Modern technology brings a fresh look to structurally-sound buildings. Architects use glass to make their impressive designs energy-efficient and appealing. Any of the following glass buildings around the world are main attractions for residents and visitors.
Bahrain World Trade Center
Completed in 2008, this twin-tower glass complex is located in Manama. Shaped like a sail, it reaches a height of 787 feet (240m) and houses an upscale shopping mall, hotel, and office buildings. The architectural firm Atkins brought about an environmental bonus by adding a wind turbine on each skybridge between the towers. The three turbines produce alternative energy that reduces power costs in the Bahrain WTC. Glass panes are cleverly positioned on the sides to create an illusion of hollowness.
Hotel W, Barcelona, Spain
The Hotel W provides a breathtaking view of Barcelona and Mediterranean Sea. The upscale contemporary hotel looks like a huge glass sail. The interior includes 473 guest suites and rooms, meeting areas, and dining facilities. Designed by architect Ricardo Bofill, the structure was completed in 2009. Already a landmark, its beachside location draws attention. The glass building reflects the sea and colorful objects on the beach and water.
Gas Natural Headquarters, Barcelona, Spain
One of the tallest buildings (262 feet) in Barcelona, Gas Natural Headquarters features a creative design of blocks protruding from its sides. Architects Enric Miralles & Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT) designed the building, which is located on the site of Spain’s first gas plant. Built in 2005, it features a 20-story tower devoted to business management, a curving tower, bridge, and apartments. The three fragmented buildings are covered by a skin of solar clear control glass and a low-emissive top layer.
30 St Mary Axe, London, England
Nicknamed “The Gherkin” for its cucumber-like shape, 30 St Mary Axe was designed by Sir Norman Foster and built in 2003. The business structure stands 590 feet (180m) tall. It is energy efficient and uses half the power used by traditional, similar-sized buildings. The breathtaking glass exterior view provides a glimpse of the interior, which is not open to the public.
Reichstag Dome, Berlin, Germany
Completed in 1999, Reichstag Dome has quickly become a top Berlin tourist destination. Designed by architect Sir Norman Foster and built by Waagner-Biro, the glass dome follows the practice of adding contemporary design to traditional buildings in war-ravished Germany. Sitting atop the Reichstag building, it is open to the public and provides a 360 degree view of the city. A mirrored cone in the center draws sunlight into the structure.
Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France
The main entrance to world-famous Louvre museum, Louvre Pyramid is a design of Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei. The specially-made glass panels provide maximum transparency. Completed in 1989, the structure stands 72 feet (22m) high with a base of 116 feet (35m). Its restructured design holds the weight of daily visitors and provides a common access point to all wings. Located in the middle of the square, the glass pyramid does not hide the classic museum. The pyramid is enhanced by three smaller pyramids, reflecting pools, and fountains.