Traditional tourist attractions, it seems, such as museums housed in old Victorian buildings, or theme parks offering the same joy rides, are unable to quench the thirst of the modern traveller who’s looking for something “different”. As a result, travel destinations are becoming more and more innovative in their offerings. But with this, even more daring is becoming the experimentation with different forms of architecture.
Consider the Capital Gate at Abu Dhabi, for instance. Designed by the architectural firm RMJM, the building set records by becoming the world’s furthest leaning man-made tower, with a western tilt of about 18 degrees. The tilt is so glaring and the aesthetics so brilliant that even a brief look instantly satiates the visual senses – exactly what the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company aimed to achieve. And if you’re dying to experience the inner beauty, book a room with the Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, slated to open in 2011.
Another such architectural marvel is the ultra-modern Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain. Designed by German architect Jurgen Myer H, the building features endless undulating honeycomb-like wooden parasols, making it the largest wooden structure in the world. The building houses many farmers’ markets, an archaeological museum, and numerous eateries and bars – a typical spot to hang out any time of the day. Here again, it’s the aesthetics of the architecture that gives it all the marks.
But perhaps the most unusual of all is the Cancun underwater museum in Mexico. Although not really an ‘architectural’ attraction, this beautiful series of life-sized sculptures by Jason DeCaires Taylor – placed underwater – will catch your breath while you’re out snorkelling in the clear waters of Cancun and Isla de Mujeres. It is the world’s largest and, undoubtedly, the most unusually beautiful underwater museum. The sculptures are made of a special pH neutral concrete and are based on members of the local community.
Such ideas and projects are coming up all across the world. And architects, by combining the three elements of art, architecture, and adventure, are trying their best to defy the norms in order to come up with something as radical as that which can satisfy the modern traveller. Soon enough, there will perhaps come a time when such structures will become the norm.