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Building Icons

Every three months, we publish an article from the series on selected iconic buildings that have significant impacts on the environment, locality, city or country. We aim to introduce our readers to individual buildings from the economic, architectonic and urban perspectives but also to present them as inspiration for modern construction in the Czech Republic.

Kotva

Hexagonal department store Kotva, with its conception and setting in the narrow centre of the city, significantly shapes the form of the Republic Square (náměstí Republiky) and is rightly one of Prague’s icons. For many Czechs, it is still a symbol of the socialist regime, although its existence is proof that even in the period that did not favour artists, quality architectural works were created. The official opening took place on 10 February 1975 and the department store had a total sales area of 22,160 square meters, which was extraordinary at that time.

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Kotva

BMW Welt

A double cone resembling an asymmetrical hourglass with a height of 28 meters and a diameter of 45 meters: this is the most distinctive feature of BMW Welt, the most recent addition to the complex of four unique buildings of the German car-making giant BMW in Munich. Experts consider it one of the most venturous architectural achievements at present. Thanks to more than 16,000 m2 of solar panels, the building is able to cover a large portion of its own power consumption. In the first decade since its opening, the architecturally venturous centre has welcomed over 20 million visitors.

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BMW Welt

Złota 44

That is the present-day prominent structure of Warsaw, which despite challenges during its realisation towers above the Polish capital city. The more than 50 floors are synonymous with luxury living in downtown Warsaw – residents have access for instance to a wine cellar with a restaurant, a 25 metre long swimming pool and a private cinema. Read about this 192 metre high symbol of a modern and dynamic city, which was built thanks to the Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind.

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Złota 44

Markthal Rotterdam

May a market hall be considered an architectonic phenomenon? Markthal Rotterdam definitely proves so. Its unique horseshoe shape and the use of glass make the market hall one of the most significant buildings in Rotterdam, comprising a number of shops and bars and over 200 apartments in addition to the market. What is the living like in such an apartment? Feel free to find out – you can rent some of them for a night as easily as a hotel room.

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Markthal Rotterdam

Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant

The power plant is sometimes referred to as a very controversial structure, on other occasions as a structure that solved the lack of electric power in Brazil and Paraguay. It is definitely one of the most expensive projects in Latin America. At the turn of the millennium, it produced more than 93,000 GWh of electric power per year, which would cover the gross consumption of the Czech Republic for 18 months. 

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Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant

Elbe Philharmonic Hall

Elbe Philharmonic Hall is the tallest building in the city with its total height of 110 metres. It is located in the HafenCity quarter on the territory of the former free harbour, which lost its importance with the development of free trade in the European Union and thus provided space for new development. The construction lasted 10 years and raised to EUR 789 million. Find out more about this unique building and a new city symbol of Hamburg.

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Elbe Philharmonic Hall

CCTV Tower in Beijing

The Chinese would not have come up with such a project, and Europeans would not have built it. Those are the words of Rem Koolhaas, the man behind the CCTV Tower in Beijing. Regardless of whether this is the case or not, one thing is certain: the construction of this building was a challenge from the very outset. For one there is seismic activity in and around Beijing. How high does the CCTV Tower stand, how much did it cost to construct and what purpose does it serve?


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CCTV Tower in Beijing

Sydney Opera House

Almost everybody knows the Sydney Opera House. But did you know that it was necessary to employ innovative construction solutions and materials that are remarkable even at present, 40 years after the building’s completion? And that the original budget of USD 10 million increased nearly 15 times to USD 144 million?


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Opera Sydney

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena is a football stadium in Munich which serves as a home stadium for two football clubs: FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich.


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Allianz Arena

Marina Bay Sands Hotel

Marina Bay Sands is a multi-purpose building complex in Singapore consisting of a hotel with 2,560 rooms, a congress centre, a shopping centre, two theatres, several restaurants, a museum and a casino.


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Marina Bay Sands Hotel

La Grande Arche

La Grande Arche is a modern building inspired by the Arc de Triomphe which became the most distinguished construction of the modern business district La Défense in Paris. 


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La Grande Arche

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center (abbreviated as 1 WTC) is an office building in Manhattan, New York City (USA). This skyscraper was built in the vicinity of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.


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One World Trade Center

Dancing House

The Dancing House, as one of the few Czech modern buildings, ranks among iconic constructions not only in the Czech Republic but also worldwide. In 1997, the building received the highest award in the prestigious design contest of the Time magazine.


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Dancing House
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