Top 10 Incredible Architectural Wonders in the USA

The culturally diverse country of the United States can best be viewed through its varied architecture – from the innovating to the modern, from the traditional to the eclectic, the country is home to beautiful and breathtaking architecture. The saying goes that the beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder – while opinion may differ, here we present what we consider to be the top 10 architectural wonders in the USA.

1: Empire State Building, New York

Empire State Building, New York

The name of the iconic Empire State Building has been derived from the nickname of the city of New York, the Empire State. Designed by William Lamb, an architect at the Shreve, Lamb & Harmon firm, this historic monument is located on Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th streets in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The roof of this 102 story building stands at the height of 1250 or 381 meters and its total height including its antenna spire is 1454 or 443 meters. Although it has now lost its first rank to other high structures in the world, it was the tallest building when it was built in early 1931 and maintained this status for nearly four decades since its completion until its supremacy was usurped by the original World Trade Center's North Tower in 1970. The Empire State Building is currently the fifth tallest completed skyscraper in the United States and 25th tallest in the world.

Address: 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118

2: San Xavier Del Bac Mission, Arizona

San Xavier Del Bac Mission, Arizona
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Janusz Sobolewski

Another historic monument in the USA, San Xavier Del Bac Mission is actually a church located in the Santa Cruz Valley, 9 miles (14 km) south of Tucson, Arizona. The picturesque white church was founded by Catholic missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Its construction took 14 years - starting in 1783, it was completed in 1797. The church, designed in Spanish Colonial architectural style and built with low-fire clay bricks and mortar, is the oldest standing structure in the state of Arizona. The whole building has a roof of masonry vaults. Once you enter the shrine, you are taken back into authentic 18th century history as you watch the idols and mural paintings reflecting a bygone era. The church still religiously retains its original mission of ministering to the spiritual needs of its parishioners. The Mission San Xavier attracts around 200,000 people annually, and the entry is free of charge.

Address: 1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746

3: The White House, Washington D.C.

The White House, Washington D.C.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/jasleen_kaur

Situated in Washington D.C, the White House is the official residence and the workplace of the President of the United States. According to American Institute of Architects, it is the second most loved building in the list of "America's Favorite Architecture.” The majestic building was designed by an Irish architect James Hoban on the pattern of the Irish Parliament. It is built with white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone in the Neo-classical style. The construction, starting from 1792, was completed in 1800 when its first occupant, President John Adams moved in and since then every succeeding president of the US has lived here. Thomas Jefferson, who succeeded John Adams next year 1801, added two concealed colonnades and house stables to the White House.

Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

4: Gateway Arch, Missouri

Gateway Arch, Missouri
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Mobilus In Mobili

A 630 foot-192 meter tall structure, the Gateway Arch, is located in St. Louis in Missouri. It is designed as “an inverted weighted catenary arch,” which, in simple terms, means it is made of a freely suspended flexible chain or a cable in the shape of an arch or a curve. The entire iconic monument is made of 900 tonnes of stainless steel. Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1965, its construction on the west bank of the Mississippi River started on February 12, 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965. The Arch is ranked the tallest structure in the world and also in the Western Hemisphere. The massive structure, built on 60-foot deep foundations, is extremely strong and stable. It can withstand high winds and earthquakes and is designed in a way that it can sway up to 1 ½ inches in 50-mile per hour wind and can sway maximum up to 18 inches.

Address: 100 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102

5: The Jefferson Monticello, Virginia

The Jefferson Monticello, Virginia
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Tony Fischer

Although Monticello means "hillock" or "little mountain" in Italian, Thomas Jefferson, who inherited it from his father, used the word to mean Little Mountain and High Mountain based on his reading of Albemarle County Deed Books. Spread over 5,000 acres, the plantation land was located outside Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson built a house on the estate and also named it Monticello. It was located at 850 feet high feet summit in Southwest Mountains. He retained the property until 1923, but sold it to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (TJT), which uses it as a house museum and educational institution. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site 1987. Jefferson’s body, as per his instructions, was laid to rest in Monticello grounds and the place is now known as Monticello Cemetery. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once wrote, “More than any historic home in America, Monticello speaks to me as an expression of the personality of its builder.”

Address: 931 Thomas Jefferson Pkwy, Charlottesville, VA 22902

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