Exploring the Most Inventive Architects of the 21st Century

Mar 13, 2024

Category:  Industry Experts


best architects in the world blog title

The 21st century has seen some genuinely groundbreaking architecture come to life. Some of the best architects in the world have pushed the envelope of what is possible through design. Many renowned architects are shaping architecture today. Pioneers including Zaha Hadid, Kazuyo Sejima, and David Adjaye create serene spaces using transparency.

Contemporary architecture and high-tech modernist styles dominate many urban areas today. Deconstructivist shapes have gained prominence in cultural buildings. Sustainable green architecture and adaptive reuse are also major trends.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the top 10 architects in the world.

1. Bjarke Ingels

Bjarke Ingels photo

Source: big.dk

Bjarke Ingels is widely considered to be one of the best architects in the world. As the founder of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), he has designed some genuinely unprecedented buildings. As the world’s best architect, he merges urban planning, sustainability, and aesthetics in wholly unique ways. 

Some of his most notable projects include the VM Houses in Copenhagen and the Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen. Through these and other works, Ingels constantly pushes the boundaries of what architecture can be, placing him in the top 10 architects in the world list.

2. Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry photo

Source: Gehry Partners, LLP

It would be impossible to talk about the best architects in the world who are pushing design forward without mentioning Frank Gehry. As the creator of iconic buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry revolutionized sculptural forms in a way no one had before. There is no question that he deserves his place as one of the all-time best architects in the world.

3. Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid photo

Source: Zaha Hadid Architects

The late Zaha Hadid was a true pioneer who ushered architecture into the digital age and is considered one of the best architects in the world. Iconic buildings like the Guangzhou Opera House in China and the London Aquatic Centre broke the mold of architectural shapes. She leaves behind a profoundly inventive legacy that still inspires architects today. Without question, she was one of the top 10 architects in the world.

4. Norman Foster

Norman Foster Photo

Source: Foster+Partners

Having a career of over 50 years, Norman Foster cannot be ignored as the world’s best architect. The Gherkin in London and the German Reichstag Building became his tokens of skill and talent as he opened and operated the Foster + Partners.

He continues to use modern technology in his new projects. Foster’s way of merging innovation and simple and functional design has earned him the status of being one of the best architects in the world.

5. Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel Photo

Source: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel is renowned for designing buildings that artfully blur the lines between architecture and artwork making him one of the best architects in the world. His Iconic structures are the Arab World Institute in Paris, the Torre Agbar in Barcelona and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

However, Nouvel’s designs are never mere spectacles – they thoughtfully consider how spaces will be used. This fusion of ingenious formal exploration and practical functionality has made him one of the world’s best architects in recent history.

6. Steven Holl

Steven Holl photo

Source: Steven Holl Architects

American architect Steven Holl is celebrated for his inspiring yet highly technical designs that fuse art, light, and geometry. Holl approaches each new project with a meticulous eye for detail. This makes him a crucial part of the list of best architects in the world.

Notable works like the Simmons Hall at MIT, and the Nanjing Sifang Art Museum feature innovative use of patterns, geometry, and light. Holl, considered among the world’s best architects, proves that thoughtful, technical architecture can also be profoundly beautiful.

7. Rem Koolhaas

Rem Koolhaas Photo

Source: OMA.com

As the founder of OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), Rem Koolhaas has had an enormously influential career spanning decades pushing the boundaries of architecture. Iconic projects like the Seattle Public Library and the CCTV headquarters in Beijing created new paradigms. These projects have made him a part of the league of best architects in the world.

He remains one of the world’s best architects, as well as one of the most inventive thinkers and practitioners in the field.

8. Peter Zumthor

Peter Zumthor photo

Source: ArchDaily

Swiss architect Peter Zumthor is renowned for an intensely poetic, craft-focused approach. He has guided iconic projects like the Thermal Baths Vals and Building 6 in Renens. Zumthor. Considered among the world’s best architects, he immerses himself meticulously in each project’s cultural, material, and spiritual essence. 

While his designs always manifest sparely and naturally, they leave an incredibly rich emotional impact, earning Zumthor the highest honors in his field. Zumthor’s dedication to completing each work thoughtfully gradually made him one of the best architects in the world. 

9. David Adjaye

David Adjaye photo

Souce: Adjaye Associates

Sir David Adjaye has risen to become one of the most influential architects and among the best architects in the world. Adjaye approaches each new building as both a work of engineering and a thoughtfully considered cultural artifact. 

Iconic places like the National Museum of African American History and Culture and numerous private residences form a part of his portfolio. 

There is no question that through his inspiring yet technically excellent works, Adjaye has established himself as one of the world’s best architects actively shaping our built environment today.


SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates)

Source: ArchDaily

The acclaimed firm SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) was co-founded by pioneering architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Known for its architectural language, SANAA creates subtly poetic structures of a profoundly calming yet radical nature. 

Icons like the Rolex Learning Center and Glass Pavilion grapple are the best of their work. Through their inspiring yet understated works, Sejima and Nishizawa consistently prove themselves among the best architects in the world.

Wrapping Up..

Looking ahead, architecture is sure to continue advancing in exciting new ways if guided by thoughtful, creative minds dedicated to bettering people’s lives through design. The world’s best architects highlighted here prove that with ingenuity and dedication, our built environment’s future can be profoundly bright.

About TechnoStruct Academy

TechnoStruct Academy is the educational arm of TechnoStruct, LLC, a registered design engineering firm based in California. It offers specialized BIM training programs for architecture, MEP, and BIM Management.

Our BIM Certification Courses

BIM-Ready+: Become a BIM Management professional specialized in managing all ASMEPF projects working with open BIM and interoperability with a credible BIM Manager Certification.

BIM-Ready Complete: Become a BIM Engineer specialized in all ASMEPF (Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection) disciplines working with open BIM and interoperability.

BIM-Ready (Arch+Structure): Specialize in BIM Fundamentals, Conceptual Design, Sustainable Design, Design Development, and Construction Documentation in the BIM Environment with this BIM Architect Course.

BIM-Ready (MEP): Become an MEP BIM Engineer specializing in BIM Fundamentals, HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Fighting, Design, and Modeling in a BIM Environment.

Bexel Manager Certification Program: This program teaches you about BEXEL Manager, a software that brings together key 3D, 4D, 5D, and BIM features, making it quick and easy to embrace BIM processes and technology for speedy project implementation.