12 Most Structurally Ambitious Buildings

Throughout history some builders, engineers and architects have pushed the boundaries. We want to showcase these gutsy brave geniuses!

Our list comprises what we see as some of the most structurally ambitious buildings. We have a few of the biggest and tallest, but we also included some built in challenging environments and in challenging times. Enjoy!


1. Hanging Temple

First up is the Hanging Temple in the province of Shanxi in China. It is said to been built over 1500 years ago by just one monk!

Build 1

Image Source: Gisling via Wikimedia Commons

2. Capital Gate

In 2010 the Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi secured the most coveted title of “World’s furthest man made leaning tower”. The folks at the leaning tower of Pisa are very jealous.

Build 2 1024px-Capital_Gate_Abu_Dhabi_001

Image source: Nepenthes via Wikimedia Commons

3. Dubai Pearl

The Dubai Pearl is a triumph of engineering and design. It is over 73 stories high. It will house over 9,000 residents and its commercial sector will employ over 12,000 people!

Build 3 Dubai Pearl

Image Source: Dubai Pearl

4. Machu Picchu

Built by the Incas in Peru in 1450, Machu Picchu lies 2,430 meters above sea level. It is a skyscraper of its time. This magnificent settlement was only made known to the outside world in 1911.

Build 4 Machu_Picchu_mosaic_picture_-_december_2006

Image Source: Martin St-Amant (S23678) via Wikimedia Commons

5. Dancing House

Nicknamed the Dancing House the Nationale-Nederlanden is in Prague, Czech Republic. 99 different shaped concrete panels support the unusual curved “dancing” shape. At the top of the building is a twisted metal structure called the Medusa!

Build 5 Dancing_House_(7339585566)

Image Source: Christine Zenino via Wikimedia Commons

6. Burji Khalifa

 The tallest building in the world (for now!) is the Burji Khalifa. It is over 828 meters tall. It is also the tallest structure and the tallest freestanding structure. We get dizzy just looking at the photo!

Build 6 Burj_Dubai_Under_Construction_on_8_May_2008_Pict_3

Image Source: Imre Solt via Wikimedia Commons

7. Marina Bay Sands

The Marina Bay Sands resort is located in Singapore. Its 3 huge towers are toped by a 340 meter long SkyPark. When it was built in 2010 it was the most expensive structure to build at $6 billon.

Luminance HDR 2.3.0 tonemapping parameters: Operator: Fattal Parameters: Alpha: 1 Beta: 0.9 Color Saturation: 1  Noise Reduction: 0.03  ------ PreGamm

Image Source: Russavia via Wikimedia Commons

8. Mount Popa, Taung Kalat

This amazing structure is a Buddhist monastery. It is 1518 meters above see level. To reach the summit visitors must walk 777 steps. Ouch!

Build 8 Mount_Popa_0265

Image Source: Michael Gunther via Wikimedia Commons

9. Chapel of Holy Cross

Richard Hein and Augush K. Strotz designed this wonderful chapel located in Sedona, Arizona. What’s astonishing is the chapel only cost $300,000 to build. In 2007, the people of Arizona voted it to be in the 7 wonders of Arizona.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Image Source: Matthew P. Del Buono via Wikimedia Commons

10. Fashion Show Wall

Located in Las Vegas, the Fashion Show Mall is a sight to behold. It was built in 1981. It is now home to over 250 stores including Forever 21, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s.

Build 10 Fashionshowmall

Image Source: Coolcaesar via Wikimedia Commons

11. Taktsang Palphug

Those monks have done it again. This fantastic structure commonly known as the Tiger’s Lair is a Buddhist monastery. It consists of 4 main temples and residential shelters.

Build 11 The_Tiger's_nest

Image Source: Soham Banerjee via Wikimedia Commons

12. Grand Lisboa

The Grand Lisboa is the tallest building in Macau. It is 47 floors and home to a hotel and casino complex. Hong Kong Architects Dennis Lau and Ng Chun Man designed it.

Build 12 BOCMacauAndGrandLisboa1

Image Source: Cdip150 via Wikimedia Commons