From Greek influence on Roman to Islamic influence on Gothic, the subconscious inter-mix of cultures was common throughout history that led to its existing style. This subtle blend in architecture has reached a point where differentiating each style is becoming a challenge. 

With architectural styles travelling beyond time, culture and location, a wave of Deja Vu unknowingly swipes a traveller to their homeland wherever they go.

Let’s see 15 commendable Multi-cultural Architecture around the world:

1. Denis Hurley Centre – Durban

Situated in one of the most diverse locations in South Africa, it is fascinating to witness its contemporary facade being highly responsive to the hot climate and the pure Gothic Emmanuel Cathedral adjacent to it. 

The streamlined structure sharply cuts through the junction, creating a dynamic yet vibrant impression on a building that serves as a living memorial to the Archbishop. Its triangular floor plan with a centralised atrium serves multiple functions within its complex site.

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Denis Hurley Center ©ArchDaily. 2021. Denis Hurley Centre / Ruben Reddy Architects. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].
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Denis Hurley Center ©“Dennis Hurley Centre.” Rubenreddyarchitects.co.za, 2015, www.rubenreddyarchitects.co.za/Dennis%20Hurley%20Centre-1.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Denis Hurley Center ©“Dennis Hurley Centre (DHC) in Durban, South Africa by Ruben Reddy Architects.” ArchShowcase, 4 June 2017, www10.aeccafe.com/blogs/arch-showcase/2017/06/04/dennis-hurley-centre-dhc-in-durban-sout. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

2. Labranche House – New Orleans

This elegant structure standing on the crossroads of the Vieux Carre is one of the most prominent and the best examples of French architecture in New Orleans. 

The embroidered iron lacework balcony that envelopes the facade is one of the largest and most photographed in the French Quarters. This iconic symbol receives tourists from across the world, attracted by its haunted history and architectural magnificence.

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Labranche House ©Hinnosaar, Marit & Toomas. “The LaBranche House.” Flickr, 20 Mar. 2011, www.flickr.com/photos/hinnosaar/5604660697. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Labranche House ©Madigan, Ada. “New Orleans: Spring Adds a Jazz Festival to the Food and Drink Delights.” Orange Coast Magazine, 24 Apr. 2017, www.orangecoast.com/oc-traveler/new-orleans-spring-adds-jazz-festival-food-drink-delights/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021
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Labranche House ©Stumpes, Jax. “Jax Stumpes: 1984 New Orleans, LA (9/28-30/1984).” Jax Stumpes, 30 Sept. 1984, jaxstumpes.blogspot.com/1984/09/1984-new-orleans-la-928-301984.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

3. Qanat Quartier – Pearl-qatar

A small community in the artificial island of The Pearl-Qatar, Qanat Quartier attempts to recreate the concept of Venice to the Islamic context. A row of pastel-hued buildings runs on either side of the canal that cuts through the island creating a sense of calm and tranquillity. 

Although the city seems to replicate the European city at first notice, the culture, cuisine and lifestyle of the Middle East are kept intact from the small shops selling Arabian Oud to the Karak tea stalls on the side roads.

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Qanat Quartier ©“The Pearl – Qanat Quartier Project.” Www.dar.com, www.dar.com/work/project/the-pearl-qanat-quartier-project. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Qanat Quartier ©“Slideshow 1185-19: Marina and Promenade in Porto Arabia in Pearl Qatar Development at Sunrise. Doha, Qatar.” Www.asergeev.com, www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/compress/2013/1185/19s.htm. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Qanat Quartier ©Sergeev, Alex. “English: Murano Area of Qanat Quartier in the Pearl, Qatar.” Wikimedia Commons, 23 Jan. 2015, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Murano_area_of_Qanat_Quartier_in_The_Pearl.jpg. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

4. Victoria Memorial – Kolkata

This white marble beauty near the banks of the Hooghly River in the city of Kolkata is Indo-Saracenic Revival with influence from Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architecture. Designed by William Emerson in the 19th century, it is a memorial to Queen Victoria who was the then Empress of India. 

Guarded by two white lions at the entrance, this structure resonates the Taj Mahal mainly with its Makrana Marble, dome and four minarets. The building is also home to about twenty-five art galleries and a vast collection of stone statues.

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Victoria Memorial ©Travel Photography Guru. 2021. Beautiful Victoria Memorial, Kolkata | Travel Photography Guru. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].
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Victoria Memorial ©Indiatraveladvise.com. 2021. Indian Travel Guide. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].
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ictoria Memorial ©2021. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].
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Victoria Memorial ©Travel Photography Guru. 2021. Beautiful Victoria Memorial, Kolkata | Travel Photography Guru. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].

5. Thien Hau Temple – Los Angeles

The eye-striking elegance of Vietnamese Architecture with the glimmering pagodas decorated in lanterns are what makes this Taoist temple a popular destination in Los Angeles. 

Maintained by the Vietnamese-Chinese community from ChinaTown, this temple follows their culture stringently with no influence from the lifestyle of the state. The beautiful annual Chinese festival that takes place outside this temple makes one transport to a place quite the opposite of the western culture. 

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Victoria Memorial ©En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Thien Hau Temple (Los Angeles) – Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thien_Hau_Temple,_Los_Angeles> [Accessed 1 April 2021].
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Victoria Memorial ©Mapquest.com. 2021. Thien Hau Temple 750 Yale St #756 Los Angeles, CA Temples Buddhist – MapQuest. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].
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Victoria Memorial ©Flickr. 2021. Thien Hau Temple Los Angeles c.2005. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 April 2021].

6. Neasden Temple – London

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London is one of the largest Hindu temples outside India, with the structure entirely stone-carved while avoiding steel and iron, which is a rare feature of modern architecture. The marble-marvel is walled and positions itself at the focal point following the Shilpa-Shastras, which is a Vedic scripture on art, framed by the magnificent entrance. 

The temple authorities host exhibitions to educate the European community on Hindu culture and the yearly Diwali festival is one of the most spectacular sights, with Diyas and flowers bringing back the memories of India.

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Neasden Temple ©Mehra, Kanika. “BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London.” Global Hinduism, 28 Dec. 2011, globalhinduism.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/baps-shri-swaminarayan-mandir-london/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Neasden Temple ©Clugston, Harriet. “History of the Neasden Temple in 1 Minute.” Culture Trip, theculturetrip.com/europe/united-kingdom/england/london/articles/history-of-the-neasden-temple-in-1-minute/.
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Neasden Temple ©“Diwali & Annakut Celebration 2018.” BAPS, www.baps.org/News/2018/Diwali–Annakut-Celebration-2018-14313.aspx. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

7. Dhamma Sarana – Keysborough

This simple yet elegant white dome structure is a timeless symbol of Buddhist architecture and culture. Sri Lankan Monk, Vijitha Thera, established this shrine in Keys borough in the year 1999 and performed regular services since then. 

This place of worship is prosperous not only in the preservation of the Buddhist culture but also the tranquillity and peace of similar shrines observed in Sri Lanka and other Buddhist communities. Although the space is small, the emotions felt by the visitor are divine.

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Dhamma Sarana ©P, Santhana K. “Keysborough Buddha Temple.” Flickr, 7 Nov. 2015, www.flickr.com/photos/137310242@N06/23339559825. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Dhamma Sarana ©“Navigating Nationality: Australia’s Multicultural Built Landscape.” Australian Design Review, 11 Mar. 2015, www.australiandesignreview.com/architecture/navigating-nationality-australias-multicultural-built-landscape/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Dhamma Sarana ©adminxZ. “HOME.” Dhamma Sarana Vihara, dhammasarana.org.au/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

8. Kapitan Keling Mosque – Penang

The Kapitan Keling Mosque in Penang is an exemplar of the Indian-Moorish architecture in Malaysia brought by an Indian Muslim trader from Tamil Nadu in the 19th century. The
Keling being a Malay term for the people of Indian origin while Kapitan is a representative of India, the unique combination black dome and a sloped roof is the distinctive trade-mark of this structure. The ochre-yellow exterior and the lavish gardens resemble the Mughal Architecture in India.

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Kapitan Keling Mosque ©“Kapitan Keling Mosque in George Town, Penang Island.” MALAYSIA CENTRAL (ID), 7 Aug. 2010, www.malaysiacentral.com/information-directory/kapitan-keling-mosque-in-george-town-penang-island/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Kapitan Keling Mosque ©“Kapitan Keling Mosque in Georgetown, Penang,…” It’s a Beautiful World, visitheworld.tumblr.com/post/19337558978/kapitan-keling-mosque-in-georgetown-penang. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Kapitan Keling Mosque ©“Kapitan Keling Mosque Penang – Malaysia Tourist & Travel Guide.” Penang.attractionsinmalaysia.com, penang.attractionsinmalaysia.com/Kapitan-Keling-Mosque.php. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

9. Bosjes Chapel – Worcester 

Recognised by the undulating white canopy seamlessly resting over a glass framed facade reflecting the serene environment, this chapel elegantly positions itself in the backdrop of mountain ranges of Worcester. The structure offers a welcoming disposition with the clear water pool, and a wooden cross stood inside that is caught in the frame of the picturesque background. 

The chapel detaches itself from worldly experience, making it seem to descend straight from the heavens. In terms of materials used, the concrete shell is an influence from contemporary architecture in Europe, unlike the traditional South African architecture that makes use of naturally available materials like rammed earth and thatched roof.

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Bosjes Chapel ©“Gallery of Bosjes Chapel / Steyn Studio – 5.” ArchDaily, www.archdaily.com/867369/bosjes-chapel-steyn-studio/58cb1c68e58ecee2f60001f7-bosjes-chapel-steyn-studio-photo. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Bosjes Chapel ©“Gallery of Bosjes Chapel / Steyn Studio – 5.” ArchDaily, www.archdaily.com/867369/bosjes-chapel-steyn-studio/58cb1c68e58ecee2f60001f7-bosjes-chapel-steyn-studio-photo. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Bosjes Chapel ©“Gallery of Bosjes Chapel / Steyn Studio – 5.” ArchDaily, www.archdaily.com/867369/bosjes-chapel-steyn-studio/58cb1c68e58ecee2f60001f7-bosjes-chapel-steyn-studio-photo. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021

10. Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center – Baku

This fluid-like structure amidst the ever-growing urban setting of Baku in Azerbaijan has never failed to capture the eye with its balanced yet asymmetrical form. The fluidity is, in fact, an abstract perception of Islamic Architecture in Azerbaijan, characterised by the organic nature of the Islamic patterns on the walls that creates a blurry distinction of the floor to ceiling. 

Being the major cultural hub in Baku, the fluidity of the structure helps connect various cultural spaces while keeping the privacy and integrity of each culture. 

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Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center ©“Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects.” ArchDaily, 14 Nov. 2013, www.archdaily.com/448774/heydar-aliyev-center-zaha-hadid-architects.
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Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center ©“Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects.” ArchDaily, 14 Nov. 2013, www.archdaily.com/448774/heydar-aliyev-center-zaha-hadid-architects.
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Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center ©“Heydar Aliyev Center / Zaha Hadid Architects.” ArchDaily, 14 Nov. 2013, www.archdaily.com/448774/heydar-aliyev-center-zaha-hadid-architects.

11. Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple – Baku

Established by the Hindu-Zoroastrian community in the 18th century, this fire temple in Baku is one of the oldest standing structures denoting multiculturalism in Azerbaijan, with Punjabi, Persian and Sanskrit inscriptions on the walls. 

This structure is one of the major tourist attractions in Baku, drawn by the simplicity and glimmering beauty of the natural fire sprouting from the various holes on the shrine. Zoroastrianism is the primary faith followed by Hinduism, where practising more than one religion in a single structure was a rare practice.

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Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple ©“Group Tour to Atashgah+ (Burning Mountain Yanardag) 35$.” ATI.AZ, ati.az/m_tour/absheron-group-tour/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple ©“Https://Twitter.com/Benerhardart/Status/999988079338274816.” Twitter, twitter.com/benerhardart/status/999988079338274816. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple ©“Ateshgah Fire Temple and Yanardag Burning Mountain Day Tour.” Sakurageorgia.com, sakurageorgia.com/en/tours/ateshgah-fire-temple-yanardag-burning-mountain. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

12. Sri Aurobindo Auditorium – Auroville

Sri Aurobindo Auditorium is the primary activity hub of the Bharat Nivas, also known as the Pavilion of India, which is a melting pot of cultures brought into union by Sri Aurobindo’s vision of a free and united India. 

The auditorium hosts several events which include music, dance, theatre and other performing arts. The raw concrete-crated canopy that sharply cuts through the skies creates weightlessness to the building. The vegetation surrounding the auditorium creates a floral frame for the structure.

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Sri Aurobindo Auditorium ©“Sri Aurobindo Auditorium | Auroville.” Auroville.org, www.auroville.org/contents/2880. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Sri Aurobindo Auditorium ©“Sri Aurobindo Auditorium, Auroville — DEEPSHIKHA JAIN, Architectural Photographer.” DEEPSHIKHA JAIN, www.deepshikhajain.com/sri-aurobindo-auditorium-auroville.
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Sri Aurobindo Auditorium ©“Sri Aurobindo Auditorium, Auroville — DEEPSHIKHA JAIN, Architectural Photographer.” DEEPSHIKHA JAIN, www.deepshikhajain.com/sri-aurobindo-auditorium-auroville. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

13. Lotus Temple – New Delhi

Resembling an elegant lotus floating on a pond, the Bahai House of Worship in New Delhi is a model of expressionist architecture in India. Designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba, this arched concrete structure clad in marble arranges itself as petals of a flower in a layered manner. 

Moreover, the curved form also provides acoustic properties to the structure, bringing a serene atmosphere within. Although most Baha’i places of worship have a classic dome, this building resembles a deconstructed version of the Islamic dome with its petals, forming an invisible node at the top.

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Lotus Temple ©“A Lotus Shaped Temple – Bahá’í House of Worship/New Delhi.” World Top Top, 1 Oct. 2011, worldtoptop.com/lotus-temple/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Lotus Temple ©“Lotus Temple.” Wikipedia, 21 Jan. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Temple.
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Lotus Temple ©“The Lotus Temple – a Blossom of Inspiring Architecture in India.” Places to See in Your Lifetime, 1 Oct. 2014, www.pandotrip.com/the-lotus-temple-a-blossom-of-inspiring-architecture-in-india-12784/.

14. Cargills Ceylon – Colombo

Earlier known as “House of Cargills”, this colonial structure established by William Miller and David Sime Cargill in the 19th century originated as a general warehouse in Colombo Fort. In present times, this structure stands amidst the urban life of Colombo, that gradually evolved into a major departmental store in the city. 

The characteristic red and white brick exterior follows the outline of the streets, creating a curved facade. The paired windows with semi-circular arches each and the arched openings surrounding the building are characteristic features of the Renaissance architecture.

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Cargills Ceylon ©“NKAR Travels | Classical Touch.” NKAR Travels, www.nkartravelhouse.com/special-offers/classical-touch.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Cargills Ceylon ©Arbitratix. “The Architect: The Cargills & Millers Building.” The Architect, 13 Nov. 2012, colomboarchitect.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-cargills-millers-building.html. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
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Cargills Ceylon ©author, Unknown authorUnknown. “English: The Old General Post Office – Janadhipath Mawatha (President’s Street), Colombo Fort.” Wikimedia Commons, 1900, commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_GPO_CMB.jpg. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.

15. Alhambra Palace – Granada

Islamic culture and Moorish Architecture prevailed for an adequate period in Spain during the Medieval Period. The Alhambra in Granada is one of the oldest examples of Moorish Architecture in Spain, with its intricate patterns and stunning frescos preserved to date. 

It is a combination of palaces and courtyards within a fortified structure with multiple functions. The Royal Family of both Christians and Islam resided during different timelines within this walled city.

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Alhambra Palace ©https://www.facebook.com/thoughtcodotcom. “The Mysteries of Alhambra in Spain.” ThoughtCo, 2017, www.thoughtco.com/the-alhambra-4138628.
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Alhambra Palace ©“15 Most Beautiful Castles in Spain.” The Crazy Tourist, 5 Aug. 2016, www.thecrazytourist.com/15-beautiful-castles-spain/. Accessed 1 Apr. 2021.
Alhambra Palace – Granada - Sheet3
Alhambra Palace ©The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Alhambra | Palace, Fortress, Facts, Map, & Pictures.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 12 Feb. 2019, www.britannica.com/topic/Alhambra-fortress-Granada-Spain.

Cultures play an essential role in the evolution of a place which intertwines itself into a knot. Thus, compelling a predominant belief on the minority results in the dying of unique cultures. Several countries, such as Australia and Canada, set laws to incorporate multiculturalism. Thus, unbiased understanding cultures and their importance of its evolution is a necessity to preserve the history of a place.

 

Gopika Pramod
Author

Gopika Pramod is an aspiring architect and writer whose thoughts are expressed as beautiful sketches in the readers' minds. She loves to bring a different perspective that is frequently seen but failed to observe and keeps her mind open to new ideas.

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