More recent work includes the new headquarters for the Home Office, the conversion of Grade 1 listed Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the Great North Museum in Newcastle.



Image Credits: archello.com

Beijing South Railway Station

Beijing South Railway Station

Image Credits: archdaily.com

51. Thom Mayne

Thom Mayne

Image Credits: dezeen.com

Thom Mayne (born 19th January 1944) is a Los Angeles-based architect. Mayne was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. He studied architecture at the University of Southern California (1968) and later at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1978, with a focus on social agenda and urban planning.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he began working as an urban planner under Korean-born architect Ki Suh Park. He is currently the director of Morphosis, an architectural firm in Santa Monica, California.

Mayne, Livio Santini, James Stafford, Michael Brickler, and Michael Rotondi came together in 1975. They have since created a design philosophy that arises from an interest in producing work with a meaning only understood by absorbing the culture for which it was made – with their goal being to develop an architecture that would eschew the normal bounds of traditional forms.

The work of Morphosis has a layered quality. Visually, the firm’s architecture includes sculptural forms. In recent years, such visual effect has been made possible increasingly through computer design techniques, simplifying the construction of complex forms. Such accomplishments led Mayne to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2005.

Bill and Melinda Gates Hall – Cornell University

Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, Cornell University

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Shenzhen Office Tower

Shenzhen Office Tower

Image Credits: archdaily.com

52. Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick

Image Credits: prestigeonline.com

Thomas Alexander Heatherwick (born 17th February 1970) is an English designer and the founder of the London-based design practice Heatherwick Studio. Since the late 1990s, Heatherwick has emerged as one of Britain’s most gifted and imaginative designers. His innovative approach to design has earned him a reputation as an “ideas engine.”

Heatherwick was born in London and studied three-dimensional design at Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, winning several prizes. While Heatherwick was at the R.C.A., he met renowned designer Terence Conran.

Conran became a mentor to Heatherwick after seeing his plan for a gazebo made of two 6m high curved stacks of birch plywood. The construction made him invite Heatherwick to work at his country home. Conran continued to mentor Heatherwick and later described him as “the Leonardo da Vinci of our times.”

Since 2010 Heatherwick has exhibited projects connected to national or local identity. These include the Olympic Cauldron, the New Routemaster bus, the first new double-decker bus commissioned for London in 50 years, and the U.K. pavilion at Expo 2010.

Heatherwick works with a team of over 150 architects, designers, and makers from a combined studio and workshop in King’s Cross, London.

Learning Hub – for Nanyang Technical University

Learning Hub at NTU

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Pier 55 Park

Pier 55

Image Credits: dezeen.com

53. Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito

Image Credits: indesignlive.com

Toyo Ito ( born 1st June 1941) is a Japanese architect known for creating conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to express the physical and virtual worlds simultaneously.

He is a leading exponent of architecture that addresses the contemporary notion of a “simulated” city and has been called “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects.” In 2013, Ito was awarded the Pritzker Prize. Born in Seoul, Korea, Ito studied architecture at the University of Tokyo.

After working for Kiyonori Kikutake Architect and Associates from 1965 to 1969, Ito started his Tokyo studio named Urbot (“Urban Robot”). And in 1979, he changed the studio name to Toyo Ito & Associates.

Ito constructed numerous private house projects throughout his early career, expressing aspects of Japan’s urban life. He made his most remarkable early conceptual contributions through projects of this scale, such as White U (1976) and Silver Hut (1984).

Other notable works include Tower of Winds (1986) and Egg of Winds (1991), which are interactive landmarks in public spaces resulting from a creative interpretation of contemporary technical possibilities.

Tower of Winds

Tower of Winds

Image Credits: archdaily.com

Tama Art University Library

Tama Art University Library

Image Credits: architectmagazine.com

54. William Pedersen

William Pedersen

Image Credits: lasvit.com

William Pedersen is the founding Design Partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (K.P.F.), which he started with A. Eugene Kohn and Sheldon Fox in 1976. Fourteen years later, they became the youngest firm to receive the National A.I.A. Firm Award for design excellence.

Since the firm’s inception, Bill has intended to lead only a segment of the firm’s designs, thereby allowing for the parallel development of other design partners and his continued focus on each project he directs. This aspiration has stimulated competition within the K.P.F. design community and allowed the firm to expand in capacity and dimension while still maintaining design quality, which has been particularly necessary since the advent of their global practice.

Of particular concern to Bill has been the development of what he calls the “fundamental building block of the modern city”: the high-rise commercial office building. Throughout his career, he has systematically sought ways for buildings of this seemingly-mundane type to gesture and connect to other participants so that each does not stand mutely in isolation from its neighbors but rather joins in an active architectural conversation with them.

He regards his accomplishments in this area of architectural pursuit as his most substantial accomplishment. Presently, he is working on Hudson Yards in New York, where his philosophical intentions for commercial buildings are being tested. His book, Gesture and Response shares great content about 25 buildings he has worked on during his career.

Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum

ImageCredits: wikipedia.org

Lotte World Tower

Lotte World Tower

Image Credits: archdaily.com

55. Winy Maas

Winy Maas

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Winy Maas (born in 1958 in Schijndel) is a Dutch architect, landscape architect, professor, and urbanist. In 1993 together with Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries, he set up M.V.R.D.V. Early work such as the television center Villa V.P.R.O. and the housing estate for elderly WoZoCo, both in the Netherlands, have brought him international acclaim and established M.V.R.D.V.’s leading role in international architecture.

Maas completed his studies at the R.H.S.T.L. Boskoop, graduating as a “landscape architect,” In 1990, he got his degree from the Delft University of Technology. He is currently visiting professor of architectural design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a professor in architecture and urban design at the faculty of architecture, Delft University of Technology.

Peruri 88

 Peruri 88

Image Credits: mvrdv.nl

The Cloud

The Cloud

Image Credits: achilovers.com

56. Wolf D. Prix – Coop Himmelb(l)au

Wolf D. Prix

Wolf D. Prix (born on 22nd April 1942 in Vienna) is an Austrian architect, urban planner, and co-founder of the architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au. He studied architecture at the Vienna University of Technology.

Prix founded Coop Himmelb(l)au in 1968 with Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer. The firm quickly gained recognition for its radical, avant-garde designs that challenged traditional notions of architecture. They are known for using unusual materials, complex geometries, and dynamic forms reminiscent of post-modernist architecture.

Some notable projects by Coop Himmelb(l)au include the BMW Welt in Munich and the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France. Prix and Coop Himmelb(l)au have received numerous awards and accolades for their work, including the Grand Austrian State Prize in 2010. They also received the Riba European Award for the BMW Welt in 2008.

BMW Welt

BMW Welt

Image Credits: wikipedia.org

Musée des Confluences

Musée des Confluences

Image Credits: architectmagazine.com

57. Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid

Image Credits: stylishclub.pt

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, D.B.E. (born 31st October 1950), founder of Zaha Hadid Architects, was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011.

Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to London in 1972 to attend the Architectural Association (A.A.) School where she was awarded the Diploma Prize in 1977. She became a partner of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.) and taught at the A.A. alongside O.M.A. collaborators Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis.

Her dynamic and innovative projects build on over thirty years of revolutionary exploration and research in the interrelated fields of urbanism, architecture, and design. Hadid’s interest lies in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape, and geology, as her practice integrates natural topography and human-made systems, leading to experimentation with cutting-edge technologies.

Her outstanding contribution to the architectural profession continues to be acknowledged by the world’s most respected institutions, including Forbes List of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women’; TIME’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012; and the Japan Art Association presenting her with the ‘Praemium Imperiale’ further cementing her presence as one of the most famous architects of our time.

Heydar Aliyev Center

Heydar Aliyev Center

Image Credits: archello.com

Sleuk Rith Institute

Sleuk Rith Institute

Image Credits: zaha-hadid.com

Update (1/04/2016): Zaha Hadid passed away on 31st March 2016 due to a heart attack while being treated for Bronchitis at a Miami Hospital. [Read: Architect Zaha Hadid Dies of Heart Attack Aged 65]


In the 21st century, the world of architecture has seen the rise of many talented and innovative architects who have left a significant imprint on the field. From the Pritzker Prize-winning Diébédo Francis Kéré to the iconic Frank Gehry, each of these architects has contributed to extraordinarily shaping the built environment.

Their works range from small community centers to towering skyscrapers, but their vision for creating functional and beautiful spaces is what sets them apart. In addition, their designs have challenged traditional architectural norms and introduced new ways of thinking about the relationship between people and their built environment.

As we look to the hereafter, we can expect these architects and others like them to continue pushing the limits of what is possible in architecture, creating new forms and spaces that elucidate and delight us for future generations.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles

Casino Architecture: The Future in 10 Defining Buildings

Not many buildings make bolder impressions than major casino resorts. Given that the whole point of a casino, to some ...

ArchiCulture: A Short Film on the Architectural Studio by Arbuckle Industries

Each year, thousands of students enrol in architecture programs across the world. These students will eventually design the spaces in ...

2016 Awards of Excellence in Architecture by the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK)

Kenya's architectural profession has continued to transform for the better with excellent projects already done and more earmarked for the ...

Comments are closed.