Like ‘Contemporary Art’ and ‘Modern Art’ putting those words in front of the word architecture can mean a whole lot of things. It’s not tied down to an age or a look, it’s just doing its own thing in a variety of guises. But that’s the best way, ‘cause like with art, architecture is best if you just look for what you like and go from there.
It’s all about style, isn’t it. Some modern buildings just have it in spades. The glassy single sail of the Burj Al Arab is sexy. The Space Needle is funky and futuristic. The Rockerfeller Centre and The Empire State Building are just classics, as are the Golden Gate Bridge and the Sydney Opera House and they just MAKE the cities they adorn. And that’s the right word for it. These fantastic buildings adorn their cities adding to their greatness. A city with nothing of architectural interest is a city shown no love by its inhabitants!
All through the 2008 Beijing Olympics they kept going on about the Birds Nest Stadium, so that is bound to appear on the Beijing tours route with Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Not many people would visit a place for its architecture but there’s no reason not to appreciate it once you get there. Likely as not it will stand out to you on the skyline. If not it’s worth a detour to see something like Paris’s Villa Savoye just to gawp and see what we could all be dwelling in, now or in the future.