As a budding architect, chances are your style and development is still in the conceptual phase; you’ve got ideas and theories, but you haven’t quite honed in on exactly what makes you as an architect, you. Studying city architecture is a fantastic way to learn from the very best building designers and conceptual planners.

Top 10 Cities to Visit as an Architecture Student

Below then, is a list of cities that you really must get around to visiting, whether for visualising the early achievements of man, or keeping up with the current crop, this shortlist will offer an eclectic mix of sources of inspiration for you to truly develop your ideas and reflect on what you can achieve.

An architect is someone who plans, designs, and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within.

New York City, United States

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station in New York City : Grand Central Terminal is a commuter, rapid transit railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States. The station is easily one of the signature building designs found in New York and a must visit for any student.

For a running history of the cutting edge of Western architecture there are few cities like the Big Apple. From being the pioneer of the skyscraper, to hosting the famous builds of Frank Gehry and contemporary architecture by the likes of Zaha Hadid Architects and Bjarke Ingels Group, you can literally land yourself anywhere in the city and find strong influences past, present and future.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai Marina : city architecture

Dubai Marina and Waterfront : Dubai is at the pinnacle of enterprising and innovative city architecture.

Due to sheer efficiency and audacity alone, Dubai has to be included in this list. The city has gone from a semi-deserted fishing port to a desert encircled metropolis within the space of a few decades. With modern icons such as the Burj Khalifa and intricately designed, man-made archipelagos, it really is a must-see for the soon-to-be architects of the world.

Miami, United States

Miami Beach Art Deco

Miami Beach art deco city style by night, as found on the brightly lit South Beach area of the city.

For those with a penchant for the art deco movement, Miami has to be the first port of call. Thanks to its coastal location down in the Gulf of Mexico, Miami has been a favoured vacation destination for some time. Its boom in the 70s and 80s due to its infamous party scene led to the neon lit and detail driven buildings that still line Ocean Drive to this day.


Singapore Architecture and Building Design

Singapore Architecture and Building Design : The vibrant city of Singapore is well known for it’s array of innovative construction projects and green, eco style designs.

Environmentally conscious architecture never looked so good. Singapore is one of the most eco-conscious nations/cities on the planet. Architects who see the environmental challenges the world currently faces, and want to do something to make a difference should visit Singapore for inspiration.

Athens, Greece

The Parthenon, Athens, Greece

The Parthenon is a former temple, on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BCE when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power.

To understand how modern architecture began, look no further than Athens. The Pantheon, built during the Classical period, in 448 BC is a shining example of how buildings could be more than just a structure, how they could be beautiful at the same time. The fact that it still stands after 2,465 years, is also a testament to the Ancient Greek’s structural awareness.

City Architecture Revealed

Don’t just look at the pictures, instead explore these carefully selected video clips and architecture tutorials detailing the worlds most amazing building designs.

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Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona city architecture

Barcelona city architecture : Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture.

Architecturally best known for Gaudi’s mind-bending art nouveau parks and cathedral, Barcelona is a paradise for the architect who sees the world from outside the box that most of us comfortably remain within. Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró feature modern art by their namesakes in this awe inspiring city.

Those who think that Barcelona is only known for the world famous Barcelona football team will be sorely mistaken. Old winding streets and historic churches and galleries are numerous in this Spanish coastal city which can be found in the north east of the country.

Brasilia, Brazil, South America

Brasília, inaugurated as Brazil’s capital in 1960

Brasília, inaugurated as Brazil’s capital in 1960, is a planned city distinguished by its white, modern architecture, chiefly designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Laid out in the shape of an airplane, its “fuselage” is the Monumental Axis, 2 wide avenues flanking a massive park.

The modernist pipe dream that is Brazil’s capital. Built and designed by Oscar Niemeyer, it’s the ultimate visualisation of mid-century simplicity. Despite widely agreed criticism that it simply missed the mark as a working, interconnected city, it’s an absolute work of art as far as building design goes and a fine study for both what to do and what not to do.

Florence, Italy

Florence Architecture

Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto.

For renaissance era styling, look no further than the birthplace of the cultural movement, the terracotta tiled city of Florence. The Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, and the city’s Duomo are the most perfect examples to draw influence from.

Chandigarh, India

Chandigarh India

Chandigarh, the capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, was designed by the Swiss-French modernist architect, Le Corbusier.

His buildings include the Capitol Complex with its High Court, Secretariat and Legislative Assembly, as well as the giant Open Hand Monument.

India’s first Prime Minister, Jawahrlal Nehry, commissioned the father of modernism, Le Corbusier to design a city to be the new regional capital of Punjab, after Lahore was lost to Pakistan. Thus, Chandigarh was born. Despite decades of neglect, the essence of the Frenchman’s genius is still well and truly there to behold, keeping true to the designer’s structurally led priorities.

Mexico, Oaxaca, Central America

The city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez, or simply Oaxaca, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of the same name.

The city and municipality of Oaxaca de Juárez, or simply Oaxaca, is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of the same name.

Opinions may be divided on the Americas and how they’ve come to be in their contemporary form, but no one can doubt the beauty and simplicity of the architecture and city planning of Mexico’s Spanish colonialist predecessors. Oaxaca is the prime example of how to retain tradition in an increasingly modern time

Further Reading

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Final Thought

All new students studying architecture start at the bottom of the ladder. All looking for design inspiration in the big, wide world. As well as being perfectly normal, it’s also an incredibly exciting part of your fledgeling career.

This is the time to be inspired, to get out into the world and learn from what the masters have already accomplished throughout history. To learn and uncover what they’re currently accomplishing in the exciting field of city architecture. With that in mind these are among the very best cities to visit for design inspiration as a student of architecture and building design right now.