The Best Cities to Visit for Urban Architecture

Those interested in architecture will know that there are some truly astounding examples of architecture the world over. If you are interested in urban architecture specifically, which every architecture firm should be with the way the world has developed and continues to provide homes for the growing global population, there are certain cities that are a ‘must visit’. Here, we take a look at five of the most interesting for those interested in a career in urban architecture.

Dubai (United Arab Emirates) UAE has seen some impressive expansion and urban developments over the last couple of decades, with entire cities being built in quick time. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi has some incredible urban architecture to explore, but in Dubai you’ll find The Burj Khalifa, the jewel in the crown of the architecture in the region. The 163-floor tower is truly stunning, but you also have some incredibly hotels around the entire city, as well as The Dubai Mall. The heat and sunlight has meant that innovation has been key to keeping a growing population cool year-round, and you can see this everywhere you turn with shaded areas providing much-needed comfort.

Tokyo (Japan) Japan has a massive population for such a small island, and as a centre of innovation and technology there has always been this balancing act between this bright and exciting future world and the constraints and cultural formality of the past. Walking through Tokyo is like an absolute dream, with Midtown is the best place to visit, home as it is to plenty of office buildings, museums, and a park all designed with inventiveness and delicacy.

Bilbao (Spain)Bizkaia Regional Library and the Basque Country National Historical Archive provide plenty of glass exteriors and uneven sightlines as you would expect from a city that has architecturally made its name with the spectacular Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry. Alongside this modern invention, classic Spanish architecture sits perfectly.

Helsinki (Finland) Although you might initially think of Alvar Aalto’s work at creating a centre of modern-architecture in the Finnish capital, but there have been some astounding projects in recent years that have taken that work and attempted to improve upon it. The contemporary art museum, Kiasma, is a work of art itself, as is Haltia, the Nature Centre that thrives on sustainable design and the Kupla Observation Tower that can be found at the Zoo. There is a lot of emphasis on natural sources, wood and light in Helsinki, as you would expect in Scandinavia.

Beijing (China) Beijing is another city that feels like it is providing you with a glimpse into the future. We’ve seen this on a large-scale since the 2008 Olympics in the city, with the expansive and jaw-dropping Birds Nest stadium that was the centrepiece of the games that year. Architectural experimentation can be found everywhere you look, with The Egg opera house and The Water Cube pool some great examples of nature intertwining perfectly with urban life.

If you are interested in urban architecture these five cities are certainly an exciting starting point to venture around the world and to inspire you to design the urban centres of the future.