Web Blinds
Building Timeline
Our lives may be surrounded by buildings –
but only a few can be considered great.

These are the sights we read about in books‚ whose photographs we marvel at‚ and the destinations we will travel thousands of miles to see in all their glory. They are the bricks and mortar that define an era and leave us awe–struck at what we can achieve.

This collection of great buildings makes no claims about being definitive – but it does offer an intriguing glimpse at some of the most remarkable man–made structures from throughout human history.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England
(circa 3000 BC)

If you’re tired at the end of a 37-hour working week, then spare a thought for the team that spent an estimated 30 million hours building Stonehenge! This prehistoric workforce had to drag many of the massive rocks comprising the ancient monument 240 miles from Wales and then stand them upright.

Stone Henge

Tutankhamen’s Tomb, Valley of the Kings, Egypt (circa 1323 BC)

Ancient Egyptians could spend decades building prestigious mausoleums in preparation for the death of their rulers – but King Tut’s premature passing caused a rush job to finish his tomb and it was then forgotten about by his people. By this twist of fate, the 18-year-old ruler’s resting place was in an immaculate condition when it was discovered in the 20th century.

Tutankhamen’s Tomb

Parthenon, Athens, Greece
(circa 438 BC)

As an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, the Parthenon has no equal. This temple to the goddess Athena was built at the height of the Athenian Empire, and its famous Doric columns – much like the democratic culture from which it came – would spread throughout the western world.

Panthenon

Great Wall of China, Shanhaiguan to Lop Lake, China (circa 7 BC)

The Great Wall of China began life as a series of smaller fortifications, evolving over hundreds of years into today’s 21,196 km long structure – that’s roughly 22 times the length of Britain or about 200,000 football pitches!

Great Wall of China

Colosseum, Rome, Italy (70 to 80 AD)

The Colosseum was the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire and would regularly host sporting events for up to 80,000 spectators – or about 7,000 fans more than can fit in the Stadio Olimpico for Lazio and Roma football matches today.

Colosseum

Westminster Abbey, London, England (1000 to 1745 AD)

Intertwined with the history of the British monarchy, Westminster Abbey was originally consecrated by Edward the Confessor in 1065; it has been the coronation site since one year later and is the resting place of 17 kings and queens.

Westminster Abbey

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
(1173 to 1372 AD)

Construction of the Tower of Pisa lasted 199 years – but it had already started to subside when the third storey was added just five years into the project. Once complete, the eight-floor building continued to sink until a 2001 restoration project brought it back from a sketchy 5.5-degree lean to a much-less worrying 3.99-degree slant.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France (1194 to 1220 AD)

Up to 300 workers a day spent 26 years building the Gothic-influenced Chartres Cathedral – a remarkably short space of time when considering the present York Minster took more than 240 years to complete.

Chatres

Forbidden City, Beijing, China
(1406 to 1420 AD)

The Forbidden Palace was the imperial home and centre of political life for the Qing and Ming Dynasties for 500 years – with 980 buildings and nearly 9000 rooms, there must have been a lot of politicians.

Forbidden City

St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia (1555 to 1561 AD)

St Basil’s Cathedral’s boldly coloured onion-shaped domes only became such distinctive features 200 years after construction had finished, when a dramatic growth in available paint shades led to much brighter religious art.

St Basils Cathedral

Villa Capra (La Rotunda), Vicenza, Italy (1567 to 1592 AD)

La Rotunda marks a high-point in the development of classical thought into the Renaissance style and has influenced the design of thousands of buildings across the world. However, its nickname is misleading. Rather than having a round floor plan, La Rotunda is in fact the shape of a square divided by a cross with a circular hall at its centre.

La Rotunda

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
(circa 1632 to 1653 AD)

Following the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, grief-stricken Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan is said to have ordered his court into two years of mourning before deciding to build the magnificent Taj Mahal as his true love’s resting place.

Taj Mahal

St Paul’s Cathedral, London, England (1675 to 1720 AD)

From surviving the blitz to royal weddings and funeral services for the likes of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill, St Paul’s Cathedral has long been an icon of British life. The huge dome of Sir Christopher Wren’s design made it London’s tallest building for more than 250 years until 1962 – it’s now ranked fortieth.

St-Pauls

White House, Washington DC, USA
(1792 to 1800 AD)

With 132 rooms spanning 55,000 square feet of prime retail estate that includes a swimming pool, a bowling alley, a theatre and a certain oval-shaped office, the White House was recently valued in excess of $1 billion!

White House

Statue of Liberty, New York, USA
(1875 to 1886 AD)

Towering over New York Harbour, the Statue of Liberty remains a symbol of independence and freedom for everyone who dreams of a better life in America. This huge neoclassical sculpture was constructed piece by piece in France, transported to the States in boxes and then put together on what became Liberty Island.

Statue-of-Liberyty

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
(1887 to 1889 AD)

Designed to be the entrance to the 1889 Exposition Universalle, the Eiffel Tower has become a cultural icon and is the most-visited paid tourist attraction in the world. Not bad for a building that was originally intended to be pulled down after just 20 years!

Eiffel Tower

Flatiron Building, New York, USA
(1902 AD)

Named after the similarly shaped clothes presses of the time, the Flatiron building’s official opening attracted the attention of the gambling public, who placed bets on the first gust of wind blowing over this tall narrow structure.

Flatiron

Tribune Tower, Chicago, USA
(1923 to 1925 AD)

It took an awful lot of rock to build the 462-feet-tall Tribune Tower – including around 150 small stones that staff at the newspaper office brought back from sites across the world, such as Angkor Wat, the Berlin Wall and the Alamo.

Tribune Tower

Chrysler Building, New York, USA
(1928 to 1930 AD)

The Chrysler Building was the tallest skyscraper in the world for just eleven months – but despite being overtaken within a year, it remains the tallest brick structure to this day.

Chrysler Building

Lloyd’s Building, London, UK
(1978 to 1986 AD)

With its striking inside-out ‘Bowelism’ design, the 25-year-old Lloyd’s building became the youngest structure to ever obtain the UK’s Grade-I listed status in 2011.

Lloyds Building

Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea (1987 to 2014 AD … possibly)

Following a 16-year construction break after the collapse of financial backers the Soviet Union, the flashy exterior of the Ryugyong Hotel was finally completed in 2008. But work on its interior continues and it remains to be seen when – or whether – the ‘Hotel of Doom’ will open.

Ryugyong Hotel

Longaberger Company Building, Newark, USA (1995 to 1997 AD)

Is there a more apt business headquarters than the Longaberger Company building? The basket makers didn’t have to search far to find influence for an eye-catching office design – they simply took inspiration from a product they had been manufacturing for more than a century.

Longaberger

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, USA (1999 to 2003 AD)

Underneath the radical stainless-steel curves and dreamlike structures of the Walt Disney Concert Hall is an impeccable auditorium, which has drawn praise from world-renowned conductors for its quality acoustics.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Beijing National Stadium, Beijing, China (2003 to 2008 AD)

Despite being nicknamed the ‘Bird’s Nest’, the Beijing National Stadium is based upon a design that was heavily influenced by the cracked glaze found on local pottery. Its eye-catching nest-like structure comprises roughly 42,000 tonnes and 26kms of steel.

Beijing National Stadium

Crooked House, Sopot, Poland (2004 AD)

Inspired by the fairy tales of Jan Marcin Scanzer and the art of Per Dahlberg, the Crooked House is actually a retail centre where shoppers may – or may not – be able to purchase glass slippers, steaming hot bowls of porridge or red riding hoods.

Crooked House

Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, USA (founded: 1873 AD; community bookshelf completed: 2004 AD)

The designers of the Kansas City Public Library car park really knew their audience; its garage resembles a bookshelf featuring 22 titles, including Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mocking Bird and Invisible Man.

Kansas City Public Library

National Library of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus (2002 to 2006 AD)

The National Library of Belarus is a rhombicuboctahedron – that’s right, it’s a shape with eight triangular and eighteen square faces! Architects Mihail Vinogradov and Viktor Kramarenko designed its striking diamond shape to symbolise the wealth of knowledge the building stores.

Minsk Library
Atlantis Palm

Atlantis, The Palm; Dubai, UAE (2005 to 2008 AD)

Located on an artificial island, the 1500-room hotel Atlantis, The Palm, draws influence from the famous sunken city of ancient mythology. In its unique ‘underwater’ suites, guests share their stay at this high-end resort with around 65,000 fish and other sea creatures, visible through glass walls in certain rooms.

Marina Bay Sands Resort, Singapore (commissioned: 2006 AD; opened: 2010 AD)

An indoor canal, two floating crystal pavilions, a 500-table casino … and an infinity pool perched atop three 55-storey towers give the $5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands Resort an unmistakeable wow factor.

Marina Bay

Cybertecture Egg, Mumbai, India
(2008 to 2010 AD)

The Cybertecture Egg represents the archetypal sustainable workplace of the future; its uniquely angled oval design minimises solar gain, the office space is cooled by a roof garden, and wind turbines and PV panels produce energy.

Cybertecture Egg

The Shard, London, England
(2009 to 2013 AD)

The Shard is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the 330-metre concrete transmission tower at Emley Moor!

The Shard