Buildings that break the box

Slide show: From Beijing to Minneapolis, the breathtaking structures that change how we think of architecture

Published February 21, 2011 6:01AM (EST)

"The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God" -- so said Antoni Gaudí, who in the late 1800s designed his mammoth stone church, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, using a non-Euclidean geometry of hyperbolas, spirals and curves. Over the course of the 20th century, plenty of architects have toiled against the visual tyranny of right angles and straight lines. Frank Lloyd Wright urged architects to "break the box," designing houses like Falling Water with the corners cut out, letting nature in through the window (and driving pragmatic homeowners crazy with a mosquito-friendly lack of screens).

The past 15 years have been especially interesting and productive (and controversial), as technology has allowed architects to squash the box, twist it, destroy it, deconstruct it, bend it, bury it, suspend it in the sky, or ignore it altogether.

By Megan Cytron

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