5. The Oslo Opera House in Norway, opened in 2008, appears to emerge out of the neighboring Oslofjord like an iceberg. The sloping marble roof is an open plaza for the public to enjoy and covers the 1,350-seat auditorium below. In 2009, the Opera House received the Mies van der Rohe award for contemporary architecture.
7. The Seattle Central Library, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and opened in 2004, is a beacon for bookworms in a city said to be one of the most literate in the U.S. Its steel-and-glass exterior is modern and futuristic, yet the interior includes some intimate reading spaces. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of Puget Sound from inside the 11-story downtown building.
11. The Chicago Spire, another Calatrava-designed structure, is under construction in the Windy City but has not yet been completed. The rendering above shows what it will look like if the remaining financing can be secured. The Spire would be located near the shores of Lake Michigan near Navy Pier and if completed, would be one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world at 2,000 feet and 150 stories. About 350 of the residential units have been pre-sold, including the penthouse to Ty Warner, CEO of Ty, Inc., manufacturer of Beanie Babies.