World Architecture Survey

The World Architecture Survey was conducted in 2010 by Vanity Fair, to determine the most important works of contemporary architecture. 52 leading architects, teachers, and critics, including several Pritzker Prize winners and deans of major architecture schools were asked for their opinion.

The survey asked two questions:[1]

  1. What are the five most important buildings, bridges, or monuments constructed since 1980?
  2. What is the greatest work of architecture thus far in the 21st century?

While the range of responses was very broad, more than half of the experts surveyed named the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by Frank Gehry as one of the most important works since 1980. The Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest stadium) in Beijing by Herzog and de Meuron was the building most often cited, by seven respondents, as the most significant structure of the 21st century so far.[2] Counted by architect, works by Frank Gehry received the most votes, followed by those of Rem Koolhaas. The result of the survey led Vanity Fair to label Gehry as "the most important architect of our age".[3]


Most important works since 1980Edit

The respondents named a total of 132 different structures when asked to indicate the five most important buildings, monuments, and bridges completed since 1980. The top 21 were:[4]

  1. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (completed 1997) in Bilbao, Spain by Frank Gehry (28 votes)
  2. Menil Collection (1987) in Houston, Texas by Renzo Piano (10 votes)
  3. Thermal Baths of Vals (1996) in Vals, Switzerland by Peter Zumthor (9 votes)
  4. Hong Kong Shanghai Bank (HSBC) Building (1985) in Hong Kong by Norman Foster (7 votes)
  5. Tied (6 votes):
    Seattle Central Library (2004) in Seattle by Rem Koolhaas
    Sendai Mediatheque (2001) in Sendai, Japan by Toyo Ito
    Neue Staatsgalerie (1984) in Stuttgart, Germany by James Stirling
    Church of the Light (1989) in Osaka, Japan by Tadao Ando
  6. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1982) in Washington, D.C. by Maya Lin (5 votes)
  7. Tied (4 votes):
    Millau Viaduct (2004) in France by Norman Foster
    Jewish Museum, Berlin (1998) in Berlin by Daniel Libeskind
  8. Tied (3 votes):
    Lloyd’s Building (1984) in London by Richard Rogers
    Beijing National Stadium (2008) in Beijing by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron
    CCTV Building (under construction as of 2010) in Beijing by Rem Koolhaas
    Casa da Musica (2005) in Porto, Portugal by Rem Koolhaas
    Cartier Foundation (1994) in Paris by Jean Nouvel
    BMW Welt (2007) in Munich by COOP Himmelblau
    Addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum (2007) in Kansas City, Missouri by Steven Holl
    Cooper Union building (2009) in New York by Thom Mayne
    Parc de la Villette (1984) in Paris by Bernard Tschumi
    Yokohama International Passenger Terminal (2002) at Ōsanbashi Pier in Yokohama, Japan by Foreign Office Architects
  9. Saint-Pierre church, Firminy (2006) in Firminy, France by Le Corbusier (2 votes)

Most significant work of the 21st centuryEdit

The buildings most often named as the greatest work of architecture thus far in the 21st century were:[4]

  1. Beijing National Stadium by Herzog and de Meuron (7 votes)
  2. Saint-Pierre, Firminy by Le Corbusier (4 votes)
  3. Seattle Central Library by Rem Koolhaas (3 votes)
  4. CCTV Headquarters by Rem Koolhaas (2 votes)
  5. Tied with one vote each: Sendai Mediatheque (Toyo Ito), Millau Viaduct (Norman Foster), Casa da Musica (Rem Koolhaas), Cartier Foundation (Jean Nouvel), BMW Welt (COOP Himmelblau)


Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Blair Kamin criticized the "self-aggrandizing" survey for not including any green buildings.[5] In response, Lance Hosey of Architect magazine conducted an alternate survey of leading green building experts and found that no buildings appeared on both lists, suggesting that standards of "good design" and "green design" are misaligned.[6] Commentators also noted that several of the architects surveyed (but not Gehry)[7] "perhaps took the magazine’s title a little too seriously" and voted for their own buildings.[8][9]


The following people replied to the survey:[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Vanity Fair's World Architecture Survey: the Complete Results". Vanity Fair. 30 June 2010. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  2. ^ Architecture’s Modern Marvels
  3. ^ Tyrnauer, Matt (30 June 2010). "Architecture in the Age of Gehry". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Architecture's Modern Marvels". Vanity Fair. June 30, 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  5. ^ Kamin, Blair (July 21, 2010). "The blind spot in Vanity Fair's world architecture survey: green design". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  6. ^ Hosey, Lance (July 27, 2010). "The G List". Architect. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  7. ^ Ng, David (June 30, 2010). "Frank Gehry's Bilbao museum tops Vanity Fair architecture list". Culture Monster. LA Times. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  8. ^ Winston, Anna (5 July 2010). "Vanity Fair reveals vanity voting behind list of best modern buildings". Building Design. Retrieved 22 July 2010.
  9. ^ Glick Kudler, Adrian (June 30, 2010). "Bilbao Wins, But Which Architects Nominated Themselves to Vanity Fair List?". Curbed. Retrieved 22 July 2010.