We find flowers so beautiful that we make them a part of nearly every celebration, using them as expressions of joyful emotion. Look deeper into these wonders of nature, and you’ll find complex structures that have inspired many an architect and designer. Here are 12 gorgeous works of architecture and large-scale sculpture that have taken a petal or two from the handbook of flower design.
Lotus Temple, India
India’s Lotus Temple is a beautiful example of modern flower-inspired architecture, completed in 1986. A Bahai house of worship, it has been called the ‘Taj Mahal of the 20th century.”
Future Flower Art Installation by Tonkin Liu
This gorgeous metal installation by London architects Tonkin Liu is a wind-powered sculpture created as part of a regeneration project for the waterfront at Widnes. The perforated petals move, and at night, the whole thing lights up with LEDs powered by small wind turbines. The intensity of the lights changes according to the wind speed. “As a universal symbol the flower embodies the optimism for the future of Widnes, while its performance embraces the future of renewable energy.”
Fresh Flower by Tonkin Liu
The same architecture firm completed a gorgeous bloom-inspired temporary pavilion for the London Festival of Architecture. ‘Fresh Flower’ is a shade structure with 11 bright yellow petals that arch from the central stem down to the ground. LED lights within the stalk illuminate the pavilion.
Futuristic Flower Towers
Incredible glass and steel structures lift reflective ponds, tree groves, vast green lawns and other relaxing outdoor spaces high above the chaos of the city streets. Envisioned for large cities like London and New York, City in the Sky maintains gardens full of fresh air even as our biggest urban centers get increasingly polluted. The towers are topped by structures inspired by the lotus flower, the symbol of purity and cleanliness.
Lotus Flower ArtScience Museum, Singapore
The dynamic, almost geometric shape of the lotus flower also inspired the stunning ArtScience museum in Singapore, also known as ‘The Welcoming Hand of Singapore.’ Each of the curved petals or ‘fingertips’ arches up to the sky, ending in a large skylight. The dish-like center of the roof gathers rainwater and channels it to a reflecting pond.
The shape of a flower is subtly integrated into the Wison Group headquarters in Shanghai in a way that you wouldn’t notice from the ground. AS architecture studio gave the complex a blooming flower shape that can be seen from above, with red volumes extending from a central white volume like petals.
Orquideorama Modular Flower Structures
Plan B Architects created this beautiful botanical garden in Medellin, Colombia with an organically expanding meshwork of modular wooden ‘flower-tree’ structures. The structures provide shade and visual interest in the center of the gardens.
Solar Flower Installation
A massive solar-powered flower illuminates the night as it travels to various events and festivals, like the Chelsea Flower Show. ‘London Urban Oasis‘ by architect Laurie Chetwood highlights solar technology, blooming during the day to reveal the solar panels on its petals and using that energy to power 350 strands of light fibers at night.
Wuhan Energy Flower
The Wuhan Energy Flower is up for the title of the most sustainable building ever built, a zero-energy building that’s essentially a research center for innovative energy and sustainability practices. Shaped like a flower, the structure collects rainwater and solar energy, and has wind turbines built into the vertical axis of its ‘pistil.’
Bloom-Shaped Hangzhou Sports Park
Hangzhou Sports Park is set to be the largest facility of its kind in China with an Olympic-sized stadium and extensive outdoor public spaces. The outer shell of the stadium was designed to mimic flower petals.
This house is barely perceptible from ground level thanks to its subterranean construction in a unique flower petal arrangement. The flower inspiration for the home can only be seen when viewed from above.
The hymenocallis flower inspired the shape of the jaw-dropping Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest structure in the world. It’s an abstracted interpretation of this native desert flower, with three elements arranged around a central core.