Modern Interpretations of Ancient Structures

No matter their history or purpose, architectural marvels all carry an impressive tale. From ancient structures rooted in tradition to cutting-edge masterpieces that push design to new frontiers, each architectural wonder holds an intriguing tale to tell.

Each structure represents the cultural identity and artistic aspirations of the civilization from which it stems, showing an inextricable link between culture and architecture. Learn about innovations in design that transformed these incredible buildings including:

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha

The Emerald Buddha, an image of a meditating Buddha crafted from one piece of green jade, is the national icon of Thailand. Displaying one in any palace signifies legitimacy for those in power as its presence brings prosperity to any region where it sits.

Many mythological tales exist to explain how the small statuette of the Buddha came to Thailand, including one found in the chronicles of the Emerald Buddha which suggests Indra and Visnu transporting it from Mt. Meru to Indrapatha Nagara (Angkor Wat).

Notton notes that much of the chronicle is fictional and should therefore be taken with caution, while events up until and including the 15th century CE remain historically accurate. Furthermore, an interesting fact is that the Emerald Buddha is constructed out of jasper, an ornamental gem material found throughout India and Africa.

The Treasury at Petra

The Treasury (Arabic: Al Khazneh) is usually the first monument visitors encounter while wandering Petra’s siq and often inspires an instant love affair due to its Hellenistic facade carved directly into sandstone.

Nabataeans were very familiar with Mediterranean metropolises’ architecture and art, using them for inspiration rather than imitation; this resulted in Petra being marked by an unusual mix of styles evident across its tombs and structures.

The Treasury takes its name from the legend that an Egyptian pharaoh hid treasure behind a rock-cut urn buried behind it. Bedouin tribes attempted to gain access to this wealth allegedly protected by evil spirits by shooting rifles at it; now bearing holes from those attempts. Additionally, its facade features sculptures depicting Amazons and victorious warriors while featuring Greek twin gods Castor and Pollux on top.

The Pyramid of Kukulcan

The Pyramid of Kukulcan stands as one of the most iconic structures in pre-Hispanic Chichen Itza, popularly referred to as ‘El Castillo.’ Beloved by millions worldwide and one of the modern wonders, its presence is undeniable.

Built between the 9th and 12th centuries during the Mayan civilization’s Postclassic Period, it serves as a monument to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god of the Itza people. Carefully planned with four staircases of 91 steps on each side plus one for a temple at its summit – totaling 365 steps – representing solar year days.

El Castillo truly stands out due to its alignment with the sun during both spring and fall equinoxes, when visitors can witness its stunning alignment with a beautiful setting sun at both sunsets. Visitors may witness a remarkable illusion resembling that of a snake-shaped shadow descending the northern staircase which features stone statues of Kukulcan.

The Atomium

The Atomium was originally designed by engineer Andre Waterkeyn and architects Andre and Jean Polak as the main pavilion for Expo 58 in Brussels. Resembling an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, its architectural design stands as a monument to the faith people had in scientific progress at that time – particularly nuclear science.

It was supposed to be removed within six months, yet has become one of the most recognized landmarks in Brussels and an iconic symbol for Belgium.

Though originally an expensive project, its renovation in 2006 unlocked several revenue opportunities such as fees to enter and food service. Six out of nine spheres are open to the public with breathtaking views that offer unique vantage points; these spheres also house temporary and permanent exhibitions as well as restaurant service and events – it truly stands alone as one structure combining art, culture and technology in such an intriguing fashion.