From castles and cathedrals to museums and galleries, this guide looks at the forgotten architectural sights of Europe that you should add to your itinerary.
When someone thinks of architecture they tend to think of grand buildings built specifically to fit with the architect in question’s vision for the structure. However, when embarking on escorted river cruise holidays or a tour of Europe, it quickly becomes clear that the true examples of today’s architectural talents lie in the forgotten buildings that were built for purpose as well as aesthetics.
1. The Museum of Fine Art, Budapest, Hungary
First up is the exquisite Museum of Fine Art building in Budapest. Famed for its expansive collection of fine artwork created by the masters as detailed in this previous article, it is also a fantastic work of architecture. Built in the eclectic-neoclassical style from plans by Albert Schickedanz and Fülöp Herzog in the early 1900s, this exceptional building now houses over 10,000 works of art, not including the building itself, although many in the field consider it to be.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
While the Neuschwanstein Castle has long be prized for its stark beauty sat nestled on a hill overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen, Bavaria, many fail to take into account its long architectural history as a project of King Ludwig II. Designed by architects Christian Jank and Eduard Riedel, this previous article details how the castle has gone on to inspire the likes of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and other such more contemporary feats of architecture.
3. The Romanian Parliament Building, Bucharest, Romania
As the world’s largest administrative building for civilian use, the Palace of the Romanian Parliament stands as a great example of contemporary architecture. Completed in 1997 and covering a floor area of 360,000 square metres, it was designed by architect and politician Anca Petrescu.
4. Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany
Another great example of architecture for purpose is the staggering Ludwig Museum building. Designed by architects Peter Busmann and Godfrid Haberer and opened in 1986, the building looks even more exceptional from the sky than it does from the ground, and even inside where it houses works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Otto Dix and Roy Lichtenstein.
5. Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), Cologne, Germany
Just across from the Ludwig Museum stands an older example of fine architecture, the Cologne Cathedral. This fine example of Gothic architecture stands as a brilliant contrast to that of the Ludwig with construction for the cathedral having started in 1248 and completed finally in 1880. The cathedral once stood as the tallest of its kind in the world before being surpassed in 1884, but still stands a fantastic example of French influence, having been based on that of Amiens Cathedral, and is one of the most visited attractions on Rhine river cruises, let alone in Germany.
6. Dancing House ‘Fred and Ginger’, Prague, Czech Republic
From one of Germany’s most visited sites to one of Prague’s most well-known examples of contemporary architecture. While the affectionately known ‘Fred and Ginger’ building designed by Frank Gehry with Vlado Milunic is hardly forgotten in architectural circles, among visitors few would even know that it was nicknamed after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as the building resembles what Gehry thought was a pair of dancers.
7. Revitalisation of the Crucifix Bastion, Prague, Czech Republic
Also in Prague is the Revitalisation of the Crucifix Bastion, which stands as a part of the medieval fortifications of the New Town of Prague. This contemporary build was conceived by architects Pavla Melkova and Miroslav Cikan of MCA ATELIER S.R.O and stands as a renovation of the old site, implementing the re-use of forgotten existing buildings by turning it into something entirely new.
8. EUROVEA, Bratislava, Slovakia
The contemporary Eurovea shopping centre has turned one of Bratislava’s forgotten spaces into a hub of activity. Now a business, retail and residential centre in the heart of the city, the Eurovea central “egg” building is certainly a highlight.
9. Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam is already known for its architecture as the home of countless historic buildings and feats of contemporary design, but the architectural significance of some of its oldest buildings is often forgotten. The Oude Kerk or “old church” stands as the city’s oldest building at 800 years old and its age often overshadows its incredible architectural design.
10.Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Finally, another example of architecture for purpose is the popular Rijksmuseum, also located in Amsterdam. Housing incredible masterpieces, it is often forgotten that the building itself is a great work of art. Borne out of a design of Pierre Cuypers and opened in 1885, the museum actually underwent a huge renovation that was completed in 2013 for visitors to use and admire. For further information on this impressive renovation and its ties with the original architect’s designs, see the Rijksmuseum website.
Image Credit: The Museum of Fine Art
This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.