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Design capital: London is the city with the most Instagrammed modern buildings worldwide

By LLM Reporters  |  September 25, 2021
london eye in london
Image Credit: Sandor Szmutko/

London is the city with the most Instagram-worthy buildings from the 21st century, according to a new study by design resource Design Bundles.   

In the study, the most recognised and celebrated 21st-century buildings worldwide were searched on Instagram to uncover the number of times each one had been hashtagged.   

The top spot is taken by The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE. It is the world’s tallest building, with a whopping 5,582,552 mentions on the photo-sharing app. Designed by American architect Adrian Smith and completed in 2009, the Burj Khalifa is 830 metres in height or the distance of approximately eight football pitches.   

London takes the next three spots in the top ten with famous structures The London Eye, The Tate Modern, and The Shard.   

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE
The top spot is taken by The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE. Image credit: saiko3p/

The London Eye has 3,514,228 mentions on Instagram, earning it second place. It was completed in 2012 by the English husband and wife team, Julia Barfield and David Marks. It is Europe’s tallest ‘Ferris Wheel’ and has a royal passenger capsule named the Coronation Capsule, marking the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.   

In third place is Brutalist building The Tate Modern with 1,196,979 mentions on Instagram. Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were the team behind the building’s re-development. The structure had initially been Bankside Power Station, with conversion to the art gallery completed in 2000.   

The Shard takes position four of the most Instagram-worthy modern buildings with 917,536 mentions on the app. Completed in 2012 by Italian architecture giant Renzo Piano, it pierces the Southwark skyline and is an instantly recognisable London landmark.  

Rounding out the top five is The Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE, with 155,588 mentions on Instagram. It was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel as a place to celebrate Arab art and culture.   

The London Eye
The London Eye has 3,514,228 mentions on Instagram, earning it second place

Located on a lagoon island, the ‘museum city’ covers almost 97,000 square metres and was completed in 2017. The roof of the building has the impression of a floating dome and weighs more than the Eiffel Tower.  

Spot six goes to The Bosco Verticale in Milan, Italy, with 144,587 mentions on Instagram. It is a sustainable skyscraper with 20,000 square metres of living forest woven between 8,900 square metres of terraces. Designed by the Italian architecture firm Boeri Studio, the building was completed in 2014.   

The next building on the list is in Los Angeles in the USA. The Walt Disney Concert Hall has 93,849 mentions on Instagram, earning it position seven on the list. Designed by Canadian/American Architect Frank Gehry, it has 500 stainless steel panels, each of which has a different shape and size. It cost roughly $274 million to build and was completed in 2003.   

The Swiss Re Building in London, affectionately known as ‘the Gherkin,’ is number eight on the list. Completed in 2004 by English architecture firm Foster and Partners, it earns its spot on the list with 86,215 Instagram mentions.   

The Metropol Parasol in Seville
The Metropol Parasol in Seville made the top 10, according to the new survey. Image credit: Gumbao/

The last two spots go to The Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, and The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, USA.  

Completed in 2011, The Metropol Parasol has 70,073 Instagram mentions. It was designed by German architect Jurgen Mayer. A little way behind is The California Academy of Sciences, with 39,982 mentions on Instagram. Italian icon Renzo Piano was the architect behind the design, the second building of his featured in the top ten and the third by an Italian. It was completed in 2008.   

Commenting on the study, a spokesperson for Design Bundles, said: “With the London Design Festival in full swing, it is fitting that the city did so well for the Instagram worthiness of its buildings as it has always been at the forefront of design and innovation.”