Architectural Icons and Landmarks on the Rise

  • 01 Dec 2012
  • by
  • Architecture News mini Urban Design
China’s ‘Ring of Life’ Photo: Sina Weibo

With China’s ‘Ring of Fire’ being one of the latest pieces of landmark architecture to hit the media, one must begin to wonder how many of these so called ‘landmarks’ will be constructed until they become an everyday sight in their major cities. With the rapid rise of the construction of these icons, it almost seems as though new cities of the rapid urbanization process think they need to build landmarks in order to be complete. As a consequence of this drive toward an urban identity, what may their impact be in a world where these icons are turning into generic structures? Let us know your thoughts!


Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Architectural Icons and Landmarks on the Rise" 01 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>


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    Perhaps the problem lies not in the construction of iconic buildings, but that they too often neglect the influence of local culture in favour of a generic neo-international-style architectural language. This has worked well for cities in the past (for example, the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, and even the Guggenheim Bilbao) but is rendered ineffective now that these megastructures are somewhat commonplace and city planners across the globe strive to emulate the ‘Bilbao Effect’.

    If these landmark structures are built in a way which reinforces the specific cultural identity of a place (for instance, the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, Taipei 101, or Singapore’s lotus-inspired ArtScience Museum) they might function better as symbols of civic pride, megalopolitan focal points, and truly get the attention of a world filled with identity-less icons.

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    These landmarks can serve as an opportunity to execute great engineering and architectural feats of the time, where these practices and technologies may not be realized otherwise. A landmark may have potential to symbolize powerful and positive thoughts about technology, architecture and place.

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    Typo in 1st sentence, Ring of “Life” not Fire. Was trying to Google Ring of Fire and got something actually quite similar (eclipse). Interesting, maybe they should rename it.

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    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +6

    Read ‘Delirious New York’ and ‘S,M,L,XL’, both by Rem Koolhaas. He discusses the effect of these on the city

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    The need for landmarks cannot be compromised but the question that follows is their amalgamation with the surrounding society, as pointed out by Jonathan Choe. Every piece of architecture has its own identity and when it succeeds in truely satisfying the needs of the people, it has then established itself as a landmark in the nighbourhood. But for it to stand out on a global front, adopting a mere cosmopolitan style is inadequate. Integrating the global standards with the vernacular culture will enhance the potential of the building, assigning it its own individuality.

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    Victorian landmarks are like everywhere!!! It’s time for contemporary landmarks to take over the world!

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