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  1. Blog
  2. The world’s most famous buildings redesigned by AI
Research & Insights
03 March 2023

The world’s most famous buildings redesigned by AI

GetAgent Team
Wide view of The Shard in the City of London

Table of contents

  1. 1. The Top Ten Most Popular Architectural Styles for Homes in 2023
  2. 2. Methodology

Have you ever wondered what your favourite building might look like if it were designed in a different country, or a different time period altogether? With so many iconic buildings all over the globe, and architectural styles hailing from different cultures and periods of history, there’s no end to the possibilities of how some of the world’s most popular buildings could have looked if they were designed differently.

We wanted to visualise these for ourselves, so we enlisted the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to find out. Using the AI tool Midjourney, we asked what 15 of the world’s most famous buildings would look like had they been designed in an alternative popular architectural style - and the results are pretty incredible.

1. Big Ben, Redesigned in the Industrial Style

Big Ben, one of London’s most iconic landmarks, is actually the name of the massive bell that resides inside the famous tower, which weighs an enormous 13,760kg. Built in 1843, Big Ben has rarely ever stopped ticking - not even after a bomb hit the area during WW2.

We asked AI to redesign the tower in the Industrial style, a version of architecture that’s been around since the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, which mainly combines functionality with design. It often features materials like metal and concrete, along with exposed brick and large metal-grid windows…all of which our AI tool decided to incorporate into its redesign.

2. Buckingham Palace, Redesigned in the Byzantine Style

Stretching across 39 acres of land, with 775 rooms, is Buckingham Palace, the UK’s most famous home. With an ATM, a post office, a movie theatre - and even a police station - many tourists would love a sneak peek inside the iconic building.

Built in a Neoclassical style in 1703, we decided to ask AI what it might look like in the Byzantine style, which developed out of the Roman Empire around 330 AD. Byzantine architecture is synonymous with domes, mosaics, marble and gold, all of which you can identify in AI’s new version of this iconic building.

3. The Shard, Redesigned in the Renaissance Style

Built in 2012, The Shard is one of London’s newest buildings, and was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Standing at over 306 metres tall, the structure comprises an impressive 11,000 glass panels and is modelled after, namely, a shard of glass.

The building is characterised by its usage of modernism in its design, a style of architecture born in the 20th century synonymous with volume, asymmetrical composition and minimal ornamentation. We asked AI to redesign the building in the Renaissance style instead, which hails from early 15th century Florence and is distinguished by its usage of precise symmetry, pediments, arches, domes and brickwork - all of which AI has incorporated into the structure, while maintaining the glass facade of this still very recognisable building.

4. The Eiffel Tower, Redesigned in the Rococo Style

The Eiffel Tower is arguably one of, if not the, most popular examples of architecture in France. Taking over two years to complete, it weighs ten million kilograms, and for four decades was the tallest structure in the world.

While it used to be painted yellow, it’s now a deep brown in order to fit in ‘harmoniously’ with the rest of the Parisien landscape surrounding it. The structure was built in 1887, but we asked AI to redesign it in another version of French architecture hailing from the 1700s instead, the playful Rococo style.

Rococo is theatrical (think the Palace of Versailles) and includes asymmetry and curves, gilding and many gold and pastel colours - all of which AI has used in its new design of this historical structure.

5. The Empire State Building, Redesigned in the Greek Revival Style

The Empire State Building is the pinnacle of the New York skyline, constructed by 3,500 workers in a 13-month race to the top against the owner of the Chrysler building, who also wanted to own NYC’s tallest building. Its iconic design falls under the Art Deco style, an influential method of modern architecture that found its feet in the early 1900s, combining traditional materials with modern and industrial ones, with characteristics like sunbursts, zigzags and other dramatic shapes on the exterior.

We asked AI to redesign it in the Greek Revival style, which is now extremely popular in the States. White paint, simple mouldings and columns are all iconic characteristics of the style, and all three have been incorporated into the building's redesign.

6. The Burj Khalifa, Redesigned in the Baroque Style

The Burj Khalifa is an impressive feat of architecture, and while many of the buildings in this list aspired to become the world’s tallest, this one actually takes the crown, at an incredible 828 metres tall. Its design is a stunning example of Islamic architecture, with a central core and spire, and 27 setbacks in a spiral pattern, all directly inspired by other Islamic buildings, like the Great Mosque of Samarra.

We asked AI to redesign the building in a Baroque style, an architectural style developed in Rome in the 1700s as part of a Roman Catholic Church makeover. The style incorporates ornate roofing and entryways, visible in AI’s redesign of the Burj Khalifa above.

7. The Forbidden City, Redesigned in the Neoclassical Style

The Forbidden City is the largest imperial palace in the world, taking up an enormous 720,000 square metres of space. It took an estimated one million labourers to complete the construction, which consists of 90 courtyards, 980 buildings and over 8,000 rooms.

It contains examples of both European and Arabic design styles, but is primarily typical of Chinese palatial architecture, which favoured wood as the primary material. We asked AI to redesign the fascinating structure in a Neoclassical form instead, a style of building design with roots in Greek and Roman architecture, known for its high columns, majestic scale and lack of ornamentation.

While the AI decided to retain the Chinese style roofing of the building, it swapped out much of the ornamentation on the building for columns instead, and removed the vibrant red colouring in favour of plain white columns - a design choice much more closely aligned with the Neoclassical style.

8. Neuschwanstein Castle, Redesigned in the Brutalist Style

One of Germany’s most famous buildings, Neuschwanstein Castle was constructed in 1884, taking seven times longer than the King who commissioned it had anticipated. It has since become known as the ‘Disney Castle’, with Walt Disney being so inspired by its stunning fairytale architecture that he based Cinderella’s Castle off of it.

Originally incorporating Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine styles of building design, we asked AI to redesign it using Brutalist architecture. The term Brutalist comes from the French phrase béton brut, which translates to “raw concrete”, the primary characteristic of the style, designed for function and utilitarianism.

AI took this very feature very seriously and transformed the entire castle into a building reminiscent of London’s Barbican, a famous example of Brutalism.

9. Sydney Opera House, Redesigned in Tudor Architecture

Perhaps the most iconic building in Australia, the Sydney Opera House was estimated to cost $7 million to build, but in fact cost $102 million by the time it was fully constructed. The Danish architect who designed the building won a competition to bag the project, and his impressive structure has since been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The building was designed with modern architectural principles, and even cools itself using seawater taken directly from the harbour. We decided to ask AI to redesign the building as if it was built in the Tudor period, a style of architecture that originated in the 16th century, characterised by high pitched roofs, tall chimneys, half-timber detailing and herringbone brickwork - features that can all be seen in AI’s Tudor version of the building, which maintains the iconic shape that we all know as the famous Opera House.

10. The Taj Mahal, Redesigned in Gothic Architecture

The Taj Mahal was constructed as a memorial to Shah Jahan’s late wife, after her untimely passing, and the intricate structure was initially constructed in 1632, just one year after her death, but took over two decades to complete. Voted as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, the impressive building blends Islamic, Persian and Indian styles of design into one architectural style known as Mughal architecture.

We asked AI to redesign the building in a Gothic style instead, an ancient style that originates from the middle ages and incorporates castle design, pitched roofs, and pointed arch designs on windows - all elements that feature in its redesign of the iconic building.

(From left to right: The Parthenon, Redesigned in Bauhaus Architecture; The Great Pyramid of Giza, Redesigned in Romanesque Architecture; The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Redesigned in Art Deco Architecture; La Sagrada Familia, Redesigned in Contemporary Architecture; The White House, Redesigned in Victorian Architecture)

The final five buildings we asked AI to redesign included:

  • The ancient Greek temple the Parthenon, redesigned in the Bauhaus style (a modern architectural form that features a distinct lack of ornamentation)
  • The largest Egyptian pyramid, the Great Pyramid of Giza, redesigned in the Romanesque style (an architectural style that dominated the middle ages)
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy’s famous leaning building, redesigned in the Art Deco style (a highly decorative style of French architecture that gained traction in the 1900s)
  • The USA’s most famous building, the White House, redesigned in a Victorian style (architecture with origins in Britain)
  • The La Sagrada Familia, famous Spanish architect Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece, redesigned in a contemporary style, which is broad in its nature and gave the AI tool room to adapt its design using multiple modern design principles.

Architectural styles formulate a huge part of what houses we want to buy, and are often the key selling point when it comes to finding buyers for our homes. We wanted to find out which types of architecture most homeowners are keen to look for when it comes to their residences so dug into Google search data to find out, with the results revealing that most of us want a modern home - with searches for these types of property pulling in over five million searches a year.

The top three is completed by Victorian homes, a style of architecture well loved by Brits (with an estimated eight million Victorian homes in the UK), and Gothic architecture - a rarer style of home, but bringing in over one million searches a year globally.

RankArchitecture TypeGlobal Annual Average Searches
1Modern architecture5,194,800
2Victorian architecture1,545,840
3Gothic architecture1,052,400
4Brutalist architecture928,560
5Tudor architecture805,800
6Contemporary architecture713,760
7Art Deco architecture388,320
8Baroque architecture348,840
9Cape Cod architecture344,400
10Renaissance architecture290,280

We hope we’ve inspired you to think about what style of architecture your next house might be built in, and with so many architectural styles and stunning buildings to choose from - perhaps it’s time to put your house on the market and find your next dream home?

Methodology

The property experts at GetAgent sought to visualise what famous buildings would look like if designed in different styles of popular architecture, according to AI. A seedlist of the world’s most searched for buildings was used to choose the 15 buildings that were redesigned, and using Midjourney, the experts used prompts to reveal what the different buildings would look like if designed in different types of architecture.

Prompts that were used included:

“What [building] would look like if designed in the [architecture] style, hyperrealistic, photorealism”

To find out the most popular architectural styles, a long list of popular architecture styles were analysed through Google Adwords to discover the global average annual search totals for the following three terms: ‘[architecture] architecture house’, ‘[architecture] house’ and ‘[architecture] architecture’. These three totals were combined to give each architectural style an overall search total.

All data correct as of February 2023

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