Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Built for the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, the National Stadium has been nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest” for its unique steel frame inspired by Chinese pottery. This frame was actually constructed to camouflage the steel buttresses for a planned retractable roof, which was later scrapped for safety reasons. But the stadium is more than just a pretty face — it’s home to world-class sporting facilities, and is also built to withstand earthquake damage.
1 National Stadium South Rd, Chaoyang District
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok
Deemed an architectural and engineering masterpiece, this 7,400-acre airport is massive, yet built for low energy consumption. Its roof trellis is designed to let natural light stream in, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Made from laminated glass and steel, the building also insulates against solar heat, reducing cooling costs while keeping passengers comfortable.
999 Moo 1 Nong Prue, Bang Phli District; +66 2 132 1888; suvarnabhumiairport.com
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
In this emirate known for its outstanding architecture, this palm tree-shaped marvel is the world’s largest artificial island. The luxury island, which was created using reclaimed land, is the first and smallest of a group of three islets named the Palm Islands — the other two are still in the midst of construction. In typically opulent Dubai style, Palm Jumeirah plays host to premium malls, luxury hotels, mansion and monorail transportation.
Palm Jumeirah; jumeirah.com
Henderson Waves, Singapore
Singapore’s highest pedestrian bridge, made of steel and wood, and fashioned into the sinuous shape of a wave, wouldn’t look out of place in a sci-fi movie. Part of the 10km-long Southern Ridges hiking trail, the bridge offers fantastic views of the city. What’s more, it is illuminated by LED lighting between 7pm and 2am every night, lending it an ethereal beauty.
Henderson Rd; +65 1800 471 7300; nparks.gov.sg
Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur
Towering 1,483ft above the ground, these skyscrapers are the tallest twin towers in the world, visible from locations all around Kuala Lumpur and even from the neighboring state of Selangor. Their design aesthetic, which is inspired by traditional Islamic art, honors the country’s Muslim heritage. Head up to the glass sky bridge on the 41st and 42nd floors, which connects the two towers, for panoramic views of the city.
Kuala Lumpur City Center; +60 3 2331 8080; petronastwintowers.com.my
Prada Boutique Aoyama, Tokyo
This unique six-storey flagship store takes shopping to a whole new level. Its diamond-shaped convex and concave glass panes cleverly reflect light; these angular exteriors are in turn softened by the store’s plush interiors. Even if you’re not a fan of the brand, this one-of-a-kind store is a must-visit.
5-2-6 Minamiaoyama, Minatu-ku; +81 3 6418 0400; prada.com
Green School, Bali
Ensconced in the jungles of Bali is this private international school fashioned from bamboo, grass and traditional mud walls. From its eco-friendly design to its unique curriculum, which centers on environmental management and global citizenship, it is the epitome of sustainability.
Banjar Saren, Jln Raya Sibang Kaja, Abiansemal, Badung; +62 361 469 875; greenschool.org
Banpo Bridge, Seoul
This spectacular bridge over the Han River connects the districts of Seocho and Yongsan. Time your visit at dusk, when it comes alive during the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain show in a dazzling display of lights, water and music (from April to October, four to six times daily). Not a drop of water is wasted during the show thanks to the bridge’s eco-friendly design, which recycles water to and from the river beneath.
Banpo 2(i)-dong, Seocho-gu