Futuristic culture and movies often try to look behind the curtains and see what our future will look like. How soon will we occupy Mars? How long will it take us to move out of our solar system? Or other questions like: when will we see flying cars or get smart enough to start taking care of our planet to avoid self-made extinction of our kind?
All of these are serious and interesting questions to ponder on and very often such 'ponderings' can really foresee the coming of different events and technologies. However, there is another side to that. Too often, when we think about the future we tend to miss the present moment, which is all we have. We just don't see how we shape future with the action we are performing today. And it's the same thing with futurism. We think about the future, often overlooking the futuristic actuality of the present day.
Earth has a lot to offer to the seekers of futuristic attractions around the world and it's not just Dubai in the UAE that leads the march to the future. United States, Canada, Asia, Europe, and Australia have a lot to offer as well.
From Nine Floating Fountains in Osaka to Spaceport America in New Mexico, you will see the places that belong to the year 2050 but can be visited today.
25 W57 Pyramid, New York, USA
You know about the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Museum of Natural History in New York, but have you heard about the W57 Pyramid? This unusual project was completed in 2016. It's a 142-meter high 709-unit tower with 35 stories designed to provide the city with a stunning futuristic construction and incredible views on Hudson River to every resident in the building's North Tower.
W57 Pyramid is located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City. Make sure to take a look at it next time you visit New York.
24 Julian Voss-Andreae Sculptures, United States
Julian Voss-Andreae was originally born in Germany but lives and creates his mind-bending masterpieces in Portland, Oregon. It is interesting that Julian's works are influenced by his scientific background. He studied mathematics, philosophy, and physics in Berlin and Vienna and completed his graduate research in quantum physics working on the project that showed the relations between intuition and quantum world.
His works captured the attention of numerous institutions both in the United States and beyond and his monuments can be seen at Rutgers University, Texas Tech University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Minnesota. You can see his otherworldly creations here.
23 Rolling Bridge, London, UK
22 Banpo Bridge, Seoul, South Korea
Things are different with The Moonlight Rainbow Fountain because you can tell right away that it's a bridge. But, just like everything else on this article, it's a very special one, because it holds a Guinness World Record for being the world's longest bridge fountain. It's 1,140 meters long, has 10,000 LED nozzles and shouts about 190 tons of water per minute.
According to the former mayor of Seoul (it's where the construction was installed in 2009), the bridge should showcase the city's eco-friendliness, because the water is pumped from the river and is continuously recycled.
21 The Mahanakhon, Bangkok, Thailand
There are not many skyscrapers in the world that deserve to be included in this list. Without a doubt, MahaNakhon in Thailand is one of them. Located in the Silom business district, it's Thailand's tallest building which has private residences, retail, hotel, and observatory.
The futuristic look of the tower wasn't chosen for its appearance only. In fact, its form takes advantage of the tropical climate and views. The architectural pixels in the middle of the tower create additional space for oversized terraces and skyboxes.
It took 5 years to complete the tower (2011-2016) and now Bangkok residents and tourist can enjoy it both from outside and look at the views of Bangkok from the observatory.
20 Eden Project, Cornwall, England
Eden Project in Cornwall, England looks like a city of the future which you can visit today. This place is notable for its spectacular landscape design and two big enclosure complexes of adjoining domes which house thousands of plant species. Every enclosure emulates a natural biome, which consists of pentagonal and hexagonal plastic cells supported by steel frames.
In the largest biome, you can enjoy the realistic simulation of a rainforest environment and in the second largest biome, a simulation of the Mediterranean environment. Magnificent outdoor landscapes offer beautiful gardens with many rare plants.
19 Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
A giant lotus made of steel, glass, and plastic? You can find one in the capital of India, New Delhi. Considering that lotus flower has always had special significance for Eastern religions, no wonder that Lotus Temple was constructed in India.
It's the Bahá'í religion House of Worship which took the Guinness World Record for the most visited religious building in the world in 2011. I have visited this place of extraordinary beauty in 2015 and I can say from my own experience, if you go to the temple on a weekday in the morning, you won't see big crowds.
18 Fountain 'Metalmorphosis', Charlotte, USA
The static photo of Metalmorphosis fountain near Whitehall Technology Park in Charlotte, USA, impresses, but wait until you see this giant head moving and shape-shifting and you will witness the real engineering magic.
Actually, it's 50% fountain, 50% sculpture which weighs 14 tons and is 7.6 meters tall. It consists of two dozen stainless steel plates which rotate in different directions and form a massive human head that pours water when they stop.
In the opinion of many experts, it's one of the most impressive fountains on Earth. I fully agree with it.
17 The Church of Hallgrimur, Reykjavik, Iceland
I'm sure that when you think of a church nothing like Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík comes to your mind. This unique religious building was designed in 1937 by Guðjón Samúelsson, who drove his inspiration from nature. Namely from shapes created when lava cools into basalt rock. It took 41 years to finish the construction and in addition to its incredible design its famous for a huge pipe organ which weighs 25 tons and has 5275 pipes.
Hallgrímskirkja is one of the most remarkable and futuristic churches not just in Iceland, but in the whole world.
16 Waterfront Culture Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
It's one of the places on the list which you can't visit right now but will be able to visit soon. The Waterfront Culture Center is about to take shape in Copenhagen and pay homage to Danish seaside culture.
It will be the most impressive swimming pool center in Denmark where visitors will be able to swim in indoor/outdoor pools with terraces leading directly to the sea. The mock-ups have futuristic looks which make The Waterfront Culture Center an excellent project to include in the list. Let's hope that its construction will go according to the plan.
15 Ordos Museum, Kangbashi, China
14 Julie Penrose Fountain, Colorado Springs, USA
This marvelous construction represents the life-giving migration of water between the earth and atmosphere. The Julie Penrose fountain rotates every 15 minutes and has 366 water jets that line the interior contours.
Designed by Bill Burgess and David Barber, this fountain is located at America The Beautiful park is the size of a four-story building and weighs 24 tons. This massive construction creates the feeling of awe in all who visit the park where it's located. Take a look at this YouTube video and try to recreate this feeling at least partially.
13 Galaxy Soho Building, Beijing, China
Another example of visionary architecture which extends the boundaries of the ordinary is the Galaxy Soho project in central Beijing. It's a retail and entertainment building which also has a lot of space for offices. According to the architects, the Galaxy Soho Building, which is the biggest shopping mall in Beijing, was:
"...inspired by the grand scale of Beijing. Its architecture is a composition of five continuous, flowing volumes that are set apart, fused or linked by stretched bridges. These volumes adapt to each other in all directions, generating a panoramic architecture without corners or abrupt transitions that break the fluidity of its formal composition".
12 Garden by The Bay, Singapore
Gardens by the Bay is a popular destination for all lovers of futuristic attractions. Located in the Central Region of Singapore and spanning 250 acres, it's a one-of-a-kind park which consists of three waterfront gardens. The Flower Dome of the Bay South Garden (largest of the three gardens) is the world's largest glass greenhouse.
This park complex was built to enhance flora and greenery and to increase the overall quality of life in the city. Since its opening in 2005, Gardens by the Bay became a national icon and a premier urban outdoor space for recreation. Park received 6.4 million visitors in 2014 and this figure is increasing every year.
11 The National Museum of Qatar, Doha
10 One Bligh Street, Sydney, Australia
This spectacular office tower in Sydney was developed with three main considerations: work environment, public space, and astonishing views. Judging from the result, architects not only achieved these three but also created one of the most futuristic skyscrapers in the world.
The elliptical form maximizes the views and creates a quality work environment and premium office space. Broad curving steps lead to sheltered winter-garden that makes this skyscraper a great building to relax and enjoy the views. We certainly need more skyscrapers like this.
9 The Biosphère, Montreal, Canada
'The Biosphere' in Montreal, Canada has a very interesting and unusual story. It has survived, severe ice storms, great fire, several closures, and re-openings, but it still stands to enrich the look of the city and remains one of its main landmarks.
In 1967 it had the longest escalator in the world. The building functioned normally until 1976 until it caught fire which destroyed it in an hour. Twenty years after it The Biosphere was torn by the ice storm. The history of the building took several other dramatic turns until in 2007, it became an 'environment museum.' Because of its peculiar look, The Biosphere was filmed in Battlestar Galactica series and Quintet movie.
8 Zayed National Museum, Abu Dabi, UAE
Another building on the list which wasn't constructed yet is the Zayed National Museum. It will become the UAE's first national museum featuring the achievements and life of Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan, the founding President of the United Arab Emirates.
The museum will be situated in the futuristic Saadiyat Island Cultural District among the other iconic institutions such as Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The look of the Zayed National Museum pushes Dubai's signature architecture style even further.
There's no reason why you shouldn't visit it when it's finished.
7 Floating Domes of Tokyo University Library, Japan
I doubt that you can find a cooler place to study than the library of Tokyo's University in Japan. Just take a look at this high-tech workplace. You will feel like floating in these big dome-like glass bubbles suitable for several people studying. There are also bigger meeting rooms designed to make group studies more effective and open spaces for those who like it when nothing limits the space around them.
Mix it with the level of Japan's technological development and you'll get one of the coolest libraries on Earth. Makes me wish to study again.
6 The Cathedral of Brasilia, Brazil
The second church in the list, which doesn't look like a church at all is the Cathedral of Brasilia in Brazil. It's a Roman Catholic church which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Just like the Nine Floating Fountains which were built in 1970, Brasilia was also erected in 1970 but looks like a religious institution from the future.
It's a hyperboloid structure which consists of 16 concrete columns, that weight 90 tons each. Remarkably, most of the cathedral is located below the ground, with only 70-meter roof and the bell tower, which you see on the photo above, visible above the ground.
5 Infosys Bangalore Campus, Bengaluru, India
People who know little about India, probably associate it with Gandhi, spirituality, and slums. While these associations are true, India is much richer and bigger than that. In fact, it has the city of Bengaluru which is considered India's Silicon Valley and one of the most modernistic cities in the world.
The futuristic complex in Bengaluru that we're going to take a look at is Infosys Bangalore Campus. It's a spectacular glistening glass pyramid building is difficult to miss even while driving the nearby road. The whole complex created for 30,000 employees looks way ahead of its time. Take a look yourself. See? I'm not fooling you, it's real.
4 Guangzhou Circle, Guangzhou, China
This is the highest circular skyscraper in the world (138 meters tall). It's called The Guangzhou Circle and is located on the banks of Pearl River. Designed by Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale, the reflection of this building in the river creates a figure 8, which is considered favorable by Chinese numerologists.
Another remarkable thing about this building is that its home of Guangdong Plastic Exchange, the largest raw plastic metal trading center in the world with an annual turnover of 25 billion euros.
3 Absolute World Towers, Toronto, Canada
The last futuristic skyscrapers on the list are the Absolute World Towers in a suburb of Toronto, Canada. Like the amorphic Ordos Museum in China, these Canadian towers also look they're alive and moving. And it's no coincidence because both Absolute World Trade Towers and Ordos museum were designed by the Beijing-based architectural firm MAD. I must admit, their name suits them greatly.
Because these towers are so curvy, they were even nicknamed Marilyn Monroe Towers. No wonder these buildings have won accolades from Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, naming them the best tall buildings in the Americas. Well deserved.
2 Spaceport America, New Mexico, USA
Travels to outer space haven't become a usual thing for us, therefore it may be difficult for most of us to imagine how a spaceport looks like. The picture above should ease the task because it's the first commercial spaceport in the world located in New Mexico's desert.
It will soon become home to Virgin Galactic's fleet of spaceships. There will also be training facilities for tourists, who want to experience space travels. Everyone who wants to prove that sky is no limit will need to spend there three days preparing for the trip.
While these 25 structures show us that the future is here, we can either wonder what the actual future will bring us, or consciously act to create it ourselves.
1 Nine Floating Fountains, Osaka, Japan
Japanese people have always been known for being extraordinary in everything they do and this fountain is another proof of this. Can you believe that this incredible construction was erected in 1970? Isamu Noguchi is the name of the landscape architect who is responsible for its creation in the World Expo held in Osaka, Japan. It was built for one of the best attended and largest expositions in history with the theme 'Progress and Harmony for Mankind'.
These fountains look like they're flying and they certainly still impress us with futuristic and visionary touch.
References: Serenity Health, Visit Britain, Colossal, Visit Reykjavik, Sky Scraper Center, China Highlights, AJN, Architectus.com.au, Aol.co.uk, Travel+Leisure