While modern architecture seems frequently to involve daring skyscrapers and abstract designs, the past is littered with great architects that built structures that are so revered that people still visit them today. The following are just a few of the most influential architects from the past.
Kicking off the list is Michelangelo. Although most people think of him as a painter and not as an architect, the truth is that he helped create some breathtaking structures. For example, he designed the Laurentian Library in 1523 and broke free of the dominant classical style of the time. He of course is also known for creating St. Peter’s Basilica, which is still one of the most admired and visited pieces of all time.
Louis Henri is another great who looked past traditional building styles of his time to create his own, which became known as American architecture. He was able to shine after the Great Fire of 1871 ripped through Chicago, allowing him to play a large role in rebuilding the city. He worked with William Le Baron Jenney and Frank Furness during his youth, but rose quickly, and by the time he was 24 he was already a partner in a firm. He is behind the growth of the skyscraper, as he used steel to allow structures to grow higher.
Another great architect that benefited from a catastrophic fire was Sir Christopher Wren, who had a large part in rebuilding London following the Great Fire. Only a week after he designed a dome for St. Paul’s, a fire destroyed the city as well as the cathedral. As a result he was able to become a surveyor for royal works, and eventually designed 51 churches, one of which was the new St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Next on the list is Antoni Gaudi, the Spanish architect. Gaudi created his own style; he wanted to express his love for God by getting his design inspiration from nature. He preferred to use vibrant colours in his design, and where possible would use curves instead of straight lines. His work was a combination of surrealism, avant-garde and neo-Gothic, and had a bit of everything in it! His international style was expressed clearly in Barcelona with the Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia, his most renowned work.
Finally, you cannot create a list of great architects without including Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright is considered one of the most influential architects of the modern age. He was from the Midwest US, and favoured the Prairie School of architecture where design was created to blend into landscape. He took the design further and created organic architecture, or the process of using materials and structures that would allow the environment to be incorporated into the design of a building. His most famous contribution to the US was perhaps the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, which has a spiral walkway in the place of separate floors.