world famous buildings to inspire you


Whether you're a busy art director or an illustrator working from home, every creative needs some downtime. And there's no better way to both relax and be inspired than jetting off somewhere you've never been before.

Whenever we travel to far-flung places, we're attracted to the famous buildings. Much like a photograph, architectural designs record details of specific moments in time. 

But unlike a photograph, physical structures go on to have a life of their own, becoming a central and functional part of countless people's lives for hundreds, if not thousands, of years after they were built.

Here, we've picked some of the most famous building designs from around the world to inspire you.

 The temple welcomes worshippers of all faiths


The Lotus Temple is a Bahá'í House of Worship in New Delhi consisting of 27 structures resembling petals of the lotus flower that open onto a central hall around 40m high. It has nine sides, nine doors, and can accommodate 2,500 people. Its surface is made of white marble from Mount Pentelicus in Greece, the same marble used to build the Parthenon.

Since its completion in 1986, it has become one of the most visited buildings in the world, attracting over 100 million people. 


 Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur


Standing at 170 metres above ground, the Petronas Towers are twin skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The buildings, which held the title of tallest in the world between 1998-2004, are an iconic landmark of the capital city.

The distinctive postmodern style was created by architects Cesar Pelli and Achmad Murdijat, engineer Deejay Cerico and designer Dominic Saibo under the consultancy of JC Guinto.


Leaning Tower of Pisa

Due to restoration work carried out in 2001, the tower currently leans at just under 4 degrees. It is estimated that it will collapse in the next 75-100 years. Image © Alkarex Malin äger

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most remarkable architectural structures in Europe. Most famous for its tilt, the tower began to lean during construction after soft ground on one side was unable to properly support the structure's weight.

Building work on the tower began in 1173 and went on for over a whopping 300 years. There has been much controversy surrounding the true identity of the architect behind the tower – the design originally attributed to artist Bonnano Pisano but studies have also implicated architect Diotisalvi.


 The Kaaba, Mecca

The Kabba is a most sacred space in Islam

The Kaaba, meaning cube in Arabic, is a square building located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A most sacred place in Islam, the Kabba is elegantly draped in a silk and cotton veil. Every year millions of Muslims travel to the Kabba for the hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

The small square building is about 60 feet high and its walls a metre wide, with its total size occupying roughly 627 square feet.



Sydney Opera House


Sydney Opera House is the most famous Australian architectural icon

Sydney Opera House is widely regarded as one of the greatest architectural works of the 20th century. The innovative design came from architect Jørn Utzon, who was relatively unknown until January 29, 1957, when his entry to the 'International competition for a national opera house at Bennelong Point, Sydney' was announced the winner.

The beautiful building comprises of three groups of interlocking shells, which roof two main performance halls and a restaurant. A masterpiece of modern architecture, the opera house has become an iconic symbol of both Sydney and the Australian nation.


Hagia Sophia, Istanbul


Now a museum, Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul, Turkey

Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, Hagia Sophia is an architectural masterpiece. A perfect example of Byzantine architecture, Hagia Sophia is located in Istanbul, Turkey.

The building was built for the first time by the emperor Constantine the Great (306-337). However, due to many factors, including being burned down in riots and earthquakes, the ancient cathedral has been rebuilt many times since. Despite this, Hagia Sophia is widely recognized as one of the great buildings of the world. And if that wasn't cool enough, the building also features in the opening scenes of the Bond film, Skyfall.