AIA Poll of America’s Favorite Buildings Released

Washington, D.C., February 12, 2007--It’s official: Two of the most iconic buildings in the United States--the Empire State Building and the White House--top the list of America’s Favorite Architecture, a public poll of the 150 best works of architecture conducted and released today by Harris Interactive and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

This time, at least, the White House beat the U.S. Capitol building, which ranked #6.

Even the fallen World Trade Center Towers live on in the poll, ranking 19th. Other notable structures that made the list of America’s Favorite Architecture are the Golden Gate Bridge (5th), Biltmore Estate (8th), and the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (22nd).

The poll was conducted in conjunction with the AIA’s commemoration of its 150th anniversary, which occurs in 2007 and is dedicated to “Celebrating the Past, Designing the Future.” The 150th anniversary is an opportunity to focus on how AIA members can help shape the built environment over the next 150 years. The cornerstone program of AIA150, Blueprint for America has provided funding for community-service projects in 156 communities across the country. Blueprint initiatives celebrate the vital role of architects in creating a healthy, more sustainable world.

“This poll of America’s Favorite Architecture confirms that architecture resonates with people,” said RK Stewart, FAIA, 2007 AIA president. “The choice of the Empire State Building shows that when you ask people to select their favorites, they chose buildings and designs that symbolized innovation and the spirit of their community--but also, more importantly--they chose structures that hold a place in their hearts and minds.”

The Empire State Building, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the U.S., star of movies from King Kong to An Affair to Remember, and the dominant feature of midtown Manhattan, clearly rose above the rest, literally and figuratively.

Completed in 1931, the Empire State Building stands 1,454 feet tall and is second only to Chicago’s Sears Tower (#42 in the survey) as the tallest building in the United States.

The Top 10 List

Washington’s public buildings and memorials dominated the top 10 list, but New York city easily led the list for the sheer number of structures in the top 150. Following are the top 10 structures and their architects and designers:

1. Empire State Building - Shreve, Lamb & Harmon
2. The White House - James Hoban
3. Washington National Cathedral - George Bodley and Henry Vaughan, FAIA
4. Jefferson Memorial - John Russell Pope, FAIA
5. Golden Gate Bridge – Irving F. Morrow and Gertrude C. Morrow
6. U.S. Capitol - William Thornton, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Charles Bulfinch, Thomas U. Walter, FAIA, Montgomery C. Meigs
7. Lincoln Memorial - Henry Bacon, FAIA
8. Biltmore Estate/Vanderbilt Mansion - Richard Morris Hunt, FAIA
9. Chrysler Building - William Van Alen, FAIA
10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Maya Lin with Cooper-Lecky Partnership

New York, D.C., and Chicago: Destinations for America’s Favorite Architecture

The Harris Interactive survey of 1,804 randomly selected Americans ranked America’s Favorite Architecture from a list pre-selected by an AIA panel of 248 structures in numerous categories, including famous homes, public buildings, sports arenas, transportation hubs, and office buildings. Nearly one-half of the projects in America’s Favorite Architecture are in three cities: New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The list of 150 buildings in America’s Favorite Architecture reads like a tour book for New York City, as 32 of the city’s most prominent architectural landmarks dominate the list. The list includes St. Patrick’s Cathedral (11th), Grand Central Station (13th), the St. Regis Hotel (16th), and Rockefeller Center (56th).

Related Topics:The American Institute of Architects