- The Chrysler Building used to be the tallest building in New York City before the Empire State Building got built.
- The Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco was actually heavily criticized for its design for years by everyone, before becoming one of the most iconic buildings in the country.
- The Independence Hall in Philadelphia actually served the same purpose the White House is serving now for ten years before the capital of the US was moved to Washington.
There is no denying that the US is home to some of the most fascinating architectural wonders in the world. There are many buildings here that are well known all over the world, be it skyscrapers, schoolhouses, museums or libraries. Many of these earned an iconic status thanks to them being immediately recognizable.
These buildings tell fascinating tales about the cities they are in, about their past, and evoke many nostalgic memories in people. Not every building on this list is old, however, because some managed to achieve iconic status relatively fast. This is a list of just some of them, and while some obvious picks might not be here, we tried to represent different buildings across the entire country the best way we could.
10. The Chrysler Building In New York City
New York City features many iconic buildings and some of the most impressive architecture in the world. While the Empire State Building seems like the most obvious pick, we decided to choose something else for this list. The Chrysler Building is arguably the most beloved city in all of New York, despite not being the most famous one. It used to be the tallest building in the city, and the Art Deco style used to make it really creates a unique look, even after all this time.
9. The Fisher Building In Detroit
This building, considered by many to be the largest art object in the city of Detroit, was built before the Great depression. Albert Kahn designed it in Art Deco style, similar to the Chrysler Building in New York. The building was made using over 40 different types of marble, and it is decorated with many beautiful mosaics and frescoes. The golden roof glows in the night, giving off a gorgeous view in the skyline of the city. Truly a marvel of architecture.
8. The Texas State Capitol Building In Austin
This building was built in 1888, and its goal was to make a statement of sorts. It was modeled in a Neo-Renaissance style with many domes, columns, and plasterwork reminiscent of classical architecture. The thing that makes it even more iconic is the red granite used to build it. It was sourced from the Granite Mountain, and it gives the building a unique look.
7. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library And Museum In Boston
This building, featuring a strong and clean geometric design, was designed by I. M. Pei. It is the home to a library and a museum that holds all of the JFK memorabilia you can think of. It was opened in 1979, and it immediately became one of the most iconic buildings in Boston.
6. Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
This building is more than 80 years old but is still equally as impressive as it was the first day it was built. People usually refer to it as the most recognizable building in the city of Los Angeles, and for a good reason. It is named after Griffith J. Griffith, who was the owner of the land where it is built. This building was designed by Frederick M. Ashley and John C. Austin, and it made an appearance in many Hollywood films.
5. The Flatiron Building In Atlanta
The Flatiron Building is actually the oldest skyscraper in Atlanta that is still completely functional. It was built in 1897, and it is called the Flatiron Building because of its distinct shape. It looks almost completely flat, which gives it a unique look, and it is something worth seeing. It was recently renovated, which means that this one is definitely here to stay.
4. The Transamerica Pyramid In San Francisco
This building was built in 1972, and at first, it was not that beloved; many people in the city disliked it. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was the home of the Transamerica Corporation. Critics in the newspapers were highly critical of this building and its weird design, which has the purpose of letting light glow onto the street below the building itself. However, in time it has become beloved by everyone in the city. As it should be, since it is absolutely gorgeous!
3. The Central Library In Seattle
This building is well known for its amazing architecture. Although it might not be the most well-known building in Seattle, especially among tourists, it had to be included on our list. It is relatively new, built in 2004, but it reached iconic status extremely fast. It is made out of steel, glass, and concrete, and you can almost constantly see the sky through its windows.
2. Independence Hall In Philadelphia
The Independence Hall is known to anyone with even a mild interest in architecture. It is one of the most iconic buildings in the entirety of the United States. Independence Hall is the place where the country was founded in 1776, and it is a gorgeous example of Georgian architecture. The construction of this magnificent building lasted from 1732 to 1748, and Edmund Woolley designed it. This building was originally known as the State House, and it served as the capital of the US for ten years.
1. The James R. Thompson Center In Chicago
Another city where we could have picked multiple buildings and each and every one of them would deserve a spot. However, this postmodern building got our vote for this list. The James R. Thompson Center was built in 1985, and the first reactions were divisive. However, in time it became one of the most recognizable buildings in a city known for its amazing architecture. This building has become endangered in recent years due to deterioration, and it should be redeveloped soon.