The Architecture Olympics – Gold Medal Design!

The Olympics are in full swing in London, and the whole world is tuning in.  To celebrate the games, we put together a post with some gold medal-worthy design from the countries with the most medals so far.  Scroll down to see some of our favorite historical and modern buildings from these diverse parts of the world.


The Kenchō-ji temple, shown first, is a Rinzai Zen temple which ranks first among Kamakura’s Five Great Zen Temples  and is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan.  This temple is in stark architectural contrast to the Yoyogi National Gymnasium, built for the 1964 Summer Olympic Game in Tokyo.


The colorful architecture of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow is unforgettable, but so so is the super-modern Moscow School of Management.


Although Italy has so much incredible architecture, the Colosseum is so famous and historic it had to be mentioned.  The design of the Roman Colosseum is in stark contrast to the fluid, modern design of the MAXXI National Centre of Contemporary Arts in Rome.


France’s Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic monuments in the world, and the tall structure looks very different but just as stunning as the curvaceous and modern Centre Pompidou-Metz.


The Forbidden City, or Imperial Palace, is a must-see in Beijing for its historical significance, while the OCT Design Museum in Shenzhen is a must-visit to experience the surreal yet striking modern design.

South Korea

The royal Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul has a much different sense of design than the Galleria Centercity in Cheonan.

United States

Last but certainly not least, the United States isn’t old enough to have buildings nearly as ancient as the other countries, but the neoclassical U.S. Capitol Building is an important part of our history and famous piece of American architecture, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall is striking with its sinuous steel curves.

What building is your favorite?

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