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10Best Readers' Choice: Best International Skylines

Written for USA Today's 10Best - Source Article

CHICAGO, IL, USA

Great skylines are instantly identifiable by the profiles of their great architecture. Chicago has a world-renowned mix of modern skyscrapers and early “high-rise buildings” (load bearing masonry buildings – the precursor to skyscrapers), which certainly fit the bill. A spectacular location directly along Lake Michigan provides the perfect opportunity for breathtaking.

Hong Kong, HK

Along with the silhouette provided by unique and identifiable skyscrapers, water and interesting topography always creates a dramatic setting. Hong Kong has an abundance of both. 

NEW YORK, NY, USA

A long history of world’s tallest buildings (Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and the original World Trade Center Towers) provided NYC with a compelling skyline for generations. New additions, the New York Times Tower, Frank Gehry’s recently completed 12 Spruce Street and the elegant One World Trade Center have made a positive contribution to its distinctive skyline and continuing NYC’s tradition of exciting and appealing architecture. 

SYDNEY, AU

An iconic building can steal the show. Sydney Opera house makes this skyline dramatic and instantly identifiable throughout the world. The water setting is contribution as well  ;-0

ST. LOUIS, MO, USA

Similar to the distinctive skyline of Sydney on the other side of the globe, the iconic St Louis Arch creates a profile that can’t be confused with any other skyline. 

WASHINGTON DC, USA

Simple and minimal, the light colored marble and sandstone buildings, bridges and monuments all exquisitely lit at night create a memorable image as a great capital city. 

ROME, IT

While limited in height, the combination of Ancient and Renaissance religious and civic architecture, nestled among the well-known Seven Hills of Rome, is a cherished combination. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA

San Francisco’s skyline does not disappoint. Icon buildings and dramatic bridges, old and new, combined with theatrical topography and reflective water views from all angles make San Francisco the crown jewel of the west coast.

SHANGHAI, CN

The city of Shanghai has transformed with lighting speed in the past 20-30 years. Now, albeit without the historical past of some of the great historical cities (NYC and Paris), an abundance of uniquely shaped modern skyscrapers distinguish Shanghai from many of its neighboring Asian cities. 

LONDON, UK

The best way to experience London’s Skyline: flying parallel along the River Thames on the way to landing at Heathrow Airport. What’s left of the ancient Roman City is difficult to discern from above but the Medieval Street patterns that remain intact host a plethora of architectural forms. The skyline today varies from Tower Bridge and the recent high tech buildings in the East that stretch from the City of London to the Dockland’s Canary Wharf (Renzo Piano’s colossal Strand to Norman Foster’s beloved Gherkin) to the lower but no less sculptural structures in the West End and Westminster; (Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral, Big Ben and the recognizable London Eye). Saying that, the most famous and most recognizable sight of the London skyline, despite a total transformation over the centuries, continues to be Christopher Wren’s magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, whose 366-foot dome dominates views from every direction.

Joyce Owens AIA RIBA

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