Architecture has never failed to shock and awe from the beginning of time, but when architects get it right they can really create miracles, legends, pieces of art and here are some of these modern marvels.
1. Phoenix Observation Tower:
Copenhagen and New York-based architecture studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has designed a 420 ft. tall mixed-use observation tower to serve as a symbol for the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Located in downtown Phoenix, this intimidating spectacle will add a significant structure to the Phoenix skyline from which to enjoy the city's spectacular views of the surrounding mountain ranges and dramatic sunsets. Phoenix-based developer Novawest contracted the team to create a destination charm to provide both tourists and citizens of Phoenix the chance to enjoy the unique features of the Valley of the Sun.
2. Baumwipfelpfad Observation Tower:
The high walkways that grace Baumwipfelpfad, probably the most popular attraction in the national park of Bavaria. Present in the largest protected forest in Central Europe, the total length of the structure is 1300 meters, and is 25 meters high. The track ends with a dome and a spiral staircase that leads to the observation deck.
3. Daewon Park Observatory:
Korean architect Changki Yun (Kyungam Architects Associates) designed this observation tower for the city of Seongnam in Korea. The design concept for the Daewon Park Observatory was an entry for a competition but did not win.
4. Wind Turbine Observation Tower:
The Wind Turbine Observation Tower is a futuristic power generation concept that seeks to eliminate the poisonous coal-based electricity generation with something that is much cleaner. The super power turbine features five wind-activated segments, all of which rotate in different directions to produce electricity. Of course, the structure is also meant to serve as a public space with an observation tower allowing people to walk about and savor the surrounding landscape as well as the magnificence of the tower itself. The best part is that the electricity generated by the power turbines will also be used to light up the building at night.
5. River Mur Observation Tower:
This observation tower conceptualized by Munich office Terrain: Loenhart & Mayr rises over the river Mur at the Austrian border with Slovenia. The aluminum-clad structure's staircase curls back on itself at the top, forming a double spiral so that visitors on the way up pass those on the way down.
6. Canton Tower:
IBA's Canton Tower is an incredibly futuristic building that currently is China's tallest tower. Engineered by Arup, the twisting skyscraper represents a culmination of architectural beauty and technical brilliance. Situated on the edge of the Pearl river, this structure spirals up to 600 meters high, and its perfect hourglass shape attracts visitors from all over the world to the city of Guangzhou. The rooftop has an outdoor public observatory 488 m. (1,601 ft.) above the ground. Opened in December 2011, it is currently the highest and largest outdoor observation deck in the world. The "crystal" passenger cars, each with a diameter of 3.2 m. (10 ft.), are able to carry four to six people, traveling on a track around the edge of the tower's roof. The 16 cars take between 20 to 40 minutes to circle the rooftop.
7. ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower:
The crazy, twisting ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower in London was designed by Anish Kapoor. The spiraling red steel tower provides views of the Olympic Park, is engineered by Cecil Balmond, and sponsored by ArcelorMittal, a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and a leading global steel company. The tower, which is a structural work of art, has been constructed out of 60% recycled steel and reaches a height of 114.5 meters.
8. Seljord Lookout Point:
Like the Lockness Monster, Bigfoot, and the Yeti, there are hundreds of witnesses who have seen a giant Eel that locals call Selma in the lake, but there is little credible evidence to prove she is a reality. But that doesn't stop the tourists from visiting the famous Lake Seljord and attempting to catch a glimpse of her. In 2008, the town decided to capitalize on the lore by building a lookout tower for visitors to use while seeking out Selma. Designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects, the Seljord Lookout Point is completely made of wood and provides a new way for visitors to experience nature and, of course, hunt for sea monsters.
9. Bamboo Observation Tower:
This conceptual research centre for the Amazon Jungle was designed by British architects Marks Barfield with a bulging bamboo observation tower and over six miles of treetop bridges. The centre would allow both researchers and tourists to survey the rainforest canopy from above. Local bamboo would be used to construct the tower, which is designed as a series of off-center circular decks that are linked by a spiraling central staircase.
10. Näsinneula Observation Tower:
Built in 1970-1, the Näsinneula observation tower is the tallest free-standing structure in Finland and the tallest observation tower in all the Nordic countries, rising to a height of 168 m. Also, flying past in the foreground is the Tornado inverted coaster.