When people think of marble buildings, images come to mind of the ancient world. However, the material is still being used today to create jaw-dropping works of contemporary architecture, and this is happening from Oklahoma to India. Here are some of the best ways that marble has been used to breathe new life into the modern world.
Oslo Opera House
Out of a design competition that yields 350 entries, judges chose the marble design of Snøhetta for the Oslo Opera House. Extensive use of white Italian carrara marble – the same type used to make Michelangelo’s David – combines modern design with the traditional art of opera. A sloping roof allows visitors to walk to the top of the structure and survey the city around them. Overall, the soft white marble rising up out of the ground in strong, angular shapes evokes an iceberg rising above the waves.
Devon Energy Center
At 259-meters, this 50-storey skyscraper currently stands as the tallest building in the state of Oklahoma. Developed by the Devon Energy Corporation, its use of marble might seem a little odd within such a quintessentially modern structure, but its adoption of this material provides a grandiose feel to the building. Perhaps more importantly, it evokes sustainability and solidity while providing a more natural style that has been fittingly accented by wood and stone.
Venus Marble HQ
The Venus Marble Headquarters in Koropi, Greece is a building that you might naturally have expected to be made from marble. However, it’s the design that really stands out. Though strongly inspired by the square, solid pillars of classical architecture, jutting edges and angular shapes give the building a modern edge, as do the strips of glass embedded in deep slits within the beige marble exterior. The material also serves a practical purpose by keeping the building’s interior cool in spite of the hot Greek sun.
Located in the northern Indian town of Vrindavan, this stunning spiritual complex dedicated to Shri Krishna represents one of the most extensive and ambitious uses of marble in the modern world. Costing over $23 million to build, it’s carved out of the same carrara marble used by the Oslo Opera House – 30,000 tons of it was imported from Italy. However, what really makes this building unique are its hundreds of intricate carvings. Once more representing a fusion of old and new, these are carved using a combination of experienced artisans and advanced robots.