Can You Match the Famous Building to the U.S. City?

By: Tasha Moore
Image: Shobeir Ansari/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Do you love American architecture? If not, come grow to love the fascinating buildings of America's past and present buildings with this quiz. Learn about the structures that communicate so much about the U.S. cities in which they stand tall. This test is also challenging enough for you to prove your edifice genius if you're a property pro! 

Famous buildings in America are either loved or hated for a number of reasons. Onlookers can appreciate the attention-grabbing power that erupts when buildings like the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, California, clash with the city's skyline. Since the structure reared its facade in the 1970s, it has been called hideous, antisocial, a mistake, by some. Others celebrate the space filler as a welcome hiccup in the cityscape. And still, others have yet to see what all the fuss is about.

Architecture holds a special place in the hearts and minds of people who are sensitive to a masterful use of space, volume and texture. A city's inhabitants who are in search of purpose might rest easier knowing that the buildings they regularly see serve one or more obvious purposes. Certain architectural masters include special attributes in their buildings that hold meaning for them alone. Should we forgive certain architects for being a bit selfish while giving so much to the cities for which they've designed?

Take a peek at the special building features we've unveiled for you on the other side of a scroll!

Architect and former University of Arkansas professor E. Fay Jones designed the Thorncrown Chapel, a building made of stone, wood and glass. Thorncrown Chapel is Fay Jones' most prized work. Roughly 250,000 people visit the structure every year.

Bostonians dubbed the John Hancock Tower the U.S. Plywood Building since so many of the structure's glass windows were replaced with plywood during its construction. The 60-story building opened in 1976 with 10,344 new panes of glass.

At one time, Hearst Castle maintained the world's largest private zoo. In the mid-20th century, San Francisco architect Julia Morgan designed the building, which was the home of American media magnate William Randolph Hearst. Each year, Hearst Castle attracts approximately 700,000 visitors.

In 1996, the American Institute of Architects awarded the 25-Year Award to the U.S. Air Force Academy's Cadet Chapel, which flaunts 17 silver spires. The design has been called "the crowning feature of the Air Force Academy campus."

Opened to the public on February 23, 1929, the Arizona Biltmore was the only building standing in an empty desert for seven miles. Some historians have disproved as myth that Berlin actually penned the "White Christmas" song at the resort.

Architect Eero Saarinen​ designed Yale University's David S. Ingalls hockey rink in the early 1950s. His best-known work is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. The Ingalls structure is known as the "Yale Whale."

In 1994, French designer Philippe Starck transformed the 16-storied Delano Hotel into one of Miami's trendiest hotels. In 2006, architect Tim Andreas led a redesign of the all-white building's interior, now named the Delano South Beach.

Richard Meier's High Museum of Art was one of several museum renovation projects of Italian architect Renzo Piano. Piano and his design firm were tasked to add on 177,000 square feet of space to the building, a chore worth $109 million.

Designed by architect Daniel Burnham, Chicago's Union Station was designed with waiting rooms that joined a spacious concourse area. In 1967, the concourse building gave way to an office tower.

Richard Meier's Atheneum building rests along the banks of Indiana's Wabash River. Meier's architectural achievement received the Architectural Institute of America's Honor Award in 1982, as well as the Progressive Architecture Award in 1979.

Louisville's Humana Building broke the mold of office buildings and helped to revitalize the city's downtown district in the early 1980s. The 27-story postwar structure is adorned with seven colors of granite.

Architect Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the original windowless Walker Art Center in 1971. Swiss architects Pierre de Meuron and Jacques Herzog nearly doubled the museum's size, modernizing it with creased aluminum panels, green glass and stucco accents.

Built in 1894, the Union Station building in St. Louis had been abandoned for nearly a decade. It has been restored to include more than 100 shops, restaurants and food stands. The grand facility is also home to a lagoon and a luxurious hotel.

Cornelia, the only child of George Vanderbilt and Edith Stuyvesant Dresser, opened the home to the public in 1930 to help boost the area's economy during the Great Depression. Washington's National Gallery used the building to store valuables during World War II before it reopened in 1945.

Builders of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln hired a philosopher to assist with the structure's inscriptions and symbolic features. It took $10 million and four phases over a period of 10 years to construct the capitol building, which was completed in 1932.

Twentieth-century architect Louis Kahn managed to compress space in his design of the Phillips Exeter Academy Library. Kahn is also responsible for designing the National Assembly Building of Bangladesh in Dhaka.

The elegant Bellagio Las Vegas boasts 3,068 rooms in its main building. A small eight-acre replica of Italy's Lake Como surrounds the 36-storied structure whose interior showcases Italian-themed friezes and statuettes.

Completed in 1931, the Empire State Building rises 1,454 feet above Manhattan's Midtown district. Shreve, Lamb & Harmon is the design firm that crafted 102 stories of 60,000-ton steel, 81 elevators and 6,500 windows.

The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is perhaps the most visited museum in Ohio. The 500,000-square-foot structure used to serve as a train station when it opened in 1933. It was renovated in 1990.

A statue of William Penn sits atop Philadelphia City Hall. City planner Edmund Bacon believed that the city's architects should honor a "gentleman's agreement" by not designing a building taller than Penn's statue.

Architect Philip Johnson designed Pennzoil Place to be downtown Houston's answer to '50s modernism. Completed in 1976, the twin-towered structure earned Johnson the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.

Architect Moshe Safdie's Salt Lake City Public Library is 237,000 square feet of space that opened to the public in February 2003. The project cost Salt Lake City $92 million and was one of the region's first interactive public spaces.

In 1770, at the age of 27, Thomas Jefferson built his Monticello home and plantation on land he inherited from his father. Jefferson borrowed classical style concepts from Roman and Greek architecture. Today, more than 400 artifacts call the house-museum home.

Architect Rem Koolhaas helped design Seattle's Central Library building, which was built at a cost of $165.5 million. During construction in 2002, funding issues throughout the library system caused a week-long shutdown of the library's other branches.

In 1937, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright and 30 of his apprentices left Wisconsin to build Taliesin West in Arizona. Taliesin West is located just off of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in northeastern Scottsdale.

After selling off lots and making back their money, Story and Babcock started to build the Hotel del Coronado, a Victorian-styled beachfront hotel with views of the Pacific Ocean. The entrepreneurs initially intended for the structure to serve as a fishing and hunting resort.

The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa was the tallest building in Denver when it opened on August 12, 1892. The triangular-shaped structure was also the first steel-framed building in the city.

The Royal Exchange Building in New York was where the U.S. Supreme Court first convened in 1790. In 1935, architect Cass Gilbert designed a classical Roman-styled building for the high court at its current space, 1 First Street, Northeast in Washington, D.C.

Chicago's second-tallest building, Tribune Tower, was built for Tribune Co. to occupy nearly all of the tower's 631,000 square feet. The company no longer owns the building, and in 2018, $1 billion repurposing plans for the structure were announced.

Completed in 1973, the 57-story IDS Center houses a hotel and retail facility. When it was erected, IDS Center was the tallest structure of downtown Minneapolis, and the structure was considered architect Philip Johnson's best commercial design.

Auto manufacturer Walter P. Chrysler took over existing construction of the tower and retained the project's architect, William Van Alen, in 1928. Chrysler attempted to make an architectural statement in response to the commotion that Ford's Model A automotive creation had triggered in the nation.

In 1936, American businessman Edgar J. Kaufmann commissioned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to build his Fallingwater home. Kauffmann's son donated the home and its nearly 1,750 acres to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963.

Houston's Williams Tower, Philip Johnson's modern symmetrical glass building design, was named Transco Tower when it was completed in 1983. Mega-developer Gerald D. Hines commissioned the structure, which stands in the Galleria-Post Oak region of the city.

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava made his first United States design debut with the cage addition to the 35,000-square-foot Milwaukee Art Museum. The facility stands on the shoreline of Lake Michigan and stores more than 20,000 ancient and modern works.

Fans of William L. Pereira's Transamerica building esteemed the structure as the world's first modern pyramid. On the other hand, some San Francisco natives dismissed the 853-foot tower as a hideous, "antisocial architecture."

Mary Todd Lincoln referred to the White House as "that Whited Sepulchre." James Hoban designed the main house that spans roughly 55,00 square feet. The cornerstone of the building was laid on October 13, 1792.

The 70-story Lake Point Tower in Chicago is a mixture of aluminum and glass. The building opened in 1968 in a lakefront area that mostly included warehouses, industrial factories, docks and grain silos.

Eager spectators immediately nicknamed the Weisman Art Museum "stainless steel artichoke." Master architect Frank Gehry designed the building for the University of Minnesota.

The 125-foot tall main concourse of Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal is 275 feet long and 120 feet wide. Forty-second Street and Park Avenue has been the terminal's location since 1871.

In 2017, American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry announced that he planned to add on 78,000 square feet of new space to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The fictional character, Rocky Balboa, ascended the museum's 72-stone steps in the first "Rocky" film.

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