Modern architects add new design concepts to your everyday surroundings.  You may even be sitting in a building which has a modern architectural design.  You probably passed a great many modern buildings on your way to work this morning.  Modern architecture surrounds us at every turn.

From skyscrapers to creative home designs, modern architects play a big role in the shape of your city.  You may even enjoy watching as new designs unfold on a daily basis.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best modern architects with some of the most creative designs for you to explore.

Modern architects and their great work

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is a modern architect with a highly creative style.  His work is iconic and attracts tourists who marvel at his innovative architectural style.

vanity Fair names Gehry as a notable modern architect, pointing out that his unique style and aesthetic forms have a wide appeal.  He is able to use materials in a unique manner which may appear to defy reason.  The results are highly aesthetic. Gehry has worked on many highly prestigious projects including the Guggenheim Museum, the Walt Disney Concert Hall as well as the the Marqués de Riscal Vineyard Hotel.

Daniel Libeskind

Daniel Libeskind is one of the most iconic architects of our times.  Born in Poland 1946, his family moved to the Bronx, New York when he was thirteen years old.  He attended the Cooper Union for architecture and later worked with Meier.

Libeskind architects was formed in 1989. His most important building was The Jewish Museum in Berlin, his first success.

Aside from this, he has created other famous modern architecture buildings such as the Grand Canal Theatre As well as the Imperial War Museum.

Zaha Hadid

Known for her curved designs, Zaha Hadid is one of the top modern architects in the world.  She has created a great many popular buildings including the Serpentine  Galleries, the  Guangzhou opera house, the London Aquatics Center and the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza.

Her skills have helped to shape modern architecture during the 21st century and she is regarded as one of the most popular architects in the world.  As a female architect she is an inspiration and she has received academic, civic and professional honors from around the world.

Hadid was born in Iraq and studied mathematics before she relocated to London.  In London she attended the Architectural Association. She was heralded by both the Guggenheim as well as the London Design Museum.  Forbes declared her to be one of the most powerful and popular architects in the world.  She was given her OBE by the Queen in 2010, when she was also seen to be one of the most influential people in the world.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright’s most famous architectural building is called Falling Water.  It was designed for the leading Pittsburg retailer Edgar Kaufmann.  This building incorporates a natural waterfall, with balconies which seem to float above it.  Designed in 1935, it is an excellent example of modern architecture.

Wright developed his modern architectural style later in his career, and his work is easily recognized for its organic and curvy style.  This organic style flourished in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Norman Foster

When it comes to modern architecture, Sir Norman Foster must be one of the most famous architects.  Born in Britain, Foster studied in Manchester before achieving his masters through Yale University.  As a popular architect, he has won over 470 different awards.

In 1967, Foster set up his architectural firm, Foster and Partners.  He has continued to develop his practice, working on famous buildings such as the Smithsonian Institute, Beijing Airport and the Boston Museum of Fine arts.

Foster is a true modern architect, and his work appears to be high tech.  The famous Gherkin in London, as well as the Hearst Towers,  provide excellent examples of his modern architect’s style.

As one of the most popular architects in Britain, it may come as no surprise that Foster is a famous architect throughout the world.

Ieoh Ming Pei – I.M. Pei

This modern architect was born in China but studied in America.  He has become one of the most famous modern architects in the world.  He has created many popular buildings around the world.  Pei’s work has an easily identifiable geometric style and her work also reflects his Chinese roots.

One of IM Pei’s most famous buildings is the National Center for Atmospheric Research.  Based in Colorado, the center has natural elements which interact with the surroundings, creating a flow.  IM Pei’s work is also reflected in other popular buildings around the world.

Some examples are the Le Grand Louvre in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.  The Museum of Islamic Art, as well as The Bank of China Tower, are also famous buildings designed by IM Pei. 

Renzo Piano

Italian architect Renzo Piano was born in Genoa in 1937.  He comes from a family of contractors, and his path as a modern architect may have developed in this way.  He graduated from the Milano School of Architecture and then moved to Philadelphia, where he worked with Louis Khan.

Piano has created many famous buildings around the world.  Some examples of his work are the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Shard Bridge in London and The New York Times Building.  In 1998, Piano won the Pritzker Prize as a modern architect.  In 2008 he won the AIA Gold Medal.

Mies Van der Rohe

Embracing an elegant and minimalistic approach, Van der Rohe states that ‘less is more’.  As a modern architect born in Germany, he reduced architecture to simple geometric shapes.  All ornamentation and unnecessary flourish were abandoned in his popular buildings.  Instead, he drew on quality materials such as steel and glass to define the form of his buildings.

He served as the director of the Bauhaus, where he emphasized that form shapes function.  He would hold this position as a modern architect until the Nazi regime closed it down.

Van der Rohe’s rational, efficient and very beautiful architectural style is evident in popular buildings such as the Barcelona Pavilion.  This building uses opulent and very high-quality materials such as travertine, marble and red onyx.  The result was a visual masterpiece which has stood the test of time.

Michael Graves

As a highly successful modern architect, Michael Graves’ importance cannot be overstated.  His work is truly Postmodern in style.  Graves held a position of Professor in Architecture for 40 years and examined the role of art or painting on architecture.  He has created many famous buildings around the world.

Graves was a member of the New York Five, who created many famous buildings.  The Portland Building is an excellent example of this modern architect’s style.

Philip Johnson

Modern architect Philip Johnson was widely influential and founded the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art.  He has a popular architectural style which is easily identifiable to viewers.

His residential building, the Glasshouse, based in Connecticut, has glass vistas and a minimalist interior.  His work uses glass, steel, and crystal to create a unique and world-famous architectural style which resonates with designers around the world.

The Crystal Cathedral in California provides an example of an exquisitely designed space which would seem to belong to a fairy tale character.  It provides the perfect combination of high-quality materials and a minimalist style.

Johnson’s famous building designs include The Seagram Building  (which he created with Mies van der Rohe) as well as the Philip Johnson House in Germany.  He also created the popular Museum of  Television and Radio.

Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava is a modern architect of Spanish descent.  Born in 1957, he moved to Paris before relocating to Valencia to study.  He later moved to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and studied engineering there.

After graduation, he began working on small engineering projects for ETH.  His skills as a modern architect were revealed in 1984 when he won a design competition for the De Roda Bridge in Barcelona.  This was when he gained international recognition as a popular modern architect.

Success came not only from bridge design but from famous buildings such as the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, the Ciutat de Les Arts I Les Ciencies and the Auditorio de Tenerife.  His work has won him the AIA Gold Medal as well as the Prince of Asturias Award.

Rem Koolhaas


Rem Koolhaas is a modern architect with an unconventional style.  His unique designs have made him a popular architect with a large following.  His work can be provocative and highly influential.

During 1975, Koolhaas opened up OMA, described as a ‘hothouse research lab’ by Icon.  His work focuses not only on architecture but also on urban planning, theory, and culture.  He worked as a professor at Harvard University.  Popular buildings include the Seattle Central Library, the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing and the Netherlands Embassy in Berlin.

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