The Seven Wonders of the World were basically Ancient Greece’s version of Lonely Planet—a guide to the most awe-inspiring, must-see-before-you-die structures in the classical world. Now, thousands of years later, one spot is still drawing tourists (the Great Pyramid at Giza), while the rest have been destroyed and mostly forgotten (the Tomb of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, anyone?).
With just one surviving Wonder, the aptly named New7Wonders Foundation decided the roster needed an update, and in 2007, a global poll of more than 100 million people generated a new list. But the additions weren’t all that new—winners included Machu Picchu, Rome’s Colosseum and the Taj Mahal. We want to know what future generations will look back on as the most incredible creations of our time. Therefore, we compiled a list of seven “Future Wonders of the World,” all completed after the year 2000. Like the original, our list comprises seven structures that manage to push both technical and aesthetic boundaries. And you’ll probably find them in a Lonely Planet, too.
Architect: Adrian Smith, formerly of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Claim to fame: Topping out at 160 floors, this multi-use building is the tallest man-made structure in the world.
Beijing National Stadium (also known as the Bird’s Nest)
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Claim to Fame: The centerpiece of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, this 91,000-seat stadium is also the world’s largest steel structure.
30 St Mary Axe (also known as the Gherkin)
Architect: Foster and Partners
Claim to Fame: Located in London’s financial district, this 40-floor office building won the 2004 Stirling Prize. Its unique design takes advantage of modern technology that allows both sunlight and air to flow through it.
Architect: Renzo Piano
Claim to Fame: Controversial from its earliest beginnings, this multi-use building radically transformed London’s iconic skyline.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
City: Los Angeles
Architect: Frank Gehry
Claim to Fame: This complex, contoured building is a prime example of Gehry’s Pritzker Prize-winning aesthetic.
One World Trade Center (also known as the Freedom Tower)
City: New York
Architect: David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Year: 2013 (projected)
Claim to Fame: At its completion, this will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the third tallest in the world.
Phaeno Science Center
City: Wolfsburg, Germany
Architect: Zaha Hadid
Claim to Fame: Completed a year after Hadid became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize. The New York Times called it “the kind of building that utterly transforms our vision of the future.”
Photos courtesy of: Arup, Zaha Hadid, Sellar Group, 30 St Mary Axe, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, The Port Authority, The Durst Organization, Burj Khalifa