Best buildings in the world from The Pantheon to Cambridge University Library


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The Independent Culture

This list was inspired by Tom Wilkinson's 'Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made', published by Bloomsbury last month. A lovely book that starts with the Tower of Babel and ends with Oscar Niemeyer's 2010 footbridge to Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro's biggest favela, which I think is hideous.

1. The Pantheon, Rome

Still the largest unsupported concrete dome in the world, two millennia after its construction, says Mark Wallace.

2. Rocamadour

Medieval monastery in the South of France, built into the side of a cliff. Nominated by Tom Doran.

3. The Romanian Parliament building

Hideous but also sort of impressive, says Daniel Knowles. Started in 1984 and almost finished by Ceausescu's fall in 1989.

4. La Mezquita de Cordoba

Built as a mosque, converted to a cathedral. From Matthew Knowles.

5. Cambridge University Library

Nominated by David Boothroyd.

6. King Ludwig's castle at Neuschwanstein

The original for all Disney fairy-story castles. Suggested by Simon Wilder.


7. King's College Chapel, Cambridge

8. St Paul's Cathedral

I know it's obvious. There is a reason for that. Thanks to Josephine Formby.

9. Taj Mahal

Ditto. From Mark Lott.

10. Edwin Lutyens' Liverpool Catholic Cathedral

Started in 1933 but never finished; would have been beautiful. Nominated by the Labour History Group.

Next week: Horrible buildings, unleashing my inner Prince Charles.

Coming soon: Once-common sounds, such as dial-up modems and electric milk floats. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to