Architecture, an essential element in our society, is often regarded as the art of designing and constructing cities and towns. Throughout history, remarkable architectural landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids have left their mark. Yet, have you ever pondered the architects behind today’s modern structures and buildings? Chances are, you’ve thought more about their creations than the creators themselves.
Below is a compilation of the 18 most esteemed architects globally:
1. Frank Lloyd Wright | One of the World’s Most Distinguished Architects
Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator, left an indelible mark on the world of architecture.
His prolific career saw him designing over 1,000 structures, with an impressive 532 of them brought to completion.
His architectural legacy continues to inspire and shape the built environment today.
Birth: June 8, 1867, Richland Center, Wisconsin, USA
Passing: April 9, 1959, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Notable Creations: Skyscraper Vase, Spindle Cube Chair, Side Chair, Taliesin Line of Decorative Wallpapers, Armchair, Design 105
2.Le Corbusier | One of the World’s Top Architects
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, famously known as Le Corbusier, was a Swiss-French polymath, excelling as an architect, designer, painter, urban planner, and writer.
He is recognized as one of the trailblazers in the development of what we now refer to as modern architecture.
Birth: October 6, 1887, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
Demise: August 27, 1965, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Notable Works: Abstract Composition, Still Life Filled with Space, and others
Featured at: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others
3.Frank Gehry | World’s Outstanding Architect
Frank Owen Gehry, CC, a Canadian-born American architect based in Los Angeles, has gained worldwide recognition for several of his buildings, including his own residence.
Birth: February 28, 1929, Toronto, Canada
Notable Creations: Fish Lamp, Superlight Chair, Pito Water Kettle, and more
Exhibited at: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Serpentine Galleries, Dallas Museum of Art
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, and more
4.Zaha Hadid | Visionary Architect
Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid DBE RA, an Iraqi-British architect, was a trailblazer, being the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Birth: October 31, 1950, Baghdad, Iraq
Demise: March 31, 2016, Miami, Florida, United States
Notable Creations: Horizontal Tektonik, Malevich’s Tektonik, London, and more
Exhibited at: Serpentine Galleries, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, High Museum of Art
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, Stirling Prize, and more
5. Norman Foster | Modern Architect Extraordinaire
Norman Robert Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, OM, HonFREng, is a British architect renowned for his high-tech architectural designs through his firm, Foster + Partners.
Birth: June 1, 1935, Reddish, Stockport, United Kingdom
Notable Projects: American Air Museum at the Imperial War Museum Duxford
Firm: Foster + Partners
Noteworthy Books: Rebuilding the Reichstag, and more
6. Santiago Calatrava | Visionary Architects
Santiago Calatrava Valls, a Spanish architect, structural engineer, sculptor, and painter, is renowned for his innovative designs, including bridges with single leaning pylons and striking railway stations and stadiums.
Birth: July 28, 1951, Benimàmet, Valencia, Spain
Artworks: Infinite Spirit, Times Capsule, Il Dente, Eye, Fruit, Wave, Bou, Palme, Bird I, Torso
Awards: Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts, AIA Gold Medal, and more
7. Louis Kahn | Modern Architect Extraordinaire
Louis Isadore Kahn, an American architect based in Philadelphia, made significant contributions to modern architecture.
In 1935, he founded his own atelier, leaving a lasting legacy.
Birth: February 20, 1901, Pärnu, Estonia
Demise: March 17, 1974, New York City, New York, USA
Notable Projects: Center of Philadelphia, Urban and Traffic Study
Notable Books: Louis Kahn: Essential Texts, and more
8. Renzo Piano | Master of Contemporary Architecture
Renzo Piano, OMRI, OMCA, an Italian architect and engineer, is celebrated for iconic structures like the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Shard in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.
Birth: September 14, 1937, Pegli, Italy
Education: Polytechnic University of Milan (1964)
Notable Books: Logbook, Renzo Piano museums, and more
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, Royal Gold Medal, and more
9. Philip Johnson | Modern and Postmodern Architect
Philip Cortelyou Johnson, an American architect, left a lasting impact with his works of both Modern and postmodern architecture, notably the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Birth: July 8, 1906, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Demise: January 25, 2005, New Canaan, Connecticut, USA
Notable Books: Architecture 1949-1965, Deconstructivist architecture, and more
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, AIA Gold Medal, and Twenty-five Year Award
10. Oscar Niemeyer | Architectural Visionary
Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, more commonly known as Oscar Niemeyer, was a Brazilian architect who played a pivotal role in shaping modern architecture.
Birth: December 15, 1907, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Demise: December 5, 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Notable Project: Museum of Modern Art in Caracas
Notable Books: The curves of time, and more
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, Royal Gold Medal, and more
11. Antoni Gaudí | Master of Catalan Modernism
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, hailing from Reus, Catalonia, was a renowned architect and the foremost practitioner of Catalan Modernism, known for his distinct and highly individualized style.
Birth: June 25, 1852, Reus, Spain
Demise: June 10, 1926, Old Hospital de la Santa Creu, Barcelona, Spain
Buried: Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain
Notable Books: Gaudi: The Complete Buildings, Gaudí, art and design, and more
12. I. M. Pei | Architectural Luminary
Ieoh Ming Pei, FAIA, RIBA, commonly known as I. M. Pei, is a Chinese American architect who made significant contributions to the field. He was recruited by New York City real estate magnate William Zeckendorf in 1948.
Birth: April 26, 1917, Guangzhou, China
Spouse: Eileen Loo (m. 1942)
Education: Harvard Graduate School of Design (1942–1946), and more
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, AIA Gold Medal, and more
13. Eero Saarinen | Neo-Futurist Architect
Eero Saarinen, a 20th-century Finnish American architect and industrial designer, was known for his neo-futuristic style, leaving a lasting imprint on architecture.
Birth: August 20, 1910, Kirkkonummi, Finland
Demise: September 1, 1961, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Notable Books: Eero Saarinen on His Work, and more
Awards: Twenty-five Year Award
14. Rem Koolhaas | Visionary Dutch Architect
Remment Lucas “Rem” Koolhaas, 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.
Birth: November 17, 1944, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Spouse: Madelon Vriesendorp
Notable Books: S,M,L,XL, Delirious New York, Junkspace / Running Room, and more
15. Jean Nouvel | French Architect Extraordinaire
Jean Nouvel, a distinguished French architect, is known for his innovative designs and contributions to modern architecture. He was a founding member of Mars 1976 and Syndicat de l’Architecture.
Birth: August 12, 1945, Fumel, France
Education: École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (1966–1972)
Notable Books: The Singular Objects of Architecture, and more
Awards: Pritzker Architecture Prize, Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Royal Gold Medal, Wolf Prize in Arts
16. Buckminster Fuller | Visionary American Architect
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor, made substantial contributions to architecture and introduced concepts like “Spaceship Earth” and “ephemeralization.”
Birth: July 12, 1895, Milton, Massachusetts, USA
Demise: July 1, 1983, Los Angeles, California, USA
Notable Structures: Dymaxion house, and more
Awards: Royal Gold Medal, AIA Gold Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom, St. Louis Literary Award
17. Louis Sullivan | Pioneer of Modernism
Louis Henry Sullivan, an American architect, is often hailed as the “father of skyscrapers” and a trailblazer in modernism.
Birth: September 3, 1856, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Demise: April 14, 1924, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Spouse: Mary Azona Hattabaugh (m. ?–1924)
Notable Books: The autobiography of an idea, and more
Awards: AIA Gold Medal
18. César Pelli | Towering Architectural Achievements
César Pelli, the founder of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, is an Argentine American architect known for designing some of the world’s tallest buildings and urban landmarks.
Birth: October 12, 1926, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
Notable Books: Observations for young architects, and more
Awards: AIA Gold Medal
19. Walter Gropius | Bauhaus Pioneer
Walter Adolph Georg Gropius, a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School, stands among the pioneers of modernist architecture alongside Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Birth: May 18, 1883, Berlin, Germany
Demise: July 5, 1969, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Notable Books: The New Architecture and the Bauhaus, and more
Awards: Royal Gold Medal, AIA Gold Medal, Goethe Prize