When travelling to a big city, it’s not only about what we do once there, but also what we see. A city’s landscape can be a draw, it adds to the look and feel of a place, and can leave us with positive or negative feelings. The skyline can give clues to a city’s modernity or history; its buildings tell a story and observing their uniqueness is part of our experience when visiting. How else do we explain the popularity and common occurrence of people posing for pictures in front of well-known monuments or buildings, then posting them on social media?

Architecture as an attraction is nothing new, but the unwritten unofficial online competition to outdo your contemporaries is, and this is where we can help. As we walk, watch, stare and marvel at the the buildings that surround us on our trip to a foreign city, occasionally we run across an oddly shaped, triangular building known as a flatiron. These buildings, often skyscrapers, came to be known as flatirons because their trapezoid shape closely resembled the flat triangular shape of clothing irons used in the 19th and 20th century. Here is a list of 20 flatiron buildings guaranteed to garner you likes on Instagram. They might vary in shape and size, but each one has a wedge-like shape that makes it stand out and get our attention.

20 Diagonal Zero Zero - Barcelona, Spain

Located between Barcelona’s main thoroughfare Diagonal Avenue and La Mina, a neighbourhood created in the mid-sixties for those who immigrated from different regions is Diagonal Zero Zero. Designed by Estudi Massip-Bosch Arquitectes, this 27-floor office building for Telefónica España was constructed between 2008 and 2011, with some high-tech features. The exterior is covered in lattice or bands (meant to represent the salted spray from the nearby sea) which help control the amount of sunlight and solar radiation the building is exposed to. Not only is it visually appealing, but its thin, razor-sharp, trapezoid shape and futuristic look also make it a definite stand-out.

19 The Gibson Block - Alberta, Canada

At the east edge of Edmonton’s downtown core in the Boyle street neighbourhood, is The Gibson Block building (also known as the Schubert and Wenzel Block or the Flatiron building), a four-storey brick structure completed in 1913. It was developed by William Gibson (thus the name) in a Chicago-style architecture which includes a flat roof and a continuous glass front at street level. The Gibson Block Building was originally made for commercial use, with retail stores on the first floor and offices on the others, but through the years it’s had other uses, including Turkish baths on the basement level during the seventies. It fell into disrepair for a while, was restored in 1994, suffered a fire in 2016, but has since been repaired and reopened as a women’s shelter with commercial space on the first floor. You won’t find any others like it in Edmonton, so grab a pic while you’re there.

18 The Flatiron Building - Atlanta, Georgia, USA

At the intersection of Peachtree and Broad Street in Fulton County, this flatiron building, formally named the Georgia Savings Bank Building in the 1920s, is another example of the “Chicago style” of architectural design. It’s Atlanta’s oldest skyscraper, and the exterior has remained unchanged since its construction in 1897, however perhaps its true claim to fame is that it predates another more famous Flatiron building (also on this list) by five years. It’s always been home to an array of businesses at the street level, including groceries, florists, and tailors, but since 2015, it’s morphed into ‘Flatiron City’ a “modern space for creators, entrepreneurs and innovation”. On the 11 floors, you likely find startups, event spaces, restaurants, and an outdoor patio. Located just across from Woodruff Park in the center of plenty of attractions, its prime location for Instagram photos.

17 The Black Friar - London, England

There might be pubs on practically every street corner across England, but very few resemble The Black Friar, a pub with a long and intriguing history in Blackfriars, central London. It was built in 1875 at the junction of Queen Victoria Street and New Bridge Street where a Dominican Friary previously stood between 1279 and 1539 after which it became the parliament chamber of the monastery. All of the original buildings surrounding it have long been demolished and the pub itself was to meet a similar fate in the sixties. Luckily, public outcry and a campaign saved it from demolition, giving us the chance to snap pictures of the original ornate art nouveau sculptures.

16 The Phelan Building Califonia, USA

The 11 story Market street building in existence now is actually the second Phelan Building. The original, constructed in 1881 by James Phelan, only had 6 floors. An earthquake and fire in 1906 destroyed most of that one, and whatever was left, dynamited. Phelan’s son (who was also mayor of San Francisco) had the building rebuilt of steel this time, bigger and better as a symbol of the city and its spirit, and this is one we see today. The tenants have changed over the years, but the Phelan building has always been mostly offices, although at one point there was a rooftop penthouse and garden which sadly, fell out of use by the early eighties.

15 Rue de Hanovre and Rue du 4 Septembre - Paris, France

Not every flatiron is an international star; some are simply local pretty buildings. Take for example the one at the intersection of Rue de Hanovre and Rue du 4 Septembre in the second arrondissement in Paris, a few feet away from the Palais Garnier Opera house. It doesn’t even have a name - yet it’s special enough that it’s garnered some attention online and fits perfectly on this list. A 7-floor building built in 1880 with 5 residences and a gourmet restaurant focused on natural produce is on the first floor, it’s a picture perfect representation of the romanticized Paris that exists in the minds of many.

14 The Reid Building - Detroit,  USA

The William Reid & Company Building (or Buckland-Van Wald Building) in Michigan is one of the last buildings to be designed by architect Gordon W. Lloyd who was a major and important designer in the Detroit area. Completed in 1890, its original owner was William Reid, who shared the space with a confectionary and fruit tablet company (whatever that is). The city of Detroit bought it in the late seventies, and these days, it’s home to a trendy barbershop on the second floor. The look, colour, and feel of this surviving example of early 19th century commercial architecture make for a cool throwback Thursday photo.

13 The Wukang Mansion - Shanghai, China

The Wukang Mansion (formally called the Normandie Apartments), found at a six-way intersection in Shanghai's French Concession district is a rarity in Shanghai. Built in 1924 and designed by architect Laszlo Hude, it was made to commemorate the Normandie, a World War I battleship. The exterior is more impressive than the interior, as inside by all accounts hasn’t been well-maintained. There are also several ghost stories associated with this place. Its history, and especially its shape, is the reasons why it attracts attention from both locals and visitors.

12 1 Wallstreet Court - New York, USA

This 15-story building in the Financial District at the intersection of Wall Street, Pearl Street, and Beaver Street used to be called The Beaver Building. There’s even a carved ornament depicting beavers, representing the name of the building over the Beaver Street entrance. Built in 1904 in a neo-renaissance style, it’s one of several nineteenth and early twentieth-century flatiron buildings in lower Manhattan. It’s been home to several types of tenants over the years, including the headquarters for a Steamship company, as well as a trading company. Today, 1 Wall Street Court is mainly condos, but producers of the movie John Wick thought it looked interesting enough to appear on the screen.

11 Het Strijkijzer - The Hague, Netherlands

Het Strijkijzer is a modern skyscraper at one of the busiest intersections in The Hague, Netherlands. With its name meaning the Dutch iron in English, and its triangular shape, it’s clear to see how the architect Paul Bontenbal’s design was inspired by the flatiron buildings of New York. As fancy as it looks, most of the 348 residences are aimed at student renters (three hundred studios for young people and 48 luxury rental apartments). There are also a few businesses and a Grand Cafe surrounded by an outdoor gallery on the top floor. If only we were all lucky enough to live in a place like that during our student days...

10 The Flatiron Building - Asheville North Carolina, USA

Downtown Asheville North Carolina has another flatiron building that’s worthy of Instagram attention. Designed by New York architect Albert C. Wirth of New York City and completed in 1927, the first 8 floors of this beaux-arts style building on Battery Park Avenue and Wallstreet are a mix of retail stores and offices, while the 9th is a penthouse. Most visitors try to capture the building from across the street from the vantage point of the flatiron sculpture. But With the original elevator from the 1920s still in use, an elegant and retro interior, and stunning views from the 8th floor Sky Bar, maybe the best pictures are taken from the inside.

9 Hotel Flatiron - Nebraska, USA

This Flatiron building has gone through an identity crisis. It was first an apartment complex and commercial space, then a hotel, then offices, then a mobster hangout, and now a hotel again. Located at the intersection of St.Mary’s Avenue and Howard Street in downtown Omaha Nebraska, Hotel Flatiron was designed by architect George Prinz and constructed between 1911 and 1912. It was originally made in a Georgian Revival style. In 2015, renovations on the space began and it now has 30 luxury apartments on floors 2-4 and a cafe on the first floor.

8 The Pullman Flatiron Building - Washington, USA

On the southeast corner of Main Street and Grand Avenue, in the city center of Pullman Washington, you’ll find this miniature flatiron building, designed by a local architect named William Swain and built in 1904. With only two floors, The Pullman Building is modest compared to many of the others on this list, but it’s a unique structure in shape and size in Pullman, which makes it stand out. The triangle-shaped lot was originally a hitching spot for horses and wagons before it became the offices of Grain Companies, Pullman Savings and Loan, and Farmers State Bank. Currently, several businesses occupy both floors.

7 47 Plaza Street West - New York, USA

The borough of Brooklyn in New York is synonymous with cool, so it’s little wonder then that at least one flatiron building would be found there. Located in the Park Slope neighbourhood is 47 Plaza Street West, a 16 story, 43 unit flatiron apartment building. It was designed by renowned architect Rosario Candela, who is also the name behind a number of popular fifth Avenue New York apartments made in the 1920’s, and are still coveted living spaces to this day. Candela designed this 47 Plaza in an Italian-renaissance style mixed with art deco. It opened in 1928 and was as photogenic then as it is now.

6 Hotel Europe - Vancouver, Canada

Another Flatiron building with an interesting and ghostly past. Hotel Europe at the intersection of Alexander and Powell Streets was a six-story hotel in the early nineteen hundreds and the first reinforced concrete structure in Vancouver. Sadly, shortly after it was completed in 1909, a larger and grander hotel opened up, resulting in Hotel Europe eventually becoming a brothel and beer parlour, then falling into disuse until it was renovated in 1983. Paranormal activity was reported at the site in the eighties and the 2000s (we’ll spare you the details), but the current tenants in the 84-units-converted-to-affordable-living-spaces don’t seem to mind.

5 The Metropolis Building - Madrid, Spain

Though it’s not really flat, The Metropolis Building in Madrid, Spain on the corner of Calle de Alcala and Gran Via has that triangular wedge shape, a major characteristic of all flatiron buildings and therefore makes it on this list. Constructed between 1907 and 1911 and designed by French architects, it has a Beaux-Arts style, which makes it photo-worthy. With a white facade and a black dome, columns, statues, pillars and ornaments, it’s almost more sculpture than building. With such a lavish exterior, it’s hard to believe that Metropolis is only a headquarters for an insurance company. But none of your Instagram followers need to know that part.

4 On the corner - Shiga, Japan

Another Flatiron building with a futuristic look is the ‘On the corner’ housing project in Youkaichi in Shiga, Japan. An unwanted triangle-shaped lot became a seven room, four-floor apartment house described as a ‘slice of cake’ by its designers, which was completed in 2011. Taking inspiration from castle description in one of fantasy writer Michael Ende’s stories, its look is definitely surreal and unique in comparison to its industrial and residential surroundings. We imagine this sharp triangle with a glass and concrete facade might not have the most living space, but certainly looks cool and deserves an Instagram shout out.

3 The Gooderham Building - Ontario, Canada

Toronto’s version of a flatiron is The Gooderham Building in the historical St. Lawrence Market District, on Wellington and Front streets. It’s a five-storey building constructed in 1891 for the offices of Gooderham and Worts Distillery, the largest distillery in Canada until that point. Its style is Romanesque and Gothic, easy to see by that prominent green tower and if it stands out it’s with reason; The family was rich and wanted everyone to know about it. It was eventually bought by another family that renovated and saved it from demolition in the 70’s and today has the most expensive office space in Toronto and a pub in the basement. When snapping your photos be sure to get the mural painted on the back.

2 The Flatiron Building - Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish design is known to be minimalist; functional with simple clean lines. Though this description is for their approach to furniture, it can easily extend to their modern architecture, some of which is on display in Stockholm's own flatiron building. Designed by Rosenbergs Arkitekter and developed by Skanska, a construction and project development company, it’s an eight-floor eco-friendly office building project completed in 2008. If you can get to a higher vantage point, the perfect picture would capture the residences on one side and the more industrial side of the Norra Bantorget area on the other, with the Flatiron Building as a new landmark between both worlds.

1 The Flatiron Building - New York, USA

The most iconic and perhaps flattest of them all, The New York flatiron building is the one which inspired copycats around the world, many of which are on this list. While some similar buildings predate it by a few years, this 22-story steel-framed skyscraper is considered by many the quintessential flatiron. Originally named The Fuller Building in homage to George A. Fuller, architect of the first skyscraper, locals began to call it the flatiron shortly after it was built in 1902. As the beaux-arts style building was being erected, its thinness made the public fear it would topple over and critics used words like ‘awkward’, ‘monstrosity’ and ‘unfit’, to describe it. But eventually it became so popular, the entire district surrounding it was named after it, and today The Flatiron Building is one of the most photographed attractions in New York City. Get your selfie stick ready!