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


By: Tasha Moore

7 Min Quiz

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!

The Empire State Building starred in at least two films, "King Kong" and "An Affair to Remember." Where did the movie action take place?

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.


In what locale did the Bellagio rise in 1998?

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.


Where was did the world's busiest and largest railroad terminal exist at one time?

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.


The famous American Vanderbilt family opened the Biltmore Estate to the public in 1930. Can you see identify the building's location?

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.


In 2004, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp that featured an image of the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. Can you select the correct city?

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."


In so many words, it has been said that the Central Library is the most creative architectural structure since the city's Space Needle. Can you select the right city?

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.


A state parks system accepted Hearst Castle as a donation and has maintained it since 1957. Do you know it exact locale?

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.


Pennzoil Place has been called "the building of the decade." Where do you find it?

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.


While it was under construction, some of the windows of the John Hancock Tower kept falling onto the street below. On what city's street did the glass shatter?

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.


Built in 1947, the Delano Hotel was named for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Quickly choose its correct destination.

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.


Look closely at the Monticello​ and you may notice Thomas Jefferson's taste for literature, agriculture, science and nature. In what region did all of these elements come together for him?

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.


During the first 145 years of its existence, the United States Supreme Court moved around a bit. In what place did it finally end up?

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.


In 1888, two businessmen, Elisha Babcock an​d Hampton Story, purchased the peninsula on which this hotel stands. Can you guess the destination?

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 entity that owns this state Capitol building proclaims that it is the perfect example of 20th-century architecture. What city owns this building?

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.


Michael Graves designed the Humana Building. Where did Graves' vision come to fruition?

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.


Do you know the destination where this 491-foot city hall stands tall?

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.


The Museum Center at Union Terminal in ________ is well known for its Art Deco style.​

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.


The designer of David S. Ingalls Rink studied architecture at Yale University. Where did he build this edifice?

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."


Union Station sits on Canal Street in which U.S. city?

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.


The Chrysler Building was first designed to have a stunted top. What city houses this art-deco wonder?

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.


Harry Truman called The White House a "glamorous prison." What do you call its location?

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.


Louis Kahn crafted this Academy Library to have small windows that serve no purpose at its very top. Can you guess the correct U.S. city in which it is located?

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.


Frank Lloyd Wright and a group of his apprentices built Taliesin West in ________?

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.


At the Walker Art Center, aluminum mesh twists to form the ceiling. Is it challenging for you to guess its urban site?

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.


This art museum is well remembered for appearing in an iconic movie. Do you know its location?

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.


Where do you need to travel to observe the neo-Gothic architecture of the Tribune Tower?

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.


Grand Central Terminal materialized as a result of political pressure to power railroad lines leading to the old terminal. Do you know the city where it is located?

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.


Where did the Transamerica Pyramid cause a controversy when it was built in 1972?

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."


The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa is where President Dwight Eisenhower caught a fish in the lobby. Can you name the city?

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 Atheneum won the 2008 Architectural Institute of America Twenty-five Year Award for architectural design. Where is the Atheneum?

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.


At one point, the High Museum of Art was considered what city's single postwar architectural landmark?

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.


At one time, Lake Point Tower was the world's tallest all-residential high-rise. What locale owned the distinction?

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.


Frank Lloyd Wright combined nature and modern architecture at Fallingwater. Can you identify the building's home from among the choices?

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.


Forum space is open to the public at this public library even when the facility is closed. Select the correct city?

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.


The American Institute of Architects selected Thorncrown Chapel as the best work of American architecture produced in the 1980s. Where can you locate the famous building?

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.


The Williams Tower is reminiscent of skyscrapers from the 1920s. Do you know its location?

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.


The IDS Center towers above the Foshay tower in ________.

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.


Weisman Art Museum in ________ was nicknamed "tin can castle."

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


A popular legend of the Biltmore Resort is that Irving Berlin wrote the song, "White Christmas," there, by poolside. Can you ID the location of the building?

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.


In what city can one observe the brise soleil sunscreen of this art museum?

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.


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