Where in the world can I find the most high-tech and futuristic locations?
April 23, 2011 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Where in the world can I find the most high-tech and futuristic locations?

I am looking for the world's most HIGH-TECH or FUTURISTIC locations. Think modern architecture, scientific settings, laboratories, research facilities, colleges, government, and just about anything that is unique and jaw-dropping. Here are a few random examples:

http://goo.gl/Xtx8I -- Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (Ontario)
http://goo.gl/gnVXO -- Large Hadron Collider (CERN)
http://goo.gl/inPOd -- National Ignition Facility (LLNL)
http://goo.gl/n5wni -- anything by Santiago Calatrava
http://goo.gl/UkXm7 -- Biosphere 2 (Arizona)

The places don't necessarily need to be open to the public.

What else is out there?

Thank you!
posted by stst399 to Travel & Transportation (28 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
How about the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK? (obligatory Wikipedia link)
posted by ninazer0 at 5:32 PM on April 23, 2011

Best answer: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (formerly called the Stanford Linear Accelerator) has been around since the 1960s so it's not exactly futuristic but it's certainly high-tech. You can sign up for a tour of the world's straightest object!

Fun bonus: inside the klystron gallery you can see a real live vanishing point, which pretty much doesn't exist anywhere else. The gallery is so long and so straight, if you stand at one end and look down the tunnel, the far end simply vanishes into a point. I'm not aware of any other buildings that are long, straight, and unobstructed inside enough to provide another instance of a vanishing point.
posted by Quietgal at 5:46 PM on April 23, 2011

+1 on Santiago Calatrava — the Milwaukee Art Museum is fantastic.

I thought Rotterdam was pretty cool as was the 'armadillo' in Glasgow.

I saw the Cray supercomputer at the University of Illinois supercomputing center back in the 1980s. It looks a lot cooler with the dramatic lighting in the photo here than it did in person.
posted by tomwheeler at 5:46 PM on April 23, 2011

Based on the number of Sci Fi movies it's shown up in, I think the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Marin County Civic Center belongs on the list. Even if it was built in the early '60s.
posted by straw at 5:47 PM on April 23, 2011

Best answer: The Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, about 1,300 kilometres from the North Pole.
posted by hot soup girl at 5:54 PM on April 23, 2011

Best answer: The Bahnhof data center.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:00 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

UC San Diego's Geisel Library.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:20 PM on April 23, 2011

Imperial War Museum North, Trafford, Greater Manchester.
posted by mdonley at 6:40 PM on April 23, 2011

The ING Group headquarters always looked interesting to me. Kind of like an AT-AT. Some background here.
posted by jourman2 at 8:06 PM on April 23, 2011

Image search: Seattle Public Library
posted by hortense at 8:25 PM on April 23, 2011

While not everything in it fits your requirements, you'd probably really like the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture.
posted by AnnaRat at 8:27 PM on April 23, 2011

I think RAND Corporation's new office is pretty futuristic looking.
posted by troublesome at 8:34 PM on April 23, 2011

Best answer: Not sure if this counts as it's a thing rather than a location per se, but Sandia National Laboratories - home of the Z-Machine. The lab exteriors are ho hum but the Z-Machine blows my mind.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:43 PM on April 23, 2011


The Mauna Kea Observatory.

The European Southern Observatories at La Silla and Paranal, Chile.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:44 PM on April 23, 2011

The Arecibo observatory is actually about fifty years old, but it still looks amazingly modern and high tech.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:47 PM on April 23, 2011

Olympic Water Cube, Beijing
posted by apparently at 9:07 PM on April 23, 2011

I think La Defense is a deeply unsettling space, but the architecture is something of a museum of past and present futures.
posted by besonders at 9:10 PM on April 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

After all these years, I still think the Pacific Science Center looks pretty futuristic.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:46 PM on April 23, 2011

a lineup of shinkansen trains is always a sight.
posted by mokuba at 9:57 PM on April 23, 2011

The MareNostrum supercomputer center in Spain.

The Millau Viaduct in France.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:42 PM on April 23, 2011

The Australian Synchrotron facility.

The TRIUMF cyclotron control room or the control room of any nuclear power plant.

AT&T's Global Network Operations Centre.

Any clean room (especially those used for making satellites) or P4 lab.

Power station interiors, especially hydroelectric plants.

Pipelines, especially interchanges and those used for PIG or odourant injection.

Major radar installations, e.g. ALTAIR, the Russian Woodpecker, or radomes like those at Croughton.
posted by alby at 4:35 AM on April 24, 2011

Some of the other experiments at CERN, like the ALPHA collaboration or LEIR are good too.
posted by alby at 4:37 AM on April 24, 2011

Best answer: The Joint European Torus experiment.

Any radio telescope: the Very Large Array, Arecibo or Jodrell Bank for example.
posted by alby at 4:58 AM on April 24, 2011

During the 1980's, dutiful parties of schoolchildren in former Yugoslavia would journey to Petrova Gora to visit the extraordinary, futuristic monument – or spomenik – erected by the Communist government in memory of the partisans killed there during the Second World War. President Tito had commissioned the undulating, windowless, stainless steel-clad structure on the site where once stood a field hospital and refuge used by resistance fighters. As with many such spomeniks built during the period, its construction was presumed to help consolidate a view of the recent past, while reaffirming a national vision of both the present and the future.

In the pictures of Belgian photographer Jan Kempenaers, though, the monuments convey a less confident, more equivocal legacy. In 2006-7 he toured the countries of the former Yugoslavia using a 1975 map of memorials as a guide; now he has published Spomenik – an expanded series of colour pictures of 25 of the region’s most striking examples. As might be expected of a typological project of this nature, the photographs are unpeopled, and the views unimpeded; the early morning skies are neutral, and the structures cast few shadows; the photographs are landscape format, and centrally composed. Stripped of its ceremony and historical function, the monument at Petrova Gora now appears decidedly run-down. It has shed some of its cladding, to expose the hollows amongst its concrete interior; its approach is uneven and overgrown; and a satellite dish and antennae mar its profile.
posted by jessamyn at 7:35 AM on April 24, 2011

The NRAO in Green Bank, WV
posted by MsMolly at 2:02 PM on April 24, 2011

Diamond Ranch High School
posted by jayder at 8:07 PM on April 24, 2011

Best answer: BMW Welt
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:27 AM on April 25, 2011

Anything by

Zaha Hadid Architects (guys who did the phaeno science centre)
Coop Himmelblau (the guys who did BMW welt above)
Morphosis (check out their cooper union)

The Shanghai Expo by Thomas Heatherwick has also been pretty sensational
posted by doobiedoo at 11:54 AM on April 26, 2011

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