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The Best of Contemporary Asian Architecture

Asia is home to some of the most awe-inspiring feats of architecture and construction on the planet. The continent now hosts an astonishing array of structures, from traditional Asian designs to modern sky-scraping towers, from oblique and experimental complexes with asymmetrical flares to small compact spaces constructed with groundbreaking techniques. There are literally hundreds of architectural gems in the region; what follows are a few of the most striking structures in Asia.

Taipei 101  |  Taipei, Taiwan
Once the tallest building in the world—now second to Burj Khalifa in Dubai—Taipei 101 brings together classic Asian design with the audacity and ambition of the modern-day skyscraper. The result is a structure so tall and classic it effortlessly dwarfs everything in its vicinity in height and in style. Designed by C.Y. Lee, Taipei 101 is a refined mix of traditional and contemporary design and asserts itself into the sky as a stellar example of both.

Ardmore Residence  |  Singapore
This 36-story tower is decidedly modern and linear in its flow towards its summit. An optical illusion makes it appear that the building is one continuous edge. Built to complement and reflect the natural beauty of the Garden City area that surrounds it, Ardmore Residence has the appearance of a vertical green landscape. There is little to no truncation in the look of the structure as every piece seems to run in continuous, uninterrupted lines towards the top and around the sides. Due to its flowing facade, the patterns and designs of the building can vary fairly dramatically in their appearance depending on the viewer’s vantage point, which makes observing Ardmore Residence a singular experience for passersby.

Mode Gakuen, “Cocoon Tower”  |  Toyko
The name says it all. Ever wonder what a 669-foot-tall cocoon of aluminum and glass would look like? Well, now your curiosity can be satiated by this stunning structure. Aluminum webbing ascends up this tower to its pinnacle in symmetrical grids with lustrous blue glass shimmering beneath it. Designed by architect Kenzo Tange, the whole building successfully mimics an incubating cocoon with its look of organic growth and expansion, and is perfect for the brand development of the school that resides within it.

CCTV Headquarters |  Beijing
Completed in 2012, the CCTV Headquarters is undoubtedly one of the most striking and iconic buildings in the world. Built out of what were essentially six separate towers—four running horizontally and two running vertically—the building features a series of connected sections that create a continuous, distinct silhouette.  Constructed with no movement joints, the building consists of a single structural system and is the largest building of its kind in the world. Standing at 51 and 45 stories tall (the heights of the two vertical towers, respectively) and offering observers an entirely unique view from every angle, CCTV Headquarters is truly an astounding architectural feat.

The Chapel  |  Vietnam
Winner of the 2014 World Building of the Year Award at the World Architecture Festival, The Chapel is unlike any other structures on this list in that it is only one story tall and consists of only one room. What is so special about The Chapel is how it was constructed and the results that this unique approach has yielded. The Chapel makes visitors feel as though they’re inside an extension of the natural world around it, and in some ways, they are. Constructed from many recycled materials, The Chapel is covered in smooth white, weathered wood with bright, multi-colored curtains accenting the space. What results is a room that feels almost more like a work of art than a building. And though it is not technically a religious space, The Chapel has an appropriate name for a structure that seems to universally encourage contemplation and calm.

Photo courtesy of: ©iStock.com/Sean Pavone

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