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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:27 PM
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America's Favorite Buildings - AIA Polling of the Public

America's Favorite Buildings - AIA Polling of the Public

See poll methodology and Wall Street Journal Article at bottom of page.

1 Empire State Building NY - New York Shreve, Lamb & Harmon 1931 Skyscraper
2 The White House DC - Washington Hoban, James et al. 1792 Govt.
3 Washington National Cathedral DC - Washington George F. Bodley and Henry Vaughan 1990 Religious
4 Thomas Jefferson Memorial DC - Washington Pope, John Russell 1943 Memorial/Monument
5 Golden Gate Bridge CA - San Francisco Joseph B. Strauss (Engineer) Irving F. Morrow and Gertrude C. Morrow (Architects) 1937 Bridge
6 US Capitol DC - Washington William Thorton, Benjamin Henry Labtrobe, Charles Bulfinch, Thomas U. Walter, Montgomery C. Meigs 1865 Govt.
7 Lincoln Memorial DC - Washington Bacon, Henry 1922 Memorial/Monument
8 Biltmore Estates/Vanderbilt Residence NC - Ashville Hunt, Richard Morris 1895 Residence
9 Chrysler Building NY - New York Van Alen, William 1930 Skyscraper
10 Vietnam Veterans Memorial DC - Washington Maya Lin in association with Cooper-Lecky Partnership 1982 Memorial/Monument
11 St. Patrick's Cathedral NY - New York Renwick, James 1878 Religious
12 Washington Monument DC - Washington Mills, Robert 1884 Memorial/Monument
13 Grand Central Station NY - New York Reed and Stern and Warren and Wetmore 1913 Transit
14 Gateway Arch MO - St. Louis Saarinen, Eero 1965 Memorial/Monument
15 Supreme Court of the United States DC - Washington Gilbert, Cass 1935 Govt.
16 St. Regis NY - New York Trowbridge & Livingston 1904 Hotel
17 Metropolitan Museum of Art NY - New York Vaux, Calvert et al. 1880 Museum
18 Hotel Del Coronado CA - San Diego Reid, James 1888 Hotel
19 World Trade Center NY - New York Yamasaki, Minoru 1973 Skyscraper
20 Brooklyn Bridge NY - New York Roebling, John Augustus 1883 Bridge
21 Philadelphia City Hall PA - Philadelphia McArthur, Jr., John 1881 Govt.
22 Bellagio Hotel and Casino NV - Las Vegas Jerde Partnership with Deruyter Butler and Atlandia Design 1998 Hotel
23 Cathedral of St. John the Divine NY - New York Heins & La Farge and Ralph Adams Cram Religious (unfinished)
24 Philadelphia Museum of Art PA - Philadelphia Trumbauer, Horace 1928 Museum
25 Trinity Church MA - Boston Richardson, Henry Hobson 1877 Religious
26 Ahwanee Hotel CA - Yosemite Valley Underwood, Gilbert Stanley 1928 Hotel
27 Monticello VA - Charlottesville Jefferson, Thomas 1808 Residence
28 Library of Congress DC - Washington John L. Smithmeyer and Paul J. Pelz 1897 Govt./Library
29 Falling Water/Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. Residence PA -Bear Run Wright, Frank Lloyd 1935 Residence
30 Taliesin East WI - Spring Green Wright, Frank Lloyd 1911 Residence
31 Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL IL -Chicago Davis, Zachary Taylor 1914 Sports
32 Wanamaker's Department Store PA - Philadelphia Burnham, Daniel 1909 Retail
33 Rose Center for Earth and Space - American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Natural History NY - New York Polshek Partnership 2000 Museum
34 National Gallery of Art (West Wing) DC - Washington Pope, John Russell 1941 Museum
35 Allegheny Country Courthouse PA - Pittsburgh Richardson, Henry Hobson 1886 Govt.
36 Old Faithful Inn WY - Yellowstone National Park Reamer, Robert 1927 Hotel
37 Union Station DC - Washington Burnham, Daniel 1903 Transit
38 Tribune Tower IL - Chicago Howells & Hood 1925 Skyscraper
39 Delano Hotel FL - Miami Beach Swartburg, Robert 1947 Hotel
40 Union Station MO -St. Louis Link, Theodore C. 1894 Transit
41 Hearst Residence CA - San Simeon Morgan, Julia 1947 Residence
42 Sears Tower IL - Chicago Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Bruce Graham) 1974 Skyscraper
43 Crane Library MA - Qunicy Richardson, Henry Hobson 1882 Library
44 Cincinnati Union Terminal OH - Cincinnati Alfred Fellheimer and Stewart Wagner, consulting architect Paul Philippe Cret 1933 Transit
45 Woolworth Building NY - New York Gilbert, Cass 1913 Skyscraper
46 Waldorf Astoria NY - New York Schultze & Weaver 1931 Hotel
47 New York Public Library NY - New York Carrere & Hastings 1911 Library
48 Carnegie Hall NY - New York Tuthill, William B. 1891 Auditorium
49 San Francisco City Hall CA - San Francisco Brown, Jr., Arthur 1915 Govt.
50 Virginia State Capitol VA - Richmond Jefferson, Thomas 1788 Govt.
51 Cadet Chapel - Air Force Academy CO - Colorado Springs Skidmore Owings & Merill (Walter Netsch) 1962 Govt./Religious
52 Field Museum of Natural History IL -Chicago Atwood, Charles B. 1893 Museum
53 Apple - 5th Avenue NY - New York Bohlin Cywinski Jackson 2006 Retail
54 Furness Library - University of Pennsylvania PA - Philadelphia Furness, Frank 1888 Library
55 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel HI - Kohala Coast (the Big Island) Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 1867 Hotel
56 Rockefeller Center NY - New York Hood, Raymond, et. al. 1940 Skyscraper
57 Denver International Airport CO - Denver Fentress Bradburn Architects 1995 Transit
58 Ames Library MA - North Easton Richardson, Henry Hobson 1879 Library
59 Milwaukee Art Museum WI - Milwaukee Calatrava, Santiago 2001 Museum
60 Thorncrown Chapel AR - Eureka Springs Jones, E. Fay 1980 Religious
61 TransAmerica Building CA - San Francisco Pereira, William 1972 Skyscraper
62 333 Wacker Drive IL - Chicago Kohn Pedersen Fox 1983 Skyscraper
63 Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum DC - Washington Hellmuth, Obata + Kasabaum (Gyo Obata) 1976 Museum
64 Faneuil Hall Marketplace MA - Boston Thompson, Benjamin (Renovation) 1978 Retail
65 Crystal Cathedral CA -Garden Grove Johnson, Philip 1980 Religious
66 Gamble House CA - Pasadena Greene and Greene 1908 Residence
67 Nebraska State Capital NE - Lincoln Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue 1932 Govt.
68 New York Times Building NY - New York Piano, Renzo 2007 Skyscraper
69 Salt Lake City Public Library UT - Salt Lake City Moshe Safdie and VCBO Architecture Associates 2003 Library
70 Dolphin and Swan - Walt Disney World FL - Orlando (Lake Buena Vista) Graves, Michael 1990 Hotel
71 Hearst Tower NY - New York Foster, Norman 2006 Skyscraper
72 Flatiron Building/Fuller Building NY - New York Burnham, Daniel 1903 Skyscraper
73 Lake Point Tower IL - Chicago George Schipporeit and John Heinrick 1968 Skyscraper
74 Guggenheim Museum NY - New York Wright, Frank Lloyd 1959 Museum
75 Union Station CA - Los Angeles Parkinson, John and Donald B. 1939 Transit
76 Willard Hotel DC - Washington Hardenbergh, Henry Janeway 1901 Hotel
77 Sever Hall MA - Cambridge Richardson, Henry Hobson 1880 Auditorium
78 Broadmoor Hotel CO - Colorado Springs Warren & Wetmore 1918 Hotel
79 Ronald Reagan Building DC - Washington Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (James Ingo Freed) 1998 Govt.
80 Phillips Exeter Academy Library NH - Exeter Kahn, Louis I. 1972 Library
81 The Plaza Hotel NY - New York Hardenbergh, Henry Janeway 1907 Hotel
82 Sofitel IL -Chicago Viguier, Jean-Paul 2002 Skyscraper/Hotel
83 Glessner House IL -Chicago Richardson, Henry Hobson 1887 Residence
84 Yankee Stadium NY - New York Osborn Engineering Company 1923 Sports
85 Chicago Public Library IL - Chicago Hammond, Beeby & Babka 1991 Library
86 Lincoln Center NY - New York Harrison, Wallace K. et al 1968 Auditorium
87 The Dakota Apartments NY - New York Hardenbergh, Henry Janeway 1884 Residence
88 Art Institute Of Chicago IL - Chicago Shelply, Rutan, and Coolidge 1893 Museum
89 Fairmont Hotel CA - San Francisco Reid & Reid and Julia Morgan 1906 Hotel
90 Boston Public Library MA - Boston McKim, Mead, and White 1895 Library
91 Hollywood Bowl CA - Hollywood Lloyd Wright, Allied Architects, Frank Gehry 1924 Auditorium
92 Texas State Capitol TX - Austin Myers, Elijah E. 1888 Govt.
93 Fontainebleau FL - Miami Beach Lapidus, Morris 1954 Hotel
94 University of Michigan Law Library MI - Ann Arbor York & Sawyer 1931 Library
95 Getty Museum CA - Los Angeles Meier, Richard 1997 Museum
96 High Museum GA - Atlanta Meier, Richard 1983 Museum
97 Federal Building and United States Courthouse NY - Islip Meier, Richard 2000 Govt.
98 Humana Building KY - Louisville Graves, Michael 1986 Skyscraper
99 Disney Concert Hall CA - Los Angeles Gehry, Frank 2003 Auditorium
100 Radio City Music Hall NY - New York Stone, Edward Durell and Donald Deskey 1932 Auditorium
101 Paul Brown Stadium OH - Cincinnati NBBJ 2000 Sports
102 United Airlines Terminal - O'Hare IL -Chicago Jahn, Helmut 1988 Transit
103 Hyatt Regency GA - Atlanta Portman, John 1967 Hotel
104 AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants Stadium) CA - San Francisco Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum 2000 Sports
105 Time Warner Center NY - New York Skidmore Owings & Merill (David Childs) 2003 Skyscraper
106 Washington, DC Metro DC - Washington Weese, Harry 1976 Transit
107 IDS Center/IDS Tower MN - Minneapolis Philip Johnson and John Burgee 1972 Skyscraper
108 Seattle Public Library WA - Seattle Office of Metroplitan Architecture (Rem Koolhaas) 2004 Library
109 Museum of Modern Art CA - San Francisco Botta, Mario 1995 Museum
110 Union Station IL - Chicago Graham, Anderson, Probst & White 1925 Transit
111 United Nations Headquarters NY - New York Wallace K. Harrison, Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer et al. 1953 Govt./Skyscraper
112 National Building Museum/Pension Building DC - Washington Meigs, Montgomery C. 1887 Museum
113 Fenway Park MA - Boston Osborn Engineering Company 1912 Sports
114 Dana-Thomas House IL - Springfield, IL Wright, Frank Lloyd 1904 Residence
115 TWA Terminal - JFK Airport NY - New York Saarinen, Eero 1962 Transit
116 The Athenaeum IN - New Harmony Meier, Richard 1979 Auditorium
117 Walker Art Center MN - Minneapolis Herzog & de Meuron 2005 Museum
118 American Airlines Center TX - Dallas David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services and HKS 2001 Sports
119 Biltmore Arizona AZ - Phoenix McArthur, Albert Chase 1929 Hotel
120 Los Angeles Central Library CA - Los Angeles Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue 1922 Library
121 San Francisco International Airport CA - San Francisco Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 2000 Transit
122 Camden Yards MD - Baltimore Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum 1992 Sports
123 Taliesin West AZ - Scottsdale Wright, Frank Lloyd 1937 Residence
124 Holocaust Museum DC - Washington Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (James Ingo Freed) 1993 Museum
125 Citicorp Center NY - New York Stubbins, Hugh 1978 Skyscraper
126 V. C. Morris Gift Shop / Xanadu Gallery CA - San Francisco Wright, Frank Lloyd 1948 Retail
127 Union Station MO - Kansas City Hunt, Jarvis 1914 Transit
128 Rookery Building IL - Chicago Burnham & Root, Frank Lloyd Wright (Lobby) 1888 Skyscraper
129 Weisman Art Museum - U. of Minnesota Twin Cities MN - Minneapolis Gehry, Frank 1993 Museum
130 Douglas House MI - Harbor Springs Meier, Richard 1973 Residence
131 Barnsdall House/ Hollyhock House CA - Los Angeles Wright, Frank Lloyd 1920 Residence
132 Pennzoil Place TX - Houston Philip Johnson and John Burgee 1975 Skyscraper
133 Royalton Hotel NY - New York Starck, Philippe (Renovation) 1988 Hotel
134 Astrodome TX - Houston Hermon Lloyd & W.B. Morgan and Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson 1965 Sports
135 Safeco Field WA - Seattle NBBJ 1999 Sports
136 Corning Museum of Glass NY - Corning Harrison & Abramowitz, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson, and Gunnar Birkerts 1951 Museum
137 30th Street Station PA - Philadelphia Graham, Anderson, Probst and White 1934 Transit
138 Robie House IL - Chicago Wright, Frank Lloyd 1909 Residence
139 Williams Tower (Transco Tower) TX - Houston Philip Johnson and John Burgee 1983 Skyscraper
140 Stahl House/Case Study House #22 CA - Los Angeles Koenig, Pierre 1960 Residence
141 Apple (SoHo) NY - New York Ronnette Riley Architect 2002 Retail
142 John Hancock Hotel and Conference Center MA - Boston I.M. Pei & Partners 1976 Skyscraper
143 Pennsylvania Station/Penn Station NY - New York McKim, Mead and White 1910 Transit
144 Hyatt Regency CA - San Francisco Portman, John 1973 Hotel
145 Carson Pirie Scott IL - Chicago Sullivan, Louis 1899 Skyscraper
146 Museum of Modern Art NY - New York Philip Johnson, Cesar Pelli (1984), Yoshio Taniguchi (2004) 1964 Museum
147 Auditorium Building IL - Chicago Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan 1889 Skyscraper
148 Brown Palace CO - Denver Edbrooke, Frank E. 1892 Hotel
149 Ingalls Ice Arena - Yale University CT - New Haven Saarinen, Eero 1958 Sports
150 Battle Hall - University of Texas TX - Austin Gilbert, Cass 1911 Library

AIA List (pdf)
Wall Street Journal List


On behalf of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Harris Interactive conducted research to identify the America’s favorite works of architecture. The research included interviews among AIA members followed by a survey among the general public.

Member interviews were conducted online among a random sample of AIA members. The objective of these interviews was for architects to nominate structures they considered most exemplary and which they considered their favorites within 15 pre-determined categories. Member interviews were conducted between October 18 - November 22, 2006. The final results included nominations from 2,448 AIA members (some of whom did not complete the full interview). Members were given the option to nominate up to 20 structures in 15 pre-determined categories of architecture, including an “other” category designed to capture any structures that architects did not feel belonged to any of the 14 specific categories .

From the member nominations a list of the top 247 buildings and structures was developed for inclusion in the survey of the general public. These 247 represent all works receiving 6 or more individual mentions from the AIA members. The survey among the general public included interviews with 1,804 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older and took place between December 27, 2006 and January 3, 2007. Respondents evaluated up to 78 structures, selected in random order from the larger list of 247. Respondents were shown an image of each nomination they evaluated. As with the members, adults had the option to write in other works they liked that were not among the subset they evaluated.

The list of the America’s Favorite Architecture was calculated using the mean score from the likeability scale used to evaluate each project during the general public survey. In the case of ties in the mean score, structures were ranked by the number of times they were mentioned as a respondent’s personal favorite, and then by the number on nominations the structure received in phase one.

During the compilation of the overall 247 works, the Apple computer store on 5th Avenue in New York City, N.Y., was inadvertently left off the list of structures to be evaluated by the general public. The Apple 5th Avenue store was subsequently evaluated by a separate survey of the general public using the same question and similar overall structure to the original survey. Based on the results of the 2,214 U.S. adults 18 and older who were interviewed for this survey, the Apple 5th Avenue store ranks 53rd on the overall list. These interviews were conducted between January 16-18, 2007.

For both surveys of the general public figures for gender, age, race/ethnicity, income, education and region were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was adjusted for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 1804 U.S. adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.31 percentage points. With a pure probability sample of 2214 U.S. adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.08 percentage points. However, these do not take other sources of error into account. These online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.


In the Eye of the Beholder
Wall Street Journal
Alex Frangos - Feb. 7, 2007
It's a question that has divided architects for centuries: What makes a great building? A survey of Americans' favorite 150 buildings and structures reveals the tension between architecture as personal expression and public art.

Link to Article
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:30 PM
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Empire State Building: Favorite US Landmark

Empire State Building tops public architecture poll

NEW YORK, Feb 7 (Reuters Life!) - King Kong climbed it, thousands have proposed at the top of it, and its lights change color to match special events.

On Wednesday, New York's Empire State Building, a 102-storey Art Deco skyscraper in the heart of New York City, added another award to a long list of accolades, topping a public poll of favorite architecture in the United States.

The top 150 works across the United States were chosen from a preselected list of 248 structures in a poll conducted by market researcher Harris Interactive and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Although Washington's public buildings and memorials dominated the top 10, New York city led the list for the number of structures in the top 150.

"The choice of the Empire State Building shows that when you ask people to select their favorites, they chose buildings and designs that symbolized innovation and the spirit of their community -- but also, more importantly -- they chose structures that hold a place in their hearts and minds," AIA President R.K. Stewart said in a statement.

The Empire State Building, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States, was completed in 1931 and stands 1,454 feet tall -- the second-tallest building in the United States after Chicago's Sears Tower.

Nearly one half of the buildings, bridges, monuments, and memorials included in the poll of 1,804 people were in three cities -- New York, Washington, and Chicago.

In second place was the White House.

New York's World Trade Center Towers, destroyed when hijacked airliners slammed into them on September 11, 2001, lived on in the poll, ranked 19th.

The pollsters noted that the new Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York, a glass, box-like structure, was inadvertently omitted from the public survey and evaluated separately, which would have ranked it 53rd on the overall list.

The poll was conducted in conjunction with the AIA's commemoration of its 150th anniversary in 2007.

Following is the list of the top 10 structures with their architects and designers:

1. Empire State Building - Shreve, Lamb & Harmon

2. The White House - James Hoban

3. Washington National Cathedral - George Bodley and Henry Vaughan

4. Jefferson Memorial - John Russell Pope

5. Golden Gate Bridge - Irving F. Morrow and Gertrude C. Morrow

6. U.S. Capitol - William Thornton, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Charles Bulfinch, Thomas U. Walter, Montgomery C. Meigs

7. Lincoln Memorial - Henry Bacon

8. Biltmore Estate/Vanderbilt Mansion - Richard Morris Hunt

9. Chrysler Building - William Van Alen

10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Maya Lin with Cooper-Lecky Partnership
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:48 PM
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What's a post like this without a photo?

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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:51 PM
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That is cool. I am also glad that the Chrysler Building is in the top 10.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 4:53 PM
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art deco is america's favorite architectural style!
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:06 PM
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:07 PM
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In the Eye of the Beholder
Public, Designers at Odds On What's a Beautiful Building

February 7, 2007; Page B1

It's a question that has divided architects for centuries: What makes a great building?

Can it be found in the formal columns of Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia in Charlottesville, or the delicate glass walls of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building in Manhattan, or the constantly changing mechanical skin of Thom Mayne's Caltrans building in Los Angeles?

Nope, those favorites of architects and critics don't qualify, according to a poll of the general public to be released today. The Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, however, does.

A survey of Americans' favorite 150 buildings and structures placed the gild-encrusted Italianate behemoth with its choreographed fountains at a lofty No. 22 on the list, tucked between Philadelphia City Hall and New York's Saint John the Divine Cathedral.

"The Bellagio -- I can't believe it," bellows Edward Feiner, a director of the Washington, D.C., office of top corporate architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which has five buildings on the list. "The Bellagio is tasteless."

In the eyes of other beholders, though, the Bellagio is an icon, elevated to that status in a survey commissioned by the American Institute of Architects to suss out how Americans feel about their architecture. In conjunction with its 150th anniversary, the Washington trade group asked Harris Interactive to develop a survey of 2,000 ordinary Americans. They were shown photographs and asked to rate 247 buildings nominated by 2,500 architects in various categories.

Some of the results weren't shocking: the Empire State Building was No. 1, the White House No. 2. But others were surprising. The National Cathedral in Washington, well known but certainly not an icon, came in No. 3, beating out the Golden Gate Bridge (5), the U.S. Capitol (6) and William Van Allen's Chrysler Building in New York (9). Also on the list: Apple Inc.'s new glass cube of a store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue (53).

The ratings, as well as Mr. Feiner's reaction, reveal the tension between architecture as personal expression and public art, between form that pleases those who look at a building and function that nurtures those who use it.

"Taste is a big word, isn't it?" says David Rogers, design partner at Jerde Partnership of Venice Calif., Bellagio's architect. "The idea of what people like and not what architects think people like is a wonderful testimonial to the actual experience and romance and excitement of being in a place that gives people pleasure."

The results also accentuate the disconnect between what architects want to build and what regular people actually like. In the last AIA survey of architects in 1991, Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water, a house built atop a waterfall in Bear Run, Pa., topped the list. It's No. 29 on the general-public survey. Architects ranked Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia as No. 2. It's not on the new list.

The new survey also could be seen as an indictment of contemporary architecture. Other than the Bellagio, no buildings from the last decade made it to the top 30. Only two in the top 20 were built in the last 35 years and both have special meanings: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (10) and the World Trade Center (19). Americans preferred older buildings that evoke ancient architectural styles such as Gothic, Greek and Roman traditions. Of the top 50, only 12 can be described as "modern-looking," with square angles and lots of glass and steel.

Some in the architectural establishment -- whose favorite building is often said to be an ivory tower -- say the profession is taking the survey seriously. "The results are meant to get a dialogue going with the people who use the buildings," says RK Stewart, president of the American Institute of Architects. (One of his favorites, however, Rafael Moneo's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, failed to make the cut.) The association plans to post the results in blog form to get even more feedback at www.Aia150.org.

To Mr. Feiner, who is credited with injecting federal buildings with a jolt of high design when he was the U.S. government's chief architect, the list is "useful in a way" because it "reinforces again that architecture is relevant to people's lives -- even if it's for the Bellagio." (Trying to find a reason why it scored so highly on the list, Mr. Feiner says Dale Chihuly's glass flower sculptures inside the hotel are "fantastic.")

Mr. Feiner thinks the picks are less about architectural quality and more about emotions. "If you look at that first part of the list, it's mostly Washington icons. It's the attachment people have to them, not that they're necessarily great architecture." He says people picked what they perceive as important buildings: churches, government buildings, sports stadiums. "If you asked the typical citizen of Rome or Athens for their top 10 buildings, it would be the same list: the Parthenon, the Forum, the stadium. Here we have Camden Yards," he says, referring to the nostalgia-tinged home of the Baltimore Orioles (No. 122 on the list).

Some architects are more dismissive. Mark Robbins, dean of architecture at Syracuse University, says the survey "reinforces one's sense that the general public's knowledge of architecture is still limited to things that are big and have columns or have a lot of colored lights." He says the list reminds him of the Zagat guides to restaurants, which rely on customer submissions. "It's only as good as the people who send in reviews. When I lived in Columbus, Ohio, Applebee's was in Zagat's."

To be sure, the poll isn't a true reflection of how people interact and appreciate a building. Respondents were shown static photographs of each building online and were asked to rate them on a scale of one to five. "Buildings unfold in time and space and can't really be understood from a flat pictorial way," says Mr. Robbins.

And architects complain that some keystone buildings in U.S. history are missing from the list. Richard Meier -- whose spare, white designs appear five times on the list with buildings such as the Getty Center in Los Angeles (No. 95), more than any other living architect -- calls the results "fascinating." But, he adds, "many of these things on the list are places people go and enjoy themselves, but I wouldn't consider them works of architecture." He finds it "very curious" that such Modernist architectural standards as Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe's Seagram Building in New York and Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill., aren't on the top 150, nor is Philip Johnson's Glass House, in New Canaan, Conn.

Other notable no-shows: Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wis., Louis Kahn's Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. -- and the recent winner of the Pritzker Prize, a top architectural honor: Mr. Mayne's building for the regional office of California's transportation department in Los Angeles.

Todd Schliemann, designer with James Polshek of the massive glass box Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (at No. 33, the top modern-looking building of recent vintage, completed in 1998), isn't surprised that the list is dominated by older, traditional-looking buildings. "The older the building, it's a safer bet, like an old sofa," he says.

Michael Lykoudis, dean of the classically oriented architecture school at University of Notre Dame, says "most buildings since World War II have been preoccupied with a narrow set of criteria, for a corporate client or for the architect. That type of architecture can't have the kind of mystery that a complex cultural exercise like Union Station in D.C. has.... What architects see in pristine detail gets lost on people if they can't connect to it on the philosophical and practical level."

Mr. Schliemann says he is pleased the Rose Center is in the same company as those older buildings, but adds, "The recognition that I would like is to go up to 42nd Street and see a snow globe made of the Rose Center. That would mean it was in an icon that has some permanence, as ironic as that sounds."

Corrections & Amplifications

The U.S. Capitol is No. 6 on the AIA's list of most popular architecture and the Lincoln Memorial is No. 7. Camden Yards is No. 122. An earlier version of this article and a chart published with it had incorrectly switched the ranks of the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, and the article had incorrectly said Camden Yards was ranked No. 120. The above article and chart have been corrected.


The American Institute of Architects survey reflects America's enduring love for Frank Lloyd Wright, whose buildings appear eight times on the list, more than any other. Richard Meier leads all living architects with five buildings.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright – 8
  • Henry Hobson Richardson – 6
  • Philip Johnson – 5
  • Richard Meier – 5
  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Bruce Graham) – 5
  • Cass Gilbert – 3
  • Daniel Burnham – 3
  • Eero Saarinen – 3
  • Henry Janeway Hardenbergh – 3
  • Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue – 2
  • Frank Gehry – 2
  • John Portman – 2
  • John Russell Pope – 2
  • McKim, Mead, and White – 2
  • Michael Graves – 2
  • NBBJ – 2
  • Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (James Ingo Freed) – 2
  • Thomas Jefferson – 2
  • Wallace K. Harrison – 2

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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:10 PM
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Check out the whole list of the top 150 buildings on this link...

Americans' Favorite Buildings (THE TOP 150)
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:16 PM
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Arguably, the WTC was more famous than the ESB, even before 9/11.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:17 PM
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Like a skillion other folks, I work between Chrysler and ESB!
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 5:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Evergrey View Post
art deco is america's favorite architectural style!
No complaints here
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:08 PM
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why is the golden gate on there it's not a building, its a bridge
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:18 PM
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Go Paul Brown Stadium too!!!
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Lecom View Post
Arguably, the WTC was more famous than the ESB, even before 9/11.
i disagree. the trade center was more prominent in the manhattan skyline but the empire state building was (and still is) the most famous skyscraper in the world.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 6:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MayDay View Post
What's a post like this without a photo?
I'm not sure it's a "building" but it is beautiful:

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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 8:50 PM
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Sentence fragments!
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I hereby humbly submit for your consideration, No. 8 on the list:

Gah! Why do they call it Biltmore Estates? There's only one of them! Singular! Sorry, but that always drives me up a wall, and everybody needs at least one irrelevant pet peeve that they can take out and fondle from time to time.
"He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done." -- Leonardo da Vinci
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 8:58 PM
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the bellagio at No. 22 kills the whole list for me.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 9:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lecom View Post
Arguably, the WTC was more famous than the ESB, even before 9/11.
Before 9/11 the twin towers would have been near the top of the list of the most reviled buildings.
Forget it Jake ................it's Market East
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 9:56 PM
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Seems like a list of the most well-known and 'recognizable' structures, to me.
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Old Posted Feb 7, 2007, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by john_mclark View Post
why is the golden gate on there it's not a building, its a bridge

It is a building. You need to build a bridge, it just doesn't appear out of nowhere.

Anyways, they key to making good architecture is only one thing: craftmanship. Something that has been lacking in modernist architecture during the 20th century but has been improving in the new millenium.
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