Design Architecture

Bob Vila’s Architecture Bucket List: 10 Must-See Wonders

Take an architectural tour to see some of the incredible buildings that have inspired Bob Vila. Ranging from classical to modern, these landmark structures will probably shoot to the top of your "must visit" list too.
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Maison Carrée in Nîmes, France

Built in 16 B.C. by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, this is one of the best preserved temples from the Roman era. The impressive columned portico was restored to its original luster in the 19th century, and the façade is carved with classical ornaments of rosettes, leaves, and egg-and-dart decoration. What a beauty!

Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson built and rebuilt his primary plantation residence over more than 40 years. Inspired by neoclassical architecture and trends in Europe, he attempted to create a new—distinctly American—architectural style. The home is recognizable for its octagonal dome; the room underneath has perplexed historians, who do not completely understand how Jefferson used the space.

La Rotunda outside Vicenza, northern Italy

This Renaissance villa, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, was designed by Andrea Palladio. The building features four grand porticos supported by ionic columns. Statues of classical deities flank the house on all sides. The building, once a residence, is now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and open to the public.

Chiswick House in London, England via Diamond Geezer

This Palladian-style villa, designed by Lord Burlington, is among the most glorious examples of 18th-century British architecture. Its gardens were the birthplace of the English landscape movement. This impressive home narrowly escaped total destruction during World War II, when a rocket damaged one of its two wings.

Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island

An $11 million birthday present for Alva Vanderbilt from her husband, William, this Gilded Age mansion was built between 1888 and 1892. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, this Beaux-Arts masterpiece served as the Vanderbilt’s summer cottage. The 50-room home influenced the transformation of Newport into the upscale resort town it is today.

Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks, New York

This Adirondack Great Camp was bought in 1920 and substantially expanded and renovated in 1923 by Marjorie Merriweather Post. The beautiful retreat was once accessible only by boat or floatplane and features lovely boathouses with tree-like support columns. Camp Topridge consists of 68 buildings, including private guest cabins and a main lodge with a movie theater.

Fallingwater in southwestern Pennsylvania

Would you like a house that sits over a waterfall? Fallingwater, designed in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family, does just that. This landmark residence posed some serious architectural challenges, but the result is stunning. The house exemplifies Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture, which promotes harmony between humanity and nature.

Related: 10 Water Features to Make Any Backyard Landscape Complete

Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois

This steel-and-glass one-room retreat was designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945 and 1951. The modernist home features floor-to-ceiling windows designed to bring in views of the once rural setting. For maximum privacy, a closet and bathroom are set in the center of this see-through structure.

Related: Tiny Houses We Love

The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut

Thomas Loof/Trunk Archive

You know what they say about people in glass houses. This exceptionally famous one was built by Philip Johnson in 1949 to serve as his personal residence. The transparent home, derived from the Farnsworth House, is safely hidden from view of the street. Also on the estate is the house’s opaque counterpoint, The Brick House, made entirely from—you guessed it—brick.

The Alfred de Schulthess House in Havana, Cuba

Much of the famed modernist architect Richard Neutra’s work rests in California, but this 1956 masterpiece is situated in one of Bob’s favorite areas of Havana. Neutra took his clients’ needs very seriously and created practical but beautiful spaces that fit their lives. This lovely modern home is now the residence of the Swiss ambassador.

Related: California Design—Living in a Modern Way

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Mark Herboth Photography