Europe stands out for its charming medieval architecture and ancient palaces, but that doesn’t mean that striking futuristic buildings haven’t started to rise high into the dazzling skylines of its most cosmopolitan cities. London, Frankfurt, or Rotterdam – all have spectacular horizons made up of old and new architectural treasures.
One of Europe’s most forward-looking cities, London knows how to blend its Georgian past with today’s cutting-edge architecture. Its skyline began to take shape back in the 11th century when the 27-metre White Tower was added to the famous Tower of London. Later on, the stunning Old St Paul’s Cathedral became the tallest structure in the world. However, it wasn’t until 1960 that London’s horizon began to erupt with an entirely new series of office towers and high-rise giants of glass and steel.
Nowadays, the skyline of London is dominated by impressive structures like The Shard (the tallest building in EU); the iconic 30 St Mary Axe, designed by Norman Foster; the mighty London Eye (the world’s third tallest Ferris wheel); One Canada Square, or the Heron Tower.
Nevertheless, a number of new skyscrapers are currently under construction. Some of the most notable include the Leadenhall Building (also known as Cheesegrater due to its unusual shape), the Scalpel on the 52-54 Lime Street, the Pinnacle, and the controversial Walkie Talkie, whose shiny façade melted a car some time ago.
With the most impressive downtown skyline in the whole Europe, it’s no surprise Frankfurt got nicknames such as Manhattan or Bankfurt. The cosmopolitan city on the Main is not only one of the world’s most livable cities, but also one of its major finance and business centers. And this, my friends, can be best seen in the towering skyscrapers that soar along its chocolate-box Old Town, celebrating the city’s economic power.
Some of the most striking buildings and towers that dominate the futuristic skyline of Frankfurt are the iconic Europaturm, the 56-story Commerzbank Tower, and the Messeturm, which are the second, respectively third tallest structures in the European Union after the London’s Shard. Equally impressive are the 208-meters Westendstraße 1 and the Main Tower – the only skyscraper in the city with a public viewing observatory. Moreover, Frankfurt celebrates its fantastic skyline with a series of events and daring spectacles at the one-of-a-kind Skyscrapers Festival.
Staggering, architecturally diverse, and in a continuous evolution, Rotterdam’s skyline has all the makings of a vibrant, modern city. It is among the most spectacular in Europe and can be admired in its entire splendor from the Euromast, a landmark on the city’s alluring silhouette.
The Netherlands’ architecture capital is also one of the most innovative metropolises on the Old Continent, a city that has spent the last decades rebuilding itself after the major damages left here by the World War II.
These days, Rotterdam plays host to the tallest building in the country – the Maastoren, which together with the dazzling white Erasmus Bridge, the glossy twin towers of Gebouw Delftse Poort, the iconic Montevideo, the Millennium Tower, and the New Orleans residential skyscraper, forms one of the most distinguished European skylines.
Many other projects are currently under development in Rotterdam, so don’t be surprised if you won’t recognize this ever-changing world city next time you’ll visit.
What’s your favorite city skyline in Europe?