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Unique Architecture around Europe

We’ve rounded up some of the most impressive, innovative and intriguing buildings that should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit. By Lucy Maddox

 

Oslo Opera House, Oslo, Norway

After it was decided in 1999 that a new opera house would be built in the city of Oslo, a design competition was held that received around 350 entries. Norwegian architecture firm and design company, Snohetta, were the eventual winners. Five years were spent constructing their impressive design, which is made of a mixture of white stone, timber and metal. Tall, minimally framed windows made of a special kind of glass allow maximum views out across the water. The opera house adds a dynamic and contemporary feel to the Bjorvika area and provides a venue for operas and ballets like Don Quixote and Tosca. And when the show is over you can make your way up to the roof and take in the stunning panoramic views of Oslo. The fjord archipelago is to your right, the core of the city to your left and hills and mountains lie behind.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, UK

Evolving from modest lodgings to the impressive palace we see today, over the years this building grew and grew in order to accommodate King George IV’s decadent lifestyle. Designed with George’s oriental vision in mind and increasing in size in order to entertain and host big social events, the Royal Pavilion is as opulent inside as it is outside and although looking a little out of place it has become an icon of the city with its minarets, domes and pinnacles. Steeped in history, the Royal Pavilion was once used as a hospital for Indian soldiers during the First World War, suffered an arson attack in 1975 and severe damage after the great storm of 1987. Restoration work has continued over the years and today visitors can explore the pavilion and learn about its influence on the city.

Bodegas Ysios, Rioja Alavesa, Spain

The Bodegas Ysios is proof of controversial architect Santiago Calatrava’s ability to design buildings that combine continuity and functionality. While some view his work as paradoxical and lacking harmony, in this case Calatrava has integrated the man-made within nature, as the eye is led from the undulating aluminum roof to the snow-capped mountains that lie beyond. As much a sculpture as a building, it’s practical as well, with the interior laid out in a simple rectangular plan to accommodate the making, storing and selling of wine. If you love Spain, good wine and beautiful buildings, this is the perfect combination. Tours and wine tastings are available to book.

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